Saturday, March 27, 2010

What Sarah Said to Me While I Was Writing That Last Post

As I sat here tip tap typing away on the keyboard, Sarah twirled about my chair, making up songs. I was enjoying this one:

My parents are both so sweet,
they give me lots of kisses,
even when I am very bad.

I should mention here that last night, Sarah was very bad.

When I commented that her song was nice she stopped her dance and said "Mommy I like you so much today" while patting me on the arm and looking sweetly into my face. She stopped patting, but continued gazing, while she followed up with "Yesterday I didn't like you at all."

What To Do With Kate All Stinking Summer

For the first time, I am faced with the conundrum of what to do with my child when schoooooooool's out for the summer. In January, I was panicked. Every day camp I'd come across operated from 9AM to 1PM or something equally inconvenient. Luckily the ultra-organized and helpful Kore (or, as the girls call her, Catherine and Margaret's mom) sat down over a cup of coffee with me and told me how she handles this sort of thing. The answer requires basic knowledge of MS Excel. You figure out which weeks you need to fill, you find camps with before and after care, you enter all the data into your spreadsheet and you hold on tight to that thing or you'll never get your kid where she needs to go. In my case, there's also a chance you won't remember where you're supposed to pick her up on any given evening.

This morning was the opening day of summer camp registration for the City of Decatur's recreation center camps. I got all my paperwork in order and dutifully arrived at the rec center moments before registration opened at 9AM. A mere 3 hours later I had Kate all registered for the 4 weeks of camp she'll be attending there and I knew several more of my neighbors. One of them even found out she's going to be an aunt while we all sat there...waiting and waiting and waiting...I bet her sister conceived, missed her period and then took the test all while we were sitting there.

This summer Kate will, at 4 different locations, enjoy Mixed Media Mania, Imagination Creation (vague, I know, but I think that might be the point), Dream & Discover, Ocean Commotion (assonance and alliteration are popular among the camp namers...hold for one more...), Space Station Vacation, Triple Threat Gymnastics (maybe we'll reach the ER deductible on our insurance that week), Swim Camp, Dance Camp and maybe Zoo Camp. It's March and this summer has already worn me out completely.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

What I Did On My Two Day Vacation

When 2009 drew to a close, somehow I had 3 vacation days that I simply didn't have time to use. No worries, I rolled those over to 2010. Just like with Gremlins, though, there are rules. I had to use the days before March 31 or they would disappear forever. Just to be on the safe side, I decided not to feed them after midnight, too. So, I took 2 days off at the end of last week and I have next Friday off. My own, personal vacation! I've had a 4-day weekend, and the first 2 days of it were spent alone. I'd decided to use them to work on our little kitchen garden. The weather forecast was promising. I allowed myself to become excited.

Wednesday was cold and rainy. Thursday morning it was still wet and cloudy. I waited for the clouds to burn off. I used the time to go borrow our friend Chad's tiller, using my brother's truck, which I'd traded him for my Civic the night before (succkkkkkkerrrrrr). Here is what the garden space looked like Thursday morning.

And here is a picture of Monkey, who, it turns out, is not a good gardening assistant. He is, however, adorable.

So anyway, wow, that looks crappy, right? Whooo-wee, I know it. Thanks to one of my 2 new heroes, Chad (more on the the second shortly), I was able to make pretty quick work of destroying the weeds and turning the soil. Even though the tiller gave me a giant bruise on my left arm and made my forearms incredibly sore, I fell in love with it. Having built the few tiny beds I made last year entirely by hand, the tiller would have to do me a lot more physical damage to lose my affection.

I spent Thursday tilling and carrying big rocks, one at a time, from the giant rock pile in the back yard (it's going to get gone next Friday when Alberto and his silent friend come and make that happen) and creating new walkways with lots of cedar mulch, which was on sale at Home Depot for $1.25 a bag. The sun came out and the clouds went away and it was a perfect day to spend playing in the mud. I had to put Monkey on the porch because he kept trying to attack the tiller. Oh, and I found a little garter snake out there! I placed him safely out of harm's way and hoped one of the hawks didn't eat him now that he was out in the open.

Then daycare called at 1:freaking:30 and said Sarah was crying when she peed. I had to stop what I was doing to get her to the doctor only to learn that she does not have a urinary tract infection. She was thrilled to be hanging out with mommy. I was happy she wasn't really sick but I will most likely hold this against her until my dying day. I'm like that.

Friday came and it was perfect. I biked at 5 and didn't even start out freezing but warm up. No, for the first time in months, I was only sort of cold at first. Then I waited impatiently for the sun to rise so I could start moving rocks again (I hate you, Daylight Saving Time). I finished building my beds and walkways and then, still using Steve's truck, went and picked up my second new hero, Brendan, who helped me get a ton of free compost from behind the jail. He provided a bunch of giant buckets (which were actually also Chad's, which he got from Greg, our friend who works for Trees Atlanta and let Chad have all those tree buckets after plantings), and pitch forks, and showed me the short-cut to the giant compost heap. Then he filled about twice as many buckets as I, helped me stack them on top of each other in the truck and helped me set them strategically around the beds. I also got some help with that from Alberto and his silent friend, who had come to examine the giant rock pile to better know what they're going to be up against next Friday. That's the giant rock pile on the left.

So I mixed some of the compost (which smells so wonderful and looks so pure and rich I just wanted to lie down in it) into the tilled earth in my beds, then put a layer of awesome compost on top. Then I headed back to the Home Depot for a few new plants. Then I came home and planted them. All the while I was thinking 'I wish I could do this all day every day! I feel great!' By the time I had to shower to go get the girls on Friday afternoon, my garden space, blessed by the remains and our eternal memory of Lola, looked like this:

I planted our little sprouts, which I'd earlier moved to bigger pots, and now my fingers are all crossed that they survive. I planted a new Japanese Maple in the back corner and cleared a spot for Steve and Joy's volunteer butterfly bush that they don't want. I picked up some new Confederate Jasmine for the post next to the blueberry bush in Jeremiah's Man Space. Oh, and I did a little prep work on the area right behind our bedroom, that holds enough water to grow rice whenever it rains. See before and now below:

All that was left by Friday evening was more mulching and some clean-up. I decided I'd do all that after our many errands, etc, Saturday morning. Saturday morning arrived, and we ended up just crazy busy until about 2:00. At 2:00 Jeremiah and I had not eaten lunch and were feeling weak. We decided we needed to go eat at the Brickstore. By 4:00 I was ready to come home and hit that mulch. Except...the muscles in my body had gotten together and started a union. At 4:00 when it was time to hit that mulch the union declared a work stoppage. Everything....just...shut...down. There was nothing management could do but acquiesce. I wound up passed out on the daybed in the office while Kate watched Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs on the computer (have you seen that movie? If not, you should. Hilarious.)

Now it's raining again and the mulch is still waiting for the union muscles to get to it. It might just have to wait until next Friday.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

New Residents!

The property just north of the butterfly bushes has been vacant since it was built. A victim of the burst housing bubble, the two lovely homes went up immediately before the recession got really bad. Today, however, we had the distinct pleasure of meeting our new neighbors. A young couple has moved into Sarah House, and we have reason to believe they will have a family soon.

We all enjoyed watching them moving the furniture into their new digs. They're extremely busy today. We didn't offer to help them, we did make some helpful suggestions beginning with "you know what your problem is...", but we might stop by with some bird seed when they seem more settled. No doubt, the feline members of our family will have a lot to say about the new tenants. We let Max and Rex hang out on the screened porch when the weather's nice and this new development has me a little concerned about the safety of the screens. Still, cute birdies!

Not wanting to frighten the birds away, the girls watched the goings on from inside -

Thursday, March 11, 2010

This Week with Sarah

Sarah's in rare form this week. Cases in point:

Kate was showing off how fast she can recite her phone number. She chanted it over and over, while Sarah sat silently by. When Kate paused for a breather Sarah said "Do chickens have phone numbers?"


I told the girls I'd gotten them a surprise but they had to be very good all afternoon to get it. After dinner, when they'd eaten all their veggies, put their plates in the sink and managed not to whine, cry or fight with each other, Kate begged for her surprise while also begging for a post-dinner Girl Scout cookie. Sarah agreed that a cookie was just the thing to top off that "wonderful dinner you made us." Kate really wanted her surprise first. So I acquiesced and made the girls sit tight at the table while I went to get the cute little kaleidoscopes I'd gotten them when I went to buy a birthday gift for another kid. I handed one to each girl with a proud flourish and Kate was instantly enthralled with hers. Before I turned to get the Girl Scout cookies out, I looked at Sarah, who was just staring at me, holding her kaleidoscope. "What do you say?" I prompted. She said "this is not a cookie."

Yesterday. Romping around the kitchen with Kate. Sarah to her sister: Let's play Dead. You start.


Finally, this is currently my favorite bit of Sarah's artwork. She gave it to me yesterday proudly telling me "Mommy this is you when you're ANGRY." Apparently, when I get really mad, my hair curls.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Have You Seen My Pride & Joy?

Home at last! I returned home last night around 9ish, having caught an earlier flight than scheduled. When I got here I found a huge, handmade banner hanging in the kitchen, welcoming me home. Apparently Aunt Jo Jo put the girls to work yesterday afternoon. In the past 2 weeks I've traipsed from L.A. to Dallas to Philadelphia and back again. It was fun but being home beats all of it.

In my absence, Sarah learned to write her name all by herself and Kate won a major award, a Cat In The Hat hat, for being "the best student of the day". Apparently, I'd been holding them back. Today Kate's school is closed so I took the day off work and kept both kids here with me. So far we've worked on cards for Grammy Provost, who is having her knee replaced today (I can't wait to see what she replaces it with) - Hollah, Grammy! - made pancakes and bacon and planned an outing to the zoo. There's some talk of baking cookies when we return.After all that fun, I have a massage, followed by an adjustment, followed by plans for the bottle of wine in the wine fridge. The sun is shining, the temperature is working its way toward 50ish and I don't have to go anywhere near an airport. I will enjoy today, because tomorrow night and Sunday, I have to work (boo.)