Monday, October 29, 2012

There are things I just don't understand about this world.

Hubby got a call last night from a friend who was worried about his girlfriend.

This morning, Hubby got another call from the same friend, who said his girlfriend was out walking in the rain, apparently not wanting to be at home.

Hubby went out and picked Lesl up.

I just want to smother her with kindness.

I gave her some clothes to borrow, and threw her soaked things in the washer and washed them with a bunch of our stuff that needed to be washed anyway.

She said I didn't need to go to the trouble of drying them (I didn't tell her I washed 'em until they were in the dryer).  Well, right now, we still have power.  Might as well use it while we have it!

I asked her if she'd like something to eat, or something hot to drink.  I boiled water for the tea she requested and offered her a cookie first and then a sandwich.  Nothing fancy, just peanut butter and jelly or turkey and cheese.

Lesl said she felt like royalty.

She was flabbergasted when I said this is just how we treat our friends.

Cowboy (her boyfriend) came over after she'd been here awhile, chatting with Hubby and occasionally the Fries, about some of the heavier stuff that's been going on in her life.

She mentioned a little while ago that she felt icky, so we offered the use of our shower.

It astonishes me how little kindness she must have been shown, just because of how astonished she is by stuff that doesn't faze us in the least.  "Cowboy cares about you, and because of that, so do we," I'd explained as I got one of my thick, fleecy sweatshirts for her to wear while I washed and dried her clothes.  We'd have done this for anyone.

So I took her to the upstairs bath, which is decorated in a cheery Mickey Mouse theme (with all the gleaming black tile, it begged for Mickey treatment), got her a thick towel and a washcloth, and left my hairdryer outside the door for her for when she was done.  I told her she could take her time; she could even take a bath if she was so inclined.

"I'll pay you back," she said.

I thought she was referring to the cotton leggings I'd lent her, since she'd said she'd fallen in love with them and was keeping them.  "$6 at Walmart," I said.  "It's no big deal.  Don't worry about it."

"No, for everything," she said.

I must have looked shocked, but I recovered quickly enough to say that wasn't necessary, and we weren't looking for her to pay us back.  There was no need.

To us, a sandwich, a cookie, a Dr Pepper, a quick wash and dry of clothes, and a simple shower isn't putting us out at all.

It's not out of the norm of stuff we would do for anyone we consider a friend.

But it almost breaks my heart that she's had so little compassion shown her in her life, that she's never experienced people who are nice just to be nice, and not expecting anything in return except a smile and a "thanks."

Are there really that few people in the world who are kind just because they're kind?

Hatches Battened Down

I'm finally feeling more like myself, which is a good thing.

We are pretty much in the "go to a liquor store" and "screwed" section of this weather map:

Actually, now that I look a little closer, we're more under the "screwed" part of south-central PA than we are the "liquor store" part, but we're pretty darn close to it.

Needless to say, we're hunkering down.

School has been canceled for the next two days, and trick-or-treat night on Tuesday was canceled early this morning.

Rosetta, Iridessa, and Spidergirl are beside themselves.  They were so looking forward to trick-or-treating.

I would imagine that Hubby is not planning on going in to work on Tuesday (Monday is his normal day off).

We've offered our home as a hangout for any of our youth group kids who are uncomfortable being home alone while their folks are at work.

And, weather permitting, we're taking the girls to an indoor scavenger hunt on Tuesday night at the home of one of the twins' classmates, just so that they can do some kind of candy thing.  Hopefully, the borough will reschedule trick-or-treat night.  Otherwise, I've got a glut of excess candy.

And, unlike PeeJay's wife, I bought the good stuff.

Which I really don't need to eat. may be the end of the week before I'm on here again.

Those of you who are hunkering down along with us, in the line of Sandy's wrath, stay safe.

The rest of you?  Those of us who are preparing to ride out a fury of wind and rain sure would appreciate your prayers for our safety, our communities, our EMS/police/fire/rescue personnel, and for few injuries and no fatalities.

See you on the flip side of Frankenstorm!

Thursday, October 25, 2012


So I've been after the Fries to tell me what they want to be for Halloween.

I finally have answers, and Gramma and I both hope that they don't change their minds between now and tomorrow when Gramma goes to the store for material.

Large Fry has said for months that she wants to be a fairy for Halloween.  Specifically, she wants to be Tinkerbell's fairy friend, Rosetta.

Medium Fry has also decided she wants to be a fairy.  She chose Tink's friend, Iridessa, who looks remarkably like Medium does.

Now, my youngest child...the contrarian...what does she want to be?



This should be interesting.

Monday, October 22, 2012


So...I'm sick. I'm pretty sure I caught Large Fry's bronchitis.  (I kind of already had the cold, and with my asthma, this should not have surprised me, but it did.)

I can't tuck in kids at bedtime. I feel like death warmed over.  I'm pretty sure that, at this point, I'd probably have to be dead three days to feel worse.  Whatever this is, it's settled in my lungs and I'm doing an admirable job of trying to hack them out while still keeping them contained in my chest cavity.  (More than you wanted to know, I'm sure, but I've been on Nyquil for pretty much the last 24 hours.)

At bedtime, Small Fry climbed into bed next to me.  "I'm gonna snuggle wif you til bedtime," she tells me.  I changed the channel from Investigation Discovery to PBS's Sprout (which I loathe, but is child-safe; ID is not) and decided I didn't care how much I hated Sprout.  My baby wanted to snuggle with me.

She ran out when Hubby called to her and had her and Medium Fry get ready for bed while Large Fry nebulized downstairs.

The twins wanted me to come to their room and tuck them in.  Getting up and walking down the hall sounded like a bad idea to me.  Sooo...I sang to them right here in my bedroom.  If, that is, you can call my raspy frog-voice "singing."  I kissed both of them on the cheek at the appropriate point in the song, and they headed down the hallway, happy that I'd at least done that much of the bedtime routine.

A few minutes later, Large Fry came in for hug and kiss.  Then she skipped out to go to her room and get in bed.

Hubby followed her into her room and passed gas on the way in.  "Large Fry!" he accused.

And that was what I heard of the conversation.  After he finished tucking her in, he came back to the bedroom and related the rest of the conversation to me.

"Daddy, you lied!" Large Fry had said, aghast.  (Lying is something we don't tolerate in our house.)

"Noooo," Hubby had replied, teasingly.

"You lied!" Large insisted.


Large Fry got mad, and balled up her fists and covered her cheeks as Hubby began to sing the "Goodnight Song."

"You're not gonna kiss my cheek! I'll kiss my own cheek!" she said.

And so he sang...

Good night, good night, I'll tuck you in, good night. You'll kiss your own cheek...

Large kissed her fist, touched it to her cheek, and then covered her cheek with her fist again. you will sleep, now close your eyes, good night.  ♫

And, almost as if on cue, Large Fry passed gas herself...two small poots.

"Daddy!" she accused.

"You lied!" Hubby retorted.

"I copied you!"

Smart girl.

Friday, October 19, 2012

More than a Little Unusual

Large Fry and I spent four hours in the ER this morning.

Before you panic, we're home now.  And Large Fry is fine.  (I'm still getting over my attack of the Worry Gremlins.)

But this morning, it was obvious that Large Fry's cold (the same one the twins have) had progressed to something worse, as she wheezed and gasped for breath, inhaling rapidly and shallowly.  It was bad enough that I canceled the appointment at the pediatrician's that I'd just made and opted to take her to the ER instead.  (Her insurance is far more likely to cover the ER visit than a trip to the Urgent Care.)

Two breathing treatments and a couple of chest x-rays later, and Large was breathing much easier...and so was I.  No pneumonia, just a very nasty bronchitis.  Steroids, albuterol, follow up with her regular doc—the usual drill.

So we departed with discharge papers, an emesis (spell check suggests nemesis, which, given my usual reaction to violently upset stomachs, isn't far off) basin just in case the liquid steroid suspension made her nauseous, and two prescriptions.

And I dropped the scripts off at the pharmacy we use on our way home.

There we were...waiting at the red light to exit the CVS parking lot.  I'm the only one awake, as the morning's adventure had wiped Large out.

And that's when I saw something I've never seen before.

A horse and buggy clip-clopped through the intersection, the horse prancing smartly and looking for all the world like he knew how handsome an animal he was.

That was not the unusual part.  We have a lot of Old Order Amish and Mennonites around here.  Horses, buggies, wagons, and bicycles are extremely common.

No, what astonished me was the racing flames decal that was affixed to the side of the buggy by the left rear wheel.


Only here, folks.  Only here.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Vignettes from the Home Front

When the Fries were little and there was really no such thing as modesty (for anyone, really, except maybe Hubby), and we were transitioning out of diapers and into Pull-Ups, I found myself drawn by an irresistible force.

My kids' little naked tushies.

They just begged to be squeezed.

Oh, don't you judge me.  You had the same urge with your own kids when they were little.


I did.

And when I did, I would squeal, "Squeezy cheeks!"  This would earn me gales of little-girl giggles.

This inevitably led to the Fries begging for me to play "squeezy cheeks" every night at bedtime.  Large Fry was still in nighttime Pull-ups and the twins were in diapers at night.  I got very good at putting on diapers while the twins were standing up, so I would do "squeezy cheeks" before fastening the diaper.

Granted, it made them giggle.  Which didn't really do much for calming them down before bed.  But I loved their laughter (still do).

"Squeezy cheeks" also made appearances after bathtime.  And during the day.  And whenever little girls came running up to me, giggling, and begging to have their cheeks squeezed.

Hubby would do his own version every now and then—"squooshy tushie"—but the Fries were hung up on the "squeezy cheeks" phrase, so that's the one that got used.

And then they got taller.

Suddenly, this was no longer a one-way game.  Our tushies were suddenly fair game.  Hubby would protest that his tushie wasn't squooshy.  (Plus, I think he was a little uncomfortable that the Fries were more goosing him than squeezing.)  I would say that my cheeks didn't need squeezing.

We both lost.

Sort of.  We won lots of giggles.

Innyhoo, I told you that story to tell you this one.

On Tuesday, Small Fry stayed home sick, after having caught a tummy bug similar to the one Large Fry had about two weeks ago (thankfully, short-lived).  She was bummed (pardon my pun) that she was not allowed to go to school when her sisters could.  She was clearly feeling better, and I momentarily contemplated sending her to school anyway.  But just in case she wasn't quite over it, and to keep her teacher and classmates from possibly experiencing a Technicolor Yawn situation, I kept her home.

Which turned out to be a good thing.

Small is my child who has been nawt tiyewrd for the last four years.  She's almost always the last one to fall asleep.  She's been insisting since she was 18 months old that she didn't need naps.  She's also the only one still in nighttime Pull-ups, which is a very important part of this story.

She announced at noon that she wanted to go up to bed and sleep.  "Oh-ho," says I to myself, "we're not as fiyne as we way we are."

I made her eat some Cheerios for lunch, and have some diluted juice, and sent her up to bed.

Small slept for almost two and a half hours.


Now, she's needed the nighttime Pull-ups at night, but not usually at naptime.  So I didn't bother to have her put one on, because I didn't think she'd need it.  She hadn't in a very long time.

When I say she slept hard, I mean hard.  She didn't even wake up to pee (and I had her pee before napping), and thoroughly soaked her sheets, mattress pad, and clothes.

I threw everything in the wash, and had her put on clean panties and jammies.

I made sure everything was dry by bedtime, and while Hubby got everyone moving on the bedtime-ready checklist, I remade Small's bed with her now-clean sheets and mattress pad.

When we moved last December, we bought big-girl beds for the twins since they had pretty much outgrown their toddler beds.  We got a great deal on some great furniture...but the new beds were loft beds.

They are a royal pain in the squooshy tushie to make.

So I'm sprawled on Small's bed, getting the mattress pad on when Small asks where I am.  Hubby, having seen me heading in with arms full of bed linens, tells her that I'm making her bed.

Once I got the mattress pad on, I climbed down to fetch the sheets and then climbed back up, sprawling again to get the fitted sheet on the mattress.

And I was standing on the ladder to Small's bed, getting the last corner of the fitted sheet on the mattress when it happened.

Hubby and Small were in the room watching me work, and as I stood there on the ladder, Small snuck up behind me.

Total blitz attack.

She grabbed two handfuls of my rear, squeezed, and shouted gleefully, "Squeezy cheeks!"

I stood there in amused shock and Hubby could not contain his laughter.

Small impishly giggled and ran out of the room.

"It's all your fault, you know," Hubby observed between chuckles.

I know, Hubby.

I know.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


I spent part of last week finally whipping my home office (mostly) into shape.

When Hubby arrived home from work today earlier than I expected, and walked over to pick up the kids from school himself, I decided to abandon working in the den and retreat to my office.  Now that I can find my desk again, I have space to work.  Might as well give it a shot.

I settled in at my desk, popped in my earbuds, and continued working on the journal article I was editing.

Medium Fry moseyed in a few minutes later.

"Hi, Mommy."

I pulled out one earbud.  "Hi, honey.  What do you need?"

She leaned into me.  "I love you."

I hugged her back.  "I love you too."

Apparently, that was all she needed.

Not long after that, Small Fry bounced in.

She didn't really need conversation, just to be near me.  And to prattle on, without my participation.

I know this, because when I tried to respond to what she was saying, she gave me a mock stern look and said imperiously, "You go back to youwr wowrk, Mommy!"

She even shook her finger at me.

I suppose it probably doesn't bode well for me that I obeyed, popping my earbud back in (I'd taken it out to hear her and answer her), picking up my red pen, and going back to work.

She'll probably think she's the boss of me from now on.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I'm quizzing Large Fry on her spelling words.  This week, it's all compound words.  And while we have the option to do any number of things for her spelling homework, she seems to do best when I read the words aloud and have her write them down.

In the process of doing this with her spelling list, I've seen some pretty interesting spellings for words she's unsure of.

Like this one...

Me: Driveway.

Large Fry [printing neatly]: jhriveway


Yeah, I didn't know what to think either.  But that's a darn creative spelling.

Kind of like the way she used to spell "uncle" as "ugl."

Bonus: she also has challenge words, which are extra credit.

Me: Earthquake.

Large [printing]: eathkwack

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It's only Tuesday.

And I already feel overwhelmed.

I have a novel-length manuscript to keep working on.

I have four articles to be copy-edited by next week.

I have another project to do a revision of sorts on, and potentially work on that starting next week.

Plus a thesis to copy edit as well.

And jury duty looming over my head in a month.

The twin Fries have daily homework for kindergarten.  That takes about ten minutes to complete.  Then they're supposed to read or have someone read to them for 20 minutes a day.

Large Fry has anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes of homework a day (I'm told it shouldn't be more than 20 minutes).  Whether or not we complete her homework in that timeframe is questionable, because Large does have an expressive speech delay which causes answers that she should know to get stuck in a holding pattern in her brain, because she can't spit 'em out her mouth.  It's frustrating, especially to someone like me, who makes her living with words.

The twins now also have occasional projects to do, in addition to the regular monthly family  projects that we all are supposed to do together.

It's the beginning of the school career of all three of my kids, and I'm already so overwhelmed that I want to cry.

And...we got a notice today from the school nurse that Large Fry needs an eye exam (and probably glasses).  She flunked her vision screening at school pretty badly.  I've been half-expecting this.  But with the dental insurance insanity that I waded through three or four weeks ago, this is the LAST thing I want to deal with again: spending two hours, making calls and talking to multiple service reps and getting conflicting information.  (It happens every time I call the insurance company for the girls.)  If the girls don't have dental because their biological mother won't shell out for it, odds are good that they don't have vision coverage either.

All of this makes me glad that Hubby and I are taking steps to have the Fries put on our insurance at the first of the year.

I don't think, however, that we can wait that long to get Large Fry seen by an eye doctor and get the glasses she probably needs.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Just now...

Medium is playing a Cinderella game on her Leapster 2, and leaning against me....

[shouts]  "It didn't let me do anything, or go pew pew pew.  That's wude!"