Thursday, September 09, 2010

Not Quite Back in the Swing

School started yesterday for both Mathboy and Catgirl. Under normal circumstances, this would be a cause for celebration. But not with my kids, it seems. So far, school seems to give me nothing but trouble and has turned me into a NAG.

Just to be clear: I do not like being a nag.

The end of summer vacation means that the summer assigned reading had to be done and the book reports written. Despite having a good 12 weeks of notice that they would have to do these things, and having their mother reminding (nagging?) them about the reading for weeks, both my kids found themselves rushing to finish at the last minute. Catgirl finished typing the book report Tuesday evening at about 8 p.m. Mathboy finished reading the last book on the bus on the way in to school Wednesday morning. Cutting it close, hm?

The end of summer means catching the bus. The kids need to be downstairs, dressed and ready by 7 a.m. so that they have time to eat breakfast and make sure their backpacks are ready to go. Catgirl's bus comes at 7:20 and Mathboy's is supposed to come at 7:35. This morning, Catgirl was not ready for the bus until about 7:22. The bus was long gone at that point. It probably came a couple of minutes early, but it doesn't matter. There was no way she was going to make it even if it had been on time. Mathboy's bus stopped in front of the house and honked the horn at 7:25. Mathboy had not even gotten his breakfast out of the toaster yet, since he had not gotten downstairs until about 7:20 himself.

I was already tired of yelling and nagging by that time, having resigned myself to the inevitability that I was going to have to drive both kids in this morning. Since Doane starts at 8:15 and OLGC starts at 8:30, I decided to drive Mathboy in first and then swing back to Moorestown to drop off Catgirl. I rounded everyone up along with everything they needed for afterschool activities, and loaded us all in the car. We were on the road around 7:40, eating waffles on the way.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten about the traffic nightmare that Rte. 295 has become. We arrived at Doane at 8:14 (just under the wire). I had to take back roads to get to OLGC because the ramp to get back on 295 in Burlington is currently closed for contruction. I signed Catgirl in at her school at 8:47, almost 20 minutes late for her day.

As we were sitting in traffic, and I was trying really hard not to fume and just accept the lesson of the morning, I asked the kids what we had learned from what happened. I tried not to be a jerk, noting that I learned it might be better to make school lunches the night before rather than in the morning. (I was trying to reduce the sting of the situation by accepting a share of the responsibility, although the immature part of me insists the lunches were not the problem. Said lunches were packed by 6:50 this morning.)

Catgirl was silent, doing her best imitation of a teenager ignoring her mother. To be fair, her attitude may have been exacerbated because she had already lost screen time for 2 days and had been told she could not play or talk to the BFF next door for one day.

Mathboy's answer: "We should listen to Mom."

I was impressed. I didn't realize that Mathboy even knew how to suck up.

In other news, I have acquired the most wonderful household tool, an item that I believe will minimize strife, divisiveness and resentment in the family, and all sorts of problems. I present to you, my new Wonder Tool:
The dishwasher clean/dirty magnet. When you run the dishwasher, you make sure the "clean" side is facing out. After you empty the dishwasher, flip it to make the "dirty" side face out. My dream that there will be no more butter knives in with the clean flatware, no more dirty coffee cups dripping on clean plates, is within my grasp!


I have also finished yet another shawl.
Curatio shawl 1
The Curatio shawl. It's beautiful, it was quick. Perfect vacation knitting.

I love knitting shawls, but I am not so good about actually wearing them. Right now, I have 4 shawls decorating the rocking chair on my side of the bed. It's just silly. I need to figure out a good way to use them if I want to keep knitting them.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Vacation Earl

Our annual (more or less) pilgrimage to Our Lady of the Beach at Ocean City NJ ended a day or so early today, because of the forecasts for heavy winds and rain at the shore for today. It was hard to escape the doom and gloom of the forecasts all week, in fact, which, I do have to admit, put a small damper on our enjoyment of our vacation. Everyday, we kept checking the weather report and wondering if we would have to come home early. In the end, we did leave early, but we got a good amount of fun in before coming home.

We did go do the rides one night. Here are some ferris wheel photos (I take some every time we go to Ocean City, don't I?)

And here are my guys chatting and watching the sunset form the Deauville Inn:
We go to the Deauville Inn for a sunset dinner once every year. It has been a tradition for us since 2001, I think, which was the first year we rented a house in OC. This year, though, may be the last year for that. Dinner on the deck at the Deauville on Wednesday was hot, muggy, windless, and we were hounded by flies. Yuck. This is not a cheap place to eat, either. You'd think they could at least have a fan blowing the flies off the diners or maybe a citronella candle or two? Apparently not.

The ocean was not exactly easy-going this week. On the first day, when we hung out at the boardwalk beach, the lifeguards were adamant that swimmers stay close to the beach and repeatedly called everyone in for beach meetings. They also had to call everyone out of the water at least three times so that they could go help in rescues on other beaches. It set the tone for the week.

New things we did at Ocean City this year:

1. We finally brought some bikes, which was awesome. We could only fit 2 of the bikes on Rich's car, but I think we need to bring all of them next time. Our house this year was at 21st and Asbury, which was practically on the boardwalk, and only 10 blocks from all the fun boardwalk stuff. If we had all had bikes, that would have been fantastic. It would have been so easy to zip on up to the shops and the fun places on the boardwalk, instead of having to drive and worry about finding a parking place. Next time we need all our bikes.

2. Mathboy and I have found that running on the beach is 100 times better than running on suburban roads. Enough said.

3. Going to the boardwalk waterpark with "big" kids means that I can sit in a chair and read and let them go on all the waterslides by themselves. I like that. I like that the kids are smart enough and sensitive enough to stay with each other and watch out for each other and come to check in with their parents enough so we don't get anxious. They're growing up, folks.

4. Parasailing. This is really the only thing I have photos for. This was Rich's idea. I was dubious at first, but I came around. It was something totally new, and everyone wanted to try it.

This is Catgirl and me:

And here go Rich and Mathboy for their turn:

There was 600 feet of rope, but the guys on the boat estimated we were about 350 feet high in the air.
You get to enjoy the view for a while, then they reel you in and give you a quick dip in the ocean. It felt good, since it was about 95 degrees that day.

I couldn't believe how smooth it felt to ride up in the air under the parachute--you were up at the top before you knew it. I was surprised at how quiet it was up there, too. You couldn't hear the waves or the shore birds or the boat engine. It was very peaceful.