McGruff the Dog Lives

Yesterday I got a call from one of my Dad' oldest friends. He works at BYU and wants my Dad to come visit and was enlisting my help. No Problem! I'll call my parents and harass them to come visit me and the family! But in the giddiness at the chance of seeing my parents I detract. When he called Middle Boy answered the phone.

"Who am I speaking to?" asked Old Professor.

"That totally depends! Who am I speaking to?" answered Middle Child with that sassy grin as he delved into his quirky personality.

As I was talking to the Old Professor, he remarked on how quick and smart my boy was to answer him that way. He was surprised and impressed at how well I had taught my children. I didn't have the heart to tell him that my child is just silly. He was thinking nothing of safety and only of how he could be 'smart' and 'sassy'! His 'unique personalty,' as my best friend calls it, was on show and he was showing off his quick wit.

The Old Professor also reminded me of the year stint I landed at BYU. I guess I coerced him into taking me to lunch one fine afternoon. I was talking about calling my parents back home 'the regular way.' Knowing the dorm conditions he asked what I meant by calling home 'the regular way.'

"I call collect," I replied, oblivious to the high cost of collect phone calls in the late 80's.

"You know that is quite expensive," he replied just to see what I would say.

I paused and responded in complete seriousness, "It's my job to love my parents and it's their job to figure out how to pay the phone bill."

Last night he reminded me of this conversation and told me that he would NEVER forget it and it was in his Top Ten things of College Studentisms.



Middle Child's birthday was officially August 14th. We had a family party during which he got a bunch of camping stuff for Scouts. He was pretty excited because he went camping Friday and got to use it! Then we decided to put off his friends party because school started the next week.

"Why don't we wait two weeks so that you can reconnect with some friends at school and invite them?" I suggested.

He agreed and thought it was a great idea. Somehow he thought two weeks was the next week, August 23! He was a little sad, but not much, when I told him it was August 30 that we'd be having the party. And even though I try to schedule things out in my life I still manage to overplan, and not by a little, it's always the big things that get overlapped! I had scheduled his party for Labor Day weekend when we go camping. And we haven't been as a family yet this year!

So I approached him carefully, he gets rather sad about things being put off. I think it's middle child syndrome, and it makes me feel the Mother Guilt I usually don't allow myself to sink into, but he brings it out in me. I explained the whole thing, how people won't be around Labor Day weekend and we should put it off another week! After a few sad faces he finally saw the light and agreed. Now we just have to hope that Clone Wars is still in theaters and search or make Clone invitations for all his friends. And at least waiting till school was in session worked out good because he's already found three more friends to invite that he wouldn't have otherwise!


Heart Stopping Moments in Time

As parents lots of things happen. So many are happy, sad, fantastic, infuriating, and so on and on and on. But thank goodness there are only a few actual heart-stopping moments when you wonder. Today was one of those moments. We lost Baby at a Baseball game tonight.

It was one of those surreal moments when I'm looking around and realize someone is missing. I look at Hubby and ask "Where's Baby?" He replies,"Isn't he with you?" NO! I run back to where I last saw him and look all around. He's nowhere to be seen. I start to panic. My heart flutters and I can't think straight. Did he leave thinking we had left? Does he even know where the car is? Did he go to the bathroom? Did he find a friend? Did he follow us and we just haven't seen him? I tell myself to calm down and look around the deck and if I don't see him then get him paged. Thank goodness most people have left and there isn't too many people milling around. As I look around the area I see him about halfway down the aisle with one of the employees. I run to him and grab him and hug him! He looks at me with those big brown milk chocolate eyes "Mommy, where did you go? I couldn't find you." I hugged him tighter trying to calm us both down. He breaks down in relief and can't stop talking almost all the way home about how things went down for him. He knew he was lost longer than I did and it tore at his heart that we could lose him. He's our Baby!

About three years ago we were at Disneyland with all of Hubby's family. Several of us decided to ride the ferris wheel. There are two lines. One for a regular ferris wheel and another for a sliding ferris wheel. I don't like ferris wheels to begin with so we rode in the traditional style. About 10 minutes later when we got off we met up with the rest of the group and I looked around. "Where's First Born?" Hubby replied, "I thought he was riding the ferris wheel with you guys." We were on a strip with several carnival type games and I ran from one to the next looking for him, sure he was trying to win a prize. No luck. Then I saw a security guard. I ran up to him and tried to remain calm as I almost cried, "We can't find our son." Trying to defuse the critical situation the guy said, "Did you want him back?" I actually laughed, 'Yes, we kind of like him." As he took down his information Sister-in-Law Fashionista came running over with First Born. He had ridden the ferris wheel but had gotten in the other line. At least he didn't know he was lost! Unfortunately he rode the sliding ferris wheel all by himself and had gotten sick!

The worst 'lost child' we had was at Christmastime in Salt Lake City at Temple Square. Middle Child was about three. We were with some friends in one of the buildings and decided it was time to go. After we all got bundled up I looked around and for the first time asked "Where's Middle Child?" Being the first time I lost a child I somewhat panicked. The other wife took all the kids while Hubby and his friend looked for the boy. I went to the counter and told the young women behind the counter I couldn't find my son. She looked concerned and said "That's terrible, what would you like me to do?" I was in shock! She's supposed to know, not me! I told her to call security. After about five anguish-filled minutes during which not a single employee/volunteer did anything while I waited for the nonexistent security, Hubby's friend found Middle Child. When he had heard "Let's go," he went! Thank goodness he stopped on the inside of the door. He decided that while he waited for us to catch up he would try to close the sliding automatic door on everybody trying to enter and exit.

I can only be thankful that all of these situations have come to a happy ending while other parents have heart-rending outcomes. These are some of the worst times in my life and no matter what I can't forget them. Even today when I remember these moments I get teary-eyed and say a little thankful prayer.


Boy Conversations

While waiting for Baby's soccer practice to get over with I was near a group of new 7th grade boys getting ready for football practice.

"We have hot chicks at our school."
"Yeah, you guys have ALL the hot chicks at your school!"
"I told my mom I was gonna be checking out all the hot chicks in the halls and she told me not too. Like she's gonna stop me!"
"I went over to your school before it was over and you do have all the hot chicks!"
"That short one that hangs out with so-so, she digs me."
"You just barely figured that out?"
"If we play football real good we can get all the hot chicks!"

I'm glad these boys have their futures figured out when it comes to girls!


Play the Game!

This is a pretty fun game, participate if you want! Add a comment on my blog. Leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember! Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's actually pretty funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you. If you don't want to play on your blog, or if you don't have a blog, I'll leave my memory of you in my comments.


Phone Parenting

The joys of parenting over the phone while whispering in the cubicles at work.

Me at 1pm: You two need to go outside and play. Turn the tv off and go play with some friends.

Middle Child (MC): Baby won't play with any of my friends.

Me: Let me talk to Baby

Baby (B): Hi Mommy

Me: You guys need to turn the tv off and go outside and play. You need to play with some of MC's friends.

B(whining): Moooom, I don't wanna play with MC's friends! He's trying to make me play with K! (4 yr old girl)

Me: Let me talk to MC. (MC comes on the phone) You need to play with someone that B wants to play with. You can't expect him to want to play with a girl half his age! Call C or M or MM.

MC: C's playing with another friend, M is at his grandma's, & MM is doing chores.

Me: Then GO OUTSIDE! Day after tomorrow you have school and no more free days! GO OUTSIDE! Go to the park, ride your bikes around, find some other friends running around the neighborhood! There are always kids outside! Take Boomer the Basset Hound for a walk! GO OUTSIDE!! No more tv until after 4pm! Let me talk to B.

B: Hi Mommy

Me: You need to GO OUTSIDE and play! No more tv until after 4pm!

B(whining): Moooom, I don't wanna go to the park!


This conversation actually vacillated between the boys a few more times than this but I don't have the patience to write it all down. And I don't really want to remember it when I'm old and have dementia.

Last week when I got home on Wednesday First Born announced I owed him $5. "What for?" I asked.

"I took Baby to the movie with me & N."

"That's great, but next time let me know."

Later that day I asked Middle Child what he did that day and he played with C all day including riding his bike to the Dollar Store, about 2 1/2 miles away.

"Do you feel like you're on vacation with me at work?" I asked.

A resounding "YES" reached my ears. How fun for the boys. No one to nag them about chores and reading and anything else they might not do!


Baby's mafia

We took all the boys to see Clone Wars. We dropped them off and did some shopping kid-free! I have rediscovered the joys of shopping without strollers and screaming, tired children. Now I’m that parent that mutters under my breath, Shut that kid up, as we’re strolling through the stores and someone else’s kid is stretching their lungs.

When we picked up all three of the boys they were having fun. Count Duku and Boba Fett were at the theater visiting with people. Except for the fact that the beginning of all the Star Wars starts with “In a galaxy far, far away. . .” I might have thought that they were real characters and it was a true story. But then we all have fantasies. Who doesn’t want to live on the planet from which Princess Amidala calls home. It is almost as beautiful as the Elven world in Lord of the Rings.

Back to reality. Baby told me I needed to see the movie. I said I would see it when it came out on video. (I am old enough that my jargon has not changed to match the times. I may watch DVD’s but I still call them videos. My children have given up on correcting me; they have grown used to my many eccentricities and my refusal to change for society.) Baby got excited, “When it comes out on DVD we can copy it!” We replied that it was illegal to copy movies. We told the kids that the cops would hunt them down and put them in jail. Baby smiled and delightfully declared, “They’ll have to get through all my friends first!” And then he laughed his evil laugh.


New Beginnings

I started a new job this week and I sure am tired! I'm a little too tired to be clever and witty, which is how I try to write normally. As I drive home from work I try to think of witty titles for a post I might write that night. But then I get home and have things to do and rarely even get to the computer.

Last night was my first night using the metering system to get on the highway. I was gonna call it "Christmas on the Highway." I was gonna write about how the pretty lights greet us as we enter the highway, putting us in a cheery Christmas mood so we won't get road rage. . . That was as far as I got in my thinking because as I tried to switch lanes in an attempt to stay on the highway until my exit (15 miles down the road) someone else cut me off trying to be faster and cooler than me in my New Old Car.

Monday I thought about writing about "Swimming in Mud" which was how I felt during my first day at work. I tried to read through some manuals, which was pretty useless. So I tried to do what was in the manuals and finally by the end of the day I got one thing done. Thank goodness for some training to take my mind off my uselessness.

Today I got flowers from Hubby. It's our 15th anniversary. He's so sweet! I've been thinking for weeks of sweet things I could write to honor him on our 15th but my mind is blank tonight. Let me tell you he is the sweetest guy I ever found. He treats me like Gold and never complains about me despite my many faults (and let me tell you, there is no shortage of faults in my arena). I am so lucky to have someone so wonderful.

Tomorrow is Middle Child's birthday. I already told you about the Nintendo DS fiasco. So now I have no presents for him. I guess tomorrow I will be going shopping on my lunch break for a DS game. I've put off his friend birthday till the end of the month. This way he will have time to reconnect with friends at school and invite them to his party and I will have time to shop for a present!

Hopefully next post, whenever that is, will be much more entertaining!


The Force

A lot of my blogs tend to be about things Baby has done. We do not favor him over the other two, he is just at that stage. When the other two were that age they were really funny also. I just wasn't blogging yet. Here's a story about Middle Child when he was Baby's age.

Middle Child loves Star Wars. His favorite character is Darth Vader. He wants to be like him. He even has a t-shirt that says 'I Belong to the Dark Side.' He wears it under his unbuttoned Cub Scout shirt. He has a General Grevious Light Saber that he hides under his bed. When asked about his obsession with the Dark Side he explained that they can make people do things they don't want to do. We explained the difference between using The Force for good and evil and he didn't care. I think being in the middle he wanted to make First Born do stuff he didn't want to do.

In Sunday School Middle Child told his classmates that he had The Force and could make them move. They didn't believe him and he decided to prove his power. He licked the palm of his hand, held it in front of one of the girl's faces, and moved it closer and closer to her. As she backed up he exclaimed, "I have The Force!"

Teacher Warnings

Baby found out his two best friends are in his 2nd grade class this year. He is so excited! He even wrote a note to his teachers.

Warning. Do not let me sit by Z or K. We will talk. In the morning. And afternoon.

If only all kids were so honest!


Real African Dog

A while ago Baby's friend from across the street, Z, started pounding on our front door. I opened it.

"Where's Baby? There's a hurt bird out here he has to see!" Z exclaimed.

I thought 'Boys and their desire for grossness.'

Baby went outside while I started the truck, we were leaving for the store and we had just put Boomer the Basset Hound in the backyard, his Kingdom. I pulled around the corner to grab Baby. He was watching a bird flutter off the ground about an inch. The poor thing would fly a foot or two and fall back to the ground. While it looked ok, it definitely wasn't. As it was fluttering around it flapped through our chain link fence into Boomer the Basset Hound's Kingdom.

Whatever came next couldn't have a happy ending. Those with delicate indispositions may want to stop reading now.

Boomer the Basset Hound soon noticed the disabled bird and started barking at it. Then he opened wide and scooped it up in his mouth. The bird sure didn't like that! He fought and Boomer the Basset Hound had to let him go. The bird fluttered frantically away from the big beast. But he wasn't fast enough in his crippled condition. Boomer the Basset Hound barked and tried to eat the bird again. The bird fought back again and got away for a moment.

At this point I decided there was only one probable outcome and the children would be devastated that Boomer the Basset Hound could be so cruel. I put Baby in the truck and instructed the other children to go home. I blatantly lied to them and said the bird would get away but needed to be left alone. I fled the scene.

For several days Baby talked about how the bird got away until he discovered a dead bird in our backyard! He was distressed that Boomer the Basset Hound could do something so brutal. I tried to explain the Circle of Life, but I don't think he's ever seen Lion King. So I related it to Secondhand Lions, his favorite movie and that appeased him. I told him:

"Boomer the Basset Hound is a real African Dog."


Upcoming Birthday Presents

Middle Boy lost his Nintendo DS (hereafter referred to as DS) just before we left on our trip to Denver on July 2nd. This was a terrible blow to him and he was very saddened. It was his most prized possession. You would have thought Boomer the Basset Hound had died. We have looked in the sofa, in the chair, in Grandma's house, in the car, in his bed, in his bedroom, in the bathrooms, under things, behind things, anywhere imaginable. We have searched high, low, and in between for the thing and it can't be found ANYWHERE! I don't even think he took it anywhere, it just diappeared into the nothingness with all the socks.

Because of his upcoming birthday I decided we should get him a used one. I bought one off of ebay and when I got it Monday I was quite pleased with the condition. There were no scratches on the screen. Except for a few scratches on the outside from regular use it looked almost new! I was quite pleased. I did good for the boy and would be his favorite Mom for a while.

Tuesday I flipped back Boomer the Basset Hound's blanket on the sofa (my feeble attempt to keep dog hair off the sofa) and. . . Lo and Behold! There is the DS! Laying right behind the back sofa cushions, not even shoved down or fallen down below like you would expect the DS to be if it had been there for a month. Someone recently put it on the back of the sofa. Have no clue who the offender is and Middle Child doesn't even care. After I showed him and he smiled he quickly turned it on and has been playing it ever since. Now I remember why I hated that thing!

If you are searching for a DS check this one out. Trying to recoup my costs.


Patience is a Virtue

For months I have applied, interviewed, turned down low-paying jobs, and been depressed as I was told several times I was a "Very Strong Candidate but we went with someone else" The time has finally come. I have been offered a job! I was not their second pick (at least not to my knowledge) and they want to pay me what I thought I could make fresh out of college in Utah County!

Of course the only reason I got the job was because I didn’t really want it. Before I applied I googled their address; it was placed on West Center Street in Provo. (Their street had a name, not a number) ‘That's not too far,’ I thought. I applied and they called me. Not for an interview but for a two-hour assessment that all candidates must take before they are even allowed to interview. When I got the directions to their office I was shocked. It may be in Provo but NORTHEAST Provo, almost to the mountains! I wouldn't have applied had I known that first.

I went and took their ghastly assessment. Whenever I got stuck, which was often, I told myself not to worry, I didn't want to work this far away from home. Somehow I still passed the assessment. Then they sent me an application. It had questions on it like "What was your single worst failure and how did you deal with it? What was the best criticism you have ever received and how did it affect you?" and my favorite "Why do you want to work for our company?" to which I replied "It seems like a nice place to work." That was my real answer and they still called me for an interview.

I went in for a brutal interview. First I interviewed with two people, then the boss, and then the HR Recruiter. She didn't like my answer to ‘Desired Salary’ of ‘Negotiable.’ I didn't want to put something out there and not get a call back because I thought I was worth more than they were willing to pay.

When the HR Recruiter called me two days later and told me they wanted to send me an offer letter (they're actually professional), talked about the pay (which was in my desired pay range), and asked if I was interested, it was all I could do not to sound excessively excited. Today I turned in all the paper work and took a drug test and, depending on the results, I should end self-employment on August 11!


The Grid of Evil

The original city planners of Utah had a brilliant idea. Let's make all the streets straight and number then in order. So we have crazy addresses. Not only do you have a house number but then you have a street number instead of name. And everything starts in the middle of town and works its way outward so you must know North, South, East, and West in order to find any address. For example most people's address run something like this: 1362 E. 800 S. Sound simple enough. The tricky part came as the cities grew and streets were no longer straight or, more commonly, streets started and ended randomly, making it difficult to find an address. No longer can you start from the center of town and find 1362 E. 800 S. by driving up the Main street and turning on 800 S. until you come to house number 1362 E. Living here you are lulled into a false sense of security because it all sounds so simple. You can find any address! So, not the case!

There is a street in Salt Lake City that scares us to death. Whenever we get on it we get frantic. It not only runs contrary to the 4 directions but it weaves and turns. I feel as though I have entered another world when I get on this street. I never know where I will end up. It's a little surreal and I always feel as though I have stepped through the Looking Glass into a foreign land and I don't know how to get back.

Another problem is that everyone shortens the addresses. 800 S becomes 8th S to some people but not everyone. Once we got lost trying to find Hubby's Grandma's work. Of course we were meeting her to pick out floral arrangements for our wedding and we were already a little stressed. The address was somewhere around 6500 S. We searched from 65 S down to 6500 S before we finally found the little street with a strip mall. The main road that it was supposed to be off of also made a detour somewhere between 65 S and 6500 S and so we had to back track to get the right East address.

Two nights ago we were out walking to a geocache at the end of the street and around the corner. As we reached it a fire engine came screaming up the street. Not a problem, this is a main road (it runs SE and confuses the visitors). But it turned on MY street. I got a little worried and turned right back around. But then the police car right behind the fire engine turned on the street before mine. The next fire engine, also right behind the police car, turned on the street right after mine. I felt better at that point. Obviously the fire was not on my street. The driver of the first fire engine thought he could get to another neighborhood by my street which is stopped by a field and then starts up again on the other side of the field. The policeman lives in my neighborhood and knew the area and was able to turn on the street that went completely through. And the final fire truck must live even farther down the main road because he took the shortest and most direct route to the fire. The Grid has become a source of contention whenever I must go somewhere new. Thank goodness for maps.google.com!