Going Bananas

Published July 19, 2017 by sarcasmica

Summer break. Great, right? Sleeping in, quality time, no schedules, no demands….

Bull$h1t.

Beyond week 1 or 2, it’s all bullpucky.

Most smart moms schedule camps and fun and paid activities. This cheap mom opted to keep her $400. (what it would cost one kid each one week of some sort of summer camp activity for 2-4hrs/day) Joke’s on me.

I’ve had to cut back one volunteer day at the parrot sanctuary because alas, leaving the kids home alone would be like a cage match and i’m not quite ready for the oasis of prison yet. I decided to drag them with me just one day per week so I didn’t have to up my vodka intake. I tried to make it interesting by allowing them the opportunity to make a little money by helping with the jobs at Zazu’s. I get nothing because i’m a volunteer, but somehow the rugrats can make some dough?!

However, it all fell apart by the end of the day today. In their defense, it is quite baffling why a mom would dare annoy the video game gods by ripping two of their servants from the screens and force them into society where manners and very light labor and socialization is expected. What a steaming pile of crap! How dare that mother expect three whole hours of interaction with the live world?! And three whole times they’ve had to go so far! They should received a gold controller for all of their sacrifice, by George!!

Today was going alright… no devices were had so helping out was almost a choice…. almost. My daughter is usually quite happy to help, actually, but my mistake came in having them do a task side by side. I know. Rookie mistake. I left the room dividers and blinders at home, so I expected each of them to sweep a whopping ten square foot strip of floor perpendicular to each other.

Monster.

Mayhem ensued in the form of shoving, back slapping, and retaliatory punching. I mean come on, mom! “He swept his pile into my pile!!” The nerve.

So this little scene cost them their chump change, and also games for the day back at home. I left announcing today’s birth control was provided by yours truly. “You’re welcome.”

Now as any parent worth their alcohol knows, taking away screen time of any kind is really a punishment for all.

I pulled out a recipe/activity I had wanted to try for a bit. We decided chocolate covered bananas would be a fun project. … because i’m obviously out of my mind. I actually had the ingredients – something abnormal for sure – so we got to work.

Do not do this. Never do this activity!! It’s completely useless! We had frozen bananas and we had room temp bananas. Neither one coated well with the melted chocolate/coconut oil mix. I checked multiple recipes to make sure this wasn’t some alien intervention.

We had toothpicks, so I did the banana slice idea rather than the entire fruit. I did try half a banana to see if that worked any better… it didn’t.

After 27 paper towels, one spoon, 25 toothpicks, one cookie sheet, one cutting board, one sharp knife and a lot of sweat and tears, we managed two bananas worth of dessert. I have no idea how they turned out because I’m actually allergic to bananas and I’m borderline diabetic so I am trying not to eat chocolate.

But what a fun, magical, educational, bonding experience!
(Don’t do it!!!)

Bananas 

Circus Berzerkus

Published July 17, 2017 by sarcasmica

(a nod to Skippyjon Jones)

When I was little, my mom took me to the circus. It was Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey. The big top. The BIG Top. Tigers, Elephants, Horses, acrobats, tightrope walkers, etc etc etc. It was huge, loud, amazing, and even then I felt bad for the animals. How could a traveling circus be a great place for those wild, intelligent, dangerous, amazing animals?

Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute. The vendors, the food, the action and excitement.

It was the only time I ever went. I’m thankful I had the experience since that company is no longer, but it’s a relief for future chained elephants.

This weekend a local town fair was in town. Included was a tiny little show called Venardo’s Circus. I looked at their FB Page – as any decent investigator would and followed that up with – say it with me now – Yelp reviews. It looked pretty promising. The prices were a little off putting, but I signed us up. They advertise it as an animal-free circus. My kids have never been to a circus, so I figured it would be a great starter-experience.

I am not willing to shell out Cirque du Soleil money for a six and eleven year old just yet … especially when I myself have only recently seen one show. (O in Vegas)

As I mentioned, this circus happens in tandem with the town fair. The last few fairs I have taken my kids to have been just the three of us. No hubby. He was conveniently out of town on business for them. He is not a fan of amusement. He is a fan of his own amusement, but not others’. He is allergic to crowds and lines. Piggy back that with spending money and we are talking anaphylactic shock.

To his credit, when I spring our weekend event on him he takes the news pretty well. We head out Sunday for some fun and excitement. My daughter has her wallet with her life savings in it ($16) because she is going to WIN. (a stuffy of any kind, but mostly the giant kind that don’t fit anywhere reasonable)

My son has already spent his life savings on game add ons and apps. I assure him we will hook him up with a couple of games, but his sister will have more opportunities. (We don’t do “even stevens” & fair in this house)

We arrive to the world’s tiniest fair. I mean small. Itty bitty. It’s perfect for my husband who is still working on physical therapy and full range of motion in his foot from his December surgery.  This gig is the perfect size for him. No reason to openly bitch and moan that walking is a worry. The crowd was non-existent.

First up on the agenda was “rides”. This is always a challenge because our son is not a fan of rides. He does not like anything fast, loud, high, or on a track. That left the fun houses. There were 2. One was a Halloween theme, so my daughter convinced herself it was too scary to walk in.

The happy Casper-esque ghosts and green smiling witch graffiti sprayed across the front of the structure was beyond her capacity. (eye roll)

I’m going to go all grouchy senior citizen here and just interject my disgust at how expensive a fair is these days. “Back in my day” tickets for rides were like $1. The good rides might cost 2 tickets. … maybe. Games were $1. Sure you had to spend around $5 before you won the rock hard lead-filled asbestos-covered stuffy filled with a million beads that would disintegrate a month later dumping beads all over the carpet, but that’s not the point!

Y’all. Do you know what this tiny town fair cost?

Every ride cost 1 ticket (Wow, only 1 ticket regardless of the ride?! That’s awesome!)

Every ticket cost $3.75

The games were between $3 and $5 per try. “But every kid is guaranteed a prize!”

What . the. f&%k ?!

Needless to say we experienced a bit of sticker shock. I am normally one for lots of fun and games and winning the cool stuffies for my kids. Not this day, readers. Not this day.

This was where things got dicey, though. I suffered through wedging my fat thighs and gut into a carnie ride with my daughter because no one else would go with her. Having no shame or pride, I decided to focus on the fun and not the stereotypical look of being the Michelin mom waddling from ride to ride. I endured a spinning gondola, and a ferris wheel death trap.

Photo Jul 16, 12 01 36 PM

Did I mention she was wedged in there?

Photo Jul 16, 2 31 22 PM

See that grip? We hadn’t even left the ground yet! She had that grip the entire ride.

Sidenote: When these rides do not post a weight limit, it makes me nervous. These puzzle-pieced-together rides that get built and torn down in less time than it takes me to rotate and put away a load of laundry, there is serious cause for alarm for this Amazonian Momma.

Spoiler: We lived. We lived despite the running film in my brain of footage airing on Good Morning America Monday morning: “Mom whale causes town fair Ferris wheel gondola to tip over, causing massive carnage in Washington state over the weekend.”

I was looking forward to shelling out money to stay on the ground and try winning some cheap and soon-to-be-forgotten prizes after all that.

We did the dart balloon thing. Each kid popped a balloon and got a prize. With the same bunch of darts I managed to pop 5 balloons – 2 of which I managed with only 1 dart! The kids each walked away with one small stuffy each.

Onto the water gun game. I kill at this game. I own it!

I lost.

I paid $6 for my son and I to play, and neither of us won. I did not want to go down without at least one win at this booth. … but alas, we brought daddy coin purse with us and not Daddy Warbucks.

It’s not that my husband is cheap, but when it comes to shelling out money at a fair, let’s just say white-knuckling the wallet might be a better description.

My daughter was willing to spend her entire fortune on winning something big and ugly. The toy didn’t matter as much as the size of it. She was not going to be satisfied until we had to tow a toy out of there for her.

… she left very unsatisfied.

We refused to let her spend her entire wallet on cheap knock-off prizes.

The whining and moaning on the way out did nothing to convince my husband to try another game. (Go figure!) He immediately caught on to how much we might spend on a fair when he is not with us.

This took us to the circus. It was time to be wowed and amazed! For a starter-circus, this was perfect. The ring leader informed us he was also the sound and lighting operator. This lead a lot of mishaps with mic packs and feedback.

There were acrobats, fire dancers, and a strange man running around filling in the space where a clown should have been. This guy had no make up or costuming really, and his tricks were pretty amateur. He was more confusing than amusing, but he served his purpose as a distraction while the performers readied themselves.

The kids enjoyed it and I was pleased at all the “Whaaaaa??” “WOW!” and jaw dropping both kids did.

All in all it was a great day and one I will remember for a long time… or at least as long as the beads stay in the stuffies.

Photo Jul 16, 2 23 03 PM.jpg

Photo Jul 16, 11 35 25 AM

Tell me that’s not ominous.

 

Still Not Camping

Published July 8, 2017 by sarcasmica

Okay, nearly midnight now and we’ve at least managed food shopping and some trailer prep. My kids are excited, my husband is now snoring, and i’m in bed running down a list of what I didnt get done. I usually prep most of the food.

Guess what? I didnt do it this time.

Guess what? We’re still going and i’ll cook it there like a pro. (See: i’ll burn it there using new fandangled trailer stove top/oven I dont actually know how to operate yet) 

Seriously, I have barely figured out my convection oven at home. The travel trailer kitchen is like cooking a meal in a dollhouse. 

But it will be great, we will love it, and who doesnt love a meal when you get to burn the dish after?! Go pyro camp! 

On a totally unrelated note, you know how after you’ve been with your significant other for a while you notice how your moods can even out and somehow merge together, compensating for the spouse who is in a less-than-perky mood resulting in a day ending with unicorns and rainbows and a mutual respect for one another? 

No? Me either. Here’s hoping last minute camping prep and frazzled packing does not end our marriage – or his life. 

This post brought to you by Prozac, Vodka, and your friendly local Attorney 

😳🤦🏻‍♀️😎

Camp-O-rama

Published July 8, 2017 by sarcasmica

We are set to go camping for four days starting tomorrow. We have not packed anything into the travel trailer as of 5:52 the night before…. and the camper is housed at a location other than our driveway.

Preparing for camping always boggles my mind. I have about a million moments of, “But we have that at home already… why are we leaving our house?” and “if we stay home, we can do that so much easier!”

But if we stayed home, we would miss out on the sunburns, the family bonding, and teaching the kids all those fun four letter words that inevitably fall out of mine and/or my husbands mouth at least three times per day.

Camping is really forced bonding with your children. Forced bonding in close quarters until the smell of all the stinky bodies forces you to go back home.

And dammit if campgrounds and parks aren’t getting better and better wifi signals! If I think too long about the long hours ahead without a television, xBox, or my couch I could easily talk myself out of going, but let’s face it.. i’m always happy we did it once we’re back home to our own shower and beds.

Truthfully we are spoiled these days. After two summers of tent camping, the final straw was packing up the campsite in the rain. We opted for a travel trailer. I have awful back issues and my husband has fused disks in his neck. The days of our overpowered, aged, broken bodies rolling around on the ground in the name of “sleep” are over. Let’s face it, for me they were never here. The trailer makes it all so much easier!

I have prepared our camping menu and shopping list and now as a borderline diabetic, I must admit. Carbs and sugar make up 99% of camp food! What the hell? Who wants to grill vegetables after a day of kite flying and sunbathing?

Not this heiffer.

No s’mores?! No cinnamon rolls cooked over an open flame?! No camping hashbrowns?!

Nope. For me it’s eggs. Eggs, with a side of fruit & eggs, followed by more eggs and some veggies. I guess I should be thankful I’m not dairy intolerant at this point.

Bon Voyage!

 

Balancing Act

Published July 6, 2017 by sarcasmica

Moms. Moms are badass jugglers. We have a running list in our head at all times that ranges from renewing meds, to which bathroom needs toothpaste, to dentist appointments. It’s constant. Somewhere during one of the newborn stages of our offspring we learn how to prioritize that shit. 

Bill payment due? Is it already beyond the grace period? No worries, it’s still on time. Laundry done? No, but we still have those too-small period undies so we’re still good for another day. 

Once in a while I max out on shit I can compartmentalize. Sometimes it takes the form of reorganizing a kid’s room, other times it looks like a Weight Watchers membership. Today it looked like overspending on something frivolous like hair. Yup, hair. Something about my neglected appearance I can control. Something that is instant. I tried a trend three weeks ago, and though it looked amazing for 48hrs and I loved it, it was just too high maintenance. So I went today to get it done properly. Safely. Low daily necessity.

It’s what we do, right? We make shit easy for everyone around us. Fuck what we actually want. Filling an obligation for ourselves is right up there with the Pap smear, cleaning under the couch, and dusting behind the refrigerator. 

Six months ago my husband had surgery on his foot. Nasty, invasive, complicated surgery that made him 100% reliant on me. I put what I needed and wanted aside for what needed to be done for him, and all the things that needed doing for the kids from us both. I was not Sharra for the duration of those doctor’s appointments and follow ups and ER trips and nightly bed-making needs. I was the nurse, chauffeur, drug dosed and appointment maker.

Admittedly I am not the ideal applicant for care taker. I’m opinionated and impatient and I could use a little empathy. Also, my eyes roll back in my head at regular intervals so it’s good I was caring for someone on opiates most of the time in the beginning. 

I was kept going by, of course, my husband feeling better and recovering 100%, but also the secret fantasy of getting to take a small, minute, tiny vacation when it was all over. I needed a reset after that crash course in moderate nursing. I just wanted a refresher, to be able to come back and see my family for what they are- a blessing. Not the heavy obligation they were feeling like. 

Selfish? Totally. But it’s honest. It also did not happen. We sold our house and bought in another city instead. 

 I’ve struggled with feeling like I have lost my own purpose. Stay at home moms probably understand this. You are everything for everyone and that becomes priority. Why would you need new shoes when jr has worn his through to the black top? Why would you spend money on a bra when your kid has outgrown yet another size? 

But also, why don’t you want to have sex anymore or smile and laugh like you used to? What do you mean you don’t feel sexy or in control of your feelings when you are covered in everyone else’s issues and demands and body fluids? 

Right now I’m in a foggy stage of life where I’m trying to take more control of my negative talk. I’m aware I have two kids who are of a very impressionable body-aware age. My kids are more independent and capable and I’m left with a little extra time to deal with me. I haven’t seen that person in a while and it takes some time to get reacquainted. Things have changed, I find value in different things than when I was 30. I feel differently. 

Today I got test results placing me firmly in the “pre-diabetes” range. Having a father who was insulin-dependent nearly my entire life, a mom who was diagnosed as a senior citizen puts me at higher risk. It’s a big fucking deal. 

My dad died when I was 25 from congestive heart failure 4 years after a quadruple bypass surgery at 49. 

I get the severity of lifestyle choices. 

So instead of freaking out and losing a little of my mind, I quietly decided to eliminate a major food group for myself- carbs- and try to look better than I felt about myself on the inside by having a professional fix my hair. 

I am working very hard at this moment not to let my anger and frustration determine my attitude. I am working very hard to deflect shit that is not mine to take on, and try to find a quiet corner in my house where I can rock happily in a corner and hum along to the voices in my head. 

Fault Lines

Published June 27, 2017 by sarcasmica

I’ve been reading a book lately. Not a fun book or an entertaining book or even a book by my own choice. This book was recommended by our chiropractor and it breaks down a pretty heavily supported theory about neuro developmental disorders, why kids have them, what it does, and how we can potentially “fix them”.

“Disconnected Kids: The Groundbreaking Brain Balance Program for Children with Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, and Other Neurological Disorders”
by Dr. Robert Melillo

Great light reading, eh?! Fun beach book companion.

Not.

In all seriousness, it is far more manageable than some of the others I have tried to read. This one, while not filled with chuckles, has been very easy to follow and understand. Granted, I’m only 15% of the way through it, but it has been enlightening.

A brief synopsis of what i’ve read so far is this:
The brain develops beyond birth and beyond toddlerhood. As it develops, it does this one hemisphere at a time. Each child has a dominant hemisphere. As each one grows and strengthens, activities and milestones occur causing both sides to connect and create a bridge between both hemispheres. The developing body has a way of repeating a motion until the connections are made.

Once the developing hemisphere is satisfied, the other hemisphere grows and strengthens, and more connections are made across the brain. The only way these connections can be made is if the developmental milestone occurs at the right time, each time, simultaneously across both sides.
(but how can something connect simultaneously if only one hemisphere is the one developing? Science. The brain is an amazing multi tasking machine)

Anyway, so if the wiring isn’t done evenly to connect both hemispheres, one side eventually weakens and that is the start of all the problems.

Here are my thought stages while reading through it:

1. Wow.. that is so totally my kid
2. Shit… it’s all my fault
3. Ok, there’s something I can blame the husband for
4. Nope, it’s all me. I suck. I was an irresponsible pregnant mom, and an irresponsible toddler mom, so my kid now has issues
5.Why didn’t anyone turn down my application for my kid?!
6. It’s all my fault.

I know this is not the goal of the book. But as a mom, it’s my take away so far. At some point I’m supposed to get to exercises to work the less developed hemisphere of his brain that is causing the lack of communication between both hemispheres. This will theoretically “cure” him.

I’m not holding my breath, but I am looking forward to helping him fully connect and grow and if he ends up going off medication and not needing any more intervention, that will just be the cherry on top.

But I can’t help but go through this text and just feel like i’m completely responsible for how he developed.

My own hormone situation isn’t helping me be rational about this, either. Thanks, middle age and a wonky thyroid, for making it all so much more exciting.

School Fools

Published June 23, 2017 by sarcasmica

This is not going to be the most eloquent, charming & optimistic post i’ve done. I’m a frustrated mom of a kid who often gets overlooked, harrassed and left behind at school.

The reasons are not always his own fault, he’s a quiet kid in a shool setting. He learned early on that if he is invisible, no one will have an expectation of him. When teachers dare to challenge him, however, they are surprised by his demeanor, charm, intelligence,  and creativity. He makes people work to see the real kid. 

Because he gets extra support and stands out as needing more than the others, it makes him a bit of a target. He has had to endure harrassment and teasing a lot this year. 

Today was the end of my tolerance and rope. I’m done. Today was the recognition of all the 5th graders “graduating” to middle school and moving onto 6th grade. A new level for the district. 

For my son, however, he wont be. We moved and this changes our district. The new school will still be elementary capping out at 6th grade. (Next year he will get to graduate again)

That said, he wasnt all that invested in the ceremony. Still, he was being respectful and sitting quietly beside his friend. The whole time a row of four boys behind him were poking at him, teasing him, messing with him. 

He kept his cool while I continually fought the urge to jump up and threaten each boy’s happiness and ability to walk. 

My 11 year old handled it better than I did because he’s used to it. 

Why does he have to be used to it?

While my husband coached me through sitting still and leaving it alone, we watched our kid alternate between standing up for himself, to laughing it off and ignoring it.

The assembly was 45 mins long.

I have so much guilt for causing so much change and flux for our son with all of our moves. Honestly we had good reasons and intentions every time we made that choice. 

Today I watched him handle a situation far better than I or his dad did. 

No teachers were nearby monitoring their students. After the assembly there was chaos and mayhem as his teacher had no clue what was happening. First there was an additional activity, then there wasnt, and then “Ok, i guess it’s happening”. No one was directing the parents or kids – in a school parking lot no less.

The whole thing just solidified our choice to GTFO of there. Mind you, this school is mainly for advanced kids in the district (so they can pump up those standardized test scores) and will become mostly advanced placement next year. 

I will say it is definitey a special school- but more short school bus-special, not remarkable-special.

Happy to take my own remarkable kids elsewhere.

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