Plenty of Excitement in the Lazy Summer Days

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We are in the middle of summer vacation. It’s had its share of excitement and moments we’ll never forget, no matter how much we want to forget or how hard we try.

The season started with graduation. Two of our children graduated from high school, one graduated from elementary school. Not long after celebrating these milestones, we went to Maine to celebrate my nephew graduating from high school. Not long after that, I was able to watch a friend perform in a concert in a local town green.

A concert on the town green.

Switching Gears

Switching from school to summer vacation meant switching gears. We don’t have to wake up early to make the bus anymore, but we do have to make sure teenagers are out of bed and ready to face the day and tackle the chores. Some of the misinformed cherubs think they have a God-given right to sleep all morning into the afternoon. Wife and I are still explaining to them that’s not how life works.

On the other side of the spectrum, we have The Oppressed and The Boy. Both are at camp and spend the days swimming, rowing, and learning arts and crafts. These children have been at this particular camp for years. They love it, as do the other children in the area who attend. It’s a great camp. Parents (including this one) have tried to get in, but apparently there’s an age limit.

The scene of another birthday party just before the kids fill up the floor.

When the children aren’t at camp or sleeping, there are birthday parties to attend. Both The Oppressed and The Boy have been busy this season attending parties. This gives the chance for The Oppressed to express herself and her talents with drawings on the card and craft projects that come with the presents picked out for friends. The kids have fun at the parties, and it gives Wife and I a chance to catch up with the other adults.

Yes, it’s nice for things to slow down and it’s nice for us to do things other than worry about getting to school on time and making sure homework is done. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean parents like us can take a break from worrying about our little cherubs. Our little miracles of Christ keep finding ways to keep up on our toes.

Slight Incident at the Pond

There was one such incident I’ll remember and treasure forever. One day, children and I were swimming at a pond. This particular watering hole had a rope tied to a tree. Children at the pond liked to swing off the rope and fall into the water. Seems like fun, right? It is. The only problem is this: You need to swing on the rope a couple of times to get far enough over water that is deep enough. The rope can be a tricky thing to try to control while you’re swinging in mid-air.

One such child had a little trouble with that and their back hit the tree. I was watching the children take turns on the rope and dreading something like that happening. Sure enough, it did.

Luckily for this child, no one was really swinging wild enough or fast enough to do major damage to themselves. There was a little scratch. Nothing more than that. We were all grateful.

A Missing Cat?

There’s been plenty of excitement for our family this summer. Some episodes are more exciting than we would like. There was one morning Kitty decided to go out exploring, and she was gone for most of the day.

I was browsing through social media later that day when I found a post mentioning a dead cat not far from our neighborhood in case anyone was missing a cat. The description of the cat was close enough to Kitty that I felt I should respond to the post and get more information. The nice lady who had originally posted about the cat sent me a message with a picture of the cat. I honestly couldn’t say, “yes” or “no” with 100% certainty.

It was a long day and a long night. I wasn’t sure what I was going to tell the younger children or one of the teenagers, who has a special fondness for Kitty. I told nobody except for Wife. No need to alarm any of the children.

I woke up the next morning and began my daily routine, which started with letting Doggie out. When I reached the door, there was Kitty waiting. She looked healthy and intact, and ready to sleep off the excitement of her night out of the house. I was able to dial down my anxiety until the next fun-filled adventure finds its way to my house.

Safe and sound asleep.

Messages from Above and Beyond

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I am a husband, a parent to five children, and a baseball coach. I take care of a dog and a cat. I help with homework and give driving lessons among other duties fulfilled. For all of these duties, some of the most exciting moments occur in my own home.

Wife and I try to keep a clean house. Some days are easier than others. Those easier days are usually when the Miracles of Christ are at school or the whole family is out of the house for the day on an excursion. We try to enlist the cherubs’ help from time to time, that’s easier than obtaining answers regarding discoveries Wife and I make around the abode.

King Tut’s tomb. Almost as exciting as what we find at home.

You may already be familiar with the story of King Tut’s tomb. In 1923, an archaeologist named Howard Carter found the tomb and discovered what it contained. The discovery was magnificent in both archaeological and historical terms. The discoveries made that day in February of 1923 answered many questions and led to some new ones. The discoveries I make at home produce many questions but don’t answer much.

I go to one child’s room to wake them up in the morning. They have an alarm but they either sleep through it or just ignore it. On my way through the room to their bed, I notice several items laying around the room, usually in the form of empty cans. Thankfully, these empty cans are non-alcoholic, so it could be worse. Since these cans are actually in someone’s room, it’s hard for them to deny them or not now where they came from. Questions regarding this discovery usually produces answers such as, “Oh, yeah,” or, “Um, yeah. I was gonna get those.”

They told me they were going to take care of these… a month ago.

Of course you were. Right after you finished your video game or the television show you started streaming for the tenth time this week. I’m sure it was right at the top of your list. Right after the mountain of laundry that’s been sitting there for weeks going on months, waiting for you to scale it. I’m sure it was just a matter of time. It’s not like you’re in the room sleeping all morning and you walk past them when you finally get up out of bed.

Other discoveries are a little difficult to pinpoint. These are the ones made in the living room, the dining room, and the kitchen. Upon entering these parts of the house, the visitor is met with random scraps plastic left from opening powdered drink mixes. No one can explain these mysterious phenomena. Empty chip and snack bags. Again, no one can explain this. Water bottles. Juice boxes. More miracles of God. Things people have certainly seen but weren’t around to witness the actual happening. “I don’t know.” “That was there when I got here.” I wonder if we’re on some sacred burial ground of an ancient civilization long forgotten and the spirits are somehow communicating with us with these objects and items randomly left about the house that trespasses on said sacred ground.

Gifts for the gods.

Sometimes, there’s food and crumbs left with these mysterious packages. If you’ve seen the movie “Coco”, you know that people leave food for the spirits of their departed relatives. Maybe people in this house have been leaving food for the spirits. It’s also possible that people in this house are eating snacks and leaving crumbs but we don’t want to offend the gods, do we?

I’m not sure who to speak to about this. The Oppressed? The Gaggle? Discovery Channel? The Boy? Wife? National Geographic? I’m sure someone from PBS would love to know about these strange occurrences randomly taking place all over the house. Doggie doesn’t care where it’s coming from. She’s just happy to have an extra snack now and then. I wish these mysterious spirits wouldn’t leave so many signs. It’s hard enough for our dear children to clean the house as it is. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe they really are cleaning but Ida Know and Not Me from “The Family Circus” are dropping by and leaving subtle reminders that they were here. This much I know: It couldn’t possibly come from our children.

Not everyone in the house is upset about the crumbs.

Follow me on Twitter @Greg_the_Brave or join my Facebook page “Drink Your Juice” for more updates.

My Cat won’t Behave

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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.

Our little angel. Just don’t ask Wife.

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.

Rightfully Mine

I find myself losing more and more to a certain child in my home.

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One of “The Gaggle” has been with us for a few months and this child has since infringed on things, animals, and people that I hold dear. This person is a nice person: Helps when we need it, asks for help when they need it. They even ask when they need or want to use something. But sometimes…

Kitty and I have taken a liking to each other. I had always been a “Dog Person” until Kitty came to us. With The Wife at work and the Miracles of Christ at school, it was just me and her. We hung out. She kept me company while I folded clothes, washed dishes or cooked. I would wake up with her on or next to me. A couple of confirmed kills in the Mouse Department have cemented her standing as a beloved member of our household.

The Gaggle will run into the house, sometimes body-checking me out of the way. She will yell, “Kitty!” and find her and pick her up. She will cuddle Kitty and make sure I see them in a moment of tender cuddling. The Gaggle smiles. Kitty and I are not amused.

Exhibit A

I once got a Nintendo Switch for my birthday. I use it when I can. The Miracles of Christ have a new found interest in video games. God forbid The Boy plays Pac-Man or Space Invaders with me. (He’s still learning and I try to keep it simple for him.) Everyone, including The Gaggle wants my Switch and “The Legend of Zelda”. It was nice when I wanted to kill a few minutes with the game. I constantly hear a knock on the door. “Do you have ‘Zelda’?” “Can I use it?” “Can I use it now?” “Are you done, yet?” Now, I can barely get my hands on it. It got so bad, Wife bought me another Switch and is considering buying another copy of “Zelda”. I would rather defend what’s rightfully mine. It’s gone so well thus far.

Exhibit B

My cat. My Switch. My wife… Yeah. My wife, too. At the end of the day, The Gaggle and Wife will sit down to some insipid, mind-numbing television show that has since been cancelled (big surprise). I used to get some time alone at the end of the day with Wife. Now, she has decided to kill brain cells with The Gaggle while The Boy and The Oppressed explain to me why they need to sleep in my bed.

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