Saturday, February 28, 2009


I'm meant to be vacuuming at the moment. The vacuum is actually sitting in the living room where I turned it off after two seconds of high-quality dirt sucking, but as I had already dusted everything (baseboards included) I think I can sit down for a few seconds.

The reason I'm dusting and vacuuming rather than harassing the Children into doing it is because we made a deal. They would clean the garage and I would clean the entire rest of the house (their bathroom excepted. I'm not stupid). It might sound like a terrible deal, but I happened to know several things:

a) the house had been thoroughly cleaned two days before, and two days before that and therefore most of what I was going to deal with was surface clutter.

b) the surface clutter was, by and large, owned by the Children and therefore I wouldn't actually have to clean it up but would simply lump it into great Piles of Shame and point them in the general direction.

c) going in the garage has, for the past month, given me a fit of the vapors.

The problem with the garage is that it houses the washer and dryer (as well as a few large items which are not ours and cannot, therefore, be shifted) and my Children, while cheerfully willing to do their own laundry have set up a particular system for dealing with clean and dirty clothes. A Child will decide it has nothing clean at all - not even the kind of clean that happens if you leave all your clothes in an enormous heap on your closet floor and shut the door on it for a week. Said Child then piles its laundry basket with its entire wardrobe and staggers into the garage to load and start the washer. A day later another Child will recognize the grubby state of its clothes and head out to do its own wash, discovering (of course) that the washer is now full of cold, soggy, clean clothes belonging to someone else. The original laundry Child is reminded of the state of things (and will be honestly surprised) and will wrestle its damp belongings over to the dryer. Of course the dryer will be full of the clean, dry, wrinkled clothing of still another Child who has been comfortably using the dryer as an adjunct closet for the past two days. With its arms full of wash, the first laundry Child will use one hand to haul all the clean clothes from the dryer and pile them on top of the appliance.

However, this means that when the second laundry Child comes to dry its things both the dryer and the top are packed with clothes and the second laundry Child, for some unknown reason, then sweeps all clothing not belonging to it onto the floor. Then all three Children happily tread on a nice, even covering of once-clean clothing as they head into the back room, fish out canned food or Ramen (for hikes) etc. while I go outside to do laundry and have to retire with a bottle of smelling salts and a small silk fan.

So, I'm more than happy to dust, vacuum, mop and wipe down because about ten minutes two Children took me into the garage and proudly showed me the beautifully neat and tidy floor and the now pristine work table.

Definitely worth it.

Monday, February 23, 2009


I don't watch reality television.

I have no idea what celebrities are pretending to know how to dance and which hopefuls are being voted for on what talent show. I've only seen five minutes of Lost and I don't even have a subscription to HBO. I don't like baseball.

I compounded all of that by not realizing it was the Superbowl until the very day (twigged off by the bleary-eyed men in the grocery store buying cases of cheap and nasty beer). But worse, far worse, I didn't know the Oscars were on last night until I saw the news headlines when I checked my email this morning.

I will be turning in my trucker's cap and my novelty #1 foam hand at the door.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Child 2 had a rather significant birthday this last weekend.

Not one of those slightly quirky personal Important Birthdays (for me that would include 6 [favorite number as a child], 11 [far cooler than 10 which for some reason didn't impress me at all, 16 [Age of Official Dateableness - thank you Mormon upbringing] and 24 [I have no idea why, none at all, really, just something about that number... it even sounds a little sexy... tweeeeeentee fouuuuuuuuuuur]), an actual, real, official Very Significant Birthday.

The one that means, technically, it can no longer be called Child 2 at all (but of course it still will be. It's going to be seventy-leven some day and STILL be called Child 2, poor thing).

Maybe the fact that this birthday was looming did something to the Child's little brain - set off some amazing neural storm somewhere. Because something happened to this Child, somewhere between one blink and another, and before I knew where I was it was talking about career options - about how it wants to do something meaningful, something that will make a difference. More than that though, it had calmly sat itself down and worked out how to make such a plan work. It sat an entrance exam and didn't just do well, didn't just excel - it got the highest possible score. Then it scheduled itself a far more difficult exam (a language battery) and walked out with a bit of paper noting that it had gotten 48 points above the lowest minimum requirement and 33 points above the highest requirement. There are currently several people literally begging this Child to deign to consider allowing them to offer it a dream job complete with signing bonus.

At the same time it has ceased (mostly) poking it's sibling's buttons, has decided to allow its admiring and loving relatives to (now and then) hug it, and has become the Agony Aunt and Relationship Guidance Counselor for most of its circle of friends (apparently it listens to the problem, calmly says something like, "you're an idiot. Cut it out," then pats the friend kindly on the head).

In other words, somehow this Child has managed to do the almost unachievable. It not only became an adult, it also grew up.

I've never been more proud.

Happy Birthday Child 2

Friday, February 13, 2009


I was going to write about doing taxes and how it's totally normal to shout at the news-print manual things like, "Why can't you just say what you mean??" or "WHY SHOULD I MULTIPLY LINE 23b BY 15% HUH? JUST ANSWER ME THAT!!"


I hab a coad. Courtesy of the ever generous Child 3. So instead I'm just going to post an old picture of Kaj because it makes me smile.

Then I'm going to go back to sneezing and sniffling. And whining.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


During last night's Netflix showing -

Child 3: Know what I would do if I had a Darlek come up like that? I'd jump on and go, "now SPIN! WHEEEEEE!"

Child 1: I'd poke it in the eye stalk. POKE! POKE! You can't see me!

Me: I'd totally cuddle it. "Whose an ickle Darlek-warlek then? Izzee? Izzee? Hims is just the cutest little genocidal wobot hims is!"

Child 2: This is why Earth will never be invaded by Darleks.

Friday, February 06, 2009


We have a few odd traditions in my family - not my Kirk-Megan-Children family but the family I was raised in, and some of them have to do with giving gifts. One is the habit of giving someone not what you think they'd like or need, but what you, personally, find really, really funny. I don't indulge in this one terribly often but it is why my poor sister, when she took up belly-dancing as a pass-time, was given an enormous red bra and several packets of sequins and plastic googly eyes. Another is the practice of recycling wrapping. We were completely used to receiving our gifts tastefully clad in the Sunday comics or, on one memorable Christmas, bundled up in the family collection of towels. It is due to this heritage that I can boast the skill of making curled ribbon decorations out of newsprint. (true that - cut strips of newspaper and gently, carefully run the blade of scissors over it - curls beautifully if you manage not to pull it to bits).

Another tradition though is putting something of yourself into a gift. I remember one year my mother spent weeks carefully crocheting miles and miles of lace - two blouses, for my sister and me. I can see that blouse now, and the love and care and time that went into it.


Let's just say that my sister, the one who has a rather stressful job, the one with three children of her own who might, just might, have a few calls on her time. Yet this sister, for the Christmas just past? Produced this:

This is my Christmas hat, which has a Christmas scarf to go with. I would like to point out the clear pattern which is, I think, evidence of a very capable knitter - something I will never be.

But the real kicker is the next photo, of the male child (appropriately disguised. I would like to point out that the Male Child chose to wear BOTH the face mask and the Superior Aunt produced item).

This photo doesn't at all do justice to this hat - it has a PATTERN which is GORGEOUS and... well, terribly, terribly impressive, and the Male Child is a little smug to say the least about its really very cool hat.

I'm still trying to tie down two other children to demonstrate their knitted booty (One of them is gloves! With FINGERS!! Who can knit fingers for heaven's sake??) but as they are elusive at best and selfishly insist on actually wearing their gifts as a daily practice it's been a bit difficult.

Frankly, these gifts pretty much topped anything anyone else did for the whole of Christmas. Which is why I was pleased to see that at least the Superior Aunt had wrapped these pieces of Superior Hand Crafting in the very latest issue of the Sunday comics.

Let's just keep those traditions alive, shall we?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


You know those teenage moments? Not the ones where you were wearing just the right thing and you thought of the perfect phrase at the absolute best moment to say it - no, you remember both those times quite clearly. I'm thinking of the moments when you know, right as you're saying or doing it, how utterly humiliating it is. The times you can almost see the words leaving your mouth on a ribbon and you want to yank them back in but it's already too late. The ones you live over in your head that night, and the next, and at odd moments when you're tired or uncertain or when something happens to just remind you that yes, you made a total fool of yourself. Say, for example, on a date, when things just seem to get worse and worse and in trying to recover from one idiot statement you blunder into another until by the end you're completely convinced that said date is driving away at top speed and will never, ever want to call you again. And then he doesn't.

For the younger types (Children for example), I can actually assure you that you don't really, truly spend the rest of your life writhing in agony. Eventually you grow up (a bit) and get a bit of perspective and, frankly, let the memory fade. After all, there are so very many of those moments.

But there's just enough of it left that should you happen to bump into that person, many many years later, and should you get talking, and should he just happen to mention that blasted date, it's rather nice to find out that maybe things weren't quite as world-shatteringly horrible as you remember. Maybe you were just young, and a bit of an idiot.

And maybe he was too.