Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Twins Take On The Laundromat

I think I might be cursed.  Everytime my husband goes on a business trip, something inevitably goes wrong.  Very wrong.  The children react to this disturbance in the Force by momentarily going over to the Dark Side...and no amount of jedi mind tricks keep them under control.  Believe me...I've tried.

"This is not the toy you are looking will leave your brother alone."

Bruce left on Saturday morning.  Saturday afternoon Jay tried to do his laundry...and realized the dryer was not working properly.  A burning smell filled the air when he opened the door.  The inside of the dryer had scorch marks in the back.  The teenagers needed laundry done.  So, I began Googling the nearest laundromats.  We found one in town...and upon arriving realized it was not, in fact, a laundromat...but a dry cleaner.  So, we sat in the parking and a van full of the rain...searching on the phone for nearby laundromats.  We found one with at decent review saying they had a kids' play area and free cookies.  That didn't sound too bad.  It was about 15-minutes away.

We arrived and unloaded the van.  We entered a somewhat dingy-looking laundromat...but it had a couple of arcade games.  And candy machines.  And it did, indeed, have cookies.  There were holes in the ceiling in various locations, where buckets had been placed underneath to catch the dripping water.  The "kids' play area" was actually just one child-sized chair and an old TV with a VHS player and assorted movies.  I contemplated the problems we would encounter with only one chair available...but we never ended up with one.  The children did not fight over the chair...mostly because none of them cared to sit in it and watch the movie.  They much preferred running around.

It was as though something had possessed my children that afternoon.  These were scary versions of my children...hellbent on terrorizing the laundromat.  They ran up and down the aisles, trying to push buttons and open doors on washers and dryers.  They kept trying to stick their hands in the door of the vending machine...and shake the candy machines.  They wanted to climb into the laundry carts on wheels...or push them down the aisle.  I received a very dirty look from one woman as I pried Owen off of a laundry cart, and then chased Connor down who was running toward the free cookies, with Owen screaming and smacking me the whole way.  They wanted to try to tip over the buckets that were catching the dripping water. 

I momentarily distracted Connor by letting him put the coins into the slots for the dryers, and had Jay let Owen pretend to play Ms. Pacman.  That was short-lived, however, as they then wanted to pretend to be cats...which entailed crawling on the dirty floor and meowing loudly at the people trying to fold their clothes. 

Everyone in the laundromat knew the names of my children...because I repeatedly said them...loudly...while chasing them. 

I finally decided that our clothes were dry enough, and instructed the older two to quickly put the laundry back into our baskets.  We would fold them at home.  As we were about to leave, with baskets and toddlers in hand, Irelynn decides that she wants to watch a movie.  She had found a Scooby-Doo Meets Batman tape.  After several attempts to tell her it was time to leave to no avail, I finally said in a voice that was on the edge of hysteria, "Irelynn Rose...NOW!!!"  She pouted, but put on her sweatshirt. 

It was now past 6:30pm...and I had decided long ago that I was not going to attempt to make dinner this evening.  We stopped to get pizza...and then, as we got within a few blocks from home we realize we are passing a building...with a sign...that says "Coin-Op Laundry."  Jay glances apprehensively at me.

"But...this one probably didn't have a children's play area..." he offered.


Then, as we tried to get everyone into the house, along with the pizza and the laundry, I realize that I had left our change jar on the floor in the living room when I had gone through it earlier searching for quarters.  I realize this as I hear the sound of change hitting something metal.  I look out and see Owen trying to insert coins into the slots of our brand new portable air conditioner.  Not sure if the extended warranty covers naughty toddlers, I yell out something I'm not proud of:

"What the Hell are you doing?!" 

Owen, shocked at the sudden noise, started crying...and thus refused to eat his dinner. 

He did concede to eat a breadstick before bedtime, and drank some milk.  I don't think I have ever been happier to have all the kids in bed. 

I wonder what Owen thought would happen when he inserted the coins into the air conditioner? 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Maureen is on the Job

I asked Irelynn what I should write about today, as I feel new pressure to update my blog.  I told her I should write about something funny.

"I know.  Bubbles."


"Bubbles are kind of foamy."

" foamy...funny."

"Oh.  I know...clowns."

I'm not sure I'm educated enough on the topic of clowns to write a decent blog entry.  It probably doesn't really apply to my family life, either, unless I want to write a witty analogy about how my life is like a circus.  I did not realize I was out of coffee yesterday, so I am too caffeine-deficient to write a witty analogy.  Instead, I think I will mention my children's newest antic:  singing my theme song.

There is a song by the artist, Parry Gripp, entitled, "Maureen is on the Job."  It is sung in a high-pitched voice, and basically describes an ambitious woman named Maureen who will get the job done.  The chorus goes:

" on the job. on the job, job, job."

The three younger ones will all sing this in unison when I drive somewhere...or clean something.  While it is flattering and somewhat motivating to have my own theme song sung in the background at all times, it can also get somewhat annoying.  Like when I'm about to make a phone call, and a high-pitched voice is singing in the background.  Or when I'm sitting on the toilet, and Connor serenades me. 

I try to keep a sense of humor about it when they sing it in the aisles of the grocery store as I put items in the cart.  It is difficult to explain to the cashier why my kids are singing my praises as I pay her in the checkout line...especially if her name also happens to be Maureen. 

I had always thought it would be cool to have my own theme song growing I'm not so sure. 

I don't know if this post was as funny as clowns...but at least I know that whether I wrote it well or not, I was definitely on the job.  My kids told me so as I was typing.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Despicable Silence

My children are all quiet at the moment.  To be fair, the older two are in school...but the remaining three have been near silent for the last hour...and not one of them is asleep.  To what do I owe this delicious hour of silence?  The movie, "Despicable Me," has been playing since shortly after 7:30am.  Outside of the random quotes delivered by the 5-year-old (usually mimicking one of the minions,) they have all sat, enthralled by the movie.  I think Owen might be drooling in his silent stupor.  Connor is slowly munching on crackers (as he is almost never without food,) and Irelynn is laying down, quoting lines from the movie as the characters say them. 

I think I might take a day off today.  I shall put this movie on "repeat," set out various snacks in case they get hungry...and read a book. a nap.  No, wait...catch up on Facebook...

Owen just removed his pants.  And now they are up...and...demanding to go outside.  Well, so much for that idea.  Owen is now trying to climb on the shelf.  I guess my time is up.  It was a good hour, anyway...

Monday, May 9, 2011

911 on Speed Dial

Owen is going to be the death of me.  He has always been fearless...he was the first twin to walk, climb and jump.  He is taking his daring feats to new heights, however...and I have to keep a constant watch over him.  He likes to leap off of the train table.  And couch.  And chair.  And the stairs.  And his brother's back.  He flips over the child-size rocking chair so that he can climb and then leap off of that.  He has also mastered the backflip off of the couch.  What kind of mother, you ask, would not stop this child before he leaps?  The mother who is distracted by the other boy...who is sneaking food out of the refridgerator. 

While Connor does enjoy physical means of entertainment...such as running and jumping...he is much more interested in how much food he can consume in short periods of time continually throughout the day.  I'm not sure if he is honestly that hungry all the time...or if it is a product of being one of the youngest of five children and he is making sure he gets his fair share before it is gone.  Survival of the fittest, so to speak.  This kid eats more food than my teenage son.  Not only does he consume mass quantities of food...but he does it quickly...forcing every morsel into his mouth, causing his cheeks to stick out further than I think cheeks are supposed to stretch.  I am constantly concerned about the choking risk.  He is in and out of the fridge several times a day, pulling out anything from cheese to pieces of bologna, usually when I am distracted by the other boy...who is stacking lego bins on top of the couch so he can have an even higher platform from which to perform his crazy mega death spiral leap of doom. 

One of these days I will end up with a boy in the ER due to either choking, or head injuries.  I'm not sure which will be first...perhaps it will happen simutaneously, which will at least save me gas money not having to make multiple trips. 

Owen is also a major flirt...stopping to talk to any girls that will listen.  Connor, though he gets many compliments from ladies about how adorable he is with his long eyelashes, couldn't care less.  Is it sad that I already have visions of them as young adults?  Owen will be an athletic, wreckless player, trying to impress the ladies with some grand act of male stupidity, and Connor will be inside programming a computer, wearing a t-shirt with a logo for some popular strategy game or Star Trek the Generation after the Next, and stuffing his face with Doritos. 

That is, of course, if they manage to survive their toddler years. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Our Ten-Year Anniversary

My husband and I don't get out very much.  In fact, well, we don't get out at all.  However...ten years together calls for something more than just a "Happy Anniversary" card and some flowers.  Ten years is a milestone...not only have we tolerated each other for an entire decade, but we have been together through job changes, moves, financial pitfalls, sending children off to kindergarten...and high school, complicated pregnancies, twins, and life with five children.  This was a moment worth celebrating.  We enlisted the help of my sister-in-law, who was kind enough to come out and spend the night at our house so that my husband and I could spend the night at a hotel.  And so the adventure began.

We dressed up for the evening.  I don't remember the last time I wore a dress...I think it might have been for someone's wedding.  I think that was also the last time I wore make-up.  The latter was confirmed by my 5-year-old's comment, "Mom...that lipstick makes it look like your skin is coming off."  I'm not exactly sure what that meant...did it look like my lip was bleeding?  Did I pick a color that only zombies wear?  I checked the bottom of my lipstick tube and after confirming that the color was not Flesh of the Undead, and my lips did not look bloody, I decided that my child was just not used to my lips being an actual color. 

We took off to find a movie (planners we are not.)  We reached the theater in enough time to catch the movie, Arthur.  I did not have high expectations...but when your choices are children's movies (I was determined to see an adult movie for once) and movies you have never heard of, you go with what looks vaguely familiar and has the potential for a few good laughs.  We were pleasantly surprised to find out that this movie was not only hilarious, but actually had some decent acting as well.  (Yes, I believe I just did a plug for that movie...but should go see it.) 

We then consulted, you guessed it, the GPS, to locate the hotel.  This actually took less time than it did to find the theater, and I was not about to complain about the method of getting there...the important thing was that we were without children for an entire evening.  We checked in and went to the restaurant in the hotel.  This way we could have drinks with dinner and not have to drive anywhere.  As it turned out, the hotel restaurant was not very busy.  In fact, outside of one other couple...we were the only patrons.  Our waitress, with not much to do, was very attentive.  She encouraged us to have more was our anniversary!  She made a very valid point...I mean, how often would we be able to let loose and not worry about the consequences?  We had some more drinks.  Bruce ordered a Long Island Iced Tea.  I stuck with my wine. 

Bruce, feeling the effects of his drinks, excused himself to find the restroom.  On the way there he ran into a group of Red Hat ladies.  Being the drunk gentleman he was, he complimented them on how nice they looked that evening.  One of the ladies quickly told him that he looked pretty good himself.  Another lady admonished the first, but the first replied, "well, he does!" 

I'm not sure how my husband felt about being hit on by a woman as old as his grandmother, but being slightly buzzed myself I thought it was the funniest thing I had ever heard.

After deciding that (even though we couldn't finish our abnormally large portioned dinners) we absolutely had to have dessert, we decided to head out because we were supposed to have a bottle of champagne waiting for us.  However, in our current state of happiness we were distracted by the escalator and the desire to explore what might be at the top.  There was a wedding reception going on...and by this time most of the guests were quite happy...and unaware of their surroundings.  There was an ice sculpture there...and one man walked up to it and licked it...turned to us...and told us it was, indeed, made of ice.  This is when we knew that no one would notice that we did not, in fact, belong there.  We got in line at the bar and ordered two Rum and Cokes.  The bartender filled the glass 3/4 full of Rum...and added a splash of Coke on the top, and handed them to us.  We walked over to the dance floor and watched the people trying to dance, commenting on each person's style of drunken dancing.  Then Bruce turned to me and said, "it's too bad we didn't just come here sooner...we could have had all of our drinks for free!" 

Needless to say, after the very strong wedding reception drink, and then half a bottle of champagne that was delivered to our room...we slept quite soundly that night.  My poor husband needed some assistance getting tucked into bed...and lifted up to drink water.  The following morning he groaned in a voice that sounded like the undead, "water....waaaater."  I half considered putting my lipstick on him and making him repeat it...but I was nice.

He surprised me that weekend by fixing my wedding ring that had been broken for over a had been sitting in my jewelry box. 

While my weekend could probably be summed up by two movie titles, Wedding Crashers and The Hangover...I have to say it was quite enjoyable.  It also reminded me that while the last ten years have certainly made us older, wiser, and quite a bit more stressed...they have also made us realize just how much we do still love each other.  Hopefully in another ten years we will be just as much in love...and crazy enough to crash a wedding.  Who am I kidding...the chaos in this house times the rate of perceived stress multiplied by ten...we'll probably do something much more crazy.