Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Posts tagged ‘School’

I Guess I Don’t Get to be Fancy

For three whole days I was fancy.  From Tuesday to Friday I was driving a 2015 model minivan.  I like being fancy.  On my commute, I noticed my fellow commuters were looking at me with envy.  I gave those folks a little smile and wave when I passed.  I’m always gracious.

red van

Good Morning inferior commuters! This van’s so fancy, I can drive no-hands!

Now I’m back to driving this:

bumper damage

Not our van…but you get the idea.

Eddie was rear ended on the highway.  Our van was totaled.   The good news is that Eddie is okay, and so are all his wrestling buddies who were with him.  The bad news is, buying a car wasn’t in our short term plan.  Or, our long term plan.

The insurance lady called me on the phone to tell me the news.  I put her on loud speaker so Scott could hear too.  She told us we could get a small sum of money, and I guess we were supposed to use that money towards a new van.  So, that’s what I thought we’d do.    We’d go from driving a van that was paid for, to driving a van that mostly the bank owned.  We’d “buy” a van that would put us further in debt.  Then I remembered I was married to Scott.

Scott did sign language at me while I was talking to the insurance lady on the phone.   I understood he wanted me to ask her if we could keep the van instead.   I rolled my eyes, and I asked.

Insurance lady said we could keep the van. The insurance company would just write us a check for a much smaller amount.   That made Scott smile.   I think he might be thinking we’re  coming out ahead.  Because, see, he doesn’t mind driving around a heap of crumpled steel.  If you want to know what I think, I believe he might actually even enjoy it.  He’s really not a normal guy.

But, I’m fancy now.  I’ve been driving in the fancy van, and people have noticed.  I don’t want to go back.

Later in the evening, after I had accepted my non-fancy fate, Scott came up to me  smiling.  He said this, “No hay mal que por bien no benga.”  Love it (lying)  when he speaks Spanish.

Translation: There is no bad thing from which good does not come. Another translation: There’s always a silver lining.  Another translation: my husband can be annoying.

I knew it. He thinks a crumpled van and a few extra bucks is a stroke of good fortune.

Have you heard of Malala?  She is the 14-year-old who just won a Nobel Peace Prize.  The Taliban shot her in the face.  Don’t worry.  It’s not like they did it for no reason.  She was trying to get an education.  Who wouldn’t be angry?

malala

Malala wrote a book.  It is called, “I am Malala”.   This is a book I know I will read soon.

In the news this week, there was a story about how men in Malala’s home country of Pakistan were holding an, “I am NOT Malala” day.  These wise men have banned Malala’s book, and they’re trying to demonize her.  Again, don’t forget she has this coming with all the trying to go to school shenanigans she put these guys through.

As I was reading more about this story, and trying to understand, I learned that another reason these men say they hate Malala is because she made reference to Salman Rushdie in her book.  Salman Rushdie is a prize winning author.  He has written 11 books.  In at least one of Rushdie’s books, he was critical of Islam.  For this reason, the Ayatollah Khomeini (Remember that crazy kid? What a hoot.) ordered a fatwa against Rushdie in 1989.  A fatwa means, watch out.  We’re going to kill you.  These guys would make the best diplomats.  They’ve got great ideas. Salman Rushdie was forced into hiding.

The more I read about Salman Rushdie, the more interested I became in him.  I looked up all of his books, and for some reason I couldn’t understand  I was associating Salman Rusdie with humor.  Scott reminded me that I have Jerry Seinfeld to thank for that.  Do you remember the episode where Kramer thought he saw Salman Rushdie on the streets of New York?  I know.  There really IS a Seinfeld episode for everything.

So this long story getting longer is about how I ordered one of Salman Rushdie’s books, “Satanic Verses”,  the book that resulted in the fatwa.  I was so caught up in learning more about all this, that I got hasty (surprising to everyone).  I hit “buy” on my kindle before I read the book reviews.  Once I started reading the reviews, I thought there was a chance I might have a problem.

Readers said this:

“The prose is challenging, but once you become familiar it has an almost melodic quality.”

As a rule, I’m against melodious novels.  Melodious songs?  Fine.  I like my novels more straight forward.

And this:

“This book has many subtle and intertwined criticisms and twists on the Islamic faith. To understand these moments in the book the reader does need a fairly large knowledge of Islam.”

Check.  I got that (again with the lying), so we should be good.

Then I started reading the book.  Here’s the first paragraph:

‘To be born again,’ sang Gabireel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, ‘first you have to die. Ho ji! Ho ji! To land upon the bosomy Earth, at first one needs to fly. Tat-Taa, Taka-thun!  How to ever smile again, if at first you won’t cry? How to win the darlings love, mister, without a sigh? Baba…if you want to get born again’…Just before dawn one winter’s morning. New Year’s day, or thereabouts, two real, full-grown men fell from a great height, twenty-nine-thousand and two feet, towards the English Channel, without benefit of Parachutes or wings, out of a clear sky.

Are you still with me?  Right.  I know.  I am SO in over my head.  What on this bosomy Earth is Salman Rushdie talking about? I read the first page, and this is how it sounded in my head:

Gobledy gooky,  wahh, wahh, peanuts in my tummy. Forsook you lass of all generations to be the true bride.  Come hither for shall thou ride elephants from sun up to grandma’s?

But, I paid for this book.  Remember Scott?

If someone who likes my blog would please pay me ten dollars, I’d owe you big.  Then,  I do not have to read this book, and I can tell Scott I got a refund. Otherwise, it looks like I’m in for the long haul.  578 pages of this melodic prose.  I should be ready to do my book report by 2025. Ho ji!  Ho ji!

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Parent Teacher Conference Fail

This week we had parent teacher conferences.  I’d like to tell all the parents with young children out there this: whatever your teacher said about your kindergarten child this year, is only a slightly different version of the same speech you will hear from your child’s High School teachers. I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard this before, but leopards can’t change their spots.  You got what you got, sister.

That blonde, curly haired, black eyed cutie pie that got in trouble for entertaining his friends by squatting like a monkey on the toilet in Kindergarten,  WILL be getting in trouble for  wearing an obscene wrestling singlet under a robe, which he unveils during a high school Spanish presentation.  Just a couple of vague examples here.  I wouldn’t know anything about a kid like this.  I just know you’ve got your hands full.

I kinda know what my kids’ teachers are going to say about my kids before they even say it.

I told Scott that maybe I wouldn’t go to conferences this year.  He’s a teacher, and he thought that idea wasn’t a good one.  So, I went.  Or, at least I tried to go.

At some point in the busy week, Olivia was shoving this paper in my face.  “Sign up for conferences, Mom.”  I did.  Olivia told me what time and day I signed up for, and I told myself I’d remember.

Only, I didn’t remember. That must come as quite a shock to you.  I’m sorry for that.

I called the school on the day of conferences to ask them to confirm the time I should be there.  The person at the front office nicely said, “Your conference time is 5pm. Yesterday.”

What?  Olivia told me the wrong night.   It’s not like her to be wrong about the details.  She lives for that stuff.  If she’s not careful, I’m not going to let her be in charge of my calendar any more.

I asked the person in the front office which teacher my conference was with, assuming I had actually been there.  The front office person said the teacher I needed to see depended on which “team” Olivia was on, “A” or “B”.   She rattled off some teachers’ names.  I pretended to know which teachers Olivia had, because what kind of parent doesn’t know that?  I’m better than that.

Front office person says, “Oh, then your conference was with Ms. so and so.”

Great.  I knew what to do next.   I crafted a clever, humble and kind email to Olivia’s teacher. I let Olivia’s teacher know how sorry I was for standing her up at the conferences.   I explained that Olivia was enjoying school very much, and to please let us know if there were any concerns, or anything we could to do help.  I think I made some attempt at being witty towards the end of the email, and then, of course, thanked the teacher for all her dedication and hard work as it pertains to our daughter.

That night I told Olivia about the missed conference.  I told her I was a little surprised that she had the wrong date, but it wasn’t a problem, because I sent a long and nice email to her teacher, Ms. So and so.

Olivia said, “What?  Ms. So and So isn’t even my teacher!  Why would you do that?  MISTER So and so is my teacher.”

There you have it.  A story on how to fail at conferences.  I hope you feel better about who you are today.

Generally speaking, my kids are being responsible students, and enjoying school.  Can we just leave me out of it?  I don’t think I’m helping.

You know what else I’m not winning at?  Dieting.

I had this loony idea that it would be fun to have  a family weight loss contest with my sisters and their adult children.  6 weeks to see who could lose the most weight.  Final weigh off is on Thanksgiving.  Winner takes home about about 80 bucks.

Here are my before and afters:

walking posterabs

You can see that I’ve really leaned out here.  Which is cool, because I didn’t even know I could look better than I already did.  Scott’s so bad with technology.  I can’t believe he cut my head out of the after shot.  Plus, he caught me right in the middle of measuring my waist, silly.  How do you use a tape measure again?   They’re tricky.

All participating family members are self-reporting.  We’re on the honor system.  Suckers.

Some of my family members are reporting 5 pound, 7 pound and 10 pound weight losses.  I have lost 8 pounds.  Or, .8 (point 8), actually.  Who wants to get all bogged down with decimals?  I just like to keep things simple.  .8, round up to 8.  Simple.

Uhggg!!!  Losing weight is so hard.

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re healthy, Miki.  Be grateful for the body God gave you, Miki. You already look A.MAY.ZINGGGG, Miki!!!!  Well, the first two things, anyway.  I just like having goals, and I like being on the lower end of the 10 pound swing my body finds most comfortable.  The older I get, the more naturally my body settles on the upper end. Plus, I have my fitness modeling career to think about. I haven’t gotten it off the ground yet, but I have always thought this could be a real money maker for us.

Some of my family members are doing some well thought out weight loss programs.  My program is one I made up.  It’s two steps: no cream in my coffee and no potato chips.  So far, I have not used cream in my coffee…on some of the days.   I think I’m getting awfully close to not eating potato chips too, and I certainly should get credit for that. Have you had potato chips lately?  They are so good.  I mean,  seriously good.  Especially when you’re jamming them in your mouth while you make dinner.

Anyway…I made up the stupid contest, so I can change the rules.  I think I’m changing the rules to, I win.

Duplicity

I keep thinking of the word duplicity.  Here’s what it means:
 
 
1. contradictory doubleness of thought, speech, or action;especially :  the belying of one’s true intentions by deceptive words or action.
 
 
2. the quality or state of being double or twofold
 
 
 
I was going to describe my behavior with the word duplicity; I know that I am two things at that same time.  I don’t think I’m all deceptive about it though.   I’m the second definition: I’m straight up about my duplicity.
 
Scott and I have made a HUGE decision.  It occurs to me that this would be a fun place to write something outrageous.  Something to really capture your interest (ie divorce/sex change/joining the circus).  Nothing cool like that happens around here. So, I’ll just tell you the truth.
 
 
We have decided to hire professional people to finish our basement.
 
 
This is monumental.  We are extending ourselves more than I’d like.  We’ve talked about it, prayed about it, thought about it, and now it’s done.  Well, not the basement, but the extending ourselves part.  This is a calculated risk we’ve decided to take.  As long as the economy doesn’t crash, or we  don’t all contract Ebola, odds are this risk will not take us under.  It might be a risk that will at some point, give us a return on our investment.  Maybe.
 
 
So, that’s scary.
 
 
We meant to finish the basement ten years ago, when we moved in our cute house; a bad roof, bathroom, central air and sick kid later, we decided we’d just have to make do.  For several years, Eddie and Zeke were sleeping in the basement.  We worked hard to make the basement look as nice as possible.  If I put a wig and clothes on my dog, would you think he’s a human?  No.  An unfinished basement is, really, always still an unfinished basement.
 
 
Last year, we moved Eddie upstairs to see if it might make him feel better, and to get him closer to the bathroom.  Lo and behold his little brother wasn’t keen on staying in the basement by himself.  Zeke’s been sleeping on the floor upstairs for almost a year.  Here’s his bed:
 
 
20141001_065153

Zeke’s Bed

 
 
So.  That’s our story.  We’re doing it.  We’re putting a bedroom, three-quarters bath and a living space in the basement.  We’ve been cleaning out the basement in preparation.  Last week Zeke and I were talking about how this thing is going to look.  I wish I could have recorded the look on his face when I told him he was going to have a bed, and be a short distance from the new downstairs bathroom.  He could hardly believe it.
 
 
Then he asked, “What about our clothes?  Will we still keep them all in the laundry room?”
 
 
I said, “No.  You will have a closet, Zeke.  A real closet.  You’ll have a dresser too.  All of it will be in your room.”
 
 
Zeke was amazed at this news.  Like, he thought he won the lottery.  I loved that moment.  I felt happy to see Zeke get so excited, and to realize we were doing something that would improve his quality of life.  Then, we both laughed.  We realized that the level of excitement we have about a closet might be weird.  Of course, I couldn’t resist pointing out that the level of excitement he had was his parents’ gift to him.
 
 
I said, “What if you’d just had a closet your whole life?  You wouldn’t even know a closet was something to be grateful for, right? So, yeah.  You’re welcome, kiddo.”
 
 
He shook his head at me.
 
 
So, we’re doing all this, and one part of me is glad, and thinks it’s right.  And, one part of me feels bad, and thinks it’s wrong. .  We might just be getting caught up in it all.   Tricking ourselves into thinking we need “stuff” to be happy.
 
I have this gentle friend from church who grew up in a third world country very far away.  Her parents are in their 80’s now.  Her parents worked their entire adult lives on translating the Bible into the tribal language of the people they served.  Her parents’ bodies are frail now, but recently they took a risky trip to this distant land to deliver the finally completed Bibles.  These missionaries weren’t about to pass up an opportunity to cross the finish line.
 
 
This same gentle friend has a young daughter who is also now a missionary. She’s in Guatemala.  I read her blog this week.  She thinks  the Guatemalans have a culture that emphasizes gratitude.  She explains that they have customs and language to express their gratitude. She can’t find an equivalent counterpart for these customs in the United States. Then, she talks about how the children she works with name what they are grateful for: learning, school, food, etc.
 
 
See?  They’re not spoiled. No one mentioned closets.
 
 
I read this sweet girl’s blog, and I  envied her.   She is not one bit confused about what is  necessary and what is indulgence.  I thought maybe I would like to work in the world she describes some day, where there’s no confusion.   A place where family, food, shelter and education are revered as life’s greatest blessings.
 
 
I sent the blog to Scott.  He emailed back and said he longs for a simpler life, serving others. He said maybe we could do this kind of work when the kids are older.  
I  replied, “Did you really just say that?  I was thinking the same thing.”
 

Katie and her Guatemalan friends

 
So, that’s an idea.  We’ve had that idea before, when we were young.  We went as far as talking to people in a Guatemalan orphanage about how they could use us.  The answers didn’t seem very clear.  Then, roofs, kids, and basements made us forget. I’m starting to remember now.
 
 
I bought a print to put on the wall in our house. I’m going to frame it and put it up by the door when all of remodeling is done.  Scott and I were looking for something that would be like a blessing for the kids as they walked out the door.  Normally, I’m kind of hasty about choosing home decor.  Not this time.  I searched and searched the interwebs.  I wanted something that would almost be like our family motto.  I found it:
 
 
In everything give thanks - 1 Thessalonians 5:18 - Typography Wall Art - 8 x 10 or larger print - inspirational quote Bible verse

Family Motto

 
 
 I showed Scott the poster online.  He said, “Yep. That’s it.That’s the one.”
 
 
We liked this verse.  We know that every time our children walk out our door, we lose our ability to protect them.  They will experience disappointment, hurt, rejection, jealousy and anger.  We can’t stop those things from happening.
 
If our kids have this verse hidden in their hearts, and they believe it and practice it, they will be content in all circumstances.  It won’t occur to them to feel sorry for themselves.   I can’t think of a better family motto than that.
 
 

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