Eleven Years

Tomorrow (August 5th) is the Eleventh aniversary of Howard and my wedding. We’ve decided to go with tradition and celebrate it by mostly ignoring it. I do mean traditional, we totally missed our first aniversary because we were too busy painting our house. After that it seemed a little silly to make a fuss over the other ones.

I know it isn’t fashionable not to make a big fuss out of an aniversery. Hallmark would have us believe that it is downright sinful not to buy a card. Florists hawk their flowers. Chocolateries push thier candies. But I’ve always felt that consumerism cheapens a holiday or event. Gifts should be heartfelt expressions of love, it’s the love that matters, not the gift. Last year Howard bought me a McGriddle and took the day off work. That was a great anniversary present because it showed to me that he was thinking of me and what I’d like.

This year Howard is spending the day on the other side of the continent. Somehow I don’t think he’ll be surprising me by showing up at the door with a McGriddle. It doesn’t matter, because he tells me he loves me daily. We laugh and talk and share daily. Doing that stuff daily demonstrates Howard’s love for me far better than a big once-a-year effort possibly could.

That said, I miss him and I wish he were here. Happy Aniversary Honey!

Archive Entrapment

This morning I had a few quiet minutes and so I poked my nose into the Schlock Mercenary archive for a few minute amusement. An hour later I’d gone through several months of comics and was nearly late for a dentist’s appointment.

I LIVE with Schlock how can it possibly still be click-compulsive entertainment for me?!

venting.

I haven’t done much grumpy in here, but this week is stressy and I need to vent.

Novell. It pays our bills in spades. It pays our medical expenses in spades. It also sends Howard on trips once a month or more which creates buffer stress and detaches him from me an his children. I hate that the kids consider it normal to have Daddy gone. I can live with it except when corporate decisions leave Howard pissed off and unable to enjoy family or schlock. Then his at-home time is ruined as well.

Howard leaves for yet another trip tomorrow. He’ll be gone until late Thursday night. Thursday morning Link has minor surgury. (Adenoid removal) We’ve looked it over and over and all things considered Thursday is the best day to do it. Logically it all makes sense, but I’m going to have to deal with it by myself and I don’t want to. And Howard feels horrible about not being there and this entry is NOT going to make him feel any better about it. Which makes me want to delete this entry. Howard’s pain is my pain, I want to avoid pain.

Howard and I both dream of a time when Schlock makes enough money to support our family. Then he could be at home. He could be involved in the daily running of the house and caring for the children. We could build habit patterns which are dependant on having him here instead of off on trips. Unfortunately there is only a limited amount of things I can do to forward that goal without sacrificing our goal maintaining a stable home for our children. I know I could be doing so much more to foster the growth of Schlock-as-business. I’m capable of being a real asset there, but only at the cost of ignoring the children. I can’t do enough. I can’t pay off the debt fast enough, I can’t keep the house clean enough, I can’t even get bedtime working smoothly.

And today all I want to do is curl up in my bed and cry. Or sleep until it gets better. Both would be incredibly counter productive.

I was going to make this entry family only, but I keep thinking about friendship. Friends grow closer because they tell each other the bad stuff as well as the good stuff. I have the beginings of some good friendships here, I need good friends.

Cheerio adventure

Today Patches was happily rummaging in the pantry when he discovered a treasure, a great big jumbo-sized bag of cheerios. In Patches world, cheerios are the food-of-the-gods, so naturally he picked up the bag to get the happy out of it and into his mouth. Unfortunately he picked it up on the wrong end. The sound of cheerios hitting the floor startled poor Patches, especially since it was followed by a gasp from Mom. In an effort to stave off disaster, or at least get further from it, Patches raised his hand (still holding the cheerio bag) high in the air and ran across the kitchen. To his dismay, the mess chased him across the room with cheerios bouncing gleefully everywhere. Mom stopped the expanding chaos by grabbing away the bag, which left Patches staring wide-eyed at the huge pile of cheerios and knowing he’d done a Bad Thing. I’ve never seen a little guy so concerned. He didn’t know whether to run and hide or start to cry. Betrayed by cheerios!

Fortunately hugs from Mom and the mess quickly swept away restored Patches to his usual cheerful self.

Old game, new players

In a fit of nostalgia I ordered the basic three late 70’s Advanced Dungeons & Dragons manuals through Amazon.com Marketplace. They arrived and I joyfully paged through the familiar friends: Dungeon Master’s Guide, Player’s Handbook, and Monster Manual. Then I got distracted and left them on the counter. Kiki found them. She imediately came asking what these books were. I briefly explained D&D to her at which point she declared “I want to play that game! I’ll be the Dungeon Master!”

It has been a week now and I have totally failed to make clear to her how impossible it is for someone who has never played the game to be in charge of it. She keeps drawing maps and bringing them to me. And she keeps ordering me to work on a dungeon so that she can play. Fortunately this fits right in with my nefarious plan of getting the kids hooked on role playing games. Unfortunately finding the time and brainspace to create a dungeon is going to be tricky. Especially with that little voice at the back of my head who keeps muttering about “productive uses of time.” I just need to figure out how to convince that voice that this will be useful to my children’s education, he’s all in favor of that.

Meal planning

In an effort to actually serve meals at regular intervals, today I sat down and wrote out a Meal Plan. I planned breakfast, lunch, and dinner for an entire month. In theory this eliminates the two hours of “what shall we have for dinner” which seems a nightly negotiation around here. Now when I look at the clock and realize it is supper time, I can look at my calendar and know what to fix.

Before you get too impressed with my meal management prowess, you should know that pretty much every single breakfast slot is filled with the word “cereal” Lunches rotate between “Sandwich” “Hot dog” and “Mac & Cheese”. Dinners are a little more varied, but I still have Spaghetti down every Tuesday. Mondays are soups. Fridays are grill nights. You get the idea.

When I first came up with this meal plan idea I was a little worried about how repetitive it was. Howard wisely told me “It can’t possibly be any more repetitive than chicken nuggets every night.”

Life is going to happen and I know that there will be nights where I completely disregard the schedule. But having it is a good thing.

Relatives!

Howard’s cousin Steve and Steve’s son Tayler came to BBQ and stay the night last night.  I’d never met either one of them before and now I understand even more that some of the coolness that is Howard must be genetic because it was enormous amounts of fun. …

Perceptions of Daddy

Today both Link and Gleek made me laugh out loud. I just have to share.

We were in the car and Link spied a Volkswagen Beetle the same green color as Howard’s. He said: “A green buggy! It’s not Schlock though so it’s not Dad. It must be Dad’s friend.”

Gleek was watching a movie and then cried out with indignation and a scowl: “Dads are not with hair!”

Online

The other night Howard pointed out that since I’ve started this live journal I’ve been online a lot more. That combined with Gleeks plea for mommy to “Stop looking at your computer!” has given me food for thought.

Live Journal has definitely altered my online habits some. But I actually think the fact that the kids are out of school for the summer has more to do with my increased online time. The unstructured nature of summertime means that while I have more “free” time, less actually gets done. If I have all day to do one thing, it probably won’t get done. If I have 10 things to do and only 2 hours, I’ll probably do them all and maybe one or two more besides. It is all a matter of focus.

In the winter I KNOW I don’t have time to run downstairs and do online stuff more than twice a day. In the summer I’m online more often than that.

I just need to make being online my reward for getting stuff done.

Reading Incentives

Kiki is a reader. The only way I could get her to stop reading would be to remove all printed matter from the house and then she’d be off at the neighbors begging for books. This is a good thing.

Link is just beginning to learn to read. His road to reading fluency is not going to be as easy as Kiki’s was. In an effort to make reading something Link wants to do, I’ve insituted a reading incentive program. In the interests of avoiding whining, I’ve included Kiki.

Link and Kiki each get to pick an Item they want to earn, a toy, or a game, basically whatever shiny thing currently has their eye. Then based on the price of the item we set up a chart with check boxes to mark off points. Each point is worth roughly 10 cents, so a $10 item is 100 points. Link gets one point for each 8 page phonics reader book he reads. Kiki gets one point for each 25 pages of a chapter book that she reads.

So far so good. My goal for both children is literacy and that can be gained by being read to, as well as by reading. Unfortunately finding time to sit down and read to Link or Kiki is very difficult. Invariably Gleek comes along and plops in the middle of the story. Then she gets bored because there are no pictures. Then she begins climbing the back of the couch and doing acrobatics over our heads. This always ends in her landing on us and somebody crying. Patches ends reading sessions even more quickly by climbing into the middle of the snuggle and then grabbing the book.

But tonight I had a brilliant idea. Tonight I turned to Kiki and told her she’d get triple points on anything that she read to Link. And I turned to Link and told him that however many points Kiki got, he’d get the same number. They both lit up and ran off to go read. It’s educational Judo! I have them teaching each other! I love it when I can manage stuff like this.