Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sunshine (of a new kind)

I just got off the Wednesday hamster wheel. It is nearing 9pm and finally I sit stretched on the couch--after being on my feet all day long.

This evening after school D and I joined four other teens, one eager 9-year-old boy and five adults to serve dinner at a men's homeless shelter downtown--Sunshine Ministries. King Ralph has served at the shelter before but for me, it was a new experience. The food was as good as anything you or I would serve our families; roast pork with stuffing, corn and peas and saucy noodles. Seconds were graciously served, followed by a reverent thank you.

Homelessness has a picture, right? Dirty. Smelly. Drunk. Strung out. Maybe a bit crazy. Tonight however, homelessness had a new picture. As I looked around the room that held the 44 men (that is the shelter limit) I wondered; how did you come to be here? You young man, no more than twenty years old, dressed in your Gap like T-shirt and denim pants. Or you man in the very neat, bright melon colored polo shirt and navy pleated shorts, your orthopedic shoes, your strained walk accompanied by a limp and a cane--I wonder are you a veteran of our present war struggling to re-enter life. I wonder about the older man who wore a sweater and stylish reading glasses; you looked like a professor I had in college. We couldn't stop staring at the young man who had an uncanny resemblance to "Alexander Supertramp"/Christopher McCandless (Into the Wilds). When he said he was train hopping we all thought that was mysteriously strange in similarity. Why, why are you all here? Your stories are each so different but unknown to those who serve you a meal.

Then we all toured the shelter. Not a cobweb in sight. Not a dust bunny to be seen. This shelter was cleaner, smelled cleaner than my own house. I was impressed. Everything had such order and discipline I was amazed. The teens rather inquisitive to the working of the oldest homeless shelter in our city asked lots of questions. The questions meant they were connecting with the intended purpose of this service.

Next we shared a chapel service with these men, a service that is mandatory attendance to keep your bed. The older gentleman in the back row was getting it, the “if”, the “why”. For everything the three girls dramatized in their skit he repeated because, he got it or was getting it. They are required to attend chapel not because the world wants to send Bible thumpers into save their bewildered souls. They are exposed to chapel in an effort to express the hope in this world that awaits them.

As we collected song sheets of Amazing Grace an older African-American gentleman neatly dressed with his quite, tender manner came up to us all shook our hands and thanked us. In reality it is us who should thank him--for tonight as I pull my warm covers over myself I will look around and awaken to the gratitude of my blessings.

The sun will shine in a new way for me tomorrow. This person says—God is good. Amen!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Slight Vent

Just because my desk doesn't always look as though it should I am quite organized. There truly is an order, a method to my madness.

Sometimes being organized and getting the job done means serving your daughters (the two that are home) leftovers. Check the date on the container before consuming. For myself I had hors d'oeuvres of York Peppermint Pattie and Recesses Pieces and a main course of red licorice. Since I opted for the ice water I think nutritional balance was found in the peanut butter candies.

My head aches from shuffling band volunteer forms and trying to figure out why one chair person could not, would not return my multiple phone calls and emails. Some how I made it all work or should I say in the works. There is a lesson in this nonsense--when you are pissed at the man at the top just call back the little guy (me) and say hey I quit this volunteer position so everyone can get on with there duties.

Tomorrow I remain on the hamster wheel of life.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Look! Look!

Look! Look! is now a regular feature here at Keeper of the House Adventures. It will showcase some of M's --wanna-be-fashion-designer-- fabulous creations.

This month I present to you mad plaid. Mad because learning to match plaids was-- at the beginning something that truly tested her sanity. As you can see she won the battle and stitched a fine dress. Fierce I say. Fierce.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Hunt, The Big Kill

This is the face of what use to be a sweet little puppy dog:

Now it is the face of a fierce predator.

The feeling of that last vibration of my scream still hangs my vocal cord. In my head my scream continues to echo. Watching the dog in mid-hunt was not exactly my idea of a cool but sunny Saturday afternoon activity.

Seeing that little vole, that I first mistook for a mouse, scrambling its little feet and tail as it hung helpless for its predators mouth--who lost grip a time or two; was just all to much for me to remain controlled and calm. I began squirming, then turned to a slight jump enhanced with screams and yells. It slightly resembled a white chick with no rhythm on the dance floor. I yelled to the girls who then joined me in a chorus of complete and utter over-the-top girl drama. It was so Valley Girl with it domino effect of "oh-my-gosh", hands flailing in air, feet pattering in a run-in-place step. Our voices surely bounced off every tree in the neighborhood--although we didn't stop our romp long enough to notice an audience. M even pulled a “Tom Cruise” when she ran back in the house and jumped on the couch and jumped and jumped some more. D decides she should catch the vole in a plastic U-Gas soda cup, bring it in the house to show me (while I was still feeling traumatized) till the sisters stopped her. She decides throwing the varmint in our neighbors yard is a grander idea. M on the other hand for a brief moment became sadistic when she suggested we drown it, euthanize the little half-dead vole. She felt it would be more humane to put the vole [quickly] out of its misery. Of course a moment like that requires text messages to King Ralph followed by a phone call where he could enjoy the operatic tones of a quartet scream.

Our back yard looks like a war zone. We have holes here and there. We have dead grass circles that resemble a racetrack and an alien landing. I am seriously wondering what kind of magic I can create to make the yard look less like Uli's hunting/running grounds and more like a yard fit to host a graduation party. Then again I could just ask the guest to come dressed in camouflage.

I like so need some Xanax but, since I don’t have any….

Friday, April 25, 2008

All I have to say is...

Two margaritas (I am only speaking for myself, not counting Carla's bloody Mary, or Paula's 3 beers or Keith's 3 beers or Mr. Z's 2 beers), 4 baskets of chips-n-salsa, an order of the most awesome chicken/cheese nachos and Georgina emerging from the pharmacy (not counting her margarita)--what happens (or is said) at Las Margaritas stays at Las Margaritas!

Nos divertimos mucho! AdiĆ³s

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

High School Memories

I think I am entering the time in my life when I realize one of my own is preparing to leave the nest. Although I am totally excited [for her] and for this next chapter of her life to begin...I just find myself more engrossed this week in taking the time to sit down with my girlies and them with me, so we can laugh and love.

Tonight we grabbed dinner at Subway, headed to the park, sat at a table under a tree and talked. With King Ralph gone on his annual man trip-- aka the drink beer, fart, don't change your underwear, fish-all-day trip-- our time allows us to be selfish and indulge in girl bonding time.

Last night I grilled chicken and we sat outside on the deck for dinner. D lost interest in our "quality time" as soon as she popped that last bite in her mouth-- ventured off to be with her friend because that is what a thirteen year old does. So there we sat, me, Princess A and M, we were laughing. Of course no dinner is ever complete without talking about her French class and the teacher. Next thing you know M is darting in the house to retrieve my high school yearbook. M swore, being that she is of thought that the teacher is as old as dinosaurs, she must have taught way back when I was in high school. Sadly to her dismay she was not. Lucky for me because I took French and can't imagine what my life would have been like...well I'll stop before I say more.

Anyway, as we flip through the pages, I let my eye catch sight of K.V.; then high school story just starts rolling off my tongue.

I took a ceramic class in summer school to achieve the required fine arts credit needed to graduate. There was boy who sat next to me he was a year older. He was a total burnout, the classification for those notoriously known for A. hanging out at the school's smoking section B. wardrobe consisting of bell-bottom jeans, a ¾ sleeve jersey style T-shirt usually with a concert transfer on the front and C. lover of the reefer. Oh yes, and his name was "Stubby". Well not really but, since he blew all his fingers off while making a pipe bomb in his garage his friends of his same high school social class thought it fitting to nickname him--"Stubby".

We lived in a four-family flat that backed to the highway. We had some neighbors downstairs whose intelligence probably should have been called into question. I don't know, call me smart but doesn’t the farmer of a crop of marijuana usually want to be discrete about their illegal actions? Oh not these folks, apparently there higher education and farming abilities helped find the richest soil and the wealth of sunshine right there where I could admire the green foliage from my bedroom window--watching its growth process while facing the highway.

Back to art class.

We had an assignment to make a pot. Stubby had the perfect hand, a tool of sort, his own personal with-him-all-the-time Anvil. So I struck a deal with him a perfect pot for some pot. I told ole' Stubby, your classic American high school burnout, just where he could score himself some GOM (Good Old Marijuana). The next day my sister and I are asleep in our room, the window is open on an unusually cool Midwestern summer morning when we wake to the sounds of; "what, someone stole our pot plants, SOMEONE STOLE OUR PLANTS". I remember rolling over to my sister and saying, "Stub-beeeee"

Stubby had an accomplice--K.V. Which is the reason my mind was triggered to the memory of high school. The memory of the time I rid the neighborhood of a crop of reefer.

Plus, I got an A in my summer ceramic class. Which in my opinion means we all left summer school a happy bunch.

Friday, April 18, 2008

4.5, The After Shock

I was in the staff lounge copying a book (which takes a good while to spit out so I spent the waiting time walking around the table that hosted the snacks, namely the glazed donut holes) when a fellow co-worker walks in and excitely says did you feel it? I did not. It seems we had an after shock that registered 4.5. I must have been chewing those 10, 15 donut holes with my own rumbling fever.

Okay so yesterday we had an earthquake drill. The entire school should know exactly how to react when the earth rumbles-so you'd think. Instead of finding humans of all sizes huddling under there desks...everyone sat exactly as they were, doing exactly what they were; which was MAP testing.

I find that doubly humorous...what good is learning the earthquake technique if when you feel the earth shake you do nothing? Is the procedure for aftershock different from the technique for the original shock?

You know what I say one does when they aren't sure...they sing! An appropriate song.


Call it what you may...peculiar, uncanny, erie but, we had a earthquake drill at work yesterday.

This morning at 430am King Ralph and I awoke to our bed rumbling--as if we had one of those sleazy hotel beds with a twenty-five cent vibrating machine. The windows were shaking, maybe a wind storm. Then King Ralph said it out loud; "I think we are having an earthquake". He was right. It took me staring at the TV for 30 minutes before the "breaking news" flashed across the screen reporting it was an earthquake--registered a 5.2.

Still I say erie that we had an earthquake drill the day before.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I am remembering today what it was like to be home.

While my patient sleeps (with the use of a controlled substance); I am going to do a load of laundry, scrub the toilet, sweep the floors and empty the dishwasher. Maybe watch a talk show.

Aaaaahhhh, the days.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Gift of Mercy

It was around this time last year when M was confirmed... it was also at a time in her life when she questioned, "why me". The girl who had to have a third eye surgery, the girl who had to wear a back brace, the girl with this problem and that problem. As the confirmation service was coming to a close our minister anointed each one with a special gift that characterized who they each are as a child of God-- M was the given the Gift of Mercy.

Today she questions again "why me"? I remind her of her gift-- the Gift of Mercy. Although today I am the one who is trying like hell to translate that compassion into cheerfully done deeds that reflect Christ's love and alleviate the suffering.

When I went into her bedroom at 6am to see how she was feeling-- if school was a possibility-- I found her flat on her back, no covers, and tears silently rolling down her cheeks. My baby, my love child had not slept all night, lying there in pain from head to toe, never called out to me because; a pediatrician's (not our regular) prescription was to "suck it up". Every mom knows even if you can't heal your child or ease there pain with medications you can at least stake a vigil at the bedside. If nothing else I could have rubbed the 50% of her body not afflicted with the shingles. Sometimes just knowing mom is near helps. I at least believe this. Maybe cause it makes me feel better as a mom. Probably more so because the horrible blistering rash continues to over take half her torso. To which I say stop spreading. Stop. Stop. Stop.

As soon as the clock struck 8am I went in Five-Star General mode. I demanded prescription pain medication. By 330pm another parent, a medical professional, convinced me that M was receiving inadequate care telling me exactly the drug she should be administered. The doctor's office probably has me red flagged as a wench but, I got what I needed, what I wanted. Amen!

M will be taking another day of rest tomorrow, even though she is freaked about missing Algebra and French (which if you ask me that coo-coo French teacher is partly the cause of the shingles, the woman gives me shingles just thinking about her). Sometimes you just need to let the body shut down so it can begin to heal itself.

King Ralph thinks all medications begin healing when served with a favorite food so the menu reads: two Tylenol with Codeine every four hours, Acyclvoir 4x's a day with a side of Spaghetti-o's with meatballs, mac-n-cheese, orange sherbert, Skittles and a Snickers bar...with a side of WWE Monday Night Raw (which I still don't get or understand the love and passion for and probably never will).

Excuse while I leave you... M has, well, expelled some of her favorites-- needs to test my hidden janitorial skills. Poor, poor baby.

Enough I say. Enough!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

not the kind you use for roofing

We all went to church this morning as a family, a rare thing with King Ralph's weekend work requirements. We were excited to be there together since Princess A was playing her flute-- she was accompanying two music pieces,one with the piano and one with the bell choir.

Our excitement faded quickly as the quarter size rash M had on her belly on Friday over took her torso...she complained it hurt to the touch and she had a shooting pain that came and went up one of her arms. I looked at King Ralph and said you don't think...he was like I think. So then we debated using the doctor's Sunday hours. So we broke down and used the Sunday hours.

Our family of five in a church pew turned to three.

Guess what? Our think was right girly has the shingles.

There is something not quite right about being fifteen and having shingles. We are told the cause is a combo of her Florida sunburn and stress.

There is one thing I am pretty good at and that is being Florence Nightingale--so I will nurse her but, not touch...cause touching hurts.

I frown for her.

However, M has found one silver lining in this freak illness...she was told to refrain from wearing her back brace. I think I just might see her doing a few cartwheels over that prescription.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sometimes You Just Have to...Brag

Today D and three of her friends performed a quartet at Solo/Ensemble Festival. They sang Shenandoah arranged by Jay Althouse. So if you don't mind I am going to brag--because that's what moms do [best].

First the girls took there appearance very seriously as last Friday I spent the evening at the mall while we purchased color coordinated dresses--of black, white with a splash of pink. There must have been something to looking good since it transcended into the beautiful harmonic tone that sprung from the vocal cords. They were absolute song birds. The tones just flowed effortlessly together, as if they were born to sing the song.

After we all left the performance room the judge approached there music teacher and asked her if the girls were eighth graders. They are all seventh graders. She told the music teacher she hasn't heard a group of girls who sounded so mature in tone at that age as they did. When the score sheet was posted (this festival was judicated) the girls received straight ones. Actually the judge wrote a one at the top of the sheet and then drug her pen down the sheet indicating one all the way down the score sheet. The music teacher said she has never seen that before. The judge even commented on there appearance.

So there you have it, my brag and I think I have every right since my baby and her buds were so awesome.

You kow what? The song is contagious. I can't stop singing--Oh Shenaddoah I long to hear you___Away_________you rolling river..........

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


TTWI-- Typing While Intoxicated

I just attended the victory party for the Crestwood mayor. It was a tough race--being he was unopposed.

Any who, how, I had two glasses of wine and for some reason (despite the fact I had food in my stomach) I am bit...well three, no two, sheets to the wind. Three cheers for the mayor and another three years.

Considering the high level of stress that fills the school (my employer) this month with MAP testing I think two glasses of wine was just what I didn't even know I needed-- but did.

I have to part ways here, the Cards are winning, WON, and I need to get back to my priority. Baseball.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Manic Monday Recipe

Manic Monday Recipe

1 Saturday night that rolls into Sunday morning
1 Sunday night of fun that ends waaaaayyyyy past bed time (for everyone).
1 middle school-er who misses the bus (again).
1 quick check of the weeks calendar which shows--oh crap mini band camp this week
1 king having an MRI
1 keeper who has to be at work early

Mix it all together. Simmer on low till...this house is so out of sorts this Monday morning I think I will go to work to wrangle 850 elementary school kids to find a small measure of tranquility.

It is such a manic Monday at our house I can't even bring myself to sing a Bangles' song. But, but, but I can scream a bit--aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!

Oh, much better now.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Promenade 2008

Prom comes from the word promenade, and you sure can't promenade alone. Those are the words of Josie Geller.

If you are Princess A you think otherwise. Princess A wanted to attend her senior prom dateless she, didn't want to "have to babysit anyone". She wants to flutter about The Fabulous Fox Theater; home to the Junior/Senior Prom and schmooze with all her friends.

Every girl needs an up-do. Princess A's hair dresser felt compelled to divulge she didn't attend her senior prom because she was eight months pregnant. Princess A said "mom how was I to respond to that". I said well I guess say that's a bummer, what do you say?

She decided to practice dancing in her dress.

Is she not a Cinderella this evening?

She just might lose one of her rhinestone ornamented heels--before we know it Prince Charming could be knocking at our door.

Of course there is always some girl some group that has to expose her breasts...that girl is in there group. I wonder what that girl's mom thought? Did she say daughter your boobies are exposed? Will never know cause in four years of high school I have never seen this mom surface at any photo op. Aside from boob girl the girls all looked fabulously beautiful.

Just so all don't think the girls were all dateless...and I didn't take a guy's picture like I did the girls--I'll add a picture with a few of the boys.

This has me feeling all nostalgic. I am going to the basement to unearth, from its plastic preserver, my totally 80's sea foam blue-green metallic mermaid prom dress and clean the family room rec area.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Panties you say...what the fun?

The final duty of my workday is parent pick-up in the cafeteria. Imagine my dismay when I walked into the cafeteria to find the fifth graders had set up there Saturday garage sale...and when I say set up I mean SET UP.

Flash back...several years ago King Ralph drug me around, house after house, through our neighborhood garage sale. It was then that I came to the conclusion that the selling of half used toiletries was disturbing.

So imagine how freaked I was walking into a cafeteria where I was to match children to parent in a sea of, hoards of crap--I'm sorry, one man's junk is another man's treasure--while these parents wanted to pre-shop. I felt like I had been dropped into Pandora's Box. But, the thing that caught my eye was the intimate apparel section on the cafeteria table. (This is giving new definition to Wednesday's lunch menu choice of tuna casserole.) Okay let me just say half used toiletries in some strange man's garage is one thing but, used Victoria panties and bras in a school cafeteria is--wrong on so many levels I can't even go there. The college male who works the latch key program snickered when I pointed out the fabulous shopping option, he responds, "do they come with stains". Oh brother. Then I pointed out the freaky selection zone on the table to the principal, saying I found it quite curious that the intimate apparel section was placed next to the feather boa section. She giggled at me and told me I was silly. Me silly? The teacher, parent, whoever it was that thought selling used I-touched-another's-cooter-panties at a school garage sale is the one that should be called silly...or maybe crazy. Not me. I'm sane enough to know that is just plain nasty!

Suggestions for panties you no longer want to 'bout making them a dust rag. Maybe wax the car with them. You could soak them in gasoline, use as a fire starter for a bonfire. If I sit here long enough (which I'm not) I could think of a million things better to do with used panties than to sell them in a school garage sale while displaying them on the cafeteria table!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

know what

The best part about Thursday is that tomorrow is Friday.

...and that ER returned to my must see TV night.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

What's for dinner Mom?

Hey family, we are having left over coke ham (since it was such a hit at Alee's birthday dinner last night) and I am throwing on the plate an ear of fresh corn and a spoon full of potato salad (that my grocery girl is picking up as I type). Don't complain just eat it!

I have 250 pencils left to sharpen for MAP testing...there is no time to cook. If I couldn't get the darn pencils sharpened in the office today, brought them home to sharpen, why would anyone think I have time to prefer a fresh meal? Not to mention it is the [second try] at the home opener for the Cardinals. Priorities family, priorities.

Plus, I'm tired.

Pencils, Red Birds and lack of sleep equals left over ham.