Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Your Father's Grandchildren

It's a beautiful day here at Casa Fries, and I am out on the porch enjoying it. I'm trying to get some other writing done, and I'm blissfully (and finally) working away (my gutters aren't being cleaned anymore), happy that the words are coming, when Hubby bursts out onto the front porch.

"I was putting the ladder away at the far side of the house, behind the toy box," he began.

I nodded and added a detail that I felt needed to go into my paragraph.

"Are you listening? You really need to be listening."

I turned off my writing playlist, stopped working, and gave him my full attention. Then I noticed Middle standing behind the screen door. Oh boy.

"And there, on top of the toy box, is part of an old cinder block with a dead mouse in it. Completely forgetting Rule #2, I asked, 'Why is there a dead mouse on top of the toy box?' And your child told me, 'Leave it alone; it's mine and MBFF's pet, and his name is Jerry.'"

It was at this point in time that I performed a migraine salute: I placed my fingertips and thumb on opposite sides of my nose and pinched, gently.

You know, I'd thought I'd gotten rid of the headache I awoke with this morning . . . 

Not so much, it seems.

Mind you, this is the kid who enjoys watching NCIS with me. She also enjoys Forensic Files

I stared at her through the storm door, desperately trying to think of the right word. "You are aware of this thing called decomposition?"

"Uh-huh!" she said cheerfully.

"Putrefaction," I mentioned next.

She nodded, and Hubby stopped me. "You're just feeding the crazy."

He had a point.

He went on to tell me about the current state of this poor mouse, its fly friends (there are many), and Middle explained that, when Jerry is just bones, she and MBFF will have a skeleton good-luck-charm of sorts.

Face, meet palm.

Hubby then explained that he asked her (also probably a violation of Rule #2, to be very honest) where she and MBFF had found Jerry.

"In the yard, next to his squished cousin." Middle paused then, apparently for effect. "And don't worry, Dad. We sexed him. Jerry is definitely a boy."

Middle is giggling now as Hubby relates this part, and I'm at the point of I don't know what else this kid is going to surprise us with

Hubby reached for the door handle. "These are your father's grandchildren," he pointed out. "Your father's grandchildren."

Yes, well. My father isn't around to help them get into mischief, but it seems they're finding enough on their own.

He'd be proud.

Grossed out, but proud.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Much, Much Later in the Same Day

We are leaving the Gettysburg Civil War Visitors' Center. Hubby has bought bacon and cheddar flavored crickets, solely because Middle has said she will try one.

She did. More than one, in fact.

These apparently taste like ramen. Or ramen and nothing. The flavoring is nonexistent. MBFF concurs.

Hubby takes the cricket offered to him, and claimed he thought he got the head stuck between his teeth.

I nearly gagged out the open window. Good thing it was a nice day.

"Mom, do you want one?"

Not on your Nellie. "No."

We're nuts!
"Are you sure? They're crunchy."

Gag. I flatly refused the offer. Thank you, no. Just stepping on exoskeleton-bearing insects is hard because they're crunchy.

"I'm gonna take these to school and dare kids to have me eat one!"

God bless you, girl.

~more minutes pass~

Middle: I'm gonna gulp crack cocaine!

Hubby (exasperated): You don't gulp crack cocaine!

Middle: And you don't pay attention to the things I say!

I really think these two get high on oxygen when they're together.

The Rules Hat Trick

 We went back to Gettysburg today since we had such fun last week. Our bonus kid, Middle's BFF, also came along for the ride. Like last week, we stopped at the Golden Arches for breakfast. We had finished eating and were cruising along when this happened:

MBFF (to Middle): I'm trying to use your straw to stab open this ketchup packet.

I'm personally wondering when we got ketchup. I didn't see any come into the car . . .

Me: Rule #2.

MBFF (rapidly stabbing with the straw): I just want to see it explode!

Me: Rule #3.

Hubby: And Rule #1. <pause> Have any of our kids ever gotten all three Rules at once?

Me: I don't think so.

Middle: Just me. "Why don't I drink bleach?"

Me (nearly having a panic attack while laughing): Don't panic me.

Middle: Eh, you know me. Kitchen supplies, whatever.

MBFF: I'm just going to use my knife. <inspects packet closer> Oh, there's already little holes in it. 

~Several minutes pass~

MBFF: Now my knife smells like ketchup.

Hubby: Just don't get ketchup all over the car.

Me: Rule #3.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

My Work Here Is Done

 With Special Edition's birthday being this past Saturday, her birthday dessert of choice was angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream. And lemon curd. I should not forget that. I had to hunt for it. But this was her chosen dessert, and since I remembered last year's making of strawberry shortcake, and buying three cans of whipped cream (yes, Mother, I was going to make the real stuff, but the grocery store was completely out of heavy whipping cream, so we had to do canned) . . . and we ran out. I was not running out again. And since I knew we'd be doing Gettysburg with the clan, I bought the canned stuff again.

And I was determined to not run out.

I bought FIVE cans.

My co-workers saw my cart and thought I'd come unhinged. Nope, just determined to not run out of whipped cream this year.

I think I still had three and a half cans left after the birthday dinner, so I felt silly for buying so much unnecessarily, and said so out loud.

"Not unnecessarily," said Middle, who is fond of shooting whipped cream straight into her mouth.

Much like her father, actually.

Today, after school, Middle and MBFF wanted to hang out in the park after school. MBFF had permission, so I gave mine as well. Middle is a solid student and I'm not worried about homework. I told Middle when I'd come pick them up and bring them home. 

I was surprised to come up from the basement and hear them both in the kitchen. MBFF was trying to shoot cream from a can that shouted it was empty.

Now, as I am an evil mother, this put in mind a scene from the old sitcom Brotherly Love. You only have to watch about the first minute and a half of this segment to see where my mind went.

"Did you know," I deadpanned as MBFF shot whipped cream from a new can into her mouth and handed it off to Middle, "that if you do that and poke in your cheeks, it's like popping a zit?"

My daughter was launching whipped cream into her own mouth at the same time I said this and stopped, leaving a trail down to her chin. 

"That's gross," MBFF said.

"I don't even want to eat this now," Middle groused.

"My here is done!" I hooted with laughter so loudly that Hubby, playing Fortnite upstairs with Special Edition, could hear me . . . and so could Special Edition, her BFF, and her hubby.



Saturday was Special Edition's birthday, so the bunch of us got together to celebrate. First, we drove to the Gettysburg Battlefield, where we met up with Special and Mr. Nurse, her fiance, and toured around there for awhile. Middle usually spends Saturdays with her BFF, and Special didn't mind, so MBFF
Pennsylvania Monument

joined us for the day.

We actually had a very nice day to be out walking around. I suppose it would have been nicer still if spring had sprung a bit more, and trees had begun to leaf and everything didn't still look quite so dormant, but this was a great way to spend the first day of spring and Special's birthday. 

She and Mr. Nurse had been there since nearly dawn, since Mr. Nurse is quite an amateur photographer in his own right and he wanted to get some photos of the battlefield at sunrise.

Hubby was in his element, talking about some of the places we
High Water Mark

visited. He's a big fan of Michael Shaara's book The Killer Angels, which tells the story of the three-day battle that turned the tide for the Union at Gettysburg. (Dad read it and urged Hubby to read it, and they both think it ought to be recommended reading before anyone visits the battlefield.) There's a certain sacredness about touring a place where so many men--brothers and friends--died. MBFF really enjoyed it, and we made plans to come back at a later date with her so that we can all go to the Visitor Center museum together.

The view from Little Round Top
Then we visited a few shops around town. Middle was delighted by all of the tumbled rocks she found at a crystal shop Special wanted to visit--Middle collects rocks--and we let her buy about a dozen specimens. Youngest wanted to stop by her favorite shop in town, named after her
favorite animal, and so she found something there. MBFF picked up souvenirs, too.

Now, I told you all of this to tell you this story. Middle bought herself a pair of handcuffs at Youngest's favorite shop. They are toy handcuffs, but not magic ones, and they do lock. I was not aware of this until we got home (Hubby paid for the purchases at that store).

We've had dinner and dessert and Mr. Nurse took some really nice family photos of us before I rounded up Middle and MBFF to take them back to MBFF's house, where Middle was spending the night for some campfire fun. 

That's when I saw Middle with my craft glue. You know, the stuff she's not supposed to use on pain of death, without permission.

Which she didn't have.

Which she'd painstakingly put on both cuffs in a particular spot.

I knew I was going to regret it, but I asked anyway, despite the screams of "Rule #2!" from somewhere deep in my brain. "Why did you put my craft glue on your handcuffs?"

"Because I need them to be shiny."

I stopped short of asking how glue makes her cuffs shiny. "But . . . why?"

"They have to be colorful and sparkly."


When she came home the next day, she proceeded to color over the glue on her already-silvertone handcuffs with a silver Sharpie, then draw hearts with a bronze Sharpie. Why?

"Because I need to personalize them."

I should have stuck with Rule #2.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

All It Needed Was a British Accent

 Earlier tonight, I was eating dinner in the den so that I could continue having my poor aching ankle up and tucked into my favorite heating pad.

Then I hear Middle shouting in the kitchen. "Respectfully, eat blecch!"

At least, that's what I thought she said.

Wanting to be sure I heard right, and thinking I might wangle a blog post out of it, I called her for her to come down the hall. When she got here, I asked what on earth she said to her twin.

"Oh, that." 

Yeah, that.

"Respectfully, eat glass."

To be honest, I liked my version better, and I told her so. She grinned.

This is how it is here.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Riding in Cars with Middle

 By virtue of how close we live to the Middle School here in town (and also the High School), the girls are all walkers. How-some-ever, it's still what one might term chilly in these parts this time of year, and my work schedule is such that I can go pick them up after school, so I usually do. This afternoon, I performed the mundane task of running a pre-paid shipping box to the post office before driving to the Middle School to pick up the twins.

They bop into the car as I stop in the parent pickup lane, and Middle immediately wants to know if I'm angry.

Um, no. Just burdened with glorious purpose.

Middle immediately proclaims me cool for my hand gesture, motioning them up to where I was going to park, rather than where they waited (hiding behind a sign). I'm under no illusions. My cool factor will remain only as long as it takes for us to reach the next disciplinary moment. But I'll take it for now.

Middle, though, is on a roll already. "Mom, do you know what I hate most about school? LUNCH. And why do I hate lunch?"

I could guess the answer. "Boys."

"BOYS!" she went on. "They are terrible. They talk about awful stuff."

I asked about switching seats. Nope; they're all assigned. Covid tracking, you know. So she has to sit with these awful boys.

Now, at this point, I should explain. We live less than a mile and a half from school. The store I work at is just beyond the Middle School, and I can make it from home to work in three and a half minutes on a good day. After-school traffic is almost as bad as before-school, so it takes longer to get home from there than it does work. But I kid you not. She waxed eloquent about how awful early-teenage boys are for a good five minutes.

"Mom, then they started talking about sado-masochism!"

I corrected her pronunciation on that last one, glad she didn't figure that one out.

"And there used to be some good ones, but then they started talking about perverted stuff, and they're just as bad now. No, they're worse! They're not right in the head! They're on five percent!"

She was on such a tear that I cracked up. "I love you, my child."

"Hey," Youngest commented from the front seat. "What about me?"

I gave her a smile. "I love you, too, but you don't have the same kind of wit that one does."

Youngest grinned and nodded sagely.

Middle continued her rant against stupid boys (her father will love that) all the way to the house, with me continuing to laugh at her observations, once so hard that Youngest told Middle, "You broke Mom!"

Meanwhile, a song I haven't heard before on our Christian radio station comes on just as we're reaching the house. I didn't shut off the car right away because I wanted to figure out what it was. I opened Shazam and had it listen, and then I couldn't believe the result I was seeing. Magical Blizzard Wizard by BigSavageKev, it reported.

No way, I thought, and ran Shazam again, holding my phone near a different speaker. Battle Belongs by Phil Wickham it said this time. "That's better," I said out loud, to no one really, except myself, as we all piled out of the car.

Except for the fact that my kids were there, too. Middle gave me a curious look, so I explained there was no way the first song result I got was right.

And far be it from Middle to not engage. "What, were you snappling it?"

I could not stop the laughter.

Middle cracked up too (as did Youngest).

"Snappling?" I managed between giggles.

"Sniffling?" Middle tried again.

I leaned against the left front bumper and hooted.

"You broke Mom!" Youngest shrieked at her twin.

I just kept laughing.

"I don't know what it's called."

"Shazaming," I managed between giggles.

"I really did try," Middle pointed out. "I don't even know how I made that mistake."

We made our way into the house, with me still occasionally chuckling.

"You should put that on your Facebook, Mom," Youngest informed me.

Facebook? "Oh, I'm writing a whole blog post about this. If I can remember it all."

"Don't worry," Youngest reassured me. "We'll help you."

Middle reached into the freezer and hauled out an ice cream container (cookies and cream, if you're interested). I gave her a side-eye look. Ice cream is not an approved after-school snack.

She met my gaze evenly. "I need emotional support."

I found I couldn't argue with that.

Post Script:

So I sat down and began working on this. Waffle called, to ask what I thought of a plot bunny she'd described earlier. I got a bit distracted and memory faded, so I called Middle over to ask her a question. Middle, who usually has the memory of an elephant (except when she's on an oratorial roll), didn't remember, so I called down Youngest, whose ADHD is not a favorable condition in helping her to remember things. I described what I needed from her: what did Middle say about boys that had made me laugh and say something, which caused her to respond?

She thought for a moment, then nodded affirmatively. "Something about boys."

Thanks, babe. You're the best.