Monday, February 21, 2011

Leaping, plus updates

When the kids were little, I remember their development would come in spurts--one day they'd be serenely practicing their "ba" sounds, in long unrelated streams of babble, and the next they'd wake up and say "dog" and be making signs for "flower" and "please" and "MORE NOW." This still happens, only we call it "mood," as in, "Wow, Si's mood is terrific today! He cleaned his room without being asked and played with Helen and finished his homework lickity split." Helen had a growth moment over the weekend, and even though she gets embarrassed and shouts MOM DON'T SAY THAT whenever I praise her about it, I can't help myself. We had to go to the store on Saturday, and she offered to go if we could walk/ scooter (gasp) (this from the girl who two days before had a crying fit because I hadn't parked the car close enough to the school for her to roll from the Sock Hop to her carseat). So I said yes, of course, even though it was the main grocery trip and I'd have to lug home all the cereal boxes and milk jugs and etc. Then on the way home, after I'd had to stop for the eighteenth time to adjust the damn cereal boxes, which were spilling out onto the sidewalk, she spun back on her scooter and said, "Can I help? I can carry a bag."

"Oh, that's sweet of you," I said. "But these are really heavy."

"I can take one," she said decisively, like a 22-year-old. And holy mama, she did. She took the bag with the three-pound chicken and looped it over her scooter handlebars and off she went.

I upped her allowance, of course, even though all she asked for was brownie points (I'm aware of the unfortunate racist heritage of the term, but our kids naturally assume they're related to brownies, so I don't worry about it too much).

Updates: well, our contractor is finally our of jail (I do love saying this in answer to people's chipper questions about how the renovation is coming), but not for long, so we're trying to get him to finish as much as he can before he goes out of commission. Sigh. I feel bad for the guy, even though he brought the vast majority of his troubles upon himself.

Also, Kevlar was invented by a woman.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Men who cry

Good morning on this glorious wintry Monday. It's hard not to be in a good mood when the sun is out for the first time in a week. (Or so it seems, and I know that for my Midwestern contingent a week is NOTHING. Still: GLORIOUS.) Last week, with the cold and the snow and the wow-really-MORE? snow, it felt like everything was in hibernation. The kids had two snow days, one of which was for cold (WIMPS, that school district. WIMPS.) (Okay, the high WAS -1 and they were worried about buses not starting). M and I, on the other had, had business-as-usual days (ARGH), so the snow days were 48 hours of frantic scrambling. Our builder, too, seemed to be asleep--he was in a fender bender on his way to work on Monday, which was followed by 7 days of silence and complete non-progress on the house. We finally tracked him down at his mom's house. Apparently his girlfriend had broken up with him and kicked him out of their house. Sigh. We have a very....emotionally connected builder, which I appreciate on the good days but not so much on the weepy ones. On those days I am reminded of Nora Ephron's warning about men who cry: "they're sensitive to and in touch with feelings, but the only feelings they tend to be sensitive to and in touch with are their own."

Heh. In addition, our compassion is strained by also finding out last week, via a legal notice informing us that we're responsible (legally we are, it appears) for the unpaid bills to some of his subcontractors. LOVELY. I would be more distraught about this disturbing turn of events if a) the amount we're being requested for was larger and b) if I wasn't pretty confident that we could meet that debt by selling his damn stuff, which is still in our house. (Just kidding! that would be WRONG. As would some of the fantasies I entertained over the weekend of kidnapping him and not letting him leave our house until the trim was done). Anyway! It seems like he's come out of hibernation and will be coming to our house to face the wrath of M. I do not envy him.

In lighter news, Si's fourth grade class has begun their biography project. "Oh, who are you doing?" I asked with interest. Ben Franklin? Buzz Lightyear? Amelia Earhart?

"The man who invented the bulletproof vest."

Of course. One of the great minds of our times. I resisted sarcasm, however, and just said, "Oh! Great!" while making a serious effort not to sound like a pin had just punctured my mom balloon.