Friday, March 27, 2009

What's pink and white, six feet tall, and wants to eat your children?

Today is officially the first day of Spring Break here in Spazville. Somehow the school board has managed to squeak in not only the week of Spring Break but the Friday before and the Monday after.

Let the torture begin!

I awoke this morning to every single box of cereal in the house on the counter and open. Along with a container of oatmeal. There were two giant bowls full of oatmeal on the counter and four bowls of mushy milk in the family room. There was an entire matchbox car city set up (including train tracks) in the walkway leading from the kitchen to the bedrooms and all three kids were lazily draping themselves over the furniture watching the Disney Channel.

That's what I get for sleeping in, I guess.

Today we're going to take the boys for haircuts.


It may be a little overdue. That's one thing I love about Munchkin. Her hair can just grow and grow and you really can't tell the difference. Bug is starting to look looks like a little emo kid.

My hair cutting strategy with the boys is to tell the stylist to cut it as short as they can get away with so I don't have to repeat this process again in 2 weeks. The result is usually different each time so it's kind of a surprise. We'll see what we get today. :)

Aunt M has offered to let the kids spend the night with her 3 kids tonight and then she is going to take them all to visit the Easter Bunny tomorrow at the mall. I can't decide whether she brave or crazy. Probably crazy.

I'll be helping my mom and dad pack up their house for their impending move... which sounds like more fun than trying to take 6 kids to see the Easter Bunny. I don't know about you, but those mall Easter Bunnies have always seemed a bit scary to me. I'm not sure there could be a giant bunny that wouldn't frighten me a bit.







This is why I haven't ever taken my kids to see one. I'm waiting for tomorrow to hear what my kids reactions will be.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The post that will probably depress you...

...but I knew I was going to write about it sooner or later.

I like stories. In books and on TV all the stories, all the drama is nicely wrapped up within the allotted time period or allotted pages and you get a sense of closure when it's over. Unless we're talking about The Sopranos, but that's another post. Currently I'm reading The Thirteenth Tale (Jason's recommendation!) and I'm in love with it. It's sort of a haunting story with a lot of mystery and wonder and passion and I am really involved with the characters. At the end, I know, it will all be wrapped up and all my questions will be answered and I will close the book and put it on the shelf (or lend it to my mom) and walk away from it feeling a sense of satisfaction and calm.

Real life isn't like that. It was a bit of a shock to me in my late 20s to realize that life didn't always turn out nice and neat and tidy like every movie I'd seen and book I'd read. It was 2004 when my parents house was burned down and there have never been any answers to my questions.

That house meant the world to me. We moved in when I was only 6 years old and at first I sort of hated it. We had moved from a small house in a neighborhood with lots of kids to a big house in a neighborhood with no kids and acres between each house. We had a giant back yard and a pool now and I had my own room, but I missed our old house where I had to share a room with my sister and I had friends just a walk down the street.

Over time, I learned how to be a kid there, though. At first I read a lot and made up games to play by myself. Then I started riding my bike down the street where there was a barn and I spent my afternoons petting horses and barn cats. When I was 9 or 10 another little girl moved to our neighborhood and then all of our time was spent together. Heather had a horse named Crockett and we spent all of our time caring for him and riding him and incorporating him into our games.

And every night I came home to our beautiful home where my mom cooked a hot dinner and kept everything neat and tidy. I crawled into my cozy bed and listened to the tree outside scratch at my window. Every night I was safe and sound and protected within the walls of our house. It was a rock for me, a constant.

When I was 18 I couldn't wait to leave that house. I couldn't wait to get out from under my parents dictatorship and make my own rules. My mom and dad drove me to Gainesville and helped me to move into my first dorm room (it was a single) and then they left me. And there I was, alone.

Over the next eight years I moved back in and out of that house three different times. Two failed attempts at the University of Florida and one failed marriage all had me packing my bags and heading back to the safety of that house each time. And each time I was rejuvenated and at some point felt ready to face life on my own again.

So when I received a frantic call from my sister in the wee hours of the morning on October 20, 2004 I took the news in disbelief. My parents had been away on vacation... I had been there just the afternoon before. The words she was saying to me didn't even seem that they could be real.

Burned the the ground



Surely, the rock of a house that I had spent so much of my life in, built so many memories in, couldn't be gone. Somehow I knew this was a mistake.

When I was about three miles from the house the smell started to come into the car. Like a forest fire. When I got closer I could tell there was a haze in the air. And when I turned on to the street my sister lived on (one street away from my parent's) ashes landed on my windshield.

And still, I didn't believe it.

We drove over there together. I stood in the front yard looking at wreckage. The roof was gone, the windows all blown out, almost all of the interior walls were missing. The fireplace was there, the one that all important pictures had always been taken in front of. In the back, the pool was black with soot.

And somehow, I still thought I was going to wake up.

It's been over 4 years and that house is still the setting of all of my dreams. I live in it every night. Last weekend while at my niece's birthday party located at my sister's house, my dad and I took a walk over to the property just to see what was there. The neighboring church had purchased the land after the fire and we wondered what had been done with it.

Nothing at all.

The land reeks of loss.

The foundation of the house is there, the bathroom areas are still covered in the tile my mother picked out when they renovated, the rest covered in the Mexican tile that dominated the house during my childhood until much of it was covered with carpet and wood. The fireplace is now gone and if you don't have the house's floor plan etched into your memory from a lifetime of walking through it, you'll never be able to decipher what went where. The yard my father worked so hard at keeping beautiful is overgrown and out of control, my mother's courtyard and rose garden is nothing but weeds. The long driveway has vegetation overtaking and cracking it. The iron gate is falling from its hinges.

I wonder what people think when they drive by it. People who never saw the beautiful house that was once there... to them it must look almost haunted. I wonder if they make up stories in their heads about what must have happened there. I wish I could tell them all that up until the early morning of October 20, 2004, it was a very happy place. It was the center of our family, our gathering place, a home filled with so much love and laughter.

It was arson, that is all the fire marshall can tell us. My father's own gasoline that he kept in a bright red jug in the garage was used. It started in the kitchen. The gas jug was found by the fence neighboring the church next door and there were soda cans littering the side yard. A neighbor thought she saw a white pick up truck in the driveway at some point. No one was ever caught. The story doesn't have a nice tidy ending where all the loose ends tie up into a little bow and all the players have an answer. We still have questions and we just have to learn to live with that.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The post in which I break the law

This morning I decided to skip the dog park (where Sudo has taken to running away from me for about 20 minutes every day when I say it's time to go home... it's getting embarrassing) and head to a local nature preserve to take Sudo for a walk.

It was beautiful this morning, in the mid 50's, sunny and crisp, and Sudo was super excited to start walking the trails. He spent most of our walk with his nose to the ground taking in all the new smells. Then he stopped and looked up.

So then I did, too. Sudo was looking at thin air... or perhaps a branch he thought might be tasty. I, however, spotted this...


Not really... I stole that from a background site somewhere on the Internet... For future reference, I should remember to check the batteries in my camera before going out.

We spent a good 1/2 hour perusing the trails, we ran, we sniffed, we enjoyed the cool air on our faces. There wasn't another person or dog in sight... it was as if we were deep in the middle of the untouched Florida landscape. It was refreshing.

It was sort of inspiring to start our day by spotting our national bird. I realized most of the places we walked he could see us from his perch atop that dead tree. Then I wondered if he was eying Sudo... because I read once that a bald eagle could carry a deer fawn... and Sudo sort of looks like a deer... so we decided we should probably conclude our nature walk.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

The One Where Goober Says "WHAT?!"

We spent the last few days without water. Or without much water at any rate. It's all well and good now... thanks to my wonderful brother in law who knows a thing or two about plumbing. :)

I can't tell you how wonderful having running water is when you haven't had any for a few days. Hot running water. Hot running water that comes out in a gushing river of happiness. Oh, to be clean again! I've never been so excited by a load of laundry and a full dishwasher!

In other news, I think we're finally done with all the sickness in the house. It took us a good 2 weeks but I think all three of the kids are finally ready to go back to school. Except it's Saturday. Poor Goober has to take antibiotics for the next 10 days, though, since his sickness turned into ear infections on both ears resulting in a ruptured ear drum in one ear.

I know... that horrified me as well.

In fact, I had always believed that if you ruptured your ear drum you were pretty much going to be deaf in that ear forever more. Evidently, this is not so. Goober should be able to hear us again within 2 months. That's right, he's a little hard of hearing right now. The world must be very peaceful to him... I'm sort of envious.

To the person who searched "putting your man back into diapers" and arrived at my blog - I'm just confused. Please comment and explain. :)