Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bathing and Other Natural Disasters

As some of you Facebook addicts junkies hobbyists might know, we recently had a small reenactment of the Johnstown flood in our kitchen. Two of my boys had gotten dirty in the yard and I told them to go upstairs and take a bath. This is the part where you scratch your head and ask, “Why did she send them to take a bath by themselves?” Well, Miss Nosy Pants, it wasn’t because I was busy outside enjoying an iced coffee and some time with my friend, it was because I subconsciously knew this would uncover a clog in our drain that needed our attention.

After a bit, my friend and I went inside only to see water overflowing out of my kitchen sink. Apparently my husband, possessing the common sense I refuse to engage, decided to check on the boys and found our oversized tub filled to the brim with boys and water once again proving my point that boys as a species could not have survived more than two weeks after their evolution. He quickly shut off the water and pulled the drain plug. The massive gush of water met with the aforementioned plug in the drain pipe and backed up into our kitchen sink and onto the floor in waves reminiscent of the tide coming in on the beach. Let me tell you how glad I am that modern building code requires the waste pipes for sinks and tubs to be separate from the waste pipe for the toilet. Mucky grey water was every where. All over the floor. In all the cabinets and drawers below the sink, and even in the dishwasher which, until this point, was filled with clean dishes.

General hi-jinks ensued as me, my friend and my two girls tried to stem the tide of water while the men folk tried to figure out why the drains were not draining. Eventually Bo and my friend’s husband plugged everything so there was no more water gushing forth and us ladies managed to get the floor wiped up and the counters cleared off. Faced with a non-functioning kitchen sink, the next day I set up a tent outside with washing stations a la Laura Ingalls and undertook to wash half of everything that was in the kitchen. After which I sanitized my counter tops, cabinet interiors and mop the floor. All the while praising God for the invention of bleach and Clorox Sanitizing Wipe.

Clorox, you complete me.
In relating this story to some friends a few days later, one of them commented “What?!? You didn’t turn this into a blog post?” Apparently, they are familiar with my perverse need to milk a crisis for a laugh.

While I don’t want to take away your need to have a good laugh at my expense, there was something else I realized that day: the importance of community. I’m not talking about the casual relationships with friends and neighbors, but people you can “do life with”. Bo and I are blessed to have such a group of people in our lives. I say blessed because I’m far too self serving and opinionated to have cultivated such rich friendships on my own.

We have a group of friends who will have helped us and we have helped on many, many occasions. Sometimes it’s with babysitting or odd household task. Sometimes it’s that kick in the pants you need to do the right thing. Sometimes it’s a shoulder to cry on when things go bad. Sometime it's someone to drink the champagne when things go right. Heck, one of my friends in this group helped me birth a kid.

And it was two of these same friends who jumped right in and helped with the massive clean up. No standing around, no “Oh! Look at the time! Gotta go!” Just rolled up the sleeves and got down to business. It wasn’t just the physical help either, but the camaraderie and laughs we had that made a dirty job (literally) much easier to face. Left on my own, I probably would have swore like a drunken sailor and had a big pity party.

If you have a group of friends like this, cultivate those relationships. You'll be glad you did.

p.s. If you need a good plumber, I know a guy.

Thursday, July 07, 2011


After fourteen years of parenting, I believe I have come across irrefutable evidence that evolution could not have occurred. One of the main tenets of evolution is survival of the fittest or natural selection wherein only those living organisms with physical attributes favorable to survival live long enough to pass on their DNA.  If this is true, then boys would have died out long ago. I’m not entirely sure how early boys (I’m talking Pre-Cambrian here) lived long enough to pass on anything beyond gas, let alone DNA. I will elaborate on my theory for the rest of you who do not have boys, because those who have one or more boys are nodding your head emphatically saying, “Yes, I believe!”

I started my parenting journey with girls; quiet, sensible, girls. Then I had boys, and daily I am dumbfounded on how these puppies make it through the day.

honestly, he would have maimed himself before he created the Death Star
First of all, they’re noisy. It’s as if there’s an ongoing noise generator in their little heads and if they don’t release some noise pressure by singing, chanting or other forms of noise making, their heads will explode in a cacophony of sound. And when they’re not making noise, they’re asking questions.

I made the near fatal mistake of taking my four boys to the grocery store. I say near fatal because they all made it back home. I had more questions in that 45 minute period than a politician at a prayer meeting.
“Mom, what’s for dinner tonight?”
“Mom what if my name was Farboogerwinkle?”
“Mom, what would you think if I could fly?”
“Mom what’s for dinner tonight?”
“Mom, why is that guy dressed like that?”
“Mom, where’s Dad?”
“Mom, can I watch tv?”
“Mom, what’s for dinner tonight?”
“Mom, why does Pikachu never battle with Gorganzobot?”
“Mom, what would happen if we lived at the grocery store?” (gee, I thought we already did)

and on and on and on and on.

and on.

and on.

And it really doesn’t matter if you answer the question because they will ask it again. Or the other boy who was staring right at you when you answered it the first time wants to know if he will get the same answer in his own time/space continuum or if, by some miracle, the answer for him will be “pizza.”

By the end of the shopping trip I was ready to sell them to the first roving band of gypsies that came by. Heck, the gypsies didn’t even have to be roving. However, because I spent quite a bit of time and effort birthing these boys, I decided to take them home.

I had to wonder, though. Somewhere in prehistoric times, were there some little male velociraptors asking lots of question in a similar manner? Because I believe the parent velociraptor, lacking my maternal inclinations, would say to him, “What little brain I have is about to melt as a result of all these questions so I’m afraid I’m going to have to eat you.” How many times could an early caveman have answered, “What if my name was Quarkiemcfinklepuss?” before he bludgeoned the guy?

The second reason I question the boy species survival is their inability to consider personal safety. We have a picnic table in our yard. Our boys think it’s a good idea to stand on this picnic table and wrestle until one of them falls off. Please keep in mind, they have already fallen off the table, bonked their heads on the ground and cried in pain. Yet the next day, they still consider wrestling on the table to be good fun. My boys probably would have had great careers in science had they grasped the ongoing reality of gravity, hard surfaces and its effect on their heads. It’s not just my boys either. I remember my brothers thought that hiding on top of a one story garage roof and then jumping off to scare one of their friends was a good idea. My husband said that most of the scars men have on their bodies started with, “Hey guys, watch this!” Consider all this in addition to boys’ natural inclination to bugs, explosives and all things dirt and you really must consider the low probability of their survival as a species. In trying to get through the mayhem that was early life on earth, who had time to rescue the boy who thought it would be fun to get a whisker off that saber tooth tiger?

As complicated a creature as women are, and tasked with the enormous job of trying to keep men alive, I find it very hard to believe that women evolved from some simple single cell amoeba. Woman was created by God after the angels told him that the dog was having a hard time trying to keep Adam from killing himself in the Garden of Eden.

Mayhem? What mayhem?