Friday, August 27, 2010

You know what I want?

A kindie-cam. I would totally have it open on my browser all day long. I could check in on Helen any time I wanted, plus I'd finally have an answer when I ask "what'd you do at school today?" besides a glowering "I don't want to TELL you."

Okay, fine, I'd also like a fourth-grade cam.

Although the potential for abuse would be high. For example: "I noticed you were poking around in your desk when your teacher was trying to explain fractions to the class today. What's up with that?" or "I saw that you laughed when K made that mean comment about your classmate. How do you think that made him feel?"

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Two more things

1. Today was Helen's first day of school. She was beyond excited (I was beyond excited, even though I'm not convinced it's THAT big a milestone; the transition to middle school looms larger right now. Or maybe that's just first child bias). Both kids are starting to devolve a little from "excited" to "violently grumpy." Although, thanks to a house filled with plastic sheeting and drywall dust, I'm having a lot of luck in farming them out for playdates and currently I am in the house ALONE. (Someday soon it will be payback time, and I have a feeling I'd better start thinking of favors to do NOW.)

2. I met Jess today! She's just as beautiful and sensible as she appears in her blog.

I also went for a hike today, at a state park out on the plains that I'd never been to before. Tomorrow I go back to work. I don't dread going back to work, exactly, but that just seems like another person, that self of mine who gets up early and goes for a run and packs a lunch and gets in the car to drive to work. (And that self's life is not exactly exciting. Nor is it leisurely, which is what I crave right now, alas.)

The idea of routine is appealing, however. We've reached the point of no return in the renovation: our drywall is gone. The front of our house looks like a barn, with pink panther fiberglass batts in place of stalls, and a smell of dust and mold instead of straw and manure. I have this naive belief that if I can just cobble together some kind of routine I can ride out all the dust and disruption with smiling equanimity.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fall beginnings

Two things:
1. School has started. For Silas, anyway. Helen starts tomorrow. The kids are like little ADD mice on crack, they are so excited.
Silas rips open his backpack to do his homework, talking full speed while he's doing it--"Even though it says just one thing we're supposed to have five things and that's what she said, so it's okay, five things, okay mom?"--and halfway through one assignment he rushes off to do something else (pee, maybe? it would appear to be necessary) and then gets distracted on the way back and ten minutes later I find him in his room, putting together kid kinnects, except that then his attention falls on the Garfield book beside his bed and he drifts off to read it. Meanwhile, Helen has apparently not played with anyone in seven years, she is so desperate to play with Silas, and she lies resentfully on his back while he tries to read, and then, when he says he will play with her after he's read ten pages, lies beside him, singing a little song about how he'll play with her soon, soo-oon, oh ye-ahh. I finally have to call her off.

2. The rolloff is here. So far we have lost the basement drywall. Full speed ahead!

We've also retreated into the south half of the house. Our bedroom has pretty much every electronic device we own in it, including the coffee maker ("It'll be like a hotel!" I said. "We can brew coffee while we're taking a shower!") It also has about half our furniture. The rest is in the garage, which is set up with the kitchen table, some shelves, and the fridge. The distance between the fridge and our bedroom, in other words, is about fifteen feet--it's like we've returned to apartment living. Now, while I am as excited as anyone else in the household for the project to move on through and END (and I will be much, much more excited once the kitchen is gone and we have no faucet or drain for cleaning up dishes), I kind of like this phase. It's cozy--kind of a circle-the-wagons feeling. Or, actually,it's like the old, old days when Mike & I were living in a truck--we slept within arm's reach of everything we owned. There's something comforting in that.

Bye, bye, tiny kitchen with paint-chipping sawdust-dripping cabinets!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Random assortment No. 2

1. The Friday favorites list is apparently beyond my blogging skills now.

2. The kids' school registration was last night. We stood in one line for 20 minutes, and then another line for 25 minutes, all so we could turn in our forms and checks and OF COURSE I ran out checks, just like I did LAST YEAR, and after standing in line for 45 minutes and having my blood sugar level drop to just about zero the thought of not being able to pay for whatever the last thing was on time like a responsible parent made me totally panicky. UGH. Although it was nothing a beer afterward couldn't fix.

3. We met the teachers--they're both lovely. I was struggling not to be biased but I was really glad that Helen got the kindergarten teacher who isn't brand new (although I'm sure the new teacher is LOVELY and will be a WONDERFUL teacher).

4. I was surprised at how completely ignorant I was of the fourth-grade teachers. You'd think that after two years I'd have some sense of the school beyond the immediate Silas universe, but nay.

5. Neither child has friends in his/her class. Again, OF COURSE. Although I'm not convinced that Silas really cares about friends, to tell the truth. He seems to have buddies everywhere (and he has buddies in this class) and best friends nowhere and bases his favorite friend of the month on the entertainment options at their house, more or less. I SO DO NOT GET THIS.

6. It's Friday, yet there is no dumpster at the house. Hmm. So apparently no demo today.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

End-of-summer blues

"I better start practicing carrying this," Si says, marching across the living room with his backpack on. "Pretty soon I'm going to be carrying it all the time!"

"Will I be able to ride my bike to kindergarten?" asks Helen, as she straps on her pink Barbie helmet and gets ready for her evening wobble around the neighborhood. (The answer, BTW, is Yes! Only we'll have to leave an hour before school starts because the only thing slower than walking at this point is biking).

"I'm going to take lunch three days a week and on Wednesdays, there's pizza day, so then I'll just get to choose one other lunch," says Silas, and then Helen repeats it, with big eyes, only she makes sure that I remember that she doesn't like pizza.

They're getting revved up for school to start, in other words. We've got piles of brand-new school supplies, we've looked online at the teacher teams for each of their grades, we've talked about the new bus stop, about which before-and-after-school activities we're going to do, and about the fall semester schedule. We've gone through their homework/artwork boxes and emptied them out so they're ready for the onslaught of school projects. We're, uh, going to figure out the back-to-school-clothes situation any day now. They're ready. We're ready. I'm ready.

Except I'm not. I am SAD, and for really no reason at all. I am sad that Helen's daycare/preschool is no longer a place we need to go. I am sad that the bedtime routine no longer involves getting Helen into a swimsuit and remembering to put her undies and towel into her swim bag (both my kids prefer to streamline the morning routine by putting their clean clothes on the night before). I am sad that Si's camps are done, even though they were really vast sinks of inconvenience and he didn't even like them all that much (except for archery. He LOVED archery). I am sad that the summer hourglass is down to its last few grains and we've only gone camping ONCE and hiking TWICE and haven't even made popsicles or used our ice cream maker. I am HEARTBROKEN that Silas is practically in middle school (fourth grade! it's crazy! every year a new grade!) I am sad, or perhaps a better word is sorry, that we didn't schedule our summer better. (For the record, next year we will concentrate on doing camp and swim lessons in June, trips in July, and maybe rely on parents and/or whatever late season camps we can find for August. The last few weeks before school starts are scheduling HELL.)

A lot of this sadness, though, is because we're between routines. As soon as school starts and we have our daily and weekly schedules figured out, life will go back to being predictable and calm.

Except, of course, for the renovation. Demo seems likely to begin NEXT WEEK--just in time for school.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chaos and calm

On Sunday we celebrated the birthday of this big guy:

Although there was celebrating on Saturday, too, and there will be more tomorrow. It's a five-day party! Or something. Actually, I think it's called "divorced grandparents who want to shower their first grandchild with gifts without the inconvenient presence of the other grandparent plus a separate kid party." Silas doesn't mind--more cakes for him.

We did the kid party at the mini golf in Englewood, the one I like because instead of having dayglo castles and giant neon dinosaurs it has xeric(ish) landscaping and holes that reflect various Colorado tourist destinations. I always leave there trailing slips of paper with hopeful Colorado vacation itineraries jotted on them. Mesa Verde! Cripple Creek! Garden of the Gods!

The rest of the weekend was a stretch of cheerful and indolent chaos, the sort we haven't indulged in since we left Fort Collins. Assorted people trooped in and out of the house all day: their cousin spent the night, one of Si's friends stayed until dinner while his parents went car shopping; some old FtC friends stopped in after dropping their dog at a vet surgery near us, and later Si's friends' parents stayed to talk about the frustrations of car shopping and the scary-but-okay accident that had necessitated it in the first place. And then on Sunday we hung out at my MIL's, eating waffles and fruit while the kids played. I dug in her garden, pulling out old iris roots, and then we all went to her pool before it was time for Si's baseball practice. Later, she and her boyfriend came over for dinner and dessert. A busy, social weekend that still felt homebody-ish: my favorite kind. Although by Monday I was ready for a little more regulation and routine and it was kind of a relief to get back to work.

The kids start school in two weeks! Helen starts kindergarten in two weeks! We're all a little anxious and excited.