Friday, October 30, 2015

A Sunshiney List

  • As some of you know, I regularly treat Halloween as a competition with Ghosts of Kristy Past (Ghost of Kristys Past?  Ghost of Kristies Past?  I see a 'y' at the end and desperately want to turn it into a plural 'ies,' but as I've explained to countless people over the years THAT'S NOT HOW YOU SPELL MY NAME.  What is the proper plural of the Dickensian term?) to see who can spend the absolute least amount of money on costumes for our children.  With three costumes completed, I can happily report that I am winning.  Detailed, self-indulgent report to come.

  • With the knowledge that glasses will soon be gracing the face of our daughter, I did what I do and turned to books and a beloved librarian for help.  You see, I had all manner of picture books featuring bespectacled protagonists ready for her when she was younger, the Arthur series and such, because I had no doubt that our children would need glasses, given the appalling eyesight Derek and I are in possession of.  But then they got older and older and had one astonishing report of 20/20 vision after another, and I grew a little lax in keeping a mental catalogue of "glasses in books for our poor, nearly-blind children."  Now Adelaide is, ahem, less than pleased about the idea of wearing glasses, and I have no books ready for her!  (The horror.)  Enter beloved librarian:  "CathyIneedyourhelpAdelaideandglassesandwretchednessandNOBOOKSPREPAREDandanguish!"  She, in turn, calmly reached out to ALL THE LIBRARIANS IN THE STATE and is even now compiling a list of books for me, because she is magical.  
    • Note:  This is aaaallll aside from Harry Potter.  Of course I thought of Harry Potter with his glasses, but Adelaide has read all of those, so I need books in addition to HP.  Preferably a female character, who is not stupid, or insipid, or annoying, or too age-inappropriate.  Honestly, I don't try to be difficult to please, it just... happens.

  • You would think that, after one particularly memorable night of watching rerun after rerun of Unsolved Mysteries years ago, I would have learned that there are just some shows that you don't watch alone when the darkness outside your windows is concealing God only knows what.  Last night, however, I decided that since I had some sewing to do and the kids were in bed and Derek wasn't home, it would be a positively splendid idea to watch an episode or three of The Twilight Zone.  I mean, I LOVE that show!  What could go wrong?
Sometimes I am a slow learner.
Many things, friends.  Many things could go wrong.  Granted, most of the wrong things were happening within the confines of my own brain, but as Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore said, "Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"

So comforting.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

And the Running of the Deer

This morning was chilly and wet and blustery, which means I had the forest preserve all to myself.

Did I almost break my neck (twice) because the leaves were thick and wet on the path?  Yes.  Did I keep confusing game trails for running trails and losing my sense of direction in the woods?  Yes.  Was I thankful for regular benches to show me that I was on trails for humans and not just deer?  Yes.
Although I did consume a goodly amount The Far Side comics growing up, so I can't say I would have been too terribly surprised to encounter a bespectacled deer sitting on a bench, reading the newspaper.

Another round of Running Trail or Game Trail?  Such a fun game.  Almost as entertaining as the one I just finished, where I pin felt onto Atticus's sleeves, readying myself for an evening of sewing.  Atticus is absolutely positive that a dragon is not a dragon if there are no wings, and I refuse to buy anything for a costume, so we're making do with the felt I found in my scrap fabric bin, all while Adelaide swoops around in the Dracula costume she's putting together.  She keeps making overtures about my blood in what she clearly thinks is an eastern european accent, but really just sounds like she's overdue for an appointment with a speech pathologist.  She's at a bit of a tender age, where we have to be careful how we make fun of her, so I've closeted myself in the bathroom and perched on the edge of the tub, giggling over her interpretation of a vampire and thinking my own thoughts for ten seconds, not to mention scrolling through the photos I took on my run this morning, because I could have sworn I snapped one of the half a dozen deer I startled this morning.

Aha!  Found her!  Can you?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Things That Have Been Said To Me This Week our children.

  • "Sign this."  "What is it?"  "Just SIGN IT."  "Caedmon, I'm not going to sign something if I don't know what it says, and I see you wrote a bunch of letters on this, so tell me:  What does it say?"  "It says you promise not to eat any of my Halloween candy."  "I am not signing that."

  • "ARE THEY REALLY GOING TO SURGICALLY REMOVE ONE OF MY EYES?"  From a slightly hysterical Adelaide, after the optometrist suggested a surgical consult for a wandering eye and double vision upon correction.

  • *Sigh* "Mom, sometimes I think the only way that God made me special was to make it so that I can put both feet behind my head at the same time."  "Well, first of all, don't take the whole 'feet behind the head thing' for granted, and second, God made you special in lots of other ways, Bud!"  Long pause, and then, "I guess I do have a lot of girlfriends."  And it's true.  Atticus is somehow never lacking in female attention.  Luckily the first grade set is seriously impressed by extreme, almost grotesque flexibility.

  • "Mom, are hamsters real?"  Turns out Caedmon, after checking a picture book out from the library (Memoirs of a Hamster), thought that hamsters were like other things he's only encountered in books- Batman, the Joker, silly monsters- purely the product of someone's imagination.  He refused to believe Adelaide when she insisted that hamsters are, in fact, real animals.  She made fun of him until I reminded her about her years-long denial of the existence of China.

  • "I don't understand why you get to drink coffee and I don't!  It's NOT FAIR.  WHEN I'M AN ADULT I'M GOING TO LIVE BY MYSELF AND DRINK COFFEE EVERY DAY AND HAVE SOUR CREAM NOODLE BAKE FOR SUPPER EVERY NIGHT AND AS MANY COOKIES AS I WANT."  Anytime Adelaide talks about "being an adult"- in quotations because it's a specific and regular topic of hers- she tends to rant and absolutely speaks in all caps.

  • "Mom, I loved pushing the babies around in the stroller on Sunday.  Even the one that wasn't very cute."  "I thought they were all cute!  Which baby 'wasn't very cute'?"  "You know- the ugly one.  But then the parents came to pick her up and I was like, "Oooooh, this makes sense now."  Yeah, so sometimes at church, when I'm volunteering in the kids' area, Adelaide helps out.  She is not allowed to speak to the parents.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Never Again: A List of Consequences

Reasons Why I Will Never Announce What a Bouncy Happy Healthy Family We Usually Are to the Internet and/or Universe Again:

  • Adelaide will get sick for the first time in forever, and because her school has a 24-hour fever-free policy before she can return, she will miss an extra day when she is perfectly fine.  

  • I will then get sick, which could be because two of our children were just sick and they like to do their level best to sit on/lean against/burrow into my body when feeling unwell, but I think we all really know it's because I lost my mind and went all, "Deedle-dee, we never get sick, doo-dee-doo, yessir, healthy is what we are!  All the time!  Beware, germs!  You are no match for us!"  Germ Jihad will then be leveled against our family.  Three out of five of us (so far) will lose.

  • We will take a trip to the eye doc which I suspect will end in glasses for daughter but instead freaks both me and Adelaide out because that's just what happens when the doc uses words like, "Pediatric Ophthalmologist," "Surgical consult," and "Omaha," in conjunction with your child's eyeballs.  This will then cause yours truly to send out a text burst to a number people that basically reads, "Hey, your kid has glasses:  Who do you trust with a tiny thing like your child's eyesight?  Because at this point we need a second opinion and I need a shot of valium to settle me down."

I get it.  Consider me humbled.  

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Fall Indoors, Fall Outdoors

It finally feels like fall.  I mean, it kind of, sort of did before, but now with all the leaves bidding adieu to their chlorophyll and the National Weather Service sending me threatening emails about Frost Warnings, which in turn cause irrational amounts of panic in my person- well, it's definitely fall.

That is 10 1/2 pounds of tomatoes, because I wasn't kidding about the panic.  I've managed to get rid of a few pounds' worth so far, but that means I still have around 7 lbs of mostly green tomatoes.  What the heck am I supposed to do with that many green tomatoes?  I like fried green tomatoes as much as the next person, but I feel sick just thinking about putting seven pounds of fried food in me.  Any alternate suggestions?

I also brought it in the last of the rhubarb, which is still sitting on my counter, waiting to be turned into a tasty treat, along with a giant pile of tulip bulbs, because thirty minutes ago I said to myself, "I only have time to do one of the following:  Bake rhubarb bread, plant bulbs, or write a blog post."  As you can see, sitting on my keister won.

When I'm not huddling under a blanket indoors, however, I'm struck with how beautiful it is this time of year, from the view on my morning run: watching Caedmon explore puddles with his hands while waiting for the elder two to disembark from their giant yellow chariot every afternoon:

Signs of fall indoors are a little less thrilling, but still welcome.
Hello, Favorite and Most Wonderful Slippers in the Universe.  You had a solid five months to hibernate, but now you're back on Active Duty every single day until next May.  My icicle feet will appreciate the tar out of you, even if my clumsy hands can't help but spill food on you every blessed day.

Hello, giant mound of flannel sheets.  The temperature in the house has hovered right around sixty degrees for most of the last week, and so when I switched out the cotton sheets for your soft warmth on all four beds, our children rejoiced, I rejoiced, even Derek the Furnace rejoiced for a while.  

Hello, unspecific succulent.  I'm sorry I can never remember your actual name.  I'm sure it's beautiful.  (Not sure at all, actually; so many flowers have seriously ugly names:  Why did your mother hate you so, Spiderwort?)  You've thrived all summer in benign neglect on the back deck, and now I will bring indoors for the winter, where you will mostly likely curse my name as you succumb to a slow death under my well-meaning ministrations.  Sorry in advance.  It's not you, it's me.

And now look at that!  I still have time to throw a few bulbs in the ground before I leave the house, after all.  God forbid I go out in public with clean hands.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Sickly, Juicy, Kaleidoscope-y List

Last time I posted I finished with "Next time I'm going to write about this picture here," but I swear to you, the best way for me to guarantee a specific topic will NEVER be written about is for me to tell you that it will, because when I do that I think about it and I think about it and then I think about it some more, to the extent that by the time I have a chance to sit down and actually write about the promised topic, I'm so bored with it that I can't force myself to dedicate another minute to the now-dreaded post.

All that to say, here is instead a list of what's going on around here.

  • I need to give a big fat prayer of thanksgiving to the Head Honcho, because we are a healthy family.  So healthy, in fact, that when one of our children gets sick, it's such a novelty to me that I almost get excited about it.
Before you turn away in abject disgust, let me clarify by saying that he wasn't super awful sick.  He wasn't vomiting or writhing in pain; he just had a fever and was a little clingy and cuddly and the whole thing lasted less than 24 hours over the weekend.  It was Sick Lite, just enough for me to let go of my weird tv thing and introduce our children to the first Harry Potter movie, after which Adelaide proved that she is sometimes my exact twin:  "I liked it.  I think I liked it.  But they left out so much that was in the book!  And they changed some things!  Maybe I didn't like it.  No, I did.  The book was just SO MUCH BETTER.  I need to go back and read the first one so I can review all the things they did wrong in the movie."  I'm not saying that's a perfect opinion, but I am saying it's identical to mine.  (IT'S PERFECT.)

  • Now that I've alienated everyone with my "I love it when our children are ill and miserable!" (WHICH I DON'T, OKAY?), let me remind everyone that one of our kids suffers from severe night terrors, meaning Derek and I have been chronically short on sleep for years.  (That's right, Judgey McJudgers, you just let that guilt soak in.  Wear it like a blanket- no, like a Snuggie!  A Guilt blanket with sleeves:  How dare you judge us?)  Anyhoo, we've tried anything and everything, dah dee dah, but that doesn't stop my ears from perking up anytime I hear magical words like, "Such and such absolutely 100% helps me sleep."  So when Lauren Fleshman, a pro runner, said that tart cherry juice has become a sleep aid for her pro triathlete husband, I sat up a little straighter in my chair and click, click, clicked my way to the available research.
NOW:  Is most of the research being trumpeted by cherry producers?  Yes.  I'm well aware of that and going into this eyes wide open.  I'm also not thinking that tart cherry juice is a magic elixir and our son will now stop his nocturnal screaming forevermore; what I am thinking is that a little juice every evening isn't going to hurt him, it's healthy anyway, and it's worth a shot.  Plus it was at the grocery store, which means it was meant to be.  (Or that grocery stores stock things that they believe will make them money.  Whatever.)

  • One of our children's- as well as my own- favorite things about our local public garden is this:
Really, why is it that the simplest ideas are so often the best?  The plantings are changed out regularly, and we never fail to delight in looking into those microscope/kaleidoscope things, twisting them to change the view of design and color.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Family Photos: It Sounded Like a Good Idea

Every time my family gets together, my mom requests a picture with her and Mark and the grandkids for their Christmas card, a picture of the daughters and her, and picture of whomever is receiving the most recently completed quilt.

The thing about taking pictures with small children, though, is that anything is a distraction.  Not just loud noises and such, but things like pinecones and the sky are distracting.  It's hard to blame them, really; who wants to look at a shrieking adult with a camera when you could look at a cat?

Norah Mae desperately wanted Ed the Cat (that is his full and respectful title, thank you), and the magical powers of The Ed made Charlotte smile.  Kelli and Aaron are just well-trained.

We tried bringing Ed into the shot, to see if it would be less distracting, but the lure of his soft fur proved irresistible to Vada.
I have thirteen photos of Vada petting Ed, who is very tolerant for an elderly cat. 
Ellie was more interested in petting humans, but she's one and hasn't yet grasped the difference between a gentle stroke and a sharp tug.
Char is upset because she just got her hair yanked.  Ellie is upset because she got scolded for yanking.

Aren't pictures fun, children?  Are we having a good time yet?

Because they obviously weren't having a good time, at one point we took a break and the children instantly scattered, darting into the trees.

Eventually we got all the children in one photo with Mom and Mark.  As for everyone all smiling, well...

Let's be honest: I think we all know I'm using this post as an excuse to show you how adorable my family is.

Not to mention these two, who are clearly MFEO. (Made For Each Other.  Name that movie!)

They're also the ones to receive the latest quilted offering from my mother.

It's their wedding quilt.  We won't discuss how long they've been married.  (HINT:  I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with Caedmon at their wedding, and somebody just had a birthday...)  A quilt that size has to take forever, though, and I love how it looks like stained glass.  To me, anyway.

Next time, my mother sports a halo of daughters and we discuss why you should feel sorry for her!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

First We Did Things, Then We Did More Things

Earlier this month we were in Kansas, and while in Kansas you do fun things like golf and golf and then golf some more (Derek and Mark), walk up a flight of 77 steps a dozen times (Mom and me), and watch a window being replaced like it's the most fascinating thing you ever have or ever will see (the three youngest Crislers).

Please note that it is only Adelaide and Caedmon watching the window show; Atticus was eschewing temptation and studiously plowing his way through schoolwork.

Upon leaving Iowa, Atticus and Adelaide's teachers each sent us on our way with a merry, "Have fun!" and a thick packet of work for missing three days' worth of school for our trip.  I was so thankful they did this; it meant I didn't have to worry about the kids being behind and swamped with work when they returned on Monday.  I found this difficult to communicate in my Thank You notes, however- "Thank you SO MUCH for all the homework you sent with my child," can't help but come off as sarcastic.  And I was so sincere!

Oh, well.  Parent Teacher Conferences are approaching, their teachers will have a chance to converse with me, and they'll figure out just what they're dealing with here. 

When we weren't nervously watching people replace a second floor window, we were at Tanganyika, which is a word I did not make up.

Tanganyika is a zoo in Wichita that boasts two big pluses:  It's very small, and very hands-on.  I'm not normally real big on zoos; I spend so much time feeling sorry for the animals in their cages I can't really enjoy myself.  I had that feeling once at Tanganyika, watching the tiger slowly devolve into mental illness as he paced the same ten foot section in his much-bigger-than-ten-feet enclosure.  The rest was nice, though, as it consisted of much smaller, more social animals that seemed more compatible to life in a zoo.  Note:  All these zoo opinions of mine are just that:  Opinions.  Please don't think I've done anything like extensive research.  ¿Entiende?

Moving on from zoo guilt:

The lorikeets were a big favorite with most of us- see a thrilled Atticus feeding them, above- and even fun for those of us whose heads were constantly being violated while in the pen.

Caedmon + Lorikeets = True Love 4-Ever.  Or not.
One of the things I liked best was that most of the animal enclosures had their own keeper supervising any feeding or touching of their animals, and gave pretty specific instructions on how to interact with and respect their assigned animals.  We were only allowed into the kangaroo area once we had repeated back to the gal that we would only approach the kangaroos if they were lying down, and only from behind, never from in front, and to hold still and not touch them if they approached us.
Which they did.  

If I remember correctly, this kangaroo's name is Gloria.  She looks like she will have no part of our son's shenanigans.

We also visited the rabbits because apparently, when forced to choose between their mother and soft, soft varmints, they will always choose the varmints.  I felt like Mrs. Bennet; nobody cared about my poor nerves.
Atticus has officially entered the Giant Feet Stage.  He looks like a puppy now, all skinny limbs and oversized paws.

The tortoises were a little more my speed (har, har).

Each boy fed a tortoise a lettuce leaf with a clothes pin.  Adelaide opted to feed the lemurs instead, which you will have to picture using your rich imaginations as photography was forbidden on Lemur Island.  I forget why.

It was all so enjoyable, but I realized, on the hour+ drive back to my Mom's, that our children aren't really old enough to fall asleep in the car after a busy activity.  This means I need them to hurry up and learn to drive so I can sleep in the car; I have got that particular talent down.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Rain Barrel, Butterfly, and Not Dying a Fiery Death List

  • There was no school yesterday, so the kids and I spent a blustery morning at the nearby public garden, where I did not covet my neighbor's maidservant nor his cattle, but I did covet this:

Aren't they beautiful?  That downspout goes directly on top of the rain barrel!  And those handy, well-off-the-ground spigots?  Swoon.  

We're big on water conservation in the first place; for all that I plant, I water very little, usually just our front container plantings, and part of my end-of-the-day routine is to go around and gather all the cups in the kitchen and dumping the leftover water into a pitcher to help water those front flowers (I just couldn't stand to pour another of those half-full cups down the drain every night, and I try not to do it when anyone's sick), but a rain barrel has long been on my Want list.  We get so much rain here, it really does feel wasteful not to utilize as much of it as possible.  Anyone have any recommendations on rain barrels?  What to avoid, what has worked for you, etc?

  • I saw this butterfly in the butterfly house:

It was huge and beautiful-ugly and as such reminded me of the huge, beautiful-ugly orange-white-and-black sofa set my best friend's parents had in their front room throughout our growing up years.  I don't know how many times I collapsed on that couch and loveseat after hours of through-the-night choreography sessions (basically what our sleepovers consisted of).  You never know when nostalgia is going to strike, do you?  

  • We took a ride on an old train over the weekend, and, because it was an out-and-back route (I'm so sorry, I just can't seem to keep myself from over-hyphenating today, not to be confused with over-caffeinating, which I am also doing today.  Perhaps the two are connected?  I usually get very, very angry when people insist on finding causal relationships between two things that are tenuously connected at best, but I think in this one I'll give myself a pass.  For this post, at least, we'll say over-caffeinating causes over-hyphenating.  Except it doesn't.)...
Where was I?
Pretty.  Deadly.  Pretty deadly.
Oh, yes.  It was an out-and-back route, which means we had to go over a tall, tall, FAR FAR FAR off the ground bridge, on an old, antique train.  Have I mentioned my terror of bridges?  How much I hate them, especially when they go over water?  Have I mentioned that it's worse when you're on a rickety train on a rickety track?  (Right, so it may not have been that rickety; I'm sure it's all in good repair, but the only trains I've ridden have been subways and the trains from Connecticut into New York and back, and they are an entirely different animal.)

The worst part was, while still traversing the bridge, a good portion of the large family in front of us all rushed to one side of the car to see the view out those windows and I was like, "LET'S PLAY A LITTLE GAME CALLED "DON'T UPSET THE TRAIN CAR!"  WINNER DOESN'T GO PLUNGING TO THEIR DEATH FAR BELOW!"

Atticus, at least, felt my pain.
The Smart One
Whilst Caedmon spent most of the trip something like this:
Everyone turned black-and-white immediately upon entering the old-fashioned train cars.  Or I applied an "Inkwell" filter to this photo in Instagram.  Pick your poison.

I'm sure Adelaide had an equally adorable expression on her face during the ride, but I'm afraid I didn't capture that, as I was busy praying for the survival of everyone on board, even the would-be train-tippers.  You're welcome, fellow passengers.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Touchy Feely

This morning Atticus woke up, ate his breakfast, then crawled into my lap and asked me to tell him stories about when he was born and when he was a baby, because our children love to hear those tales any day, but on their birthdays?  I better pull out the sparkliest memories of all.

Today, though, the only memories available for extraction seemed to be the one where Atticus had blue feet and the one where I finally figured out how to make him stop crying on a night where he refused to stop.

Even while telling them, I figured these would be boring and disappointing to our favorite middle child, but as it turns out, as long as he is in the story and I infuse the tale with love and warmth, he is happy.  He was thrilled to hear that from the day he was born until he was around a month or two old, his feet would get cold and start to turn blue every time he ate, which made nursing him a two-hand job:  One to hold a gulping Atticus, one to rub his feet and remind them to get circulatin'.  Then he held on to every word about how one night, when he was just a couple months old, he would not, would not, would not stop crying.  He didn't want to eat, he didn't need a diaper change, he wasn't cold, nothing.  After trying one thing after another, in desperation I gave him a bath, which he screamed through, laid him on a towel on the floor of the living room, diapered him, and began to massage his limbs with lotion.
I told seven-year-old Atticus how two-month-old Atticus finally quieted and spent the next twenty minutes gazing at me while I slowly rubbed his skinny arms and his skinny legs.  To this day Atticus is a big-time toucher, and the recounting of the story seemed just as satisfying and mesmerizing to him as the actual event.

Tonight we are going bowling, and we are eating pizza, and he will open a present or two.  In between I will be sure to ruffle his hair, and rub his back, and pull him into me for frequent hugs, because this is the kind of love he has craved his whole life, from lanky, squally infant to lanky, goofy first grader.
The best part?  Now he hugs back.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

My Favorite Wasteland

Last week we headed south to spend the better part of a week at my mom and Mark's.

Even just driving through, the Flint Hills remain one of my favorite places to be, forever and ever, amen.

Now, because I'm guessing most of you don't count the Flint Hills among your favorite vacation destinations, I snapped this crappy picture from our moving vehicle.  Years ago, I read an article by a globe-trotting photographer who, amongst all the places he'd visited, absolutely loved the Flint Hills, but always felt very torn when people found out he'd recently been to Kansas and subsequently asked him if it was as beautiful as his pictures suggested.  He felt that a major part of the beauty of my home state lay in how unspoiled much of it seems, and so, even though he was tempted to expound upon its loveliness, he instead replied, "Nah, man.  Kansas is a wasteland."  

And here's the sun gathering up its skirts and preparing to rise over the wasteland, which we got to see because when we left to return to Iowa we had to leave early enough in the day to be back to watch the Vikings game.  I am not kidding.

I'll be writing all about our trip next week, but because telling stories in order is hard, today you get the brackets of the trip, traveling south then traveling north.

Soon after that sunrise, we found ourselves being tailed by a white Honda.  
I know it's hard, but do try and tear your eyes away from that captivating phone case and note the little white car in the sideview mirror.  Fun fact:  My first car did not have a right sideview mirror, nor did it have air-conditioning, a clock, a radio, power steering, etc...

This little car remained firmly behind us for a good 200 or so miles.  Derek's theories as to why the Honda did not want to venture out on its own:
  • They had Oklahoma plates and everyone knows that Oklahoma is one giant speed trap [it's true, you know; Oklahoma troopers are utterly without mercy], and the driver knows how radar works, so they're sticking close to a larger vehicle so they don't get caught speeding.
  • They, too, wanted to watch Frozen, the feature presentation in our van during that stretch of road.
  • They saw our Iowa plates and wanted to soak up the greatness.

Pretty sure he ended up going with theory #3, because as a t-shirt of his reads, it's hard to be humble when you're from Iowa.

And as final proof of my love for the Sunflower State, I would like to point out that I made well under a dozen derogatory jokes about the sign on a motel in my hometown that has recently changed brands/chains/name, from the Comfort Inn to the Quality Inn, and who advertised this change on their sign, stating that they were "Formally Comfort Inn."  This can only mean they are the Comfort Inn on special occasions, and the Quality Inn is for everyday casual.  

Oh, Kansas.  I love you anyway.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

I Must Have Missed That Memo

 I recently began to notice that the siding on the outside of our house was looking a little dingy, specifically on the front porch, because most days it's absolutely gorgeous outside right now, and so I sit in the rocking chairs and I read the books and I watch the kids and I notice the siding is filthy.

I didn't think much about it at first, because really:  Is this a thing?  Is washing siding a thing that people do?  I don't remember my mom ever washing the siding on our house.  That's not to say she didn't, but I never saw it, and I don't think I've ever seen anyone else washing the siding on the outside of their houses, so I just decided to ignore the grime.  I am very good at this.  You might even say I have a knack.

After a few days, however, it was all I could look at anytime I wanted to walk in our front door; not Hermione, not my flowers whose beauty I surely need to soak up now that their days are numbered, but the dirt on the siding.  And I began to wonder if this was one of those things that could be filed under my Adulthood Orientation conspiracy theory.

First of all, I have a number of conspiracy theories, and like all crazy people conspiracy theorists, I love to talk about these.  The one pertinent to today's topic is Adulthood Orientation, namely that such a thing exists, and that I was purposely not invited upon entering my own adulthood.

How many times have I been struck by sudden inspiration- You can stuff newspaper in your wet shoes so they'll dry out faster!  Meat should be thawed before you attempt to cook it!  Camping is nearly always a terrible idea!- only to have someone else say, "Well, yeah.  You didn't know that?"

How do all these people know all the things?  Where are they getting this information?  I was a perfectly adequately informed child and adolescent; it's only upon achieving adulthood that everyone else suddenly has all this useful information stuffed in their brains while I'm left floundering:  How is everyone always so organized?  Why can I still not understand the concept of escrow, even after countless explanations by myriad helpful people?  What is going on?  Osmosis?  Simple learning?  Or a class dedicated solely to subjects useful to adults- an orientation, if you will- that everyone but me was invited to? I think we all know what the answer is, here.

Apparently regular siding washing in spots not reachable by rainwater was one of the topics covered, because I'm pretty sure I wasn't supposed to let the siding get to this state:

Left:  Clean.  Right:  Embarrassing.
At least we'd only lived in this house, ahem, six years before I finally noticed that perhaps, perhaps, something should be done.  You know, by an adult who obviously knows about these kinds of things.
Look, a bucket of water, pre-siding cleaning!  Looking all clean and watery, just the way water should!

Look, a bucket of nastiness!  And this is only a quarter of the way through!  Heavens!

The truly scary thing is that Derek is such a terrifyingly capable adult that he has to have been one of the instructors in these classes.  And yet I was still snubbed?!  What have I married?

Seriously, though:  Escrow.  The first person to attempt to explain this concept to me was an English teacher in high school, and the last was Derek for the fifth time.  My brain simply refuses to understand.  Send help, or maybe a flow chart?  Are flow charts something that could be used to explain escrow?  I wouldn't know.