Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Adventure Continues (or, Parenting is Never Dull)

The children and I were at a restaurant recently, for lunch; without my husband. Now, if you have children, you know why parents don't take children out to eat very often (especially at "real" restaurants, as opposed to McDonald's or Wendy's) and you can imagine the scene that played out before me. But, it was a special occasion and I was not going to be deterred from my appointed task

After we'd ordered, I herded everyone to a table. Of course, children had to wrestle over who would sit where and someone was unhappy, though not too loudly. My son fell off the bench he was sitting on, but wasn't injured seriously enough to keep him from climbing back into his seat for food. Then, a glass of water (only filled half way) was spilled. By now the other patrons in the restaurant are looking at me with raised eyebrows, undoubtedly wondering what psychotic maniac actually takes seven children 12 and under (we were borrowing one for the day) to a restaurant, alone. When the food was delivered, it took several minutes to dish out to everyone what they needed, only to hear "I don't like that," or "I wanted the other one." In the midst of dealing with dishing out food and filling cups and getting replacement silverware for kids who dropped theirs, life got really interesting. My son threw up.

I can only imagine that he ate something that didn't quite agree with his taste buds, who engaged in an all-out assault and refused to allow the offending food to proceed further. What the problem was, I have no idea. All I know is that one minute he was eating and the next he was puking on the table.

Having grabbed a small mountain of napkins, I quickly cleaned up the rejected food and disposed of it before anyone else noticed. Caleb, having dealt with the problem, proceeded to eat the rest of what was on his tray, with hardly a moment's hesitation. Whatever the problem was, it didn't affect his appetite in any noticeable way. And, none of the girls noticed anything, for which I can only be humbly thankful! The meal was finished without further incident. In all, it was a definite success, even if we might not be welcome back to that restaurant. We don't go out to eat often, it will be ok.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Real Estate Gauntlet

Our house is for sale. Unfortunately for us, it isn't a great time to sell a house. Even so, our house is "on the market." If you've ever sold a house, you know the drill; the house has to be magazine photo shoot perfect all the time. Do you know how impossible that is with six children?

Because not many people are buying homes right now, we haven't had too many people looking. On average, about once a week a realtor calls about bringing someone through. Well, that leaves at least six days where people AREN'T walking through. That means that we have at least six days of being lax about cleaning the house and a few hours of mad, frantic cleaning to get it ready to be looked at. It also means everytime the phone rings, I hold my breath until the voice on the other line says something besides, "Hello, my name is Lilly with Big House Realty Co. I have a client that wants to look at your house."

When the voice on the other line says anything about realty companies or house showings, we go into alert. As soon as I find out the deadline, we start the drill. Initially, we're intent but not hurried. As time goes by, though, we get more and more frantic until at last, with only minutes to spare, I'm barking out orders:

"Put all that stuff in that laundry basket!
"Wait, where is the basket? OH NO! It's full? Well, get another basket.

"Take that stuff to the car. No, the other car. It won't fit in that car. Take it to the other car.

"No, you can't hide anything in the shower, they can see the shower. No, don't put it in the oven, either. Someone will look in the oven. Yes, you can hide those piles in the dryer; we're not selling the dryer!

Don't forget to light the candle. And the other candle. Did anyone shut the upstairs window?"

Then, we run to the car and drive away, sometimes with laundry baskets in hand and sometimes with bags because we've run out of baskets. The realtor and client(s) walk through the house and leave. We've spent hours getting ready so they can look at our house for a few minutes. Then, we have to undo all the "cleaning" we've just done and put everything away. Of course, not everything gets put away. Then someone is saying, "Mom, do you know where my maggot collection is?" My reply, "Of course, dear. Check the back of the car. Oh no. Not that car. The other car. It should be in the third basket on the left, under the power bill and the letter from the attorney about Aunt Mable's will."

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Perspective is Everything, part III

Food is expensive right now. Yesterday I paid almost $3 a pound for "cheap" hamburger! Rice is rationed at Wal-Mart and Costco. The grain I buy is getting more expensive almost daily. Now, we don't have much money by American standards. Our children don't go to ballet, play soccer or take piano lessons. I feed my family of eight on about $100 a week. Though we live pretty comfortably, I'm feeling the pinch of increased prices. I thought I had something to complain about. Reading an article in World Magazine ( gave me some much needed perspective.

We can grouse about paying through the nose for gas and the high cost of food. But, we can complain. That is a gift. It may hurt to fill the gas tank and maybe you are thinking about not driving as much; we're not driving as much. Still, most of us can buy gas and food; we just can't buy as much. For people in many other parts of the world, though, there are no cars to buy gas for and buying food isn't an option right now; there is no food to buy.

We are complaining about the price of food and the insanity that seems to rule the gas tank, whining about what we have to pay to fill our stomachs or our cars. Maybe some of us have to choose between filling one or the other. But, aren't you glad you have the choice?!

Though we are definitely feeling the pinch of rising prices, my children have enough to eat. I don't have to listen to their cries, see their bloated bellies or put them to bed hungry. Really, what more can a mother ask for?