Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Communications Career?

I can't tell if Boy O is trying to get me off the phone or if he is hoping to improve our DSL service. Either way it is no surprise that he has a sharp cutting tool in his hand and is looking for something to use it on. Boys in this house are drawn to dangerous instruments like mud puddles. This morning he had a pair of child's scissors in one hand and the stapler in the other as he perused the scene for a victim. Poppy, the black and white cat, was the unfortunate candidate chosen for sacrifice. A chase ensued, Boy O dropped the stapler to gain speed, but Poppy, the wiser of the two ran under the bed. At first I thought Beastie Boy O had a hold of Poppy's tail and was attempting amputation but apparently he was just as happy trying to cut the blanket on his bed.

This type of scene happens daily around here unless all effective cutting/chopping/poking tools are hidden. It is not unusual to find a boy with a less than desirable haircut, or a quilt missing a square or two out of the top, my plants always grow back with extra vigor and cutting chocolate covered raisins is a great sensory input activity. All three boys have worked extra hard to poke a hole through the wall by the computer to run the extra DSL line, and really, all people and animals in our house have all the digits they were born with so you can skip that call to CPS.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Whiff of Homeschooling

S announced last night that, "School was the best thing that ever happened to her," her brother D quickly responded with, "I think I'm one of those kids that does better without school, I can just learn on my own and stuff." How well they know themselves. S was homeschooled for kindergarten and first grade and easily made the transition to a full-fledged sit and learn classroom. I was counting on her hating it and returning home after that year, but something about her makes her thrive in the presence of others. In fact, her teacher often comments that she wished the other students would have S's enthusiasm for learning. I will take full credit for that, some of the kids in her class spent 2 years in preschool and then popped into all-day kindergarten, they were burned out before they even got to the real meat of school. She is only in her second year of formal instruction so it is still a novelty for her.

On the other hand, Boy D it trying to hold it together for the remainder of the year. He finds school to be excessively boring and has spent all year trying to figure out why it must be a 6 1/2 hour day. I hear the same exasperation everyday from him as we march into the building. His teacher is understanding and does not mind if Boy D takes "personal days" once in a while because she has no issues with his academic performance. This is key because it eliminates me having to lie and say that he is sick when he is really home building airplanes and playing with electricity.

On Friday I pulled the kids out after half a day to take them on a field trip to see Grossology in a near-by real city. It didn't occur to me what our troupe looked like until another mom asked me if I was a homeschooler. Of course we looked like homeschoolers! I had 5 kids with me (because I borrowed an extra one from a friend) during the middle of a school day and the girls and myself had some form of skirt/dress on. Not that the skirt/dress on all females is in any way an indicator of homeschooling but it did complete the picture. I admitted that we were ex-homeschoolers and had a really wonderful conversation with this woman about the positive features of homeschooling, especially for boys. I left feeling a bit torn about that fact that on Monday my kids would return to the world of "one method works for all" school.

To top it off, S had a violin performance at the Whiting on Sunday where before the grand finale they recognized all the seniors individually that have attended the Flint Institute of Music. It was very pleasing to hear the statement "A homeschooler from..." over and over, in larger proportions than I would have expected. It was even better to see that the homeschooled students didn't walk out on stage all hunched over and ogre-like to receive their certificates. I didn't expect this, but my mother, sitting a few seats down has never been able to contain her disdain for the homeschooling we did do and I'm sure she was disappointed at how poised and energetic these young people were. It went against everything she wants to believe and supported everything I do believe. I know homeschooling isn't for every family or even for every kid in a family, but it sure is nice to have a whiff of it once in while and to bring the possibility back to the front burner.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Oh Fudgsicle!

The walls in the living room are finally smooth and free of cracks after we jacked up the house 5 years ago to try to make the floor a little less tilted and the house a bit less prone to collapsing in the middle. In the construction process we lost about 1/3 of the wallpaper on the walls and now that the walls are ready I went to Giesken's to get more wallpaper. Thanks to the age of technology it didn't take them but a few minutes to tell me the pattern had been discontinued 5 years ago and the company that originally made it had also been bought out by somebody else.

Although most women would relish the opportunity to pick out new wallpaper and get a totally different look I am not most women. When I found this particular pattern there was a spark between us, it was in the first pattern book I looked at and even though I pretended to continue to debate others I knew this was the one. Seven years later I am still fond of it and I can't imagine any other selection would fit our house like this one. In fact, as I have been scrolling through patterns I am only drawn to those with large floral patterns on dark red backgrounds. Same personality, different guy.

So really, I just wanted to gripe about my predicament. I don't want to pick new wallpaper, making choices about such things is too monumental for me. Not to mention we will now have to strip the old wallpaper and put up the new. The thought of the mess, time and effort involved is enough to make me think really bad thoughts.

And in the same breath I don't want to put a call out for suggestions, I just left two blogs where the women needed help getting dressed for Pete's sake! I know they were looking for suggestions for "events" but if you can't even dress yourself then what can you do? I have rather severe sensory issues and I manage to leave the house appropriately dressed everyday with no help from anyone (Sure, I may change 10 times but I don't call anyone to see if I should change the pants that are making me yell at my kids). And it was funny because a plethora of readers responded with their opinions about what would be fitting for such occasions. White, no floral, no polka dots, no just plain colored t-shirts, heels with short black dress and silk scarf. I wonder if they were more boggled than when they started.

Of course this "do not suggest" does not apply to Abby or Tracey because they have their stuff together when it comes to decorating. And thanks Abby, for the suggestion on those pants :)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Little Home Advertising

Our local library is paying for a half-page ad in the newspaper this weekend to let people in the community know that Hello! The library is more than just books. The librarian sent me a copy of the ad and it is perfect. You don't even have to be able to read to understand what the library offers, they can get it all!

The library is trying to get more people to see what a valuable asset the library is so the ad is being aimed at those who don't frequent the establishment. My husband is a prime example. He likes dirt more than books and the only time he has officially been in the library was for the wine-tasting fundraiser last fall. And I'm sure the promise of alcohol and women in tiny black dresses avoided a fabricated farm-related emergency that would have caused his absence.

So when the ad arrived in my mailbox I promptly printed it and placed it in a prominent spot in his office. He will see it everyday and next time he asks me to spell a word I'll tell him to call the reference desk at his local library, the phone number is conveniently on the ad. The library employees will love me even more than they do now! (I swear I'm reading those overdue books as fast as I can!) And soon I hope to cover up the Bush/Cheney (yes, he is still living in 2004) bumper sticker on his mudroom cubby with a Vote Yes for Library Mileage sign. I figure I can slowly change his subconscious and if that doesn't work I'll tie him up while I fill out his absentee ballot.

***Now how funny is it that he just called from the road to have me spell "sincerely"? I was a good wife and spelled it for him instead of directing him elsewhere. (You can thank me later Erin.)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Nice Buns Baby!

I have a preoccupation with buns, the kind that come hot and browned out of the oven that is. Because of my obsession with homemade bread (the kneading, the smell, the melted butter, the taste) we have yeasty beasties in action around here quite often. So really, don't believe Vinnie when he tells you that I do nothing all day, this guy has "baked from scratch" goods more often than he deserves. Today he will experience Soft Yogurt Sandwich Rolls (there is a photo of them here) that I have made slightly smaller than the recipe suggests so we can have them as dinner rolls instead. He will in no way appreciate the effort put into this and declare them to be "fine" which in man-speak usually means "They are really good but I can't acknowledge that fully or it will go to your happy homemaker head." I take what I can get.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Someday I Will Love My Socks

For those of you that don't have issues with socks, this newly found item will not leave you as excited as I am. But here are performance socks that fit like a glove and this essentially means that there is a right and a left. Genius. I love these people. And really, the price ain't bad.

Now I must go spend the rest of my evening being attentive on ebay where I must win a 1969 Chevrolet Bel Air rear bumper that has been rechromed because we are going to restore that classic car before we finish the house. *huge overpowering sigh*

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Waiting on Sleep

I was summoned out of bed at 11:00 pm Friday night to take this photo of four proud boys and one excited dog. If you look close you'll see some puckering fish lips in the orange boy's hands. A sucker fish that was speared, netted and hauled home in trophy fashion by this group. Safe to eat? I don't think so but they will smoke him anyway and either way boy D couldn't wait to see some fish brains!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Leave Me Alone!

Don't get me wrong, I *heart* my local library but lately I'm feeling a little bit stalked by them. And really, it's my own fault. If I wasn't such a book whore, oops, I mean hoarder, it wouldn't be a problem. But right now I have a kick-ass stack of books checked out that I waited long and hard for and I'm not letting em' go back until I've read every page. I guess I get a little paranoid about not having a "good" book to read at all times and then another waiting in case I finish the one I'm currently reading. This condition leads to a severe case of bulk book requesting and unfortunately they all tend to arrive at once, leaving me a tad overwhelmed. I do appreciate all the emails reminding me that materials are due soon, but lately the messages have been arriving daily. And at this point they are like my student loan statements, sitting there unopened because if I don't REALLY know then it isn't so, right?

Excuse Us

The Kuchar family is once again in high gear for a funeral related family reunion. These are the types of gatherings I envisioned when I married a man with 10 siblings and 16 aunts and uncles. I initially thought that all holidays would necessitate a hall rental complete with massive potluck and all kinds of Czechoslovakian desserts. Alas, this was not true and my visions of chaotic (in a good way) celebrations were tossed out the window when our first Christmas together rolled around and the event was hardly bigger than what I was used to as a child. My dad was an only child and my mom had a brother who I don't recall meeting before he died and his wife moved his family to Florida. Needless to say, as a child, our holidays were weary and seldom required more than one type of dessert.

After acclimating myself into Vinnie's family it became obvious that family reunions were to be impromptu at weddings and funerals because the planning was otherwise too cumbersome. So here we are once again on the verge of saying good-bye to another family member, our wonderful Uncle Theofilis (Ted), who was the grouchiest, pickiest man I knew. Or so he pretended, I know I saw more than one soft spot over the years. He couldn't hide the fact that he dearly loved each of his black labs (one after another named Blackie) or that he once spent a whole day making a trellis for his wild roses when there was plenty of other things to be done. The love he had for his wife was well hidden in his demands for milk and Tagamet at dinner. You truly had to be present at the noon meal to appreciate the gruffness. In fact, the first 100 times I experienced it I thought what a nasty old man he was, but that was just his way. He is also the reason that I have a bathroom IN my house (Bless him for getting Vinnie's butt in gear) .

So, the next two days will be spent in reunion-like fanfare with the family taking over the funeral home, inside and out. Uncle Ted's 1929 Buick is stately parked on the main drag in Chesaning. Our own family priest will preside over services at the local Catholic church after flying in from South America. After the service, a procession will travel 22 miles from Chesaning to Flushing so Uncle Ted can be placed in one of the remaining family plots. It will be a difficult time, so excuse us while we gather and forgive us for the inconveniences we assume will be no trouble (even though they really are).

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Comfort vs. Manners

An easy way to determine which kids in church belong to farmers: They are the ones most likely to take off a boot and empty it on the floor during mass because "Something in there hurts." They are also convinced the pond (baptismal font) should contain fish so they have something to do after mass when there ain't no farmin' that needs doing.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Dig In!

Today was one of those days where it was easy to drift off task and find yourself searching craigslist to entertain yourself. Unbeknownst to me, but known to my husband courtesy of my father *gulp*, you can purchase erotic services on there. Apparently my retired engineer father needs some more projects to do around the house and a little less time on the computer. All Vinnie needed was parts for his boiler, parts for his tractor, lights for the barn and maybe a few user manuals for various metal items in the yard when Old Pops mentions the wonders of craigslist and all that can be located on there, including parts attached to other parts that go into more parts. I suggested we look for a puppy instead.

A few wasted hours later and no puppy in sight we moved on to other things one can do on a cold, rainy April Saturday. No, not THAT. Instead I found myself helping the kids put dirt into egg cartons so they could start to plant all varieties of things. Daughter had some money plant seeds purchased earlier in the day, Boy G has some weird fascination with carrots and was dumping seeds steadily into little piles on top of his soil, Boy D was looking lost and on the verge of a melt-down because there was "nothing" for him to plant. In a flash I was running to the granary to locate our old box of seeds. It had been sitting stagnant for a year and had almost become a part of the wall, but the seeds inside were dry and hopefully willing.

A skeptic would not have made a dash to get those seeds as most of them have been here as long as I have. I moved here 11 years ago this month, stuck my shovel in the ground, filled the chicken coop with chicks and began running these lonely county roads. That first spring we had the most amazing garden, all the usuals you would expect but also cotton, peanuts, sweet potatoes and tobacco. We didn't just grow these things but managed to harvest them! There is nothing like watching a seed smaller than the tip of a pencil turn into a massive, fragrant tobacco plant. I've never been a smoker (unless you count that one night in college where I dealt 20 hands of euchre in a row while I smoked one cigarette after another) and Vinnie is only a social smoker (although a genetic defect compels him to be social without a smoke). We grew ornamental types as well as those intended for inhalation, which according to our research anyone can grow up to a 1/10 of an acre of tobacco for personal use.

Like Old Uncle Frank (may he rest in peace) always told Vinnie, "If you don't plant it, it won't grow." We have subscribed to this statement for 11 years now and now we will see if 11 year old tobacco seeds can pull off a miracle. It'll take 3-5 weeks for germination to produce a summer filled with wonder and a winter filled with some noxious cigarettes for Vinnie and his buddies.

Friday, April 11, 2008

God Was in the Know on this One

My last post got me thinking about boys, mud and vaginas. And when you put all those nouns together there is no way God would have ever allowed the male species to own a vagina. If boys had a vagina to welcome the possibility of childbirth it is highly unlikely that the canal would still be in working order beyond the preschool years. I know this for a fact because I am currently steering boy number 3 through his toddler years and into his preschool days.

All boys in my opinion are overly interested in orifices and what they can stuff into them. Boy number 1 would frequently sit in the sand box, tilt his head to the side and proceed to fill his ear with sand. I know he was trying to find out if it would pour out the other side. Does this orifice go straight through or does it stop somewhere? Same boy did this with a soybean just last year at the ripe age of 6. Twice we have spent days searching diapers for the missing penny because that oral orifice does go straight through. Not in the most convenient route but that was not his concern.

I won't bother with noses, we all know how handy that cavity is for entertainment or storage purposes.

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh (I won't even mention that anal one)

Funny enough it is not just bodily orifices that they are fascinated with. Rocks and sticks are frequently found in very strange places in the house or van. As well as wrappers, leaves, dirty socks and uneaten food items. This is such a likely scenario that when we were finding our boots and shoes filled with dog food I was certain the boy that starts with an O was responsible. I had to ask for forgiveness when the real culprits turned out to be male mice (go figure).

As it is, I never believed in the hunter/gatherer theory discounting men as bearers of children. It is really because if women had to hunt for an orifice to stuff their throbbing organ we would have put an ice pack on it instead and gone about our business. Men will sniff out that hole like a hungry dog in pursuit of chickens. God was in the know on this one.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Where is my fairy blog mother?

Sometimes I check my blog expecting that a new post will have appeared in the midst of my general household duties. This small wish is usually the result of a small event that I am sure would make a great post but that I don't have time to write. It happens daily where I write the post in my head and it never makes it to the draft room.


On Monday it was the intense district library meeting where one of the attendees at the meeting, let's call him Ron because that is his real name and he is an Asshole, put me into "try not to kill the guy" mode. I don't really like the word asshole but anyone that assumes half his township can afford to drive 20 miles for library services instead of him having to pay taxes to join a district library is just that. And really, half my REM sleep was wasted on him and trust me that Ron is not a man to dream about.


On Tuesday it was my husbands attempt at saving time. And there is no truer oxymoron than Vinnie and saving time. Kind of like farmer and rich. Somehow he managed to get himself to town and then had to turn around to go the opposite direction for work. The most direct way to go in the opposite direction is getting a new sewer system and the road was closed. Instead of following the detour, Farmer Vinnie decided it would be much more economical to go the secret back way past the elementary school, through a corner of Chuck's field and then onto our own back forty where he would coast into our yard and be on his way. However, it is spring and let's be clear about what spring really means: MUD.

Not soon after he left the phone was frantically ringing and I ignored it because I was in the middle of tree pose. Then the cell phone was ringing, still in tree pose. Then the land line rang again. So I broke my branches because I figured someone must be puking at school. Not quite. Farmer Vinnie saw a huge soft spot in Chuck's field and instead of backing up and taking the detour he floor-boarded it (his exact words) and sank into the mush. He was calling to have me bring New Farm Truck (early 90's with just a touch of rust and you can turn it off at the gas station without worrying about it starting again) out to the site and pull him out, I needn't look for the chain or tow strap as they are both already in the truck. Hum, I wonder why?


Yesterday the stupid dog breeder lady from around the corner decided to take her dog on a run down a busy road with no leash on it. This is a dog that tortures me daily and is let out every Friday morning to tear up the local garbage bags waiting by the road. This lady is a gem and I saw her again this morning holding her dog on the side of the road until I passed on my run. I shot her two looks that were supposed to topple her over dead, guess that really doesn't work, but maybe I knew that as Vinnie is still breathing himself.


The kicker of my week so far was last night when someone suggested that maybe there is a study out there that investigates all the damage runners do their joints and the connection to lupus. **Running=Lupus=My Fault** Really now, maybe if I were breastfed I wouldn't be in this situation. You think?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Spring a Ling

I ran in shorts today, with hat, sans gloves halfway through.

It is time to order baby chicks, all female please, we are after eggs not meat.

"The cherries are growing, the cherries are growing!"

The boy with an "O" wore his fake Crocers and didn't freeze his little toes.

Hunks of metal with engines are being shifted around the yard to make room for more hunks of metal, where he gets them nobody knows.

Farmers are driving around "just checking" their fields and dreaming of this year's bounty.

I uncovered last year's weeds from this year's strawberries and it looks promising.

The asparagus is still soundly sleeping but in a few weeks the ground will rumble and the tender shoots will push their way out.

Peaches blossoms are soon to follow.

And the lilacs are considering all things beautiful.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Leaving the Vest Home

The big kids and I just spent three glorious days in the heart of Ohio where the Buckeyes adorn most porches (NOT, let me be very clear, the house we stayed at.) and there is coffee to be had at every corner. We went to Columbus to visit friends but also to get a breath of fresh air. Columbus reminds me that there is hope and that there are people who care. It is a place where I can easily find cookies without preservatives and where I don't have to wear my orange reflective running vest. People in Columbus are considerate of pedestrians and this is a big deal because I am a pedestrian as often as I can be.

In fact, Columbus cares so much about pedestrians that they even have a place for them to safely utilize non-motorized modes of transportation. But, if you choose to not run on the trail, as I did one morning, you might notice that in between the speed hump signs (The kids loved that!) there are signs that notify motorists of Pedestrians Using Roadway. In other words you better watch out for those people not burning gas as they move around town! Knowing I could leave my vest at home gives me a sense of freedom when I run that I don't usually have as I run on country roads with angry, late drivers bearing down on me. There are times in Michigan where I all but have to dive into the ditch to avoid being hit.

Of course there are other reasons I love Columbus (I ate cooked spinach of my own free-will; the kids got to skate, and play, and eat really good ice cream) but the running atmosphere is quite near the top of the list.