Sunday, July 24, 2011

In search of the gulf stream

ransacking the bags and playing dress-up makes the time go faster....

mouth farts are always fun...

One of the great mysteries of parenting is whether the nose picking is more disgusting because they eat it or less because they don't wipe it on their car seats. We've been in the car a lot lately as we are every summer. Tim has had it. We drove 2 hours yesterday to go check out an RV in North Jersey. It was 104 degrees, so the kids lasted 14 seconds inside the vehicle.

During the test drive I was left lingering in the immaculate McMansion of the RV owner with all 3 children who invited themselves in. I'd tried to keep them outside playing in the yard, but it was 104 out. Toby demanded some pizza from the family and then had a tantrum when I wouldn't let her walk around the house with it. The other two disappeared into a massive leather "L" shaped couch unit with embedded cup holders and went into a TV coma. I know I'm turning into my mom. I just wish it was happening quick enough for me to have asked to use the pool. The kids would have had a blast, and we had our suits. I just couldn't bring myself to ask. Susie would've had us playing Marco Polo in 14 seconds.

I thought the whole trip to Jersey in 104 degree weather to see an RV was ill-planned before I found out that Tim had gotten hit by a car on the test drive. The RV had been on blocks, so the first stop was a gas station. At the station, the owner was complaining about the wasps nest under the carriage. "I can take care of that for you!" says my princely husband. He wacked the nest off and leapt away from the 200,000 wasps angrily protesting their eviction. A passing car clipped his little, freckled ankle as he retreated. After the test, as they arrived back at the house, the RV died right before they got it in the driveway. Toby was screaming at the window, "IT'S DADA" for 20 minutes as they hemmed and hawed about getting it out of the street.

I figured out why the house was so immaculate. One of the de-cluttering tactics of the super-clean mom of 6 is to serve all meals on paper plates with styrofoam cups for dirty dishes for Joanne! Coming from a world in which my mom re-uses straws until they have visible black mildew inside, I was horrified. I've been out of straws for months, so I've been cutting the ones I've stolen from rest stops in half. I've also resigned myself to the mildew on my swim cap, so the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Just think of the pottery she's NOT buying!

Human consumption has been on my mind. Last weekend we went to Pittsburgh for a 1 year old birthday party. Pittsburgh doesn't recycle. The party was about 60-80 people. Every person brought a massive bag of clothes and toys. There were 12 contractor bags of trash by the end of the weekend. That's a single 1 year old. Our gift was a paper bag of 15-year-old clothes from my mother-in-law's massive purge. You can't beat those vintage pink Cheryl Tiegs-Charlie's Angels shorts.

Tim didn't complain about his ankle until the day after. Why are men so crazy about their bodies? We've just entered our healthy time when everything we eat comes from Tim's bountiful garden. The bowel movement ramifications of the first beet salad gets me every summer. Tim was off early that morning to a meeting. I had to text him, "That first beet poop is always a shocker, isn't it?" His response, "AH that's what it was?? I was freaking out" So he assumed he was dying for a second and then carried on with his day-forgetting about it completely. Meanwhile I can tell when I haven't had enough arugula, and I know the exact day in my cycle when an enormous pre-menstrual zit will arrive. This month it appeared on my ass. It was a difficult few days of sitting at my potter's wheel.

Speaking of men forgetting about everything, I have a new sister in law. Brian, the widower of Tim's sister just remarried Justina. Every year there is a family memorial golf outing. It's a fundraiser for the foundation in the name of Jack McDonald, Tim's Dad. Brian has a pool, and he lives on the way to the golf course. For the past 2 years I've sent my kids to play at his house with a sitter. This year it was the plan for my 3 kids, Mikes 2, my friend, Lisa, and her daughter, Hope. My mother-in-law queried, "Have you asked Brian????" I hadn't, so I texted him, and he said, "SURE!"

I arrived with 5 children the morning of the outing, and Justina says, as I'm unloading bags from the car and storing stuff in her fridge, "What are you guys doing here????" "Ummmmm.....Brian didn't tell you?" To her credit, her only comment was, "I'm glad I stocked the freezer with ice cream!"

I was trying to butter her up as I was unloading more and more crap. The week before we'd been to the shore house. Brian and Justina are avid fishers. They stock the freezer with little dated freezer bags of striped bass and flounder. It drives my mother in law berserk, because freezer real estate is precious, so I do my part by eating as much of it as possible. I gushed to Justina, "We had fish 2 nights last week at the shore, and it was amazing, thank you!" She replied sadly, "You ate the fish?"

"Welcome to the McDonald family, Justina!!! Maybe my kids will pick all of the nasturtiums you've planted while you're gone, and I'll have a hat trick!"

Tim and the new love of his life....not the one that died on the test drive. This is the one that died in the alley behind our house when he arrived home with it.

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