Thursday, September 10, 2020

First day of School

 That was Tuesday. For Middle and Youngest, anyway.

It was also the first day of 8th grade for Kimo and Kala.

Kala found a sunbeam very conducive to studying Nap Theology 102, while Youngest figured out her first day of HTH virtual school. The school plan that Youngest is on this year allows for her to eventually progress to face-to-face education, when the district determines we are able to. (We were hoping she could start the school year that way, given her educational programming, but she didn't qualify.) Youngest is actually being taught by her classroom teachers, and has a point person to help her in areas when she needs it, so we're hopeful that this is going to work out better than last year's fourth quarter did.

Kimo took a chair next to Middle, and will be doing year-round Permanent Virtual Learning this year. Middle said, upon hearing the warning that there's a pretty steep learning curve for this education format, that perhaps the district should adjust their curve, rather than force the students to adjust. (We secretly agree.) Middle (and Kimo) must complete five lessons each day for a full day's attendance to count, and she's taking a full load of five courses this semester. She's enrolled in this through the school district, so as far as they're concerned, she's still in school through them, but she isn't working with any of the Middle School teachers like Youngest is. She can also work at her own pace and on her own time frame. She just has to get the five lessons completed. Kimo's favorite subject so far is lunch.

Oldest started back to school on August 24th, and I don't have a picture because, well, uniforms. She's attending a career tech school for the fall semester this year (she's in 10th grade now; I'm old), pursuing graphic communication and design. It wasn't her first choice--she wanted cosmetology--but she is a very gifted artist and we think she will do amazingly well. She's excited to be learning about Adobe Photoshop and InDesign and all sorts of other cool tools. She has both a Windows laptop from the career tech school, and her standard Chromebook from our home district. She's in class in person one week, and then works virtually the next week, and her schedule alternates like that.

Special Edition is taking a break this semester from college, with our full support (and that of Mr. Nurse). She and her BFF are going on a road trip so that Special can see some of her extended family and do some sightseeing, and then she and BFF are just going to relax and spend some time together, and she plans to love on BFF's two little girls. They're right around the age of when our three youngest came to live with us, and frankly, I'm a teeny bit jealous.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Adventures with Kimo

 Scene: My bedroom last night.

After a rough day, I decided to enjoy a late-night bowl of chocolate marshmallow ice cream. Now, I'm not sure if it was just because I had food in a bowl (particularly ice cream) that drew Kimo's interest, or because her person's bedroom door was shut and she couldn't get in, or both, but I had a 12-pound tuxedo land shark with a soul patch follow me from the kitchen all the way to the bedroom. 

I also made the mistake of trying to multi-task and do a bit of research into something before I posted something stupid online, inbetween bites. I had to abandon that task and focus solely on fending off Kimo, who had gotten so bold as to hook her paws over the edge of my bowl more than once. I found myself constantly parrying her moves while I ate. When I didn't relent, she resorted to bribery: she rubbed her head against my leg and then flopped dramatically at my feet, purring.

Nice try, kitty, but wilier cats have preceded you. You're cute, but I want my ice cream more than I want your love at the moment. (Heck, I'd even heavily discouraged the kids from touching the chocolate marshmallow earlier when they asked to have ice cream. I'm not sharing.)

Now, the rule in our house for more than twenty years has been that cats don't get to lick any plate, bowl, what-have-you unless it's on the floor. Keiki, bless her furry little heart, would sit there and stare at you like a little prairie dog, up on her back legs and everything, until you were done with your ice cream, and then her pre-rinse would leave the bowl almost spotlessly clean. She had an unmatched devotion to ice cream. Kimo, on the other hand...

I finished my ice cream and Kimo was now downright begging. You have something I want and I want it now. Fine. I set the bowl down on the floor and let her have at it. She jumped to the floor and attacked.

Five minutes later, I got up to go take my pills before bed, and I discovered that she'd knocked over a small pile of books to bury the bowl. One book was even in the bowl. I retrieved it. Of course, I couldn't even see where Kimo might've licked at the ice cream dregs.

Wonky beast.

Scene: The kitchen, not long ago.

Me: Your cat tried to eat my ice cream last night.

Middle: Aww.

Me: She wouldn't leave me alone. And then, when I put the bowl down on the floor for her, she maybe took a lick or two, decided she didn't like chocolate marshmallow, and said, "I reject your offering." Then she buried the bowl with books!

Middle (chuckling): That's her. She's so sassy. She's full of sass.

Two peas in a pod, they are.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Once Upon a Summer's Eve

Two nights ago...

Me: Please throw away the ice cream carton you left out and take out the kitchen trash.

Normally, kitchen trash is Oldest's job, but as she's recovering from some minor surgery, I've called an audible and passed it off.

Middle: Does it have to be tonight?

Me, staring at the kitchen trash that has been full and getting excessively fuller all day: Yes.

Middle: But I'll get kidnapped!

In our own yard? You're more likely to get mugged by a bunny.

Me: You can plead your case to your father.

Middle: But he's counting cases!

Hubby and Youngest are talking about today's active Covid numbers.

Middle ties off the bag, goes to lift it, and the bag rips open at the top, just below the drawstring ties. I fetch another cheap bag and call for Hubby to help.

Middle (shrieks): There's a thing on here! It just crawled out of the trash!

She looks to her father for help with the bug whose name she can't remember, oddly enough, in this moment of trepidation.

Middle: Get a thing! (gesticulates wildly)

Me: She means a paper towel.

Hubby gets one and tells her to just kill the house centipede that is now perching on the side of the trash can. Middle shrieks again but finally does the smooshing. Hubby helps her with the trash bag, gets it out of the can, and ties it securely.

Me: Now, take that out, unless your father will spare you--

Hubby: I'll take it out. I won't get kidnapped. Put a new bag in.

I grabbed a new bag (one of the last of the cheap ones we have, thankfully) and handed it to Middle for the trash can.

Hubby (outside): Ah, kidnappers!

Middle: See, that would've been me!

Y'know, I'm not entirely sure she was joking. I do know Hubby was.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Make-up Day

Middle came to me several weeks ago, expressing an interest in getting some makeup for herself. She's the last of the girls to do so, and when I mentioned this to Special Edition, she wondered if Middle might like to wait a few weeks until after Special Edition came out for her next planned visit, and the three of us could go to Ulta together. 

Middle decided makeup wasn't an A-Number-1 priority, and a girls' day with Mom and her oldest sister sounded like lots of fun, so she was willing to wait. I personally was relieved, because (a) Special Edition knows more about makeup than I ever will, (b) I rarely wear makeup anymore, (c) I don't know how to help my cocoa kids color match themselves, (d) I have never before shopped at Ulta, and (e) Middle has (to her great consternation) inherited both her grandfather's and his father's genetics when it comes to her poor skin.

We went early this afternoon, and were able to get lots of help from one of their employees doing a great color match for Middle. We got her tinted moisturizer, blush, a soothing primer, some stuff for her eyebrows, and lip gloss. 

The total was staggering.

Not unexpected, since I knew how much the tinted moisturizer alone was, but staggering all the same. We have to buy the best products we can simply because of just how sensitive Middle's skin is.

Special Edition had already gone and purchased a slew of other things on her own for her sister (cleansers and brushes and a makeup bag and stuff).

If not for the generosity of my oldest daughter, this would have been a more expensive day.

We may have only had her with us for not quite five and a half years, but I love how much she has assimilated herself into our family, and how she's taken to heart the relationships we've granted her here.

I defy anyone to look at us all and say we aren't family.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Family Game Night

One of the things that got instituted here, at Youngest's request several months back, was a weekly Family Game Night.

I'm telling you, this is one of the best--and funniest--decisions we've ever made.

We've played all sorts of games. We currently have a running tally on a Phase 10 game that's gone several weeks in a row (I've used an app to keep score, and just paused the game when we call it a night). We've played Uno a couple of times. We have Disney's Color Brain, which forces us to break into teams and tests our Disney color knowledge (it's surprisingly difficult, even for Disney fiends like us). I picked up a new game, called Relative Insanity, about two months ago, even though it had a warning that it was for ages 14+. It was created by Jeff Foxworthy and sort of a situational version of Apples to Apples. He's a clean comedian. How bad could it be? Oh, it was definitely Foxworthy-worthy redneck humor, sometimes more than a tad risque, but we laughed so hard. (Special Edition had spent several months with us during the shelter-at-home orders, because Mr. Nurse being, well, a nurse was worried about her health and safety while he worked during the height of Covid cases at his hospital, and preferred her staying out of the range of germiness. She was bummed I bought Relative Insanity after she went home.)

We also introduced the girls to card games that Hubby and I have played with my parents for years. I had to get through June before we could do that, but theD girls have picked up on both 2500 and 9 Hole Golf pretty quickly.

So what follows here are a series of vignettes culled from various Family Game Nights.

Last Night

Hubby (as he's trying to see why our brand-new card shuffler work): There's a screw loose.

Middle: Always knew you had at least one.

Hubby: What was that?


Middle (after drawing a card and looking to the heavens): How did You do that? It's gotta be a God thing.

Hubby: Shuffle, the card god.

Middle then proceeded to lay down five Queens.

Hubby: Whoa.


Special Edition: Did you ever change out the filter in the purifier?

We have a water purifier installed on the faucet in our smaller second kitchen sink, by the back door.

Hubby: Yes. It went just about three months, like clockwork, and we replaced it.

Special Edition: Good. Because, you know how water tastes fatter in your mouth.

We all just kind of stared at her.

Special Edition: Tap water always tastes fatter in your mouth.

Yeah, we got nothing.


Special Edition (as her score keeps going into the negative): I don't like this game.


July 14th

We're out at my mother's, celebrating both my birthday and Oldest's, since our birthdays are a mere six days apart. The game is 2500, and we're teaching the kids to play.

Mom: Who's in second place?

Me: I am.

Mom: Who's in first?

Me: Youngest is.

Youngest (leans over towards me and cocks a snoot: I'm gonna beat the pants off you, woman!

There's dead silence for about two seconds as it registers with all of the adults that my youngest child has just taken her life into her hands by calling her mother "woman." But Youngest is laughing, I'm not willing to ruin the fun because I know she said it in jest because of the game, so...

Hubby (howling with laughter): You're going to wear your teeth around your neck!


Youngest has just lost 200 points in a single hand.

Hubby: It ain't over till the fat lady sings.

Me: Tell her she's on in five.

Youngest: Laaaaaaaa!

Me: By what definition, anywhere, are you the fat lady?


Mom is despairing over the cards left in her hand, and the one she just picked up.

Mom: This is...

Youngest: Epic?


Youngest (singing): Something is wrong with me.

Me (staring incredulously): Yuh-huh.

Hubby: What did she say?

Me (cracking up): She said something was wrong with her.

The rest of the table cracks up (including Youngest, who lost it at my first comment). The conversation then deteriorated through several topics, ending with her focus pill for her ADHD (on proud display at the moment), ending on this zinger:

Youngest: I don't want to focus at night. That's crap!


July 2

The twins were at camp for the week, so Oldest decided it would be a good time to teach me how to play Skip-Bo.

I do things with words. Numbers are not so much my jam, despite my day job, and I got thoroughly confused throughout the practice hand we played.

And Oldest is merciless in Skip-Bo.

Still managed, somehow, to crush them both in the first hand.

Hubby (dealing for the second hand): Okay, this time, it's my turn to win. 

Me: Just because you said so?

Hubby: Yes, because I said so.

Um, I won. Again. (I wasn't sorry at all.)


June 10

The game of the night is Phase 10. Hubby is explaining the first phase, and he's got his phone playing hits from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. And so it begins.

Hubby (in reference to his mother): Gramma Bevvie will go to play Phase 6--a run of 9--and she'll lay out ten cards and discard on the first turn.

Me: Gramma Bevvie offers sacrifices to the card gods.

Hubby: She's just darn lucky.

Me: She offers sacrifices to the card gods.

They're real. You'd know if you every played any card game with my mother-in-law.


Middle just went out. I kept an 11 in my hand because I knew Oldest, to my left, was collecting them.

Me: It was worth the ten points just to keep that.

Oldest: I hate you!

Me (cheerfully): I know!

So much fun. So much card hate.


Youngest: Did you finish number one, Daddy?

Hubby: No!

Middle: I like this game.

Hubby: I don't like this game!

Meanwhile, Youngest has skipped me twice, and I don't have any cards down and I'm a Phase behind. (Incidentally, it took Hubby five hands to complete Phase One.)


Elvis's "Burning Love" is playing.

Youngest: Isn't this from Lilo & Stitch?

No! Ack!

Me: This is the original song, done by Elvis.

Youngest: But wasn't it in the movie somewhere?

Sigh. End credits, by Wynonna. Decent job, but not the same.


"Come and Get Your Love" is playing. 

Youngest: Why are all these songs so terrible?

Hubby: You go to your room.

I don't think he was kidding. Sam Cooke? Dion? Elvis? The Beach Boys? The Temptations? The Archies? Terrible

You go to your room, kid.


May 6

The game of the night is Disney's Color Brain. Special Edition wasn't feeling well, so she opted out. The teams ended up being the adults versus the kids, and since the game allows for four teams, each of the kids was their own team against the two of us. Middle took the news well.

Middle: What? No! You've seen every Disney movie. Three times! I will fail. I can't fail. I will literally fall on the floor and die.

Incidentally, she and her twin tied to win.

Saturday, July 11, 2020


Middle came into the den to join Youngest, Hubby, and me as we ate pizza and watched a movie tonight.

That's when I noticed the four--count 'em, four--neon bandaids on her forehead.

I contemplated this for a moment, before attempting to ask the inevitable question. But I couldn't make my lips form the question, because I had "Rule #2" echoing in my mind.

Middle grinned impishly at me. "If you have a question, just ask. I'll answer it."

Do Not Kiss.
Hubby raised his hand. "I know the answer!"

I still tried to form the letter shapes with my lips.

"She tried to kiss Makaha on the forehead," he explained.

"And I did it wrong," she concluded.

"You kissed Makaha?" I asked.

"I tried to kiss him on the forehead, but I did it from the front, rather than trying to kiss him on the cheek. He objected to it," she intoned philosophically.

Well then.

It seems Makaha won't kiss on the 8th or 9th or whatever-th date. Waffle's late cat Monkey only had issues with kissing on the first date, and he never let me forget it.

And the no-kissing rule definitely isn't in place with Kimo. She gets (and gives) kisses all the time, without a problem. (Unless, of course, you're trimming her nails. Then she leaves bruises.)

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Family Game Night Rides Again

Last night's Family Game Night started outside around the fire pit, because we had all the fixings for s'mores (and Reese's s'mores and s'moreos), and it was the first night this week nice enough (warm enough) for us to actually have a fire for s'mores. Rather than the usual board or card games, we opted to play "I'm Going to a Picnic," which the kids hadn't played before, really, instead of "Psychiatrist." The games are similar: "Picnic" involves the starting player determining what sort of thing everyone is bringing to the picnic that has to be in common, and the players all take turns saying what they'll bring, and the starting player tells them yes or no, based on what he (or she) has determined is the common factor. "Psychiatrist" involves sending one person away, out of hearing distance, to be the psychiatrist, while the rest of the group determines what their problem is, and then they bring the psychiatrist back in and have that person ask questions to determine the group's issue. (Funniest game of that I ever played was in college, when the a cappella choir I was involved in sent our director out to be the psychiatrist and we all determined our problem was that we thought we were him. He couldn't figure out our problem. But I digress.)

So, we all took turns going to a picnic and bringing things until everyone could guess what the common theme was, at which point I'd had enough smoke inhalation, Special Edition had a numb backside from the chair she was sitting in (the plastic ones we have kicking around outside are uncomfortable for long-term use), and I was also getting too chilly. We moved inside.

We didn't want to give up on the fun, so we began playing Code Names, a game my mom had given
the family for Christmas a couple of years ago. This is a word game (no wonder my extended family on Dad's side loves it), and we've played it several times now and we all enjoy it. My biggest problem is thinking smaller in my vocabulary. The kids, despite having consumed multiple s'mores, went for more snacks mid-game, returning to the table with grapes I'd bought earlier in the week.

Special Edition gaped first at Middle, then at Oldest. "There are grapes?"

I nodded. "There are grapes."

"I didn't know there were grapes. I'm going to go get some."

Gesturing to Middle's bowl of clearly washed grapes, I commented, "Be sure you wash them."

I think Special Edition actually snorted. "Who washes fruit?"

"Anyone who buys fruits and vegetables at a store and knows they come into contact with pesticides," I pointed out.

She gestured up and down at herself. "Well, I ate a lot of unwashed fruit, and look at me. I'm the picture of health."

I raised my brows. "Says the raging asthmatic."

SE jabbed a finger at me. "Hey. That was because of the meth my mother did."

Hubby chimed in now. "Then there's all the psychological issues..." (He's awful brave to say that, sitting next to Special Edition like he was.)

"Also the meth. I think we're underestimating the amount of meth involved here. There were bigger problems than pesticides."

Okay, so Special Edition has a genuine point there. Her birth family was, shall we say, not remotely the greatest, hence why she chooses to call us family now.

We cracked up, and she went to get grapes.

To be honest, I'm not sure she washed them.

But then, the pesticides are probably the least of her worries. A

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Evening Meditation

This deserved its own post.

Scene: Our bedroom.

Characters: Hubby, Middle, and an unknown TV Narrator.

Necessary Background: Hubby has taken a liking to the show Naked and Afraid, which we have access to through Netflix, I think. I don't know. I don't care, because I don't watch it. I don't get why he likes it, despite our conversation about it this morning. Something about the fact that he knows he'd never survive being naked and afraid, not even in our own backyard, and he gets to watch these idiots from the comfort of his couch, fully clothed, and see what nonsense they can pull out of thin air in the wilds of, y'know, Antarctica or some forsaken place like that. I have zero desire to be naked and afraid at the same time ever, let alone watch someone do it, even with the proper blurring of personal areas, so this just doesn't seem like quality television entertainment to me. But he likes it. And the kids like watching it with him too, on occasion. And since it's been chilly and gloomy and looking like it's going to threaten rain all day, well, Naked and Afraid it is, since they proclaimed before the start of the fourth quarter of school that they had "finished" all of YouTube.

So they're watching TV up in the master bedroom, and I'm down here ordering pizza for dinner because I have no desire to cook tonight. That's when I get this text message about the goings-on upstairs.

Middle: Look at all the monkeys. I wanna see them catch and eat a monkey.

Narrator: Asian Gray Monkeys are known to carry rabies and Japanese encephalitis.

Middle: New plan: don't eat the monkeys.


Vignettes from Our Quarantine

Scene: The living room.

Characters: Middle and Me

Necessary Background: School is now out for the rest of the year, but the kids are doing online stuff with their teachers for the fourth quarter of the year. Lots of Zoom meetings and time on school-issued Chromebooks. Lots of canceled everything, including the Music in the Park event at a rather sweet-sounding amusement park not too far from us, which the twins were going to attend as part of them being in band/chorus/jazz band. Last week, a refund check came from the school in an envelope addressed to Middle, for the amount of the trip minus the t-shirt costs. They only sent one refund check, but no biggie; I'd only written them one check in the first place to pay for two kids. I decided to run some errands today, including a drive by the bank down the street, and I'd deposit the check.

That's when I discovered that the smart folks at the district had issued the check not in my name but in Middle's. Fantastic. I scrawled a "Pay to the Order of" above my own signature (boy, it's lucky I leave some room) and went to find Middle. (WHY.)

Me: Here, I need you to sign this. They made the check payable to you.

Middle (taking the pen and studying the back of the check): Okay.

She carefully signed her first name in the spot I indicated, then paused for a good five seconds.

Me (prompting): Last-name.

Middle: I forgot my last name. Oh, that's delicious.

This kid.

We are not bored.

*     *     *

Scene: Kitchen

Characters: Youngest, Me, Kala, and Waffle

Necessary Background: There is a Zoom meeting going on for both Youngest and Middle, with their band teacher. Middle has moved into the dining room so she and Kimo can both attend the meeting, because Mrs. Band Teacher and her dog are hosting.

Youngest: Kitten, you're such a hawtie.

Me (messaging Waffle): Youngest just announced, "Kitten, you're such a hawtie." I think I should be scared.

Waffle (messaging back): Yes. Ask her what she thinks that means. Results promise to be hilarious.

Several minutes go by before I'm able to do just that. Results are, unfortunately, a bit of a letdown.

Me: You called Kala a hawtie. What did you mean by that?

I guess I asked it wrong.

Youngest: I don't know. She's just adorable.

She pointed to the chair under the homework desk in the kitchen, where Kala was curled up, the only one of our cats tiny enough to do so.

Youngest: See?

Me: She's definitely cute, but I don't think she's hawt.

*     *     *

Scene: Dining Room

Characters: Middle, Kimo, and Me (and Youngest, sort of)

Necessary Background: Previously mentioned Zoom meeting with Mrs. Band Teacher is going on. Kimo is on one of the spare dining room chairs and is "attending" (looks more like she's trying to doze through class to me). She puts up with this stuff because it's Middle hauling her into it, and she has annexed Middle as her own.

Middle: Kimo is taking up all the space in the meeting! I can't even see me anymore.

Youngest (from kitchen): I can kind of see you.

I opted not to point out that Youngest is merely in the next room; of course she can see her twin.

Middle: Kimo, you took all my head space! You're so cute.


Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Musings with Middle

The twins are currently in a play at their middle school, so this afternoon I drove over to pick them up from practice.

Middle hopped into the front passenger seat. "Mom, you missed seeing the wonder that is Ricky."

"Gosh, I guess I'll just have to survive." I pulled out around the cars still in line in front of me, waiting for kids to either pile in or buckle or whatever.

"I have good taste in guys," Middle went on. "First there was Wynn, then there was Boater, and now Ricky."

I was familiar with the first two on her list, whom she'd also supplied surnames for, but I can only do so much anonymizing here without messing up my brain cells. Wynn's a church friend who has boldly declared his love--and his intention to win the Middle Son-in-law Sweepstakes--almost from the moment he met her. Boater is a friend from school, actually in Oldest's grade (so he's now in high school, along with Oldest, and sorta out-of-market), and a good kid.

She didn't provide a last name for Ricky, though. "Do you know Ricky's last name?" I asked her.

Middle spouted it off without hesitation.

Okay then. So it's not a random crush where we like the kid, but don't even know his whole name.

"You know what the difference is between Ricky and those other guys, though?"

I can hardly wait, my child.

"I'm not even crushing on him. I just think he's hawt."

Hahahahaha. Wait until I tell your father, kid.