Like you, I do what I can to stay healthy. I ride a bike. I take walks. I went to a gym before Coronapalooza. I have been trying to lose or maintain my weight for a while. Some weeks are better than others.
I recently took a walk one night and someone was smiling down upon me on this particular constitutional. I passed a house with a table of boxes. These boxes contained books, CD’s and movies. I still read hard-copy books and collect and listen to CD’s. I read digital books and listen to digital music but I still like books and CD’s.
I was excited to return home with my new finds, one of which was a Genesis CD. I love Genesis. I was listening to it on a CD player (an earlier birthday present) as I was dealing with the mountain of dirty dishes and making dinner. Dinner just happened to be a recipe from a cookbook; another find. I was preparing a delightful batch of Pork and Red Chili and listening to my new find when one of The Gaggle come into the kitchen. Said Gaggle asked me what it was I was listening to. How old was it? What? Oh my God! This turned into another lecture about my questionable taste in music, which led to my questionable taste in movies. I told her I can’t help her if she can’t appreciate or recognize good music. She says, “Whatever,” she says. I’m old. She can’t help me.
Time for dinner. The Pork and Red Chili was enjoyed by everyone except for The Oppressed, who is a vegetarian. Even The Boy seemed to like it. He tends to skip meals that contain spices or more than two ingredients, or don’t involve takeout
A similar incident occurred when I was driving with The Oppressed. I had a CD in the car. She was not impressed with my selection and proceeded to take my phone for more acceptable music. Fortunately, The Oppressed likes the Veruca Salt album I downloaded on my phone and she proceeded to play “Benjamin.” It’s one of the very few selections I have, CD or digital, that The Oppressed will tolerate.
We’re having some issues with Kitty. I don’t know if she’s entering adolescence (she’s 15 months old) or if we have a bona fide psycho kitty on our hands.
There is still a matter of who, exactly, Kitty belongs to. Technically, The Boy got her for his birthday. Being home, I spent a lot of time bonding with Kitty. One of The Gaggle thinks Kitty belongs to them. They will take Kitty to their room. They will pick her up in front of me and tell her how nobody loves her more than them and they are the only one who cares about her. I say that’s a little immature and insecure on their part. The Gaggle says, “No it’s not!” The Gaggle goes to their room, this time, they don’t bring Kitty with them. I take this opportunity to spend a minute with Kitty. I pick her up, rub her head, and tell her who really loves her.
Kitty will also spend time with me and wife at night. This can be good. This can be bad. It’s bad for Wife. I think Kitty likes Wife more than she likes me. Wife disputes this but facts are facts. Kitty is always spending more time with her. It’s nice until Kitty jumps on Wife. This seems to happen just as wife is falling asleep. Wife is peaceful and rested and then Kitty comes into the room and jumps on Wife. Wife is rudely awakened. Specific threats are made regarding Kitty’s future in this world.
Wife likes to keep a cup of water on her nightstand. Kitty knows this. Kitty likes water; Not the water in her own dish, but she likes water. It has become a point of contention between Wife and Kitty. Kitty sees the cup of water. Kitty can’t pick up the cup so she will try to stick her face in the cup to drink it. More often than not, the water will end up out of the cup and on the floor. This always seems to happen early in the morning, two or three hours before Wife is supposed to get up.
One time, Wife thought she had a good idea and put two books on top of the cup of water. Kitty couldn’t see what was in the cup, so she tried to get the books off of the cup for a better look. As a result, everything, books, cup, and contents of said cup were knocked to the floor. Wife cursed Kitty’s name. I hustled Kitty out of the room and closed the door. Kitty was meowing at the door, doubtlessly to see if Wife was alright. I got towels from the bathroom and helped clean up what I could. Kitty is still meowing from the other side of the door. I tell Wife that Kitty is only trying to apologize. Wife didn’t believe me.
I carried the equipment back to the van hoping my last half-ounce of sanity would hold out for the ride home so I could hide somewhere until the next crisis presented itself. Unfortunately, the next crisis presented itself before the bag was dropped in the van.
I was the proud coach of not one, but two baseball teams last year. I coached The Oppressed and one of The Gaggle on one team, The Boy on the other. Both teams presented their own unique challenges. No matter what team had the practice or the game, I had more of The Gaggle sitting on the bench presenting an additional set of challenges to my parenting strategies and my overall sanity.
There was one particular afternoon where I had to remind myself I love my children and the work I was doing on the baseball field. It had been a challenging afternoon with the budding stars of the diamond that day. I had the usual two children telling my why one should be playing first base and not the other one. Another child was mesmerized by the blades of grass surrounding them, the occasional dandelion in the grass, and anything else not relating to baseball. I found that to be rather odd since baseball was the reason we were all gathered there on that particular day.
The game that particular afternoon mercifully came to an end. I carried the equipment back to the van hoping my last half-ounce of sanity would hold out for the ride home so I could hide somewhere and recharge until the next crisis presented itself. Unfortunately, the next crisis presented itself before the bag was dropped in the van.
I couldn’t help but notice the back of a seat had been touched up a bit by an artists touch. Now, the van at that point had been seven or eight years old but I didn’t recall artwork being included in the list of options when we bought it.
I took a deep breath and calmly called the children to the back of the van. They dutifully assembled and saw the work of art that wasn’t there that morning. I asked them if anyone wanted to take credit for the new work gracing the back of the seat. There were no takers. We get home. Everyone sits at the table. The first thing I do is demand that anyone with “Stupid Pills” hand them over to me that very instant. There is obviously some mental damage here and I need to curb it.
Next, I inform all of the Miracles of Christ that everyone will be punished until the Real Rembrandt steps up and lays claim to the work. They hear me. They understand but they all tell me, swear to me that no one sitting at the table did it.
We begin the days-long interrogation process. Extra chores. No screens. Early bedtimes. The Oppressed is mad at whoever the culprit is. She, as well as the rest of the innocent parties are missing out on screens: the vital staple of any child’s development and well-being. One of The Gaggle offers to take the heat for everyone for the sake of getting it all over and done with. The rest of the Miracles of Christ will owe them down the road.
My wife and I play a guessing game every night. Whodunnit? We have our guesses and theories supporting those guesses. All of the guesses are good and the theories are intriguing. We don’t act on any of these, of course. We still wait for the guilty party(ies) to take it upon themselves to tell us what they’ve done. We have ruled out one of the children because of a “Tell” they have when they do something wrong. The “Tell” is not there. We figure they’re not involved this time.
Wife and I continue to wait for a confession. The children are put to work in the backyard. All of them, including the one we think is clean. There’s a lot of land to be mowed and tended to. We also have trees with falling branches that make it difficult to cut the grass. The Miracles of Christ are charged with removing the sticks from the grass and moved to the patio. This was happening on one particular day when the social worker of The Gaggle came to visit. She saw the children at work and felt this was a little excessive, even if our vehicle was vandalized. I thank the nice lady for bringing her opinion to my attention.
Time passes and someone cracks. They cave. They did it. Was there anyone else. No. They acted alone. Wife and I have the confession we have been waiting for. The rest of the children are off the hook and we discuss the proper punishment for the individual. But wait… There’s more! The guilty party had an accomplice. Said accomplice was sitting back letting the other take the heat. Brilliant child. A budding mastermind. Somewhere on the other side, Al Capone probably did a facepalm.
Punishments are handed down. I assess the situation and determine the retribution to be exacted. Wife thought the punishments were excessive and feels we should tone them down. I agree under protest. We hand down the sentences and wait for the next crisis to befall us.
I started a new job recently. It’s not great. Not glamourous. It is physical but that’s okay. Most of the work I’ve done is physical/manual labor and those types of jobs love me and like to keep me so I guess this is nice and convenient.
We have since moved on from home-schooling to vacation time and I am proud to tell you all of our children have passed and have been promoted to the next grade. The Oppressed. The Boy. The Gaggle. Everyone made it. I’m making another drink.
The Oppressed and The Boy are in camp. It’s a great place. It’s nearby and many of the parents I talk to would like to know if there is a program for grown-ups. This is a camp located within acres on acres of woods. There’s a pond, a pool. You can do archery. you can paddle a canoe. You get there in the morning, swim, play kickball, and eat lunch. After lunch you can go out in the canoe, do a little more swimming, hang out with your friends, maybe have a snack. You play another game and then you can go home. Sounds like a pretty good way to spend a summer day. Right?
My children seem to think so… I guess. I can’t get them to tell me anything about it. I get home. I have dinner. I ask the kids how camp was. “Okay,” they tell me. What did they do? “Stuff.” Care to elaborate? They don’t.
I finished dinner one night. The Oppressed has commandeered Wife’s phone. The Boy is watching YouTube videos. I ask both if they would like to take a walk and talk about their day at camp. The Oppressed runs away. The Boy is too tired.
I guess I’ll just pour a drink and do some writing.