Archive for September, 2010

Addison informed us Friday evening of last week that we would be going to the zoo the next morning.  He was completely matter of fact, as though this was something we had all been talking about and planning for weeks.  Patrick says he is going to grow up to be one of those tour directors.  You know, the ones that take our grandparents parents (hey, when did they get so old?) on the guided bus tours through Alaska, or Europe, or wherever.  If he does go in that vocational direction, I have my fingers crossed that he will at least work on a cruise ship.  In the Caribbean.  And be able to get his parents on for free.  In a luxury balcony suite.  With free spa treatments.  And lobster dinners.  And decadent desserts.  Oops, sorry.  There I go again, letting my imagination get away from me.

Ahem.  So back to Addison and our trip to the zoo.

As I was saying, he had our whole day planned out for us, and it didn’t appear that we had any say in the matter.  So Saturday morning, we found ourselves headed into the city to see some wild animals at the zoo.

The Oregon Zoo is beautiful, and they seem to be continually working to improve it.  We’ve had a membership since Addison was a baby, and have enjoyed it in all seasons.  Our favorite time of year to go, though, happens to be in December, for Zoo Lights.  The entire zoo is decorated gaily with Christmas lights and we ride the train through, bundled up in thick layers to ward off the freezing night air.

A couple few years ago, they opened The Great Northwest Exhibit, which includes among several other exhibits, Black Bear Ridge.  It is here that you are almost guaranteed to have spectacular views of several black bear and bobcats in their ‘natural’ habitat.   There is a viewing area in which you may find yourself literally staring into the eyes of a 600 pound black bear, mere inches from your face, separated by a thick sheet of glass (or something).  It is truly astounding.

As soon as we arrived at the zoo, Addison made a dash for the Cascade Canyon Trail, which winds its way through Black Bear Ridge, Eagle Canyon, Cascade Stream and Pond, and ends at the Trillium Creek Family Farm.  Addison was a boy on a mission, I tell you.  He didn’t even glance at the bobcats.  As we passed the magnificent bears, he tugged on my arm.  “Come on, Mom.  Let’s keep going!  Dad!  Hurry up!!!”  And Hayden kept an even pace with his big brother.  They had their minds set on something, and it wasn’t the spectacular bald eagle we could touch if we dared slip our fingers through the mesh of the exhibit.  Or the beavers splashing in the pond, or even the baby ducklings following their mama in the most adorable little line.

“Mom,” Addison said with the thickest exasperation at my apparent lack of speed, “Come on!  We can see bears and cougars at our house any time we want to!  Hurry up!  We want to go sit on the tractor!”

So we had left our home in the country and drove all the way into the big city, just to sit on a tractor.


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Boys + Water = Love

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Trying to Fly While Grounded

Yesterday was one of those days.  You know, the kind that you think you might just pack yourself into a shipping crate and mail yourself to Tahiti?  Yep.  That kind.

Of course, the person I was really wanting to ship off was my two year old, but that would just land me in jail (on second thought, a few years in solitary confinement may be just the ticket…).

It seems the worst thing that could happen if I curled into the fetal position and mailed myself off to the tropics would be that I would very likely land myself my own reality show.  I’m not sure that I am quite so desperate as to go that far.  Yet.

Which got me thinking.

Maybe it’s time to go back to work….

And this is what I envisioned:

I would pull my crew bag out of the depths of my closet.  I’d toss in a bathing suit (hmmm, I think I only have maternity suits these days), search around for a silky nightie (okay, I might have given all of those away and replaced them with more practical pants and tanks), and pack a couple of beach reads (all right, I’ll have to go to the bookstore first).

I’d take my size 6 uniform off the hanger and fit, maybe, one toe into it before popping most of the buttons and splitting the seams.  I would make a few frantic calls to the uniform department to track down a loaner in a more likely size.

I would arrive at the employee parking lot to discover my parking badge is about three years expired, then put the pedal to the metal to get over to the pay parking and still make it to the crew room in time for check-in, only to discover that due to three airport renovations in the time I’ve been gone, I no longer know where the crew room is.  I would sheepishly ask at the ticket counter for directions, and by the way, what is the code for the door?

I’d struggle through security wondering if I still have to remove my shoes, and how many ounces of shampoo can I carry?  I would more than likely wait nervously in the passenger line for a good 40 minutes before some kindly TSA who had watched me check my mandatory wrist watch for the umpteenth time would remind me to use the crew line — next time.

I would lean back into the jumpseat and briefly be reminded of my kids in their carseats as I buckle the restraints on my harness.  I would get caught up on a good portion of  the company gossip before reaching 10,000 feet.  No kidding?!  He actually did that?!  She was fired?!  They got married?!  She’s had six kids?!  I’ve been gone that long?!

In the van, I would talk and laugh with the other crew members, and make plans to meet them all later for dinner and drinks.  We would pass around the clipboard and make note of each others room numbers, and thank the scheduling gods that we needn’t schedule a wake up call.

I’d open the door to my room, and stare in awe at the quiet clean that would be all mine for the next 24 hours, before crossing the threshold into all that bliss.  I would admire the fluffed pillows, the freshly folded towels, the solitude, and then walk out to the balcony to take in the ocean view.

I would pull out a book, draw a bath, and soak until the water turned cold, and my skin wrinkled from something other than age and stress and a furrowed brow.  I would shave past my knees for the first time in years.  I would polish my toes, curl my hair, and put on a flirty sundress.

I would have a leisurely dinner of good food, good conversation, and by then, good friends.  We would laugh more, and talk more, and only stop when our yawns outnumbered the jokes.  Then we would make plans to meet in the courtyard for breakfast the next morning, or at the pool a bit later in the day.

I would fall into the mounds of heavenly pillows, and surf channels that didn’t feature cartoons.  I would stretch out in bed, by myself.  Spread eagle.  At a diagonal.  I would have all the cold spots to myself.

I would sleep peacefully and soundly, and dream of swaying palm trees, ocean breezes, and scented flowers….

“Mommy!  Mommy!  You gotta get in here quick!  Hayden just put Monkey in the shredder!”

Hurumph.  I guess it’s back to reality for me.

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By Special Appearance….

I am absolutely thrilled to announce my first ever Guest Blogger!  Many of you will be familiar with him, as he is often mentioned in my stories, however, this is his inaugural blog post.  Please join me in giving him an enthusiastic welcome to the Blogosphere, and help me to encourage and foster a lifelong love of writing in him by submitting your kindest comments!  If you have never commented before, this is the time to do it!

Let me first give you some background on the author:

Addison Boone has always been a go getter.  So eager was he to start loving life that he made his appearance to all 5 weeks and 6 days ahead of schedule, in August of 2005.  He’s been busting milestones and breaking hearts ever since.

He is by nature a bit on the shy side, but also surprisingly social.  You’ll often find him in the middle of a gaggle of girls, a sure sign of a future dream boat and ladies man.  He is also friend to rough and tumble boys, and an influential role model (mostly good) to his younger brother.  You will never meet two bigger fans than his mommy and daddy.

You can find his most recent works in our exclusive copy of the ‘Scholastic Success With Kindergarten Workbook,’ as well as in various coloring books, on paper scraps, and proudly displayed on several refrigerators and desks throughout North America.

So, without further ado, it is my great pleasure and honor to introduce to you, the one and only, Addison Boone!

*Please insert sound of crowd going wild, here.*







Please note that Addison has graciously agreed to give out autographed copies of this post to the first few readers to request one.

Update:  Tuesday Morning:

Addison was a mini version of me when we got up this morning.  He wanted to check ‘his’ blog comments right off the bat.  This is what he said, “Just four people?  Well, that’s disappointing.”  His words, exactly.  Apparently, he’s heard me lament on my lack of comments a few too many times.

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As I was blow drying my hair this morning, Addison ran into the bathroom and shouted,

“Were you scared, Mommy?” he asked eagerly.

“Nope. Not this time.”

“But Mom,” he whined, “How come I can’t ever scare you?”

I turned off the blow dryer and set it on the vanity.  “Because, honey, you are loud most of your life.  So lots of times Mommy tunes you out just so she can keep her sanity.  Especially early in the morning.  When you run up to me and yell ‘BLAH!HA!HA!HA!’, mostly I just hear ‘blahblahblahblahblah’.  Especially when I have the blow dryer on.  Better luck next time, kiddo.  Now, get so I can finish getting ready.  Love ya, buddy.”

“But don’t I ever scare you?”

“Honey, you scare me most when you’re quiet.  That’s when I know there’s something really scary going on.”

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Okay, so I guess I’m feeling better today.  A little bit.  Or not much at all.  But I did manage to get dressed, pick Addison up from school, fill the car with gas, and heat a couple of Kids Cuisine meals in the microwave before falling flat on my face from exhaustion.  That’s something, right?

Patrick left this afternoon for his flippin’ rodeo.  I guess you can tell how I feel about that.  Under normal circumstances, I would have been supportive about him going.  This is something that he and his lifelong best friend have done every year for as long as either of them can remember.  It gives him a much needed break (I know this because of how badly I need a break), an opportunity to miss at least the kids, if not me, too, and he gets to cut loose for a few days, all while satisfying that cowboy wannabe itch of his.

But with me feeling like crap, the kids being ornery nearly most of the time lately, and the last minute springing on me of his departure (did you read my last post, The Pain in My Asphalt?), I don’t consider these to be normal circumstances.  Needless to say, I was a bit peeved (that might be a slight understatement).

Regardless of my irritation, I tried being an adult and suggesting what I thought to be some fair compromises.  Could he go next week, instead?  You know, when I should be feeling better?  The rodeo will be over then?  Rats.  I tried reasoning and rationalizing with him.  When that didn’t work, I pulled out my own mother’s trusty sidekick, Guilt.  He is, afterall, Hayden’s favorite, and Hayden can barely make it through the work day in one piece while waiting anxiously to be daddy’s 5 o’clock shadow.   How could he possibly expect him to make it four and a half days?  We would all be miserable.  But no luck with that, either.

So I pulled out the big guns, and threw a mighty temper tantrum.  I cried, I yelled, I said a few too many choice words.  I stomped my foot on the ground, flared my nostrils, and clenched my fists.  I matched Hayden’s two year old tantrums kick for scream, and then some.  But that’s as much as I care to share about that.

For some reason my tantrum didn’t elicit the same response as Hayden’s do — you know, the frantic giving in to any and all demands just to make it stop?  Didn’t happen.  In any case, all I accomplished was feeling like quite an asphalt myself, and as I mentioned earlier, Patrick still went to the rodeo.

But in the end, we did civilly, and almost amicably, reach a compromise that we both could live with.  He is coming back Thursday instead of Friday or Saturday.  And I am free to go to Hawaii with my girlfriends whenever I want.

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After spending roughly the past two weeks alternately caring for the ailing members of my family, I woke up this morning with a sore throat, swollen glands, a headache, runny nose, and a generally bad attitude.  I knew it was coming.  I’ve been feeling it creeping up on me for the past few days, but I had hoped I could outrun it.  Should’ve known, as the only thing I am fast enough to outrun is the slimy snail we once watched cross our driveway in a mere three days.

To make matters worse, today just happens to be the day that our neighborhood road, the one and only way in or out of Livingston Country Estates (the name is the only thing formal about the whole bunch of us), is being repaved.  And this is what I mean when I say, ‘This day is a real pain in my asphalt.”

Let me first just say that talks about repaving our road have been ongoing for the entire 5 1/2 years that we have lived here.  There are only 10 homes on our little hill, but somehow this project has dragged on in negotiations for years.  And wouldn’t you know that once it finally comes to fruition, it has to be on the day I am sick?  Not any of the other roughly 2000 days that I have lived here in relatively good health.  Isn’t that just the story of my life?

You may be reading this and wondering what the big deal is.  Well, the only thing I really want to do today is hide under the covers and snooze the day away.  But that is only possible if I don’t have kids to watch over, which would be the case if the road were currently passable.   Then I would take Addison to kindergarten, drop Hayden off with the sitter, and crawl back into my comfy cozy bed.  But I can’t get past the end of our driveway, and it is about a 12 mile hike to the closest public transportation, which, even in my feverishly delirious state, I am wise enough to know is not an activity to take on with a two and a five year old.

Now I have a friend who has had a similar experience.  She’s the kind of woman who is always turning life’s lemons into lemonade  (I have another friend who always seems to be making lemons out of lemonade, but I digress).  When the city paved her into her driveway, she evaluated the situation, chose the best course of action, and proceeded to rip down her side fence, then just drove her car right through the yard, over the curb, and onto the adjacent road that had not yet been repaved.  This was how desperate she was to not spend another day cooped up in her house with her two little ones (who happen to be exceptionally adorable and well behaved unlike, ahem, excuse me, again, I digress).

I’m just not nearly that motivated.  And besides, instead of ripping down a fence, I’d have to find a chainsaw and take down a dozen or so extremely tall and large fir trees, and I’m really just not feeling up to that today.  So I am forced to stay upright and endure the day as it, and I, sludge on toward 5 o’clock and the promised return of my husband.

It’s not all bad, though.  Addison being the gem that he is, has tried to make me feel better.  I sat at the kitchen table, still dressed in my pajamas and robe, my chin propped in the palm of my hand, my head bobbing precariously as I tried to stay awake, and watched him circle in the pantry for several minutes, muttering to himself, “I know it’s in here somewhere.  Where is it?  Now let’s see…”  Then,  finally, “Oh!  Here it is!  MOM (too, too loud!)!!!  This will make you feel better!”  And then he placed a can of tuna in front of me.  Go figure.

Oh!  And guess what!  My husband just came home several hours early to kiss up to me, because, it seems, he forgot that the rodeo that he wants to go to is this week not next week (this is the first I’ve heard about it, so who gives a flying fig if it was next week, that’s still not enough notice!) and would I mind if he left in the morning and came back Friday or Saturday (which really means late Saturday night)?  Now that’s an ASPHALT!!!

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