Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Driving Can Be Hazardous To Your Mental & Spiritual Health

I'm sure this is no surprise, but driving in today's society is a bit like playing roulette... as the little ball.

A few days ago the kids and I had to run out in the afternoon. I decided not to take the typically most congested road out of our town and opted instead for the slightly longer route. It involved a bit of construction and many 4-way stops.

Let me just pause here to ponder the 4-way stop. It seems like an efficient traffic control option for a country founded on the principles of freedom, personal responsibility to the social good, and just plain common sense. The 4-way stop is actually a surprisingly good meter for the common sense and manners of our fellow countrymen. You'll see what I mean in a moment.

The ideal 4-way stop experience would involve multiple cars coming to a full stop, the drivers paying strict attention to giving the right-of-way to the vehicle on their right, and proceeding through when it is safe and legal to do so. Simple, really. The REAL 4-way stop, however, is a free-for-all where only the rude and truly clueless driver are in their element. Crabby, overtired, overworked, and just plain stupid or mean people prevail in 4-way stop intersections. They just drive when they feel like it, regardless of who arrived at the stop first or whose turn it actually is.

We were nearly broadsided several times on the way to our destination. My particular favorite was the boil on the bottom of humanity driving the gigantic truck to our right. He must have been there for hours and/or got his driver's license from the proverbial Cracker Jack box, because I am at a loss as to why he thought he should drive through the intersection directly after the vehicle to my left. The next in turn, of course, was me. So I started... and had to brake midway into the intersection. He gave us a lovely hand gesture, which all of my children saw and a couple commented upon. Niiiiiice. Really nice. What a guy, flipping off a mom with children in the van.

Crying on the freeway because you are so angry is not a good idea, but I did it anyway. I was angry because he was not the first OR the last one to do such a thing to us that day. And yes, when Mr. Anonymously-Driving-Thousands-of-Pounds-of-Metal purposely drives in a dangerous, illegal manner and then has the presence of mind to yell at me and gesture obscenely, I do feel that the action was completely directed at ME and my family. It ceased being a clueless or random act of idiocy when he flipped the bird. It is evil to make a gesture like that at a woman driving a minivan with children in it. Especially a woman who is driving like a normal, sane person. (Hm. Do you think I'm a bit bitter about this?)

Back to some sort of point. What I see happening at the 4-way stop is exactly what I see in the rest of society these days. Don't feel like waiting your turn? Just go - the rules don't apply to you. Annoyed because you can't see around the minivan in front of you? Go ahead, pass on the right and press on through - the rules don't apply to you either. Once people think no one is looking (and that's exactly what we think when we climb into our vehicles - admit it), or at least that no one will know who we are, we suddenly have a lot more in common with Mr. Hyde than Dr. Jekyll. We cave in to those vicious thoughts and urges, and it's safe to do so because there's no face on the other vehicle that we have to look at. We suddenly think we are the only ones that matter, our task or errand is more important than anyone else's.

It's shameful. I admit, I'm ashamed that I absolutely wished for that man to, at the very least, experience a breakdown in the middle of the construction zone during rush hour traffic. Preferably a breakdown involving train tracks, cement, mud, tar and feathers. An oncoming train would have added a nice touch. That makes me no better a human being than he... But I will maintain that I am the better driver.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Joys of Dealing With Government Agencies

Augh! I had to order more birth certificates from Vital Records. I am supposed to send in an affidavit of intent to homeschool within 30 days of beginning homeschooling. I have to have certified copies of the birth certificates to do that. Ok. Fine. I downloaded the request form at the Vital Records website, wrote my check and sent it off at the beginning of September.

Today I get my forms and my check BACK with a letter that says as of September of 2004 they no longer accept personal checks as payment, BUT IT CLEARLY STATES ON THE FORM *ITSELF* THAT PERSONAL CHECKS ARE ACCEPTABLE! Augh!!!! So NOW I have to send in my debit card info because some idiots in a government agency don't give a rat's fuzzy rump about the accuracy of their own stupid forms. And I'm upset because I will probably miss the deadline for registering the affidavits (which is probably not a big deal, and I am keeping copies of all correspondence to back me up). I am also irritated beyond measure because I have tried to call the office twice to speak with a customer service rep - when I select the "speak to a representative" option on the voice system IT HANGS UP ON ME. Every. Single. Time.

To say that I am unimpressed by my state's government today is an understatement.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Do You Know Where My Children Were At 9:40 This Morning?

I didn't either. I discovered them in an upstairs bedroom building with Legos. What's wrong ith that you wonder? Well... after breakfast, the routine around here is to clean up, get dressed, do a few chores and get started with school by 9:00.

Amazingly they knew when SNACK TIME was, but not when to start school. Hmmm.

Monday, September 17, 2007

It Is Monday

Doesn't that just say it all?

I have picked up more times than I ever should. I have sent WB to the corner more times than I thought possible. Even the baby has been confined to her playpen. Why?

Because we own a dog who actually would like to drink clean water and eat clean food.

The smallest people in our house have dumped the dog food into the water multiple times today. Once was not enough fun apparently. I am at my wits' end.

I want chocolate. And I'm not sharing.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Where's The Hair?

Miss M is still sporting a peach-fuzz head. She has 6 or 7 long hairs near the crown of her head and a rim of 1" long hair around the back of her head. She looks like a little old man. Until she smiles... then she looks like Spongebob Squarepants.

I want to buy barrettes. I want to buy headbands. I want to comb some hair!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Hampered Again

I really like those little fold-away hampers our Fearless Leader finds at the local dollar store. They twist open, they're light enough to tote up and down the stairs, they're inexpensive. Well, they're inexpensive IF you get more than one use out of them. How do I know this?

Wonder Boy has disemboweled the fifth hamper this year. For some reason that I am just incapable of grasping, the boy likes to work the wires out of the skeletal frame of these hampers. If he disappears on laundry day, I know that I have mere seconds to rescue a hamper from this fiend. And the kicker is that then I have to worry about a toddler with exposed wires. Think about this: Wonder Boy... Wire. Wonder Boy... W.I.R.E.!!!!!! Not good.

I should have known that I've been failing in my mission to teach him to use his super powers for good - last week he managed to separate his super-cape from the tie. I'm thinking there's a parallel here... stripping off the cape of all that is holy and good in this world and abandoning it for a life of crime. Apparently he' s begun his Reign of Terror by holding my hampers hostage.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Form E-Letter For Homeschoolers

On a favorite homeschooling board I frequent, several moms were talking about incessant phone calls. Typically this is not something I deal much with... but it always helps to be prepared. I came up with a form letter/email. Feel free to plagarize:

Hi everyone!

Just a quick email to update everyone on all the goings on. Buttercup is doing well in cheer practice, Bufford is almost done reassembling Daddy-O's engine... just missing a few screws and found some extra bolts. Daddy-O did manage to lose 47 pounds from walking to and from work though. Junior's carrots are growing well and Miss Bessy found a new use for dry spaghetti.

Oh, before I forget: we decided to try a new schedule this year. Between the hours of 9am and 2pm we are implementing a strict no-phone, no-door policy. We ponied up for voice-mail though, so don't worry about us missing out.

Ciao for now and take care!
The Crazy Homeschooling Relatives (insert your name here)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Who IS This Child?

And what has he done with Wonder Boy?

Oh, we had many wonder moments today... but today was exceptionally good. We had our first Park Day of the year with our home schooling group. I was not looking forward to it. Actually, I was looking forward to seeing my friends and having the kids play - but I was not looking forward to taking Wonder Boy to the park.

Think about it. A park. It has playground equipment (good), bathrooms (necessary evil), grassy knolls (ok... but they lead to the surrounding neighborhood), a parking lot (very, very bad), and is bordered by roads (so bad, there aren't enough adjectives to go around). I had visions of duct taping him to the back of the stroller and stuffing a cheeseburger in his mouth as a gag.

But... he LISTENED. He stayed on the playground 98% of the time. He ventured out to the grass and came back when I showed him back to the playground. He wandered to the bathrooms and came back when I showed him back to the playground. He immensely enjoyed the fire truck that came to hose the kids down (it's horrifically hot here in the desert) and the fire crew had no need to rescue him.

And when it was time to leave, he got in his carseat and didn't pitch a fit. I was dumbstruck.

Today had to be one of the calmest days this child has ever had.

Something Must Be Wrong With My Alarm Clock

Instead of yelling "Blah! Bah! AaaaHHHH!" at 6:03 a.m., she did it at 6:07 a.m.

I don't think that counts as "sleeping in."

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I Have A Plan

It involves duct tape, cotton balls, a room with a door...

...and Wonder Boy.

The plan is a work in progress and I need to iron the kinks out. Plan A would involve duct taping the boy to a wall in the room with a door and then placing cotton balls in my ears. Plan B would involve duct taping cotton balls to the walls of the room with a door (think "padded cell") and locking myself in. I haven't come up with a Plan C yet.

I'm also implementing Plan Pizza tonight.