Thursday, April 26, 2012

Doctor...or Metallurgist?

If I had any future thoughts that Finn might be a doctor when he grows up, those thoughts are now gone.

The Scene: Right after school...

Finn: I can't eat a snack right now. I'm disturbed.

Me: What has you disturbed?

Finn: In school we were discussing ant...ant...antimy...and it's all about inside your ear.

Me: What?

Finn: You know, ant....ant....A - N - T - I - M - O - N - Y. We talked about our hearts.

Me: Antimony? What does that have to do with your inner ear and heart? And why is it disturbing?

Finn: It was just gross.

Me: OK. (totally mystified as to why one of the chemical elements is disturbing and what it has to do with body parts)

Finn: (Unpacking his backpack and finding the papers from class today) OK, here's the word. A - N - A - T - O - M - Y.

Me: That's pronounced a-nat-o-me and it's the study of the human body! No wonder you were talking about ears and hearts!

Finn: Still gross.

Can't wait until he gets to sex ed.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How the Human Mind Copes

Frankly, I'd love to know how the human mind copes with difficulties beyond comprehension.

We are just past the 8-year mark marking Finn's leukemia diagnosis. The week prior, I was restless, and I really didn't know why. That happens sometimes in the weeks preceding April 7 and the weeks preceding August 5 (last oral chemo). I must subconsciously feel that something is going on, but I can't really put my finger on it until I look at the calendar, and then I have a little 'aha' moment.

To tell you the truth, the same thing happens when we have the St. Baldrick's fundraiser. It's a great organization and a great event, and I will continue to support it wholeheartedly, but I get anxious as the actual event draws near each year. Reminders, you know.

Statistically, Finn had the most treatable form of leukemia, Acute Lymphocytic (or Lymphoblastic is what I hear more these days) Leukemia -- ALL. Of course, we are grateful beyond measure that what he had was so treatable.

But the fact of the matter is, there is a percentage of children who will die. Period. And yes, that still gives me sleepless nights after all these years. There is no use telling me to relax, that Finn has done well, that I have nothing to worry about. I am a mother. It is not a reflex that I can turn off (electroshock therapy might cure that, I guess). You would be the same. I guarantee it.

What's behind this post on a beautiful day when Finn is sitting beside me doing his homework with no apparent problems of any kind?

A reminder. A reminder that life is fragile. A friend of a friend from Ohio, whose story we have followed on their blog and who we have communicated with, has gone from being off treatment to now having AML, which is very aggressive and they are in for a tough road ahead. The thought that it could be anyone still takes my breath away.

Reminders. I don't like being reminded. It's an uncomfortable feeling. But it's important. Whatever you're doing right now, be grateful you can do it.

And now, I've got to go play with my kids. And be grateful.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Why I Can't Subscribe to Better Homes & Gardens

Ages ago, when we still lived in Ohio, someone gave me a subscription to Better Homes & Gardens. I was all excited. I pulled out recipes, looked at decorating ideas, admired gardens, etc., and I felt inferior. Because my house didn't look like that, my garden didn't look like that (in fact I have a total aversion to yard work of any kind), and my family dinners didn't look like that.

The same thing happened when I started getting Family Fun magazine. Fun! For the whole family! I was totally overwhelmed. If we tried the projects, they never turned out like in the pictures and both the boys and I were disappointed (nothing ilke comparing your efforts to professional crafters, is there?).

The same went for when I subscribed to Gourmet magazine (that was way back in the 90s), Cooking Light, Martha Stewart Living, O Magazine -- you name it, it gave me an inferiority complex. (Really, the only thing I CAN read without getting an inferiority complex is People magazine. But I don't admit that I'm a subscriber because that gives me an inferiority complex.)

And then the other day, this blog post started circulating on Facebook.

I nearly wept with happiness when I read it. Now I know it's OK that I can't craft April Fool's Day food out of plasticene that looks like the real thing. Or that I didn't make the house look like it was overrun with leprechauns on St. Patrick's Day. Or that I have never made paper mache anything with my kids. Or that I can't sew a Halloween costume that looks like it came out of a Broadway dressing room.

It's OK. And I'm so relieved to know it at last.

These days, the only magazine I subscribe to is Shape. And yes, looking at all of those thin thighs gives me an inferiority complex.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Customer Service. Sort of.

So today was my last day at ski school for the season. I don't know if it's just me, but it seems like a lot of idiots waited until the last week to come on a ski vacation. Last year, that wasn't a problem -- we had a record snowfall year. This year, snow is in short supply. We haven't skiied since early March!

Anyway, because business this last week is so slow, I was the only person working in the lobby to greet customers and help them with their paperwork before their kids can sign up for lessons. It was no problem to help the few customers that came in today.

Well, it was no problem until some dude came in at 9:25am in a snit because his kids' lesson group was still waiting to leave.

Man: My kids have been standing out there for nearly an hour. Why are they still standing there? I was told to be here at 8:45am! When are they going to go?

Me: I'm not sure. You could ask an instructor if there is a problem.

Man: I don't want to ask an instructor. I'm asking you.

Me: Well, as you can see, I'm working inside here and I can't really tell what is going on out there. And I'm curious, who told you to be here at 8:45am? (The normal arrival time is 9 - 9:15am)

Man: I think you told me to be here at 8:45am.

Now, I could have just shut up and not said anything, but this was completely false. First, I waited on maybe five families this morning. This man and his family were not any of them. I had never seen this dude before in my life. Plus, after four seasons at ski school, I think I've got the arrival times down.

Me: I can assure you, there is no way I told you to be here at 8:45am unless you booked a semi-private lesson. Did you book a semi-private lesson?

Man: No.

Me: OK, well you can ask a supervisor what the hold up is. I really don't know why the lessons haven't left yet, but I can assure you that no one, including me, here told you to arrive at 8:45am.

Really, I try to have good customer service even when the customer is totally in the wrong. But sometimes I need to point out they are jackasses. Today was that day for me, and for him.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mike & Carol Got it Right

What the what? Last week I wrote and posted (or so I thought) a post about the Brady Bunch. Where the heck is it?

I'll see if I can recreate it. But it's never as good the second time around. Sheesh.


Does anyone else love the Brady Bunch? I confess, I do. Love it. I loved it as a kid, and I love it now. I have the DVR set up to record it every day and I put it on when I'm doing mindless stuff. Like folding endless baskets of laundry.

I'm finding the show pretty timeless. Even though it was 40+ years ago (eeek!). The kids still get into all sorts of scrapes and predicaments. With the exception of the clothing and the occasional "groovy," I feel like I could be watching a show filmed in this era.

I've also decided that Mike and Carol had it all going on in terms of parenting. They never shout, they tell their kids when they're total knuckleheads, and they follow through. You made a bad choice and now you'll have to live with the consequences of your behavior.

Really, I feel like there isn't enough follow through these days as I see on a daily basis right now at ski school. "Johnny, don't keep kicking the wall of ski school in your big heavy ski boots. Johnny, stop that please. Johnny..." (Parent then looks at me and smiles.) "We just flew in and he's so tired."

Personally, I think Johnny needs a big heavy ski boot up his own ass to get his attention, but maybe that's just me.

Anyway, watching the Brady Bunch as an adult has been a totally different experience than watching it as a kid (which I'm assuming I remember from reruns because the show ran from 1969 to 1974 and I'm guessing I didn't watch it when I was that young). When I was a kid, I was more into the episodes where the family was on some sort of adventure -- the Grand Canyon trip, which spanned three episodes and found the Bradys locked in a ghost town jail by an old prospector (I was cracking up watching this. They set up their tents in the middle of the street. They also had a pop up camper. Good thing they had tents, too, because how would they all, AND Alice, fit in that camper? Questions like this trouble me.).

And who didn't love the Hawaii episodes? You just KNEW Peter was asking for trouble with that tiki idol around his neck and saying, "Bad luck, come and get me!" I have tried to never utter that phrase ever since. And wasn't Vincent Price just SO SCARY?

Possibly one of my sisters' and my favorite episodes was when they went to the amusement park and Mike's architectural drawings got mixed up with Jan's Yogi Bear poster and then lost on a ride. Then the family has to run through the whole park to look for the plans and return them in time for Mike's big presentation. We loved it so much because it was filmed at King's Island, an amusement park about two hours from where we lived and a favorite summer destination. We knew that park like the back of our hands. I wonder if the old-timey cars are still there?

Anyway, I have discovered that I dig Mike and Carol's parenting style, even when they flubbed up a little. Like the time Mike punishes Marcia for sneaking out of the house at night. He's all mad at her until he discovers she did it to mail a letter nominating him for father of the year. He did get a little stern with her, but he never yelled. I'm not a big yeller myself. Unless I have PMS. We never saw Carol experience PMS.

Even when the kids really do create havoc, like the time they play all the practical jokes and end up scaring Alice so badly she breaks the bust of Mike's head that Carol made, there really isn't any yelling. Punishments and consequences are given out, but no one is beaten within an inch of their lives, which is how I might feel if I had six kids.

So maybe the Brady Bunch isn't that realistic. These was one episode where Carol is all flustered and talks about how busy she is. Um, Carol, you do have six kids, but you have a full-time housekeeper who appears to do all of the cooking and cleaning for you. And you clearly have time to make a bust of your husband, produce elaborate plays and school projects with the kids, like a film about the Pilgrims. If my kids came home and told me we had to produce a movie about the landing of the Mayflower, I'd probably send nasty e-mails to my kid's teacher. So Carol, how is it that you are so busy even though you have Alice? That part mystifies me.

One of my other favorite episodes: the one where Marsha has to try and get Davy Jones to play at her prom (even though she's only in middle school). I actually saved that one on the DVR because they put a nice little tribute to Davy at the end :) I saved it for Eamonn who was very sad about Davy Jones' recent passing.

That's something Carol would do for Mike. You know, if DVRs existed back then.

Got a favorite Brady Bunch episode? Let's hear it!