Friday, April 30, 2010

Just one last thing...

The house has been thoroughly cleaned, all the laundry is washed, folded, and away. It is the morning of departure. A weekend away at long last.
Kids clothes - check
tents - check
kitchen supplies - check
bath and pool needs etc - check
my clothes - uhhh, where are my clothes? 

Ahh, crap. I didn't pack yet. Soon, this leads to exasperated head shake from husband and children who are running around like they are bovine suffering from mad cow disease. Ok, quickly throw the pile I planned into a bag, and hand it off to the van-packing patrol. We. Are. Good. To. Go.

Uhhh, just one more minute, hon. Ignore head shake number two from Hubby. Quickly run over to the sink to hand wash the few dishes created while I was busy tossing my wardrobe into a duffel. Double crap, there is food waste in the can - have to tie that up and bring it out. Double check the note to neighbor about dogs' and other assorted animals' needs while we are gone. OK. Done. 

Actually sitting in the car...Double crap. Hop out and just make sure at this point Hubby gives his most exassperated head shake of the morning the doors are closed, everything off, AC is turned way up. In the house once again, notice a used cup on the table and a plate on the desk, quick wash. Ok, we're gone.

In the car, Hubby wants to know: why stress so much? A conversation we have had many, many times before. For some reason, men just don't seem to get it. Or maybe it's just me? Let me know what you think...

After you comment - head on over to DadBlogs for Fatherhood Friday. Check out some great stories. You won't regret this one last thing!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

If - At the Park

Spring is here and as surely as night follows day summer will soon be welcoming everyone to its long afternoons and family get-a-ways . With this in mind, I have decided to post a public service message to those families embarking on theme park excursions. A way to keep your head if you will...

If you can keep your cash when all about you
are spending theirs and coming to you
Encouraging forcing children to earn their spending money ahead of time is a plus (We made ours volunteer a day to earn their tickets) Also helpful is using the gift shops as an attraction - not an area to spend. We prefer to try things on, take pics and move-on. "Yeah, you look great in that hat - and now we have a pic, what more do you need?"

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
but make allowances for their doubting too;
Have a map - preferably before hand or make time to plan a route. Heck, they're free and make great pseudo-souvenirs get a map for everyone and let the kids see where you are and where you are headed. Personally, I like the rest stops!

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting
The waiting sucks, and it is tiring. In families with various ages, sending older ones off to hit certain activities is a great plan. Photo happy moments are strongly encouraged whenever you cross their paths. To prove later in life that they were in fact present

Or being cut and shoved, don't lose your smiles
Or facing hunger, allow for snacking 
Keep your backpack stocked with water and easy snacks. It is well worth the extra line.

Think of the exercise, your burning miles!
 Especially on the hike back to your car!

If you can walk with crowds and keep your cool
Or be rained on - be prepared for rain, the parks empty and the ponchos are a fortune - bring your own
Or watch your princess fill with a joyous flush

If teens take sibs willingly to swim the pool

Let them! Enjoy your break, grab a drink and walk over later!

If kids say thank you in a spontaneous gush
Come-on what parent doesn't eat that up?

If you can find your hubby's perfect toy
Go ahead a splurge - who doesn't like a keepsake?
And accommodations in which to sleep

Yours is the world filled with enchantment and joy
And which is more - memories to keep

(ok a bit long winded - but blame Kipling!)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Letter to the Court?

I was mentally giving myself a head-slap as my feet hit the floor this morning. Why oh why don't I keep a notebook to jot down ideas as they come? Feeling extremely deflated I went to Yahoo news and read this story. Ok, you don't want to click - I get it. 

The gist is that Cameron Douglas has all kinds of people asking for leniency in his sentencing.  He plead guilty to dealing crystal meth and cocaine, but he had a difficult life. It's tough to be a raised by millionaires and movie stars. 

I do believe he has issues. It is doubtful that anyone turns from a perfect life to addiction and felonies. Money and fame are not the foundation of good parenting and happiness. And while there ought to be better ways to handle addicts there simply doesn't seem to be any system in place in this country.

But, if money, privilege, and eloquently written letters are the basis of our legal system there is a problem.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Don't Molest the Manatees

(I am aware that I have been on an unexplained leave. A busy work schedule, spring prep, and the usual nonsense have conspired to keep me so busy or exhausted I haven't written. But, please please give me another chance! Summer is coming soon and with it a renewed dedication to a sense of fun!)

Manatees, we all know what they are. And if you don't I suggest adding more Diego or Zoboomafoo to your TV diet. My family took a trip specifically to swim in the same water as them last year. There are all kinds of laws and etiquette involved in swimming with manatees. They are very protected. And though we all know it is the propellers of boats that are responsible for the maiming and killing of these gentle creatures, the law makers seem determined that people swimming are to be monitored because we are (apparently) dangerous.

Being the law respecting, nature loving person I am neither I nor my family has ever molested a manatee in any way. I do not swim with heads of lettuce in the hopes of attracting sea cows and I do not enter protected areas. But a recent camping trip made all of these precautions irrelevant. 

The spring run was gorgeous, even if cold; it was spring break and my sister and I had 8 kids to entertain. Of course we were going tubing. Everyone had a float/tube to relax and soak in the pristine nature. As I shoved Youngest's float away from the dock it occurred to me that she wasn't wearing a personal flotation device. Ughh. I would need to stay near, as we haven't swam in a bit. 

Once the shock of the 72 degree water faded, leaving everyone's legs and torso's nicely numbed, we were prepared to head down river. Oh, yeah we heard the ranger trying to call us back to the dock, but we were in the current...what was there to do but float? Just as we turned a slight bend in the river we met AJ. He introduced himself to us in no uncertain terms. It began with him changing direction and swimming our way. He got really close then turned a flip in the water. 

No, Aj was not a teen boy eager to meet Teen and her two friends. AJ is a manatee, a VERY friendly manatee. Swimming near our pack of floaters was not enough. He would stick his snout above the water directly in front of Teen. He was swimming under our feet and brushing against our legs. Even when we tried to open our circle (for fear the aquatic animal would feel trapped) he continued to nudge and play. Stealing furtive glances to the shore, in fear of the wrath of the ranger, I tried to enjoy the spectacle before me. Kids laughing, Boy noting AJ's tracker and his name branded into his back, everyone feeling the joy of the situation and the wonder that is an unplanned encounter with nature. But I was worried about the repercussions. What if we were accused of molesting this poor soul? 

After we had our experience, and my fear of the law overwhelmed me, we tried to paddle our floats, moving away from AJ. Laying across my float, holding onto Youngest I noticed she was moving further away. I pulled her toward me only to see that AJ was under her raft. He was lifting her slightly with his back and playing with her. Remembering she was not wearing a life jacket and could possible panic I calmly continued working her off the manatee. AJ in response rose from the water between us taking a breath, giving a turn, and going under. I eventually shoved Youngest toward Teen and Boy and went around AJ to rejoin the group. So, while I am all for protecting the manatees, what can you do when a manatee is molesting you?