Monday, August 29, 2005

Scouts, Scouts, and More Scouts!

Saturday I went to a Scout Leader training session (called Little Philmont, for some reason), and can I just say *squeak!*

It was completely overwhelming. They used a lot of terms I had not heard before. I still don't know the difference between a district and a unit. But I did get lots of good information and some ideas I can use with my Pack.

I must admit, it was quite fun seeing all the different Scout leaders in their uniforms. Most blouses were that tan color, but I did see some yellow ones, and even one green one (worn by our special guest speaker, who is apparently a Venturing leader, in addition to his other impressive callings and distinctions). I still have no uniform blouse, and I know I need to get one before my first meeting with the boys, but I don't think I'm going to go out and purchase one until a) my Cubmaster application is accepted, and b) my husband, Bizarro-Dad, gets his next paycheck.

Speaking of Bizarro-Dad, guess what his new calling at church is? Young Men's Secretary, which places him in a leadership position over what? That's right, Boy Scouts. He's not a Scoutmaster, but he is going to have to meet with all those teenage boys on a weekly basis, at the same time that I'm meeting with the little whipper-snappers.

Guess what the problem is with this equation? Go on, try to guess.

Our two little girls. What do they expect us to do with our three-year-old (hereafter known as Gina) and our 15-month-old (hereafter known as Sia)? Sia is a fairly quiet baby, but Gina is very active, and wants to be involved in everything.

My mom has offered to watch them on the evenings that we have meetings, but my mom is currently caring for her two elderly parents, one of whom is likely to need surgery on this week's meeting day. Well, I guess I can take the girls with me this week. I'm not really meeting with my boys yet, and I mostly just want to sort some things out with my church leadership. Little things like which boys are already registered, how often do they want to hold den meetings, and what the heck is our pack number, anyway?

And I need to start sorting this stuff out fast. Girl Scout meetings start next month, and I want to have my Cub Scout routine figured out before I take on a bunch of five-year-old girls. (Good news: I can take the girls to the Girl Scout stuff, since most of their activities allow for Tag-Alongs.) And since my sis-in-law is the troop leader and not me, I won't have quite as much weighing on me there as I do as the Cubmaster.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Scouting IS new territory

At church today I received a new calling: Cub Scout Master.

Yeah, you read that right. I am to be the woman in charge of all those screaming little 8- to 11-year-old boys on Wednesday nights. I'm the one who's supposed to tell them: Hey you kids! Cut that out! We've got Pinewood Derby cars to build!

I'm excited, to tell you the truth. Excited and scared. And nervous. And maybe just a little bit shocked. And perhaps just a teeny tiny bit terrified beyond belief!

I'm not usually the kind of person who likes little boys. They irritate me most of the time. But maybe it's time for me to get over that. Maybe the Lord wants me to overcome my flaw and be a better person by giving me the chance to work with boys so I can learn to not be so easily annoyed by them.

Oh man.

That's it. I knew it. I knew it!

My next baby is going to be a boy.

Not that I'm pregnant. (That I know of.) But I still do plan to have another child some day, and now here I have reason (albeit a strange one) to suspect my next baby will be a boy! Why else would the Lord inspire the Primary presidency to call me to watch over the scouting needs of a bunch of boys when I have two small girls at home?

(For those of you who are not LDS, church leadership positions are offered after names have been prayed over and the people doing the praying feel inspired to pick a certain person. Then that person is asked if they are willing to accept the calling. Then it is brought before the membership of the church for sustaining.)

So there you have it. I get to be all cub-scout-mastery and teach boys about geology, water safety, and how to tie a decent knot.

Except that I don't know how to swim, I can't tie good knots, and while I do enjoy geology, I was never good at the whole identify-this-rock-just-by-looking-at-it thing. I'm more of a this-is-how-volcanoes-work person.


It will be okay. Eventually everything will work out. I just have to calm down, focus, and figure out how to get a better budget for my boys.

I still have other stuff to do for church, besides scripture study itself. And then I told my sis-in-law that I would help her with her troop of Girl Scouts (Daisies, age 5).

Wow, I'm just going to be a scouting fool.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Absurd Logic

The other night the baby made a colossal mess on the floor during dinner time. I'd had a full day of child-chasing and nose-cleaning, etc. Hubby had a full day (or was it a three-quarter day?) of work. I asked him to clean up the mess.

Him: Why do I have to clean it up?
Me: I've been cleaning up messes all day, all week in fact. You can't clean up one mess?
Him: That doesn't count because I wasn't here.
Me: (bewildered) What?!
Him: You can't count that against me because it's not like I was here. I was working.
Me: It's not counting against you. That's just stupid.
Him: (Gives me a look.)
Me: I just want some time where I'm not cleaning up the kids' mess. Just like you want to have one day when you're not lifting patients into the ambulance.

He was all huffy with me after that for calling him stupid. I admit, I was wrong to say that. But really, how else would you describe his argument? Him not being home to help me during the day is supposed to be grounds for him not to help me once he does get home? What? That doesn't even begin to make any sense.

And it's not like he never helps with the kids. He changes diapers. He feeds them meals. He takes a turn holding them when we're together at a barbeque and I want to eat. He'll even help do laundry if I phrase my request just right. ("Honey, can you put the wet clothes in the dryer for me?")

But when it comes to cleaning big messes, he suddenly gets all weird on me. Sure, he'll grab a towel when a drink gets spilled, but macaroni and cornbread? Nope, not if he can help it.

I know, I really do know, that he is tired at the end of the day. It's hard work, lifting heavy dialysis patients onto their stretchers and into the ambulance. I want him to have some down time. I try not to make unreasonable demands.

But you know what? I want some down time, too. I want my one day not to have to have to clean up urine, or snot, or rejected food. And I want to not be upbraided for wanting it.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Random Salsa

The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to Purgatory!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:

Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Extreme
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)High
Level 2 (Lustful)Moderate
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Moderate
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)Low
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Low
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Very Low

Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test

Dude, I was this close to the third circle of hell. I'm such a sucker for ravioli.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Drama, or What Did I Do in a Former Life that I Have Such Sucky Karma Today?

Seriously, I've been waiting for plumbers every other day for the last week. I haven't been able to wash my dishes in my own sink for three weeks. And today? *sigh* More of the same, plus some all new problems.

So, the super-cheap plumber that I found? Yeah, he was WAY LATE. He said he'd be here at 8 AM, but he didn't show until after 3 PM. Which, for that price, I can handle, but it was getting really frustrating having to explain to my entire family (individually) why the plumbers weren't here yet. I understood. I totally did. It was the guy's kids' first day of school, and the kindergartener wasn't having it. Plus a bunch of other stuff. Life gets in the way. I'm okay with that. If it were just that, I could just write this day off as mildly annoying and be done with it.

But no. Oh no. When I woke this morning, I discovered that I had not one but TWO sick children on my hands. Lots of nose-wiping, juice-pouring, and all that jazz. Lots of kid-movie-watching, too.

But wait, there's more! Hubby calls me at 9ish to tell me that our car has died. Or rather, that it's gone all funky, and will soon die, like, by the end of the day.

At his request, I call around until I find the only dealership in town that will still service our vehicle (made by a company that has gone under and yet still constatly manages to send us factory recall notices). Service department speculates on what the problem is but won't give us a rate over the phone (which of course means $$$$$).

Hubby can't stand it anymore. He still has vivid memories of our old Ford Escort station wagon, which would always develop a new problem as soon as the existing problem was fixed. There is simply no way he is going to stand for that again.
Him: I'm ready to trade in this heap and get a brand new vehicle.
Me (sympathetically): Yeah, I know, me too.
Him: No, REALLY. I'm serious.

I'll fast forward past all the internet research and arguing over whether we can even afford this thing and still pay all our bills. Suffice it to say we were both frustrated, on top of which he was trying to do his job (EMT for ambulance transport service) while I did mine (chase down snotty baby, remove snotty 3-year-old from bathroom sink, feed everyone, deal with plumbers, deal with father's relentless questions, deal with crying mother on the phone).

Yes, crying mother. She lives across the street from me in the home of her parents, helping to care for her dying father and diabetic mother (both of whom are going senile). Apparently my mom and Grandpa got into an argument today, mostly having something to do with Grandpa treating her like crap and being rude and ugly to everyone simply because he feels like it. Mom said she couldn't take it anymore, and was moving out. (Later tonight, though, she backtracked and said she didn't want to leave her mother alone to care for Grandpa and their high-maint home. Grandma continues to remain philosophical about her fate, if by philosophical you mean able to ignore a lot of her husband's crap because she knows he will soon be gone.)

Lots of drama today. Lots of headaches and bodily fluids and long phone calls with car dealers and insurance specialists. Lots of discussions about pipes and plywood and airbags.

But hey, at least I get a new minivan out of it!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I Always Knew Chocolate was the Gift of God

Yesterday evening my 13-year-old sister-in-law came over in a storm of tears. She wouldn't talk about what was wrong, and my only clue was that her brother (my husband) and her mother seemed to be upset with her when they brought her over. Strange thing was, Hubby didn't seem to understand why she was upset with him. My thoughts: well, dear, raising your voice at her will have that effect.

It was arranged that sis-in-law would spend the evening with me whilst Hubby took their mom out to the movies. (Free movie passes + scary movie= You go ahead, I'll stay home, thank you.) Poor Little Sis, she was just so emotional, and she didn't want to talk about it. It didn't help that my three-year-old was also crying, but more in that wailing, I-have-an-owie-AND-my-dad-is-leaving kind of way. I comforted my daughter and tried to comfort Little Sis. I gave everyone a couple minutes to cool off.

Then I became Inspired.

I announced that I had a sudden urge to make a humongous batch of brownies, and asked who was in. Little Sis and Niece the Elder (who was also staying with me for the evening) both raised their hands. My daughter probably would have if she knew about that sort of thing, but as it was she happily exclaimed "Brownies!"

I gave the girls the ingredients for a double batch while I went to the bathtub to wash the appropriate pan (see previous post re: heinous plumbing issues). Don't freak out. A 13-year-old, a 10-year-old, and a three-year-old are actually pretty good brownie batter makers, just so long as you give them pre-packaged brownie mix and a hand-crank mixer rather than an electric one. They did a good job.

Some outdoor time seemed to help with the cheering up. It also gave me a chance to wash some dishes. In a plastic barrel. In the front yard. With the water hose and a bottle of lemon-scented dish soap. I told you my plumbing issues were heinous.

When the brownies were finished and cooled, we had them with vanilla ice cream. Not an elaborate dish. But something about making it, and sharing it, and devouring it like a pack of wild animals with spoons, seemed to help brighten the day.

It does leave me with a deep and profound question: which part makes you feel better, the idea of making brownies, or the brownies themselves?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Things I Did Today

  • Waited around for plumber.
  • Let plumber (who was contracted by Home Depot, which had been paid in advance) into garage to begin installation of new water heater.
  • Woke up father (who we've had to move in with temporarily) when plumber suddenly declared an additional $400 would need to be paid, immediately, by check.
  • Tried to keep children quiet as their grandfather, who'd only had three hours sleep after a long night shift, got up from his bed and started making phone calls and giving the plumber suspicious looks.
  • Fed children while plumber began his work (which included the extra work for which we are being charged).
  • Began to panic when father announced he was leaving the house to go argue with the Home Depot lady about this extra charge.
  • Decided that I could not rely on my younger brother, who was asleep in his room, to protect us should the plumber turn out to be a homicidal maniac. Retrieved husband's handgun from the safe.
  • Kept handgun close by me while children played/watched movies/ate snacks.
  • Breathed sigh of relief when father came home. Put gun away.
  • Played with Mr. Potato Head.
  • Got this blog.
  • Fed kids some more.
  • Alerted Dad to the finishing of the Great Gas Water Heater Installation.
  • Spent time letting reddish-brown water flow from bathroom faucets.
  • Went outside with Dad to hear what plumber had to say.
  • Smelled gas.
  • Asked why.
  • Got satisfactory answer.
  • Came inside and explained OTHER plumbing situation to plumber (it's a great mess, having to do with kitchen drain pipes and leaks and clogs, and I have had to explain it repeatedly). Was told he was not allowed to work on pipes located behind the wall.
  • Was told by father that more plumbers would come later.
  • Waited for more plumbers.
  • Let them in.
  • Showed them problem areas.
  • Was told that I'd get a call later.
  • Fed kids.
  • Fed kids.
  • Fed kids.
  • Got call.
  • Shouted for joy.
  • Made dinner.

Welcome to my new blog

In honor of my new blog, I hereby declare this to be "Get a New Blog Day!" Because really, it's not like there are any holidays in August, at least none that let you off work or stop the U.S. postal system. So if you need an occasion to celebrate, go get yourself a blog and celebrate the joy of sharing your thoughts with others! Perfect for a rainy day, doesn't require more money than you're already paying for your computer, easy to do, and there's no need to feed or water it. It's perfect!