Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Homeschoolers Unite!

Yesterday I took the birthday girl shopping for an outfit.  I've learned never to buy her anything without her present since her responses tend to range from comments like "You think I'm going to wear that?" to sticking her finger down her throat and making a lovely impression of puking her intestines out. 

We found ourselves in Old Navy at noonish time. I walked around a rack with my head turned backward, yelling at one of my spawn (as per usual) when I tripped over some kid.  A kid! In Old Navy! During school hours. Hunh. The kid, a cute little youngin of about five with her hair in ponytails and matching clothes - clean, even - darted away before I could stomp on her, and an older boy about 11 grabbed her arm and they scurried away like mice.  I was intrigued.  What are kids doing in Old Navy during school hours, I wanted to know.  Never you mind that three of mine were climbing the walls and hanging from the light fixtures; that's irrelevant to this story.

I found a woman that must have been the mother.  I deduced this because the kids were huddled behind her as she searched through a rack of shirts muttering about how they never had anything in her size.  Her children were both neatly dressed but she looked like she'd been run over by a street sweeper.  It was like looking in a mirror, except my kids were not neatly dressed.  They were street swept too. 

"Are you a homeschooler?"  I walked right up to her.

"Y-yes," she said.  "My son had a doctor's appointment today, so I just thought it would be okay if we did some shopping while we were out. We're going to finish their work when we get home.  They're on grade level in every subject, honest."

"What's your name?  Where do you live?  How long you been homeschooling? Will you be my friend?"  I'm shy usually, so this was hard for me, but I didn't want her to feel like I was snobby or anything.  I grabbed one of my urchins.  "This kid -"  I looked at the one I grabbed to see which one it was, "yeah, he's mine.  He's about your kid's age.  Maybe we can get them together for a playdate sometime.  Does your son like karate?"  I looked at the boy, shaking and sobbing in the corner.  "Well, do you?"  I turned to Pierson, "Pierson, go play with that boy, while I talk to my friend." 

I have no idea why that woman grabbed her kids and ran out of the store.  She must not have been from these parts.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bookends and Middles

I have two kinds of kids:  Bookends and Middles. Clear as mud?  Let me explain.

I have four children.  Chad is the oldest and Ainsley is the youngest.  They are my Bookends.  I also have my fair-haired blondes Scotlyn and Pierson.  Those two have eyes as blue as the sky.  As neither Peter nor I have blue eyes, we really beat the odds there.  All of my kids are unique (weird) individuals, but since the last one popped out we've noticed some striking parallels with the bookends/middles. 

The middles did all the baby milestones at the same ages.  They had the same sensitivities and a lot of the same psychotic hang ups.  They were often mistaken for twins, despite the two year age difference.  That's probably because Pierson is a hulk of a kid and Scotlyn was a dainty pixie child.  Don't ask if they're twins now, though, because Scotlyn carries a knife. Fifteen of them actually, and she's been watching Swamp People a lot.

And then there are my bookends. They're like Siamese twins separated by nine years. These two are proof that God has a sense of humor and He's not afraid to use it.  We had planned to stop with three kids and decided to have one more.  I guess God decided to show us, huh?  Not that we're complaining.  Life would be awful boring without Itty Bitty Ainie.

When Chad was a baby I was a single mom.  We lived in a tiny, adorable two bedroom house and as Chad walked through it, things would levitate around him and crash to the ground.  We had plastic dinosaurs everywhere.  There were some that I swear I had never seen before that just appeared out of thin air.  And Hot Wheels.  He didn't even have to touch them, and they would fall to the floor.  And tantrums.  Oh my goodness, the tantrums.  And then he'd start and we'd both we wailing away.  I was at my wit's end.

I read James Dobson's book The Strong Willed Child when Chad was 20 months and I thought, "Aha!  Here's the answer!  I must not let this terror control me.  I will boss him around!"

So, the next time he threw a toy on the ground, I very calmly and lovingly (as Dr. Dobson urged) said, "Chad, pick up your toy and put it away."  He laughed at me. Laughed!

Well!  That was a swat with a wooden spoon, right there. By the time the weekend was over, we had spoons in every nook and cranny in that 800 square foot house, but he had picked up that toy.  I. Had. Won. Thank you, Dr. Dobson!  (I'd like to note here that I met Peter just a few months after this episode, so I had reinforcements from here on out.)

It must not have taken very well, though, because I distinctly remember a time when he was nine that he spent the weekend with Nana and Papa, and Peter and I filled three 30 gallon garbage bags of crap in his room.  He came home and threw a hissy fit because "he was gonna clean if we'd given him a chance". Pffftttt.

So how are our bookends similar?  I just cleaned the girls' room.  I filled three garbage bags and two laundry baskets and not one thing was Scotlyn's.  And I only cleared one corner of the room.  As for the boys' room?  I don't think there's a floor anymore, but my sweet Middle has all his clothes neatly put away and his books lined up on his bookshelf.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I dedicate this to my precious cousin Joshua Oakes and my big brother Shawn Everett.  I wish I could change things for you.  I love you both so much.

I hate suicide.  I think I hate it more than anything else.  I want to take the one that did it and wake them up, shake them, and tell them to look around.

Look at your mother.  Does she look better off without you?  Look at her face.  Look in her eyes, in her blank, expressionless eyes.  There are no tears.  Do you know why?  Some pain is too deep to feel.  Do you think you did her a favor?  Her life will never be the same without you in it.  Twenty years from now, she will still have moments when she gets that lost, faraway look as she wonders, "why did you choose the darkness?  Why didn't you stay with me?"  Did you doubt her love for you?  Look at her now.  Do you still doubt her love for you? 

Look at your other family members, at your friends.  Do you think even one of them is better off without you in this world?  What about your children?  Children need their father, even flawed fathers.  Because a living, flawed father can get help and learn to be a better dad.  A dead one is just...dead.

I understand wanting to end it all.  I've thought about it before.  I've even half-heartedly attempted it.  I'm so glad I didn't succeed.  God gave us this gift of life, and we are to use it for His glory.  It's easier said than done, yes. 

If you think no one will care if you end your life, I'm sure you're wrong.  But let's just say that there is not one person in this world that cares, and maybe you're right.  But there is One that would care very much, and shed many tears if you threw his precious gift away.  And He matters most of all.

The Puppies Are Coming!

Well, that was fun. I was barely awake this morning, and if you know me, that means I'm communicating with a series of grunts, at best, and my eyes are still at half mast.  Do not - NOT - bother me yet.  But herecome these annoying little children that dare to call me mama. 

"Mama, Mama, I hear Mazie barking but can't find her! I think she had her puppies!"

I grunt.  GO AWAY.  She won't go away.  I tell her to go look for Mazie.  That got rid of her for a little while, but she came back.  Ugh.

"I can't find her anywhere, Mama! She had the puppies and what if someone eats them?"  I can understand eating your young sometimes. She enlists the older kids to help her look.  Nothing.  No Mazie. 

My day is off to a cuh-rappy start.  I haven't even had a full Dr. Pepper and I'm facing the loss of my Buddy Puppy.  The whole reason we got Mazie was to breed her to Buddy and get a puppy from him before we did a snip snip on his boy stuff.  I hate to sound harsh, but there you have it.  Mazie's going under the knife too, after I get my way with her.  The puppies aren't due until Tuesday, so they shouldn't be born yet.

I lift my carcass off the couch and pull on my blue Fat Babies.  Don't tell me you don't know what Fat Babies are, because I know you're just jealous that I have them and you don't.  They're the coolest boots ever and I have them and you don't, so there. We've looked everywhere and decide the only place left is....

Under the trailer. And guess who gets to climb under the trailer to find her?  Yes, me.  Kids ain't good for nothing when it comes to fire ants and spiders, I tell you what.  I grabbed a hat, Peter's favorite - sorry, dear, but better than my hair - and one of those headband lights, and through the dirt I crawled. 

Let me say this:  NASTY.  Next time a dog wants to give birth under my house, she can rot for all I care.  I wasn't doing this for her; this was for my Buddy Junior.  On the upside, I found out that we have not one, but no less than three leaks under the house.  I hope Peter plans on fixing it, because I'm not going back under there. No, I'm not.  I had to belly crawl, as apparantly my butt is too big to fit under the cross beams on my hands and knees.  Zero points for my ego.  Did you know that black widows love to congregate under trailers?  True story.

No Mazie, not anywhere.  As I lay there ruminating, imagining multiple spiders and ants, and the odd snake, slither up my jammie leg, Pierson peeks through the hole in the skirting and says, "You can come out.  I found Mazie.  She's sleeping under my bed."

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Novel Idea

I started reading this new book called A Novel Idea and for the first time in - well, history - I read the foreword.  So even before the book really started I get to this paragraph with questions...

Question #1.  Have you long sensed an urge to tell stories?  I have a mental flashback to me sitting in Mrs. Eatinger's 3rd grade classroom waving my hand wilding in the universal signal for "Pick me! Pick me!"

Question #2.  Do you delight in capturing words and turning them into images on a blank page?  I usually keep it in my head until the voices drive me crazy, but...yeah, sure.

Question #3.  Do others often tell you, "You should be a writer"?  They usually tell me the same thing Mrs.  Eatinger did: "Kerri, please be quiet, I beg of you."

Question #4.  When given the oppurtunity, do your thoughts and feelings come together to weave stories that stay tucked away inside?  YES!  That's exactly it! 

I think I'm going to like this book.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Where Is My Hairbrush?

I was reading one of the "How To" books for idiots not long ago, about keeping your house clean.  It was laid all out for me like I was a five year old.  I still found it a little difficult to follow, but some things managed to stick in my cluttered gray space. It had things in it like "take your shoes off where you want to find them tomorrow".  That works for me, except I can never decide if I want to find them in the bathroom, beside my bed, by my chair in the living room, by the front get the picture? 

Well, anyhoo, one thing that happens in my house a lot, and just drives me batty(er) is that I can never find my hairbrush.  I get out of the shower and after the ten minute search for clean clean undies I'm already worn out.  I want my brush on the counter by the sink.  Is that too much to ask? 

I have two daughters, so the answer to that is yes.  Let me be clear here.  I have bought my darling angels hairbrushes.  I have bought them enough brushes for them to have one for every day of the week, each.  But no, they must have mine.  Mine seems to hold an allure that theirs does not possess, even though I've gone so far as to by them fancy ones from Walmart, and mine comes from Dollar Tree.  I live on a budget, all right?!  Walmart is fancy for this house.

So back to the Idiot Book.  The author of that book must have borrowed my two girls, because she handcuffed her brush to her sink.  Yes, she did.  It got me to thinking.  I don't like the idea of tying my brush to the sink so much, but I had a better idea. 

I sat my lovely girls down and looked them straight in their conniving little eyes.  "Today,"  I said,  "We start a new rule.  From now on, if I get out of the shower, and I don't have a brush ready and waiting for me, I am going to walk butt naked through this house until I find one.  Is that clear?"

One pair of ice blue eyes and one pair of chocolate brown eyes stared at me in horror.  The little mouths under the eyes dropped open in perfect "oh's". 

"You wouldn't really make us look at that, would you?"  whispered Ainsley.

"Yes, I would."

"That's just..."  Scotlyn took a deep breath and shuddered, "disturbing."

"Then I suggest you find my hairbrush and leave it in my bathroom.  What say?"

They nodded frantically and went searching.  By the time they were done, there were eight brushes in my sink.  They nervously asked if that would be enough. 

I had no idea that could work so well. 


You realize, of course, that it didn't last, right?  Just last week, there was no hairbrush to be seen.  I noticed before I got in the shower. 

I hollered out the door, "If I ain't go a brush in here by the time I get out of the shower, I'm coming out in my birthday suit!"  I was kind of looking forward to this, because this was a fun game. I hadn't grossed my kids out this bad since I informed Ainsley, when she was four, that when she was a baby she drank milk from mommy's breasts.  And when I told them where babies came from, but they didn't believe me, so that didn't really count.

I was in the shower when the first brush zinged across the floor and pinged off the tub.  I opened the shower door just in time to see two more be slid under the bathroom door, and then after a pause, my horse's mane and tail brush was slipped through. 

I think they believe me now.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Migraine Day

It's a good day for a migraine, I think, as Tropical Storm Lee leaves me disappointed once again.  I missed Katrina by six months, not moving here until March of '06.  Then when Gustav came in with promises of havoc two years later I got all atwitter for nothing.  Peter was active duty Air Force back then.  He had orders to evacuate, which included his family.  I felt like a big ol' titty baby packing up and leaving like a dog with its tail tucked between its legs.  And for what, I ask you?  A whole lot of nothing, that's what. Gustav whimpered through with nothing but a couple of inches of rain.  I've taken more dramatic showers.

So, I'm sitting here, watching out the windows at the few piddly showers we're getting spit across the pasture. Big woop.  I'm not impressed.  Not a single tree branch has gone flying by, much less a cow like in the movie Twister.  I'm thoroughly disgusted.  I never get to have any fun.

We made an offer on a house yesterday, but because of the stupid holiday weekend we'll have to wait until Tuesday to hear anything.  My life is so boring; I don't know how I survive sometimes.  Ainsley just asked if we move, does that mean she has to clean out her closet?  I don't know, what do you think?  I'm thinking we should just get a shovel and back the truck up to the window and dump it all out.  Only the good Lord knows what's in there.

Can you imagine, a six bedroom house?  And for the first person that says we can have more kids, just know this:  I will slap you silly. I've got these'uns near grown and I ain't getting no more.  Notice these gray hairs that I've so artfully covered with buckets of hair dye?  Well, then.

In the new house, my sweet boy (that's Blitz, not Peter) gets his pasture in a blueberry patch.  Ain't that the sweetest thing?  There's about an acre of blueberry bushes, and my sweet boy will just love it.  My old geezer (that's Peter, not Blitz) gets a lake with a floating dock, so he can be happy too.   I guess if he's willing to work on a tugboat in the middle of a hurricane, I should be nice to him.  I should, right?

Well, anyway, I guess that's about it. I have a sick kid, feel a migraine coming on (really I just want a nap), and my house is a wreck.  That means I need a bigger one to stow my stuff. Six bedrooms should do it.

Happy napping, y'all.