Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Turns out

Friday night we attended Paul's youngest niece's high school graduation at my alma mater, Wyandotte High. I have attended very few graduations since my own and I think this was the first one I've attended at Wyandotte in the 18 years since then. My class, the class of 1991, was the first class of incredibly young, seemingly invincible, teens to walk across the stage set up on the new Brewster Field. Thousands of others had graduated on the old field and in the New Gym, but we were the first on the new field. This has afforded us nothing in life - I have yet to see the need to put it on a job application and quite frankly, no one is even that impressed when that particular piece of trivia comes up in casual conversation.

As I sat there swatting and scratching at the chiggers that were slowly eating away at mine and my oldest daughter's flesh in tiny, chigger-bite-size chunks, I got suddenly thoughtful. Not just thoughtful about whether or not I had enough Calamine lotion to quell the itching once I got home, but thoughtful about the kids who were sitting in those folding chairs down on that football field in black and white robes. There were about 45 of them and they looked way more confident and mature than I looked and felt at 18. These girls had perfectly highlighted hair, designer sunglasses and clothes that will never get them featured on What Not to Wear. I wore a mini mini-dress to my graduation and the only reason I wore it was because my mother hated it. It probably looked horrible on me, but I didn't care. I had gigantic Aqua-netted hair and plans to make out with my boyfriend later that night.

Friday night one young man got a $14,000 cattle judging scholarship and another girl got TWO $35,000 scholarships to OU and OSU, one girl took home probably $20,000 in all sorts of separate scholarships. 18 years ago, I got a Norse scholarship to NEO, our local junior college, for $500 and the alumni association's scholarship for $250. Yes, I had said scholarships but I didn't know what to do with them. The thought of enrolling in college terrified me to pieces and I didn't even want to go. To this day college still terrifies me and I've tried it twice now.

I wondered if those kids realize what's ahead of them. I know when I was sitting there, fanning myself in my folding chair at the tender age of 18 I thought I had it figured out, I thought I knew what was going to happen at certain points. I now know I had no clue.

I thought I'd marry that big bald-headed football player I was going out with. Turns out, he married one of my best friends. I thought I'd always be close to the three girls I had hung out with that year. Turns out, I haven't spoken to any of them in about 13 years now. I thought I'd always have a tiny waist and would always be able to grow my nails long. Turns out, I lost my waist two kids ago and you know how they depict hands coming up out of a grave on the cover of horror film DVD's? Yeah, those are my nails.

I wonder if the girl in the third row knows she will get a divorce at age 35 and dye her hair crayon red. I wonder if the girl third from the end on the left knows she will finally declare the alternative sexual orientation everyone else already knew about in her late 20's and live to tell about it. Does the guy on the front row know he's going to do five years in prison for grand larceny and beating the snot out of his girlfriend? What about the football jock? Does he know he'll become a youth pastor? The shy guy with the blonde curly hair peeking out from under his cap? He's going to show up at the 10 year reunion and no one is going to recognize him because he kind of grew up over the course of a decade. The girl jock that everyone loves? She'll be beaten unrecognizable by her worthless first husband, only to meet the love of her life some 10 years later.

And that nerdy teacher's pet wearing the mini mini-dress? Does she know she's going to drop out of college, move away from home only to come back a month later, get engaged, get un-engaged, meet a man who was a teacher's aide in her Kindergarten class, fall in love with him, work in a hospital, get pregnant, tell her unborn child good-bye before she says hello, open a home daycare three different times, nearly get a divorce, have three amazing children, start a blog and live happily ever after?

She does now.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Curly Q

Saturday night Kady asked if I would rag roll her hair for church the next day. I hadn't done it in awhile, so I agreed. I, of course, sent a Tweet and also updated my Facebook status stating that I was in the process of rag rolling. The responses were a mixture of "HUH?" to "How do you do that?" and "Ohhhh, I remember having that done to my hair when I was a kid!" so I just decided to take some pictures and show the process.

This is Kady's pitifully straight hair. The child had the prettiest curls when she was a baby, up until she was 4 and that was when her stupid mother took her to the salon one day to trim it up and, in theory, take some weight off and thus give her curls some bounce. Didn't work. Obviously.

I just took an old flannel receiving blanket and cut it into strips anywhere from 1 to 2 inches wide (because I am the Queen of Inconsistency). I let her hair air dry just a little and then put a dab of gel on it. I divided it into sections and then just rolled it up around the strips of fabric. Tie at the scalp and voila! Kady's hair is so resistant to curling; we've tried hot rollers, sponge rollers, curling irons and magic spells straight from Dumbledore himself and her hair will not take a curl. And sponge rollers are so awful to sleep on she was cranky the day after so even if she had curls she was crabby and gripey and it just wasn't worth it. But rag rolls? They are so easy for her to sleep in that she's adorable the next day AND we can stand to be around her! Bonus!

Here's what the curls looked like as I took them out the next morning. Like little Nelly Olson ringlets, huh?

She wanted to leave them like this all day. Uh.......no.

I had her flip her head upside down and gently finger-combed her hair to separate the ringlets and instantly she's Little Orphan Annie! For some reason, this time up at the top of her head, she was flat. Not sure what I did wrong....

So to hide the flatness I just pulled her hair up on top into a pouf and stuck a bow clip in there.

As the day wore on, the curls relaxed and looked even more adorable and every time she took a step they bounced! They would've stayed in through today, but she and her brother and cousins had a water fight last night and .... yeah. Flat once more.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Just Another Oklahoma Springtime

Wednesday Paul and I had watched TWC all day long and we knew we were possibly in for some severe weather that night. During the day we double-checked the supplies in the 'fraidy hole - important things like bottled water, blankets, towels and a chair for me because the week before when the kids and I ended up underground before the morning bus even ran I had to stand and I wasn't really happy about that.

Before I go any further just let me say that my husband, while he most of the time has the best of intentions, sometimes forgets that his wife is fat. He proudly came in the house while I was digging for flashlight batteries and held at arm's length what looked like two bundles of pipe and canvas. "Look! Chairs!" he said. I looked at him and said, "I don't think so, dude." He had found his hunting stool doohickeys in the barn and thought they would be GREAT for the cellar since they take up very little space, but what he forgot was that my rear-end does NOT take up very little space - in fact, it takes up a very LOT of space. Shortly after that I took my very large, space-taking-up lawnchair down into the cellar so my large, space-taking-up hiney would be comfy.

Okay, so on with the events of the night.... We were all happily watching LOST, keeping an eye on the radar and TWCi Twitter updates, but otherwise enjoying the confusion that is LOST. We had had the kids pack their 'fraidy hole bags early on because there is nothing worse than the twister bearing down on you and your youngest is bawling because she can't find her woobie and her Nintendo DS. Trust me on this. The NOAA radio politely informed us we were under a tornado watch. Then a thunderstorm warning. We could see on the radar in the corner of the TV screen that the tornado warnings were moving our way, but the storms were moving so slow we really didn't react too much. Then the NOAA radio started going off for the counties close to us. It was then we had the kids put on their shoes and go to the restroom. I really thought we'd finish LOST, the storms would fizzle and Tater and the tots would go home and life would go on - because that's the way it always goes.

Not that night. 15 minutes from the butt-puckering ending of LOST my phone then Tater's phone rang with our weather alert ringtones. We simultaneously opened our phones and simultaneously said "Oh, crap." Then the NOAA radio went off. We hollered at the kids to grab their bags and realized Paul was nowhere to be found. Because he is a redneck and he was out in the yard. Which, truthfully, is where Tater and I would've been had LOST not been on. I hollered for Paul and the fun began. I have to give all five kids serious props because no one panicked, no one freaked, no one questioned, they just grabbed their bags and followed Paul out the front door. It wasn't raining then and really, the wind wasn't even blowing all that much. We could see lightning and hear thunder, but even that wasn't all that close. It was weird running to the cellar on such a nice night!

See how happy everyone was?

(See how shiny my sister was?)

(She wasn't happy about this picture, by the way, but hey, it's my blog. If she would update her blog she'd have opportunity to put unflattering pictures of me there... HINT HINT.)

Sam was in the corner, TotTwo was hiding behind my chair and TotOne was apparently on the verge of being Vulcan. Just a few more centimeters and her fingers would've formed the appropriate "Live Long and Prosper" greeting.

Abby didn't have her hair properly straightened, nor did she have any makeup on and therefore refused any pictures be taken of her.

Ptthhht. Divas.

After we got the kids settled in I started having hot flashes. Not because of menopause, no, because of the oppressive humidity and the fact we had eight bodies crammed into a 6x8 concrete box in the ground. Since it had yet to begin raining we decided to leave the door open and keep an eye on things because again, we're rednecks. The NOAA radio went off again, updating the tornado warning, the phones started chirping....and we heard roaring. It was the eeriest thing I've ever heard in my life. There was relatively little wind at our place but either we heard a tornado roaring in the distance or it was just some kick-butt straight-line winds. Eeriest. Thing. Ever.

We kept the door open until the rain started and whew it got hot in a hurry once we were closed in. Oh, but don't worry that I overheated. Since I was the pampered one with the big fancy chair, I got to sit right under the dripping door.

It really didn't take us all that long to get good and bored.

Paul was texting me. Me. As in his wife who was sitting next to him under the dripping door.

Tater's tots have WAY more stamina than my kids. Kady and Sam eventually crashed. TotTwo just entertained us with his flatulence.

Really, there are few things cuter than a sleeping Kadybug.

And here's my big, strong, protective husband risking life and limb to check the conditions outside. I wouldn't have cared if it had sucked us all right out at that point I was so hot. I'm telling you, menopause is going to suck. Hard.

Rumor has it we're under the gun for some strong to severe storms again tonight, but I'm not too worried. Wednesday, TWC's Dr. Greg Forbes gave us a 6 out of 10 on his Tor:Con tornado probability scale, but today we only got a 2.

However, I didn't take my lawnchair out of the cellar. Ya know....just in case.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Since it's been a long time since I've posted pictures I thought today would be as good a day as any. I wrote a post yesterday and Blogger ate it so yeah, you're gettin' pictures.

Here's my boy sittin' on the front porch looking at stuff through the binoculars. It wasn't long after this picture he cupped his hands over his mouth and started attempting bird calls which made me shake with supressed laughter. No way would I have laughed out loud at him but dang it was hilarious. I bet all the birds stopped what they were doing to ask, "What the--? Who's the new kid?"

Notice he's growing his hair out. Long gone are the days of the military cut he's sported since 1st grade. He wants to look like Zac Efron. His redneck father is freaking the heck out at the amount of hair on his boy's noggin.

No, the child didn't have dysentery ......

..... this is just what happens when your dress-wearin' little diva takes off through the muddy yard on her princess bike.

Thank God for Spray 'n Wash.

Our dog Gravy has seemingly adopted our kitten Flopsy. I don't know if he's just lonely because his canine companion, Biscuit, is a complete and total idiot or if he thinks that because she is black and white they must be related or what.

Regardless, it's cute as all get out.

Especially when they get caught and try to look like they weren't snuggling.

Nonner is going to be a geek when he grows up, thanks to his Kiki. He LOVES Paul's and my laptops but he also thinks banging on them is how to make them work (much like Paul...) so today I dragged out Kady's Barbie laptop.

Paul was watching him bang away on it, shook his head and said, "Ain't right that boy's playin' with a pink laptop..."

I think of it as him getting in touch with his geeky feminine side.

PRAISE THE LORD Abby finally let her Grammy pluck her eyebrows. I was worried they were going to take over her face and form some mutant race of hairy-faced tweens. God love her, she got her hairiness from her mother. I am so, so, so very sorry for that. I had to take hormones to sustain my pregnancy with her and she was born looking not unlike a wookiee and for years I blamed her hairiness on that, but now I think it's just sucky heredity. Again, I apologize.

I'm just glad she's finally aware enough of her appearance to look neat and tidy instead of crunchy and unkempt. I sincerely hope that the next step after eyebrow plucking is CLEANING HER ROOM.

I'd forgotten about this one on my phone.

Yeah, just one more reason his father is freaking the heck out over the amount of hair on his middle child - the faux hawk, aka Every Redneck Father's Nightmare.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Career Options

Now, don't get me wrong - I love what I do. I love being a stay-at-home mom and right now babysitting my cousin's baby is the only job I want, but eventually the little guy has to go to school. I'm looking down the road like four years when I'll have a 16 year old, a 14 year old and God help us all, when Kady will be a tween.

When I grow up I want to be a doula.

I want to be the relative stranger in a room full of energy, emotion and excitement. I want to be the soothing voice in the midst of the cacophony. I want to the one in the room doing a Bill Cosby impersonation - "Push 'em out, push 'em out, wayyyyy out!" and get paid to do it. Yeah, I've decided I want to be a professional birthing coach.

I'll show up to my job in the wee hours of the morning with a birthing ball and Yanni CD, wearing my sweats, a sloppy ponytail and no makeup, but there nonetheless to make the birthing experience of my client the most memorable I can. I'll be in baby books all over - which is good since I haven't gotten around to putting any pictures in my own kids' baby books. I will be there to witness the miracle of life but my stretch marks will be a non-issue.

And if that doesn't work out I want to be a referee for WWE.

Seriously, those guys have THE best job. They stand in a ring with a bunch of hot, oiled up muscle-bound men, waving their arms and saying words no one can hear. Heck, for all we know they're reciting the Preamble to the Constitution or maybe even a poem they learned in Freshman English. No one pays a lick of attention to what they say but who cares? I'm getting really good at speaking and no one listening. Ask my kids. Wait. Don't bothering asking them - they won't listen.

Sure, professional wrestling refs occasionally take a folding chair to the face and sometimes get thrown out of the ring entirely but they do it with flair and it'll a small price to pay to get to holler meaningless words at Batista and feel like I'm doing my job and doing it well.

And the best part? You can't go wrong with vertical stripes.

We....the people

Originally published in The Miami News-Record, July 2020 Everything is different now. I’m not just talking about masks and social distancing...