Monday, December 19, 2016

Joyous Nothing

I'm coming to you live from inside my home this morning. This is probably more exciting for me than for you, but what excites me tends to generate blog content, which is why, over the years, you've slogged through blogs discussing book series about which you care very little, culinary dishes featuring cream cheese, my search for a new living room rug, & various other matters that rank nowhere on your radar of interesting topics. 

There'll be none of that today, however. Today's only topic is . . . drum roll . . . pictures of my kids. 

Last week was one of those weeks that makes you long for a boring week, a week during which no one leaves donuts in the teachers' lounge, it's no one's birthday, & there are no parties anywhere at all for any reason. Last week I ate a lot of things I should not have eaten. I took a lot of pictures. I cried a handful of times. Last week took an emotional & physical toll & I'm going to be in the bed all day today recovering, that is until I leave for book club tonight, where there'll be carbs, hugging, books exchanged, & felicitous feelings that would please Miss Austen, author of this month's book, Emma

I begin with last Tuesday, which was Reagan's sixth birthday. It was also Pajama Day at school for kindergarten students, so yes, she's in her pajamas in these pics below & everything is fine.

I snapped these in my room Tuesday morning before escorting the children to their classrooms.

Reagan's daddy came & ate lunch with her & brought her a cupcake. Then there were more cupcakes later in the day for snack time. As you might imagine, by the time I got in bed Tuesday night I was like seventy years old (& I haven't even told you about the leak in the house yet).

The children & I raced home from school Tuesday with the goals of (1) feeding the dog & (2) changing Reagan out of her pajamas & into clothes more appropriate for our five pm dinner reservation. After I'd fed the dog I was passing through the kitchen into the living room & noticed, for the second day in a row, a small-ish puddle of water on the kitchen floor. When I noticed the wet floor Monday afternoon I first inspected it to make sure it wasn't urine (between the kids & the dog you just never know). Convinced it was just water, I assumed a child had spilled some & sopped it up with paper towels & moved along. 

When there was again a small-ish puddle of water in the same spot on Tuesday, I paused. In rapid succession I recalled a series of oddities that had caught my attention over the course of about a week & realized in horror that we were dealing with a leak. I immediately suspected either the fridge or - horror of horrors - some serious, horrific foundation issue as there is no plumbing running through the wall from which the leak was obviously springing. Unfortunately all I could do at the moment was sop up the small puddle on the floor with paper towels, send Trey a somewhat hysterical text, & load the kids in the car so we wouldn't be late to dinner. 

The children & I temporarily put the leak situation out of our minds (I so totally did not) & headed to dinner to celebrate Reagan & Papa, December 13th babies both. 

They were playing a fun game of, It's my birthday. 
No, it's my birthday. 
No, it's my birthday.
No, it's my birthday. 

We arrived home & unloaded the birthday loot without incident. Despite bedtime approaching & a leak staring us in the face, I let Reagan hook her new doll up to the doll's insulin pump.

We put the kids in their pajamas & told them to clear out of the kitchen while we went to work. I reenacted my discovery of the puddle for Trey. He moved the refrigerator out from its enclosure &, long, dull story short, eventually I inadvertently discovered a connector hose had somehow been punctured & was spewing a small stream of water. I *thought* I could hear a slight hissing noise but the kids were being loud & the dog was barking so I wasn't sure. Old, disgusting rag in hand, I stuck my arm behind the fridge to soak up some of the water & lo & behold, I felt the tiny, tiny stream of spray that had been leaking for who knows how long. Trey turned the water to the fridge off, temporarily fixing the issue so we could all retire to bed.

After the triumph of discovering not only the existence of a leak, but the specific, exact source of said leak, I was exhausted when I finally fell into bed Tuesday night. Unfortunately, Henry woke up around three am coughing Wednesday morning. I gave him some medicine, & while he went back to sleep, I gave up & got in the shower circa four am. Seemingly there's no silver lining to showering at four in the morning, however, however, for once I wasn't in a complete rush, & now my legs are, well, not as hairy as they had been. 

I was dragging at school Wednesday morning, needing more than my coffee, & what do you know? One of my favorite young men waltzed in my room, bringing with him this lovely piece of eighties nostalgia.

I've enlarged the picture so you can perhaps see that those festive white dots on the sweater vest are in fact pearls.

I was incredibly desperate to get in the bed when I got home from school Wednesday but before that was possible I had to face the mess behind the fridge that we didn't clean up Tuesday night. I also had to scrub the concrete floor on the other side of the wall because, yes, over time that tiny, tiny spray generated enough water that water was seeping under the wall & could be seen behind the couch in the living room. Thankfully I am completely anal about carpet & told Trey when we married I would never live in a house with carpet in any room. Concrete's a lot easier to deal with after a water leak than carpet. 

Thursday was a very short day at school for the children. They were there just long enough to enjoy their class Christmas parties & then Nana picked them up while I finished giving the seniors their midterm. 

Jessica & her crew are headed to Colorado soon to celebrate Christmas there, & so Thursday night we dressed all four kids in the Christmas pajamas Nana bought them - & the antlers & red noses Nana bought them - & took an insane amount of photos.

Here they come. 

Reagan's six now & she does a much better job of handling photo sessions than she once did, however, when she's done, she is done. 

This next one's my favorite. I call it, Done

I officially finished with school for the year (the calendar year, that is) on Friday. I say officially because while I am not required to physically be at school again until after the New Year, believe it or not I have a handful of essays left to grade. 

On a related note, essays languish in part because Saturday morning we were all up & dressed & waiting for the door of The Children's Museum to open so that Reagan's birthday wish might be fulfilled. 

We left The Children's Museum shortly before lunch & headed to Chili's to eat . . . stopping on the way for a dozen eighteen cupcakes. I wanted to get a dozen because we needed exactly a dozen. Trey wanted eighteen. It was not a good week for Reagan's numbers or my thighs, though the full extent of the damage won't be revealed until Wednesday when we travel to Jackson for her endocrinologist appointment, after which I'll try & fit in pants sold by Ann Taylor Loft & Anthropologie. 

Grinning birthday girl waiting for her macaroni & cheese at Chili's:

I didn't order this Saturday given the eighteen cupcakes we'd just bought, but prior to Saturday it'd been a really long time since I was in Chili's & apparently this is now on their menu & no one told me. It's highly likely I'll be ordering one of these to-go at some point over the break, picking it up, & eating it in my darkened car all by myself. Don't judge; it's cheaper than therapy. 

Your blood sugar's likely elevated from reading this; we're nearing the end. There are no more pictures, & I have no more cupcakes or other desserts about which to inform you. While I do have the next two weeks off school, the week ahead doesn't promise too many days spent completely in my pajamas. 

As I mentioned, tonight is book club. I have mixed feelings about it to be honest. I am excited because our December meeting is the meeting to end all meetings. For one, it usually falls after I'm out of school, which means I'm not exhausted & my smiles are genuine & heartfelt rather than forced. Also, we're doing a book exchange like we did last Christmas, so I am guaranteed to come home with another book. 

My heart's a little sad, however, because for the first time since I began meeting with them in March of 2012, when we read The Hunger Games, I haven't finished reading this month's book. I am kind of disgusted with myself. Emma is long, & it is not exactly fast-paced, & while I don't dislike it, it's not wowing me the way Pride and Prejudice did & I am nowhere near the end of the book. I am going to finish it eventually, & I am attempting to educate myself about the chapters I won't have read by tonight so that I can contribute thoughtful & interesting commentary to our discussion. 

Anyway, the rest of the week is shaping up to be busier than I'd prefer, but that's basically my life lately. Tomorrow I'll likely shower again because my mom's coming over to keep the kids while I go buy a ton of a couple of Christmas presents. Wednesday is our trip to Jackson to see the endocrinologist, & while this requires yet another shower of me, I am kind of excited to see her this time because while I am leery of Reagan's post-birthday, post-Christmas party A1C, I can't wait to tell the doctor we handled a stomach bug all by ourselves.

Thursday & Friday look promising at the moment. I'll certainly spend time wrapping presents & there's plenty of laundry to be washed & folded, but by then the essays should be graded & at the moment I've nothing on the calendar, so maybe I'll be able to boast of at least one day spent in my pajamas when I return to you next week, post-Christmas. 

When I sat down to write this I had it in my mind that I'd share some thoughts on the completion of my first semester as a high school English teacher, &/or share some thoughts about this year drawing to a close. Obviously I underestimated the sheer number of photos I took last week & clearly wasn't factoring in the riveting leak story. Perhaps one or both of those topics will be addressed next week. Tabling those thoughts for now, I'll leave you with a challenge to do as little as possible this next week, & then do as little as possible the week after that. Let's face it, Christmas is, among other things, incredibly stressful for those of us responsible for making all things merry & bright. Merry & bright are fine & good, but silent, still, & dark are also excellent.

While I don't subscribe to every facet of Nietzsche's philosophy, the quote above resonates with me. My life is dominated by excess, & it makes me a little crazy. There are too many parties, too much food, too many carbs, too much laundry, too many toys, too many appointments. As I think about the last few weeks, or even the last few months, my happiest moments have come not when I was hauling more stuff into our already bursting home, or searching online for another pair of boots I don't need; they've come when I gave something to someone who didn't expect it, be it my time or just genuine emotion, genuine concern. 

One day last week I was walking through the living room headed to the car to drive us all to school. The picture before me, framed by a window in our living room, was stunning; the sun was rising over the golf course & I wanted so desperately to sit & sip my coffee & just stare out that window for an hour, maybe two. My first thought, of course, was, Goodness I'm getting old. My second thought was, I am going to do that one day in the next two weeks. Wish me luck. 

I pray you have a Merry Christmas. I will, the Lord willing, return in a week's time to tell you a little bit about our Christmas & my hopes for a post-Christmas week of doing only things that can be accomplished while seated on my couch, like catching up with laundry-folding, reading, &, yes, typing up a few notes because English teachers & mothers of small people laugh haughtily in the face of the word Break.


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