if I was a better drunk Iʻd be an alcoholic

But enough about me, how have YOU been?

Wait…whatʻs that you say? Where have I been? What happened to all the sporadic and relatively witty banter? Why did I stop throwing all my words at you? Iʻm not sure I have a satisfactorily clever answer for that folks. Iʻve never been what youʻd call “good” at time management. Iʻm so what-youʻd-call “not good” with time management, that a whopping 4 years (and then some) has gone by with my poor little neglected blog just collecting dust in itʻs itsy bitsy corner of the web. Or net. Or whatever the youngsters are calling it these days.

So. Thereʻs that.

Yeah, after four years away Iʻm not really sure how to start out. I mean, although Iʻm relatively sure that not one was invested enough in my silly little blog to really care that I abandon it for FOUR FUCKING YEARS!!!, I do still feel some shred of responsibility toward the casual peruser of the blogosphere, should they land here for whatever cosmically fated reason, and feel like I should have a least SOMETHING interesting for them to read.

Fuckit. Iʻm out of practice. And I left my wit in my other jeans. Arenʻt blogs a “read-at-your-own-risk” proposition anyway?

at least there’s no asbestos…

… I mean, I think there’s no asbestos, they told me there was no asbestos, but what the hell is with all the cobwebs and why does all this shit keep falling on my head?

For the last three days, I have been slaving away trying to make my basement less of a Fear Factor event and more of a usable space so that my brand new shiny washer and dryer might have a home to call their own. Now, in order to understand the horrificness of my daunting task, there are a couple of things you need to know. Like the fact that the house is 110 years old, has a cinderblock foundation which, in the room in question, is pepto bismal pink and starting to shed because, well, it’s 110 years old, crammed full of miscellaneous crap (mostly belonging to The Husband because he is a non-un-packer and an un-puter-awayer; he’s a throw-it-in-the-cornerer), and hasn’t really been used for anything but storage and objectified disdain  for the last 5 years. And then there are the cobwebs. Cobwebs so thick and impressive they rival the creepiest halloween decorated heeby-jeeby houses. They cover the open beams and ductwork, cling to the walls, mix with the piles of dust and pinkness on the floor that used to be the walls, mingle with miscellaneous wires and pipes… you get the general idea. Feel free to twitch at anytime here, or throw up, or, you know, go take a shower to wash off the icky feelings I’ve just created for you (you’re welcome).

And so I have been shopvacing, swiffering, brooming, twitching and feeling nauseous, sweeping, and vacuuming from exposed beams to crumbling floor tiles. But you know, now that it’s all habitable and stuff, all I can think is “What if the deliverymen decide that they can’t fit the damn things down the stairs?” It’s a tight fit, I mean a REALLY REALLY tight fit, but if they take them out of the box, and they’re, you know, capable, I don’t see why a 27-inch appliance can’t fit through a 28-inch doorway. And yet… I fear my dream of bright shiny washing and drying in a room where I can also fold and iron may be thwarted by my house, which does, as we have established time and time again, hate me.

well now I feel obligated

… people are still checking up on my little site here. Go figure.

I could start in on how time flies and all that crap, make excuses why I haven’t posted a freakin’ thing here since September, but, you know, fuck it. I just haven’t been in the mood to write. The kidlettes are still doing and saying REALLY funny shit, like the other night when we were driving across the state again and had been in the car for a good 8 hours and The Boy suddenly throws up his little four-year-old arms and shouts “I can’t TAKE IT ANYMORE!!! I just CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!!!” And then puts his little curly head in his hands and shakes it back and forth saying “Argh!” and “Aaahhhhhh!!” over and over. It even made The Girl laugh, and she’d been feeling sick for the last hour. Of course, the next half-hour of “My bum hurts!” and “Are we THERE yet?” pretty much took the giggle out of the whole thing, but holy crap that was a funny five minutes.

There have been some exciting developments recently though… I mean, aside from the demise of the washer and dryer and the ever present maniacle laughter of the dirty socks as they plan their take-over of the house. To fully appreciate this little bit, we have to do some back stepping…. way back to June, actually, when The Husband decided that he’d had enough of the flatlands and his current army unit and put in for a transfer. We did not, of course, expect a speedy response, and so when September rolled around and shortly after The Girl started kindergarten we still hadn’t heard anything, we weren’t all that surprised. And then there was the surgery for The Husband. That was great fun, let me tell you what. The man does not tolerate anasthesia well AT ALL. Good God, he was puking for almost an entire day. I was playing nursemaid to him, and then to the kidlettes when they got sick, one after another, for weeks and weeks and weeks, bitch and moan and whine and complain, I know, I know, yadda yadda yadda. But SERIOUSLY! And THEN? THEN??? When I was just about to have a wonderful 5 days out of town, all on my ownsome, I got sick. That so sucked. I mean, really REALLY sucked.

So finally, in October, The Husband found out that, lo and behold, his request had zipped right up the chain of command in a matter of, like, 10 days. But then St. Louis, the end point, decided to lose it. “What request?” they said. So obviously, we were meant to stay here in the flatlands, the bible suspenders of the midwest, indefinitely. Whatever. I can deal with that. And then a couple of days ago, three to be exact (yes, I know that’s not technically a couple, lay off-I’m telling a story here), The Husband calls St. Louis again to say “What the Hell?” and finds out that Oh, yeah, we DID have your paperwork, but we still have you listed in this program that you actually HAVEN’T been in for about 2 years now, and that’s what’s been holding the transfer up. So whaddya know, the very next day, Ta Da! We’re off to a new location, far from the midwest. Amazing what happens when people get their shit together and pay attention to the appropriate information.

So now the fun begins. The painting, the fixing of holes in the walls, replacing and repairing all the bits and pieces that have needed replacing and repairing for God know how long, but that we’ve been putting off for myriad reasons… all so we can try and sell the house by May. Fantastic timing, I have to say, painting in the winter is oh so much fun, especially when winter is usually fucking freezing from November until March, as in oh-my-god-it’s-HOW-COLD? For example, we had a record setting day of -86 degrees last winter. You heard me, NEGATIVE EIGHTY SIX DEGREES. It’ll be an adventure, that’s for damn sure…

and here’s why mainstreaming is ruining your kid’s education

… that’s great that your mentally retarded (yes I used that phrase, and I’ll tell you why in just a minute, so rehinge your jaw) kid is in a regular classroom. Now get my kid out.

That’s right, I used the phrase mentally retarded and not “learning disabled”, and I stand by it. Fiercely. But it’s so offensive! So not PC! So cruel! Doesn’t she realize how demeaning that label is? Listen up people, because I’m only going to go over this like maybe 6 or 7 times. In REALITY, and I’m talking about real reality, not this idiotic world we’re stuck in at the moment where money has no real value, the idea of work ethic is a completely foreign concept to most of America, ethics and morality are also pretty much non-existent because parents don’t really parent, and no one takes personal responsibility for, well, anything anymore. In REALITY, the term mentally retarded is actually much less demeaning than “learning disabled”. And here’s why:

Mentally, a form of the word mental, of course, would indicate brain processes.

Retarded,  by definition, and not the inane slang definition it’s been given over the years, I’m talking Miriam Webster here, means slowed.

THEREFORE mentally retardedwould refer to slowed processes of the brain.

Now, “learning disabled” on the other hand, is pretty specific. Let’s quickly define learning as the ability to obtain, assimilate, and utilize information. Does that work for everyone? And feel free to slam me on that one, I can take it, I’m a big girl. The word we’re really concerned with here is “disabled”.

First, the prefix dis- : According to Webster’s New World Disctionary (World Publishing Company, 1964), when used with an adjective, the prefix renders the original word as it’s opposite. It even uses the word “disable” as the example. As for defining the full word “disabled”? Are you ready for this?

“… unable or unfit…” (p. 415).

Do I really need to put that all together for you? If it were my kid? I’d choose mentally retarded over learning disabled every fucking time. Please refer to my child as one who is slower to process things rather that one who is unable or unfit to learn. Mentally slower, not broken in the head. Now do you get it?

But back to the issue at hand… all day mainstreaming of the “learning disabled” child into the regular classroom and why you should be outraged even if your child is the one who is the being mainstreamed.

Plain and simple? IT’S FUCKING UP EVERYONE’S EDUCATION. Not one single child in a fully mainstreamed classroom is getting the education they deserve. (If you want me to throw in some numbers here from some research studies, forget it. I spent enough time staring down EBSCO Host in Psych searches for graduate research papers. I’m not going back to that soul sucking vortex for my freaking blog. You can do one of three things here… you can: 1. Take my word for it (this is the easiest, and most painless option); 2. go to your local library, put on some waders, and jump into the gooey love that is EBSCO in hopes of finding research to either prove me right or wrong (depending on your druthers); 3. use your goddamn powers of logic. If they have been exhausted from the earlier exercise, please see option (1.).)

I remember when I was in kindergarten and a rather patronizing bitch woman came into my classroom and informed us that there would be some new students coming to our school, and that these students were not like us-they were special. Now, of course she was referring to a group of mentally retarded students (yes, I AM going to keep using that phrase. Deal with it. Refer back to my statements regarding WHY, and DEAL with it). My response as a 5 year old? Why am I NOT special? I mean, I totally got that they were different and all that, but the way that that woman explained it to us (as though WE were the retarded ones), it made it sound as though we were now second class citizens and these new special kids were so much more important than we were, that they were to be given every consideration possible, including the pencils from our hands and the blocks from our building stash. Now, this was not mainstreaming into classrooms yet, just the introduction into the regular school. This was way back in the 1980′s before everything went to hell. We were getting ready to step into the handbasket, but it hadn’t been completely woven yet.

But these days, there are a lot of fully mainstreamed classrooms. Like (you guessed it!) The Girl’s. Two kids in her class are functioning at a 3 1/2-year-old level. So guess what? That’s the level THE ENTIRE CLASS is geared toward. No, I am not making this up, this is not hyperbole, this is information straight out of the teacher’s mouth. And it’s not her fault, she’s frustrated and screwed by the whole deal worse than anyone. Poor woman’s teaching preschool. It’s absurd. The mainstreamed kids aren’t getting the attention they need and deserve, and the other kids aren’t getting an education. And yes, I know my kid is ridiculously advanced. But you tell me what 5 year old can’t count past 10? Doesn’t know the alphabet? Can’t tell the difference between a square and a triangle or groups of crackers versus groups of pennies. Because these are the thing The Girl’s class has been working on. In fact, they’re only working on counting to 5 at the moment. And did you know that the letter “C” only makes the hard sound as in “cut”? Apparently letters in todays alphabet are no longer multi-tasking. At least, that’s what The Girl learned in the Alphabet Sounds Song the other day.

So… what have we learned today class? I hope we’ve learned that reality is out there somewhere, just waiting for us to acknowledge it again and get back to work, that it’s better to be retarded than disabled, that no kid is any more special than any other no matter how different they may be (although Mozart, Beethoven, Einstein, Monet, Picasso, people like that do stand apart… but the word “rare” would substitute nicely for special-don’t you think?), and that perhaps completely  mainstreaming our kids is NOT the best idea… for anyone… no matter how much you want your kid to be just like everyone else, he’s different… just like everyone else. Love him for it. Celebrate it. Be an advocate for what he NEEDS, not for what you WANT him to have.

And one more thing… before you get completely irate and fire off some comment slamming me for insensitivity and elitism, take a really deep breath, let it out, repeat twice more, and go back and re-read what I’ve written. Slowly. Thoughtfully. Apply logic. If you still think I’m hanging out on the crazy box drinking the kool-aid of superiority, then go ahead and write that email… I love a good competitive discussion…

it’s a new and exciting kind of monotony

… THWACK-I’ve been slammed with adulthood. Crap.

NW013

I know it’s been a stupid long time since I’ve been here, and for that, dear BlogSurfer.us (you’ve even changed your name! you sneaky little scamp), and readers (those of you whom there may or may not be), I do sincerely apologize. But here’s the thing. Life has been kind of, erm, fucked lately. Like, laundry-list-o-stupid-shit fucked. Some big, some little, some shrug off “meh” stuff, some “holy god you’ve got to be kidding shut the fuck up or I’ll do it for you” kind of stuff. And all the while, I kept thinking, I really need to write this. I really really really need to sit and write. But did I? Nooooooo. Did I curl up in the corner and cry like a baby? Yeah, a couple of times (ok, more than a couple times. Quit rolling your eyes, you lunatic of a sister, you). Did I seek solace in a few other places that shall remain nameless? Oh my yes. (You can stop shaking your head Professor, most of it was gin and tequila.) But did I sit down and write? Nope. Not a single freakin’ word. And wasn’t that the whole point of this blog in the first place? Uh, yeah, it was.  Carving out this little word-cave was supposed to give me a place to spew whatever blech I needed to so I wouldn’t have to slide into it and swim around until I was covered in the muck and dreck and dripping with ick. ‘Cause that shit is harder to get off than the sticky  shit that comes with the Easter hams. thankyouveryfuckingmuch.

And so here I am, we are, after a summer full of family drama/trauma, one kidlette in kindergarten and another in preschool, and a husband attempting to heal from back surgery. What? you say. Do explain! Drama? Trauma? Surgery? And what about being slammed with adulthood? That sounded painful! Yeah, well… there’s no one to play nurse-maid for ME, so slap a fucking bandaid on it, rub some dirt in your eye and get back in the game. Right? Fuck that, it fucking HURTS!!! And I’m TIRED! And everyone in this god forsaken house (which, by the way, hates me on some base level, but we’ll get to that later) is either broken, sick, 4-years-old, or some evil combination of the afore mentioned maladies.

Someone made the comment to me recently that “sucking it up”, although it is not technically a psychiatric term, really ought to be simply for it’s descriptive perfection. And she has the qualifications to say this, by the way, the MD after her name and everything. And she’s not one of those half-assed psych docs who get paid insane amounts of money to throw drugs at people without ACTUALLY doing any REAL therapeutic work with them. She’s a give-it-all-you’ve-got kind of doc, and dare I say human being in general, and I get to say this because, well, I’ve known her for that many years and through that many evolutions. But back to the “sucking it up” thing… So she makes this comment to me, and it was (is) so fucking appropos of the last couple of weeks.

(And yes, I know that EVERYONE has to just suck it up and get on with things, so don’t start finger waggling and head shaking and thinking Oh lord, here she goes again, all this Poor Me song and dance again because A. I’m venting here, that’s what this is for; B. Really? You think this is self-indulgent? and 3. Even those of you reading this who might 1. know me, 2. be related to me, or 3. think you may have some sort of strange stalker-esque soul connection with me, you still don’t know the whole story, so judge not lest ye be fucking judged. M’Kay? Yes, I’m a little touchy ’bout that. It’s an issue. I’m working on it.)

Moving on…

I had a point, there was one when I started this, although I think it may have morphed in the two days since I started writing. I was going to give you a sort of “best of” (hah-best of-more like blooper reel) recap… the reunions with two friends I haven’t seen in almost 20 years that made me feel indescribably loved, the family reunion that was strange in a California-meets-North Dakota in Montana sort of way (just think about that one for a minute, you’ll figure it out… it IS that descriptive, and it IS what you’re picturing… probably… just add elderly farmers and ranchers), and the annual family vacation that quite literally crushed a large part of my heart, twisted a medium sized chunk of my brain, and sucked just the smallest bit of my soul right out (no, not exaggerating on that one, and it all happened in the span of roughly, 0h, 10 minutes? 15?Families can be just so super duper sometimes). And then of course there’s the beginning of kindergarten, which is, dear Professor, beginning to atrophy The Girl’s brain already…

And then of course there’s The Husband’s back surgery and consequent convalescence, which does pretty much throw off my whole fucking day. As a person who is NOT built for constant companionship,  this constant companionship is driving me batshit. I keep thinking it wouldn’t be so bad if he wasn’t so broken, or if he was handling it better, or more helpful while he’s here ALL FUCKING DAY, but mostly it’s just that I’m The Mom. And at this point, I’m The Mom to a kindergartener, a preschooler, and what amounts to a college kid living in the basement. At least he’s not as stoned as he was before the surgery, and yes, he does help with the kidlettes, but there’s too much yelling. Too much impatience. Not enough love. Doubles my work, makes everyone feel like shit. Kids, me, Husband, everyone.  It’s like walking a very tight, very thin wire in bare feet-it cuts, and you bleed, but you have to stay up there and balance because you finally made it up there, you managed to get all the shit balanced in your hands, on your shoulders, and you’re keeping your eyes closed because if you open them you might not see the end of the wire-there might not be anywhere to set anything down. So yeah. I’m tired of sucking it up. And I’m just tired. Really fucking tired… and thirsty. Where’s the goddamn gin?

NW018

forget accidentally, it was totally on purpose

… I haven’t been neglecting my blog, I just refuse to post halfassery. And I can hear you rolling your eyes over there, yes you, in the corner, so just knock it off. The head shaking to . You look ridiculous.

Maybe it’s the fact that I now know that there are certain… uh… elements reading my blog that has caused my obvious lack of, well, blogginess. I could totally go with that except that I have this drafts folder that is chock full of bloggy goodness, now completely fucking obsolete as it was oh-so-timely in it’s inception and bloggy beginnings but completely totally pointless as this, well, point. And it’s not that the everyday stupidity of people has stopped irritating me to the point that I need to rail at the general populous via this, my all-purpose bitch-box, soap-box, kleenex-box, giggle-box, what have you, far from it. Mayhaps I’ve become so entirely overwhelmed with the present contents of my life that everything but the pinpointed task at hand has been relegated to a background blur. I so feel the picture of my avatar these days. Let’s call her Mavis. Mavis is tired. Mavis needs a nap. Mavis needs a drink. Mavis needs a vacation somewhere away from her daily life and to come home to a clean house with no laundry waiting. To dream the impossible dream…

Halfassery, general stupidity, and parents who raise their children and forget to instill a moral compass are at the top of my list of things that make me want to turn off the filter that sits between the complete asshole part of my brain that thinks things like “Seriously? You can’t read the fucking sign that says ‘Slow traffic to the right’ you dumb fucking cunt? Put down your cell phone and your cigarette you Jerry Springer white trash whore and CHANGE LANES you fucking IDIOT!!!” and my mouth. It’s a good filter. I know this, because I don’t usually say these things out loud. And if I do let it fall out of my face, it’s not with anyone else in the car and the idiot driver on highway 12 in the early ’90′s model red ford taurus with the blonde hair and blue shirt sure as fuck can’t hear me.

HOWEVER

I’m beginning to wonder if perhaps a little more unfiltered spewage from the intelligent set might not do the dumbass set some freakin’ good. Lately, I have been inundated with not just dumbassery, but MEAN dumbassery. For no good reason, just mean spirited bitchy dumbassery. Some of it even borders on plain old fashioned stupidity, which just makes me want to slap that person. Hard. Repeatedly. With a blunt object. Now, I’m a yeller. Always have been. Just something cathartic about letting it all go in a loudly projected voice. Perhaps it’s the actress in me, or the third-child-screaming-to-be-heard-ness that’s still lingering around my edges, but I am a yeller. So when confronted with dumbassery that borders on stupidity presented to me on a bitchy silver platter, my poor tongue has a hard time remaining not only filtered and civil, but… INSIDE voice. Not such an issue say, inside a speeding car on the highway, but in pretty much every other situation? BIG HUGE GINORMOUS ISSUE.

So I’m tired. Tired of filtering, tired of keeping my volume down, tired of having the joy sucked out my life by the continual stream of assholes and idiots that seem to run so rampant around here. Tired of the shit The Husband is putting up with from every conceivable direction, tired of The Children who are too smart for their own good and exhaust me mentally as well as physically. Tired of not having everything I need to make me feel altogether whole, complete, and at home… so tequila and bad tv and sleep and off to another day of the same idiots in different shirts. Or different idiots in the same shirt… I do live in a small town with limited shopping…

where the hell is my decoder ring? (I edited. You got a problem with that?)

… omg, wtf cd sum1 plzzzzzz tel me wut hpnd 2 rl wrdz? dz ne1 uz dem nemor? :(


11005

Linguistically speaking, it may well be the end of the world as we know it. And, unlike the members of R.E.M., I’m feeling somewhat dizzy and slightly nauseated trying to translate some of the shit crap thumbvomit nonsense fingerbabble symbolic verbiage that’s passing for communication these days into actual words. I mean, I realize that texting only lets you have x amount of characters to get your point accross, my phone lets me have 160 for example. And Twitter (because I need to know what various people are doing every second of the day? Now there’s a soapbox I could preach from for DAYS and DAYS and DAYS) gives you way less. Maybe I just have too much to say. Lord knows I have something to say about pretty much everything. Really. Ask anyone who knows me. I mean, I can accept that the King’s English is dead, and the Queen’s English is lying in the crypt right next to it. We speak and write  American. And with the world fast becoming more and more intertwined with the world wide web and everyone going wireless, it would seem that email, texting, and tweeting (it has its own dictionary — the twictionary — did you know that?!?!?) is quickly replacing not only face-to-face communication, but also vocal communication and the fully written word. And when I say written, I mean by hand. With a pen. Or pencil. Maybe I even mean fully typed with no abbreviations or cute little emoticons to take the place of actual adjectives and/or descriptive phrases. Yes, yes I think I do mean to include the latter bit. Wow. That makes me rather sad. In other words, :(  . And when I say fully, I mean FULLY. As in, using all of the vowels and consonants in the correct order and amount prescribed by a universally accepted academic dictionary. I am neither lol-ing about this, lmao-ing, rofl-ing, rotflmfao-ing, or any combination thereof. Although some of you reading this may be. Just don’t bdcoyn* while you’re doing it. It’s so hard to get of the keyboard.  

You see, language is one of my particular pet peeves. Really? you say, possibly with a slight gasp of disbelief. Yes, really. Granted, I do play it pretty fast and loose with the rules of grammar and punctuation in here, but this is sort of like me talking, and this is the way I talk; run-on sentences are one of my most favoritest things in the whole wide world and I like to split the occasional infinitive, not to mention create my own words — Dr. Seusse and Edgar Allen Poe did it, I figure what the hell. With all the words being dashed from the dictionary each year, SOMEONE needs to be creating new and exciting bits to take their places. And what is it that has raised the ire of my linguistic police you may ask? Well, dear readers, that would be (and I admit this with only the slightest bit of late night internet shame) my new found porn-like soft addiction to FarmTown. Thank you, FaceBook, for creating yet another time sucking application that has pulled me in like a bermuda triangle of virtual social-interaction, where I can lose hours upon hours staring at the most adorable little pretend me plowing, planting, harvesting, and buying trees and squirrels for my own little virtual farm. 

11288

That doesn’t sound linguistically offensive, you mutter (yes, I can hear you, and I see you smirking — yes you, over there to the left, and you too, condron.us, I see you rolling your eyes). THAT part isn’t. THAT part is all point-and-click, wander wander wander solitary time sucking fun. It’s interacting with the OTHER little farmers that makes me question the literacy of the human race. Anyone out there who has played this game knows EXACTLY what I’m talking about. It’s called the Marketplace. It’s where you take your cute little farmer-you to either find workers or find work. People literally BEG for these little game jobs. Occasionally, it’s loads of fun. More often, it’s obnoxiously spammy and full of horrid grammar, when they bother to use real words, and even the short-hand twit-text abbreviations of the abbreviations are usually misspelled, drawn out, and dammit people, just plain wrong and bad. If you don’t have time to type out an entire word, or two, or, god forbid, and ENTIRE SENTENCE, do you really have time to be playing an online game in the firstplace? Hmmm? HMMMMM????? Ponder that one, Farmer whose-name(s)-I-won’t-reveal-beacause-I-don’t-want-to-make-you-feel-badly-about-yourself. (Okay, we all know it’s just because I can’t remember the names. I have young children who suck my brain power. Lay off.)

YOF_083L

So given all of the above, I have to say the creators of WordGirl should be given some sort of award for combatting the spread of this new viral form of linguistics by making real words, BIG words, honest-to-God look-em-up-in-the-dictionary words cool. I’m not sure what that award should be yet, but I’ve been working on it.Something along the lines of “Coolest Superhero or Superheroine Cartoon Character Who Educates without Pandering and Entertains Adults as well as Children” of the year award. Or something. I love WordGirl. If WordGirl had been around when I was growing up, I would have been WordGirl every freakin’ year for Halloween. Yes, its characters are somewhat corny at times (I mean, her sidekick is a monkey named Captain Huggyface. Really. Swear to god. His alias? Bob. I am not making this up.), and it’s packed with bad puns from start to finish, and yes, the villians are not your run of the mill bad guys (Chuck the Evil Sandwich Making Guy, for example, still lives in his mother’s basement). But this is part of why we love it; the Husband and I can laugh at the bad jokes, which are INTENDED to be above the heads of the younger viewers (apparently we’re supposed to watch tv WITH our children, not use it as a handy diversionary tactic in order to take a shower, do the dishes, yadda yadda yadda. Who knew.), and the kidlettes learn words like sweltering. What 5-year-old uses the word sweltering? Properly? In context? Spontaneously? Weeks after being introduced to it? My 5-year-old. Mine does. 

God bless you WordGirl, and your witty, logophilic creators. I wonder if I can follow them on Twitter…

(psst — http://www.thirteen.org/kids/video/  has full episodes… if you’re, you know, curious…)

* bdcoyn?  blow diet coke out your nose. As in, I just lmfao and bdcoyn all over my keyboard. And don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about, you know you’ve done it.

full frontal nudity (edited. I’m on a roll folks. Deal with it.)

… mom, why is the front porch naked? 

Ah, summer in The Other Dakota.

NW007

Wait — it’s only May. Why isn’t it still snowing? Or raining? Or at the very least, melting and flooding my basement causing me to fill the garage with various semi-soggy and slightly-damp crap and non-crap stuff from the overstuffed basement? It has been freakishly warm for the last few days. And while I am prone to hyperbole, this is NOT an overstatement. Today was in the 90′s. I kid you not. If I wanted weather like this, I would be in Arizona. Oh wait — the army decides where we live… never mind…

Thank GOD it wasn’t so freakin’ hot over the weekend. I was so proud of the Husband and myself. We were all kinds of grown up… tending to the yard with the mowing and the weeding and the planting and the weeding and the mulching and the weeding and the trimming and the weeding and the cleaning and the weeding and the weeding and the weeding. Did I mention that there was some weeding to be done? Between the crack quack grass and the insidious tree that seems bound and fucking determined to take over EVERYTHING including the cracks in the sidewalk (I don’t even want to THINK about what sort of rooting it’s got going on under the house, in the foundation, under the siding… it’s like that possessed tree in the first Poltergeist movie — you know, the one that was actually scary?) the weeding has been piling up. And that doesn’t include the iris bed that has been neglected since last summer, poor Dutch irises trying to push their way up under the fronds of death from last year that didn’t get cut down. Some are having more luck than others. The Boy finds this HILARIOUS.

“Look mom — they’re like accordians!”

Yup. They sure are. Smooshed, pale green accordians. I can hardly face those poor struggling fronds.

So as I was gardening my fingernails off, literally, and the kidlettes were making pretty pictures on the sidewalk and playing in the neighbors yard (they love her — she has a swingset. I love her. She has a swingset. She feeds them raisins. Of her own volition.) the Husband was removing the increasingly-dangerous lawsuit-waiting-to-happen railing-of-death from our front porch. I have no idea how old this wrought-iron railing was, but one of the main posts, as in THE main post that a person in need of support would grab onto for said support, had rusted through at the bottom footing. So, uh, yeah… no support there. Not to mention that the kidlettes have recently decided that they LOVE to hang onto the railings and swing like monkeys. I dare any thinking person to spend time with toddlers and then honestly deny the idea of evolution. I mean really. But back to the porch…

Apparently the Husband had put on his Grown-Up Socks that day, because not only did he mow the lawn, trim the edges, and vacuum the bits (yes, we occasionally vacuum the lawn. you should try it sometime. shop-vac instead of sweeping to clean everything up. Sounds insane, looks ridiculous while you’re doing it, but your lawn will look absolutely fan-freaking-tastically clean around the edges), he also took down the railing-o-death, took it APART, CLEANED THE PORCH, and THEN measure AND priced out new rails. ALL IN THE SAME DAY!!!!!

Yup,  Grown-Up Socks. Two pair. Unfortunately, those socks ended up lying in the middle of the livingroom floor at the end of the day… apparently they lose their magical powers once they walk into the house. I wonder if the Boxer Shorts of Maturity are immune to such boundaries… and do they come in a three-pack?

so here’s what happened

… I mean, it’s a blog for godssake — it’s not rocket surgery.

This is, roughly, the twelvteenth post that I’ve started to write since I got up on my little soap box and had my little verbal tantrum about the state of the public education system and my fears about what will happen to the Girl once the system gets her into its clutches next year. Apparently, after my small tirade, I sat down on my soap box, and have yet to stand back up from my little meditation. Why? Good fucking question. I’m not sure I have any concrete answers yet, but while I was writing and then NOT writing those other eleventeen witty little bits of … uh… blogginess, I did develop several theories regarding my soap box sit-in.

So here’s what happened… After I unintentionally abandoned my darling little blog due to the finally undeniable pull of the universe and the unfortunate incident with the sucking vortex that was the laundry monster, there were a couple of weeks were I actually had my shit together. I KNOW!!! Tell me about it! I was as surprised as anyone. Probably more so, considering I was the one who did all the work, and there was no bribery involved, no threats of … well, anything really. No reason other than an apparent need to defy the universe and exert my all-powerful mom-&-wifeness with a giant Fuck You, Natural Descent Into Entropy, I’m Cleaning My House. And then the last day of school came, and I decided to take the afternoon off, drink a beer (or two), and that’s how I ended up on my education soap box. I was not, however, expecting to actually get RESPONSES to the freakin’ thing. So, that sorta’ sat me on my ass right there.

Now, I said I had “several theories”, as in more than one. So theory 1: knocked on my ass by the fact that people are reading my blog, just by coincidence happen to be stuck on a soapbox at the time.

Included in those responses was one particularly affecting… erm… comment from someone both near and dear to me but is not, and this was the real surprise, my lunatic sister. (Who, btw, you should all know is NOT, in all reality an actual lunatic, clinically speaking anyway, just really really goofy at times.) So this near-and-dear, we’ll call her Professor, because she is (among other things), wrote me a really long, really heartfelt, really personal… response, really, that dredged up a lot of shit from my own frequently painful school years as well as making a lot of good points from a teachers perspective. Again, THUNK, on my ass, this time with my jaw sort of hanging open (but not drooling, thank-you-very-much) because 1.) the Professor reads my blog? Seriously?     !?!?!   and 2.) recalling various and sundry memories of the years between the ages of 10 and 17.

Now, the Professor comes from the Right side of my family. And by that I mean the side of my family that is always right. We have a tendency to not only speak our minds, but we are strongly opinionated and tend to speak in a manner which makes people think we know what we’re talking about even if we’ve no freakin’ clue. Can you say German heritage? So poor Professor, knowing that she had brought up a lot of that less than pleasant muck, was having clicker’s remorse about sending that particular message. (I know this because I ran into her and im’d about it that day.) But ‘cept I’m a growd up now, and have gained much perspective by having my own children. The decade plus of therapy may have helped too…

So as I continued to sit on my soapbox, I wrote back to the Professor, addressing her points, and making a few more of my own, because, as I said, although I was jaw-agape I was not drooling incoherently, just becoming slightly glassy-eyed and dizzy from the height of the soapbox. There was one more note from the Professor because 1.) she’s got the teacher’s perspective, 2.) she’s got a mother’s perspective, 3.) she’s seen 2 bright girls through the public school system and 4.) one of those girls did really well and one of those girls not so well. So she’s got a lot of wisdom to share, and I’m more than glad to be on the receiving end, even if it knocks me on my ass for more than one reason and renders me slack-jawed and just a little dumbstruck (okay, I admit there may have been a little drooling, but just a little!).

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to do housework from atop a soapbox, but it’s damn near impossible. I did some directing, but for the most part, I adopted an Om pose and let entropy have its way with me.  Which brings me to the final theory regarding my continued residence atop said soapbo, sitting upon said ass. It’s been less than a week since I took up my Om pose (a grand total of 5 days — 6 if you count that first day off) and while nothing is out of control, there are no sucking vortexes of laundry, no battles between dirty laundry and dirty dishes for domain over the hallway  or kitchen, and the only thing that is really in desperate shape is the Things’ room (that actually may be close to sucking vortex status, but I refuse to get close enough to confirm), my Om has become disgruntled. I am well aware that as a Toddler Life Coach and professional Military Wife, albeit the worst one ever, the cooking-cleaning-laundry schtick is supposed to be my bit. Yeah, I know. But dammit, I am NOT the only person with arms in this house! Other people ARE capable of working the broom! And the vacuum! Picking up toys! And doing it BEFORE it reaches a full entropic state, thank-you-very-much.

So the final theory? I’m a disgruntled housewife who doesn’t WANT to come down yet. There’s no laundry up here, the floors are clean, and nobody just throws shit on the floor rather than putting it away. I like my soapbox dammit. Now if only I could figure out how to get my bed up here…

mind the gap

… can we take her preschool teachers with us? 

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For those of you paying attention, I have one child who I know without out a doubt is terrifyingly smart. That’d be The Girl. The one who enters the public school system in the fall. Today is the last day she will ever spend in the wonderful world of Montessori preschool, where both of her teachers have given her three amazing years of freedom to explore her interests and talents while making sure that she doesn’t forget to cover the rest of the learning spectrum. They have spent countless hours of their own time searching the internet for extra worksheets to bring in for her so that she would be able to continue to progress at her own rate and not be held back simply because the rest of the class wasn’t working at the same level as she. And the results? I have a 5-year-old who reads at a fourth-grade and above level, adds, subtracts, multiplies, and is beginning to work with base-1o math. She understands the concepts behind basic chemistry — I couldn’t figure out how to “dumb down” the process of salt dissolving in water, so I wrote down the chemical equation and then sort of worked backwards from there. She so got it. So completely got it.

So when I dropped her off at her class today and her teachers asked me “what are you going to do with her?”, I started to cry. Because I honestly am terrified about public school. If you’re a smart kid and there are AP classes, you might be okay. But if you’re a REALLY smart kid, even the AP classes aren’t going to be enough. Unless you have teachers who are going to go way above and beyond the mark to keep you interested, into the cracks you fall. Like me. You get bored. You drop out. Maybe you go to college early. But you certainly don’t get the education you could have/should have, not if you’re stuck in the No Child Left Behind era.

This is where I step up on my soapbox and get REALLY self-righteous, so some readers may do well to turn away. Or feel free to fire back with nasty comments.

But as a child who DID get left behind, here’s the thing: the NCLB programs have done nothing less than dumb down our entire school system. The median remains the same, and yes, the lower quartiles may have been raised, but the higher quartiles are either dropping or dropping out. The best and brightest are being completely ignored and left to fend for themselves instead of being nurtured and trained to be the next generation of scientists, doctors, leaders, and great minds that we so desperately need in this country. Why do you think our country has gone to such shit over the last few decades? When I dropped out of highschool at 17 and was accepted into a private college (with academic scholarships, but no diploma, nor a GED mind you, just an insanely high ACT score), I immediately became frustrated because the college level courses seemed to me the level of what high school should have been. And again with grad school — seemed like what college should have been. I keep asking myself “when does the challenge happen?” I’ve concluded that it doesn’t. But it should. And it shouldn’t be just for those who can manage a private school education, either. Not everyone is built for college. That’s just the plain truth of it. Just like not everyone is meant to be a parent or a lawyer or a doctor. We all have our particular path in life, and there is no shame in being a mechanic or a salesperson, or a chef or a stylist, or even a fast food worker. Not if you do that job to the best of your ability, with pride of workmanship each and every day. But don’t you dare dumb down the schools to accommodate those who shouldn’t be there just for the sake of “fairness”. I got so screwed by that thinking, and fuck you if you’re going to do that to my kids. I’m not built to be a homeschooling mom, but dammit if I won’t work three jobs to find some private school or afford the gas to drive to the nearest charter school so my kids can get a real education.

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There will be no falling into the educational abyss for my children. I’m minding the gap.