Thursday, April 28, 2016

Corn starch woes

The blond twin came home last week so excited about a speech project. She and her partner were giving a demonstration speech. They decided to teach the class to make a goey paste, which they could change dramatically based upon a few tweaks.

The blond twin was to bring a plastic baggies, a bowl, food coloring, a pitcher and some other items. Her project partner was to bring the corn starch.

Yesterday I asked the blond twin about her project. She said they hadn't done it -- again. I asked her why. She said, "We don't have any corn starch. Her mom said she wouldn't buy any for the assignment."

I stared at the wall for a minute until the urge to say, "Are you kidding me?" passed. I managed to suppress my true opinion of that parent and say, "How much do you need?" I could not believe a week had gone by before I found out that the other parent wasn't going to buy the corn starch. Every day I asked the blond twin about the project. Either this was a new development or she just didn't want to tell me earlier. In the end it didn't matter because if the blond twin was going to complete her assignment, we were going to purchase the corn starch.


At dinner I told Daddy that I would run to the store for corn starch. As long as I was going, we made a short list. I grabbed my purse and headed out. I don't go to the grocery store often. Daddy does most of the grocery shopping as he has created a great system. I shop at a couple of specialty stores, but when it comes to ongoing grocery shopping, Daddy handles it.

When I walked into the grocery store I barely made it through the produce section without finding new items. I was tempted to buy a few, but instead wrote down the names so I could figure out how to use them. I made it home with several bags filled with future meal ingredients and a gallon of milk. 

We had milk and warm cookies as a snack before sending the girls to bed. Daddy and I were on the couch watching a show when he said, "Where is the corn starch?" My eyes went wide and he said, "You forgot." In my defense, I reminded him that I did bring home the milk. After our show he went to the grocery store to get the corn starch.

This morning I reminded the blond twin to take the corn starch. She put her backpack right next to it. About 30 minutes later I yelled up the stairs, "Girls, it is 7:15. The bus comes at 7:17. What are you doing up there?" The brunette twin said, "Fixing our hair." I said, "Remember, if you miss the bus, you are walking." They ran downstairs, grabbed all their stuff and ran out the door. A friend recently had to walk to school after missing her bus. Since then, they take the "you will walk to school" threat very seriously.

 A few minutes later I was putting on my shoes when I glanced over and saw the corn starch. I simply sighed. I grabbed Holly's leash, the corn starch and my car keys. A few minutes later I handed the corn starch to the school receptionist. I sat in the car texting the blond twin about the corn starch. She replied that she would get it.

The irony, of course, was that I ended up at the school delivering the corn starch. I told the girls I would not take them to school, but I ended up there anyway. I hope the blond twin's demonstration speech goes well. It was the most work of any assignment so far this year.




Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Lonely girl

The morning of the band trip, Holly watched the girls' suitcases leave the house. She was a little "off" the night before because she knows that suitcases mean she's going to be away from us. She saw us all get into the car. She stayed home. 

At some point she must have thought we were leaving her in the house by herself while we went away. When Daddy and I walked back into the house, Holly went crazy. She's always happy to see us, but this was something else. 

Holly was racing down the stairs when we came in. She started jumping up on Daddy as soon as she saw him. Usually when we've been gone Holly sits with her tail wagging, waiting for attention. This was a whole new level of excitement. She couldn't stop running between me and Daddy. She jumped up on him with her tail wagging. She might not speak in words, but her actions were clear. Our nervous dog was happy that we were back. Now, if only the girls would react with such joy when they saw us.

Friday, April 22, 2016

The party bus

The girls' middle school band takes a trip every year. Usually this is an April or May event. This year the girls trip took them to St. Louis for the annual Music in the Park competition. The event includes a Friday band competition followed by a full day at Six Flags, ending with the awards ceremony.

The girls were so excited about the trip they could hardly focus the night before. Daddy supervised their packing and we tried to get them to bed at a decent hour. At 10:00 p.m. I went upstairs because I heard some noise. I said, "who is awake and why?" The brunette twin responded, "I am so excited I cannot sleep."

The next morning the alarms went off at 5:00 a.m. We packed their stuff in the car, including their breakfasts and made it to the school by the 5:30 a.m. arrival time. When the brunette twin saw the bus, she was so excited. She said, "It's not a crappy school bus. It's a party bus."

It wasn't until we walked into the band room that I realized we were the first ones there. I looked at the girls and said, "Do you know why we're the first ones here?" They looked like they didn't know what I was talking about. I said, "Daddy was leading the way. You know if I had been in charge we would have been here on time, but not this early." They laughed because they knew I was right. Daddy was always early.  

As their friends arrived the girls all ran to each other, giggling with excitement. For the dark, early hour, they had a lot of energy. We thanks the chaperones and were silently grateful that we were not going to be on the party bus. The band had a pretty good group of kids, but 50 middle schoolers on a party bus for six hours sounded like it wasn't going to be a party for the adults supervising. 

We didn't wait for the bus to leave. We handed them off to their teachers, talked to the other parents for a bit and then went home. The girls' first big adventure was on it way. We couldn't wait to hear the stories.

Friday, April 8, 2016

I'll pay you back

The girls brought some spending money on vacation, but somehow they never had any money when they wanted to buy something. Every time they wanted to buy something they said, "Will you buy this for me? I'll pay you back."

Somehow "I'll pay you back" always required numerous reminders. Oh, we heard all the excuses from  "I don't have exact change" to "I won't have enough to buy anything else if I pay you back." We pressed the issue several times before we actually saw our money come back.

It's an interesting dynamic. We allowed them to buy whatever they wanted, so every purchase became a negotiation. Is this something I am buying with my money? Or will you buy it for me? We bought them some t-shirts and other souvenirs. When they paid for it, though, we always made sure they paid us back. They won't learn to manage money if it never leaves their possession.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Immediate care

I wasn't feeling well the week before our vacation. I told Daddy that I had a lot of sleepless nights and achy days. I thought it was because my allergies were acting up. All I kept hearing was that this was going to be a terrible allergy season, so I figured my sore throat and congestion were allergy-related.

By Tuesday morning I just couldn't take the pain any more. I hardly slept, waking Daddy up at 4:00 a.m. with me. Sure it was Los Angeles time, so it was really 6:00 a.m. at home, but it was still 4:00 a.m. I went to a local immediate care center and handed the receptionist my insurance card.

The doctor did a quick exam and then sat in front of a computer asking questions, typing my responses into the system. He said, "I think it's just a virus." He decided to check my strep test anyway since enough time had passed.

Walking back into the room, he said, "You have strep. I didn't think so, but you do."

Two prescriptions later I walked back into the hotel feeling relieved and annoyed. I was relieved that there was an answer to my painful throat. I was annoyed that I was sick while we were on vacation. Most of all I was happy to think that the medicine was going to make the pain go away.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The look

We booked a trail ride at Paramount Ranch, a former filming location in Malibu Canyon. The set was used for television shows and movie scenes before becoming a National Park Service site. When we arrived there were two horse trailers waiting for riders.

Our guide, Scott, laughed when I said, "They ride so they can handle most horses. I simply like to plod along enjoying the scenery." He assigned MayMay to me. When I mounted MayMay, he said, "You don't need to worry about her. She's the head mare. All the other horses respect her."

As we rode along Scott told us that MayMay was a busy lady. She had acted in several commercials and television shows. Jennifer Lawrence rode MayMay through the same trails for a Rolling Stone Magazine interview. 


We were rambling along when someone else's horse decided to try to pass MayMay. She simply stopped and turned her head towards that horse. I held my breath, hoping that we were not about to have a problem. MayMay was eye-to-eye with that horse when the other horse decided to step back. We rode the rest of the trail with that horse behind MayMay.

I was impressed. I always thought "the look" was a human thing parents developed to put their kids in line without a word. Apparently "the look" was universal. Even among horses, the look worked as if MayMay was the mom trying to keep her children in line.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

California girls

We landed in Los Angeles late Saturday afternoon to start our 2016 Spring Break adventure. The girls immediately took to the weather, even before they saw the ocean. Once they saw the water, they were hooked.

We spent our first night on the local pier, followed by hiking Zuma Canyon the next day. Of course the first thing when we entered Zuma was a horseback riding group. Malibu Riders was waiting for a group so the girls couldn't stop talking to the guide. It didn't take long before we were discussing a horseback riding trial.

After hiking the steep trail and watching the horses I knew we wouldn't be horseback riding there. The blond twin lost her step and skid down a few feet. She had a scratch on her leg to prove it. I knew the horses walked the path multiple times a day, but I still didn't want to be on one going up or down the trail.

When we walked the beach after hiking the girls were hooked. They wanted to play on the shoreline, walking and talking as they walked along. We let them go without us for a while. It was part of the balance we're all adjusting to these days. 

I asked the brunette twin if she was a California girl now. She said, "I'm getting there."