Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How's that working for you?

Generally I eschew daytime television and pop psychology, but I have to admit Dr. Phil's words are echoing in my head today.

The school day was moving along normally until 10:15 when Kevin asked for the denatured alcohol to put into the bunsen burner for his chemistry exper- iment. It was no where to be found, so I was tempted to tell him to just use the stove. But, it's the beginning of the school year and I'm still feeling like I need to do everything by the book, so I decide to run to Wal-mart and pick some up. But, as I pull up to the first stop light, my aversion to Wal-mart kicks into high gear and I talk myself into going to Winn Dixie (for all you yankees-that's a grocery store). It's closer and a less painful shopping experience. After hunting down a few groceries, I wander around the newly renovated store looking for the item I came for. No luck. So I ask a group of employees where I might find denatured alcohol. They look at me like I'm not speaking English, but one finally pipes up and asks if you drink it. I resist saying "only if you're suicidal". After an all out hunt involving 3 employees, one who thinks they used to have it but doesn't remember seeing since the remodel, I give up and follow their suggestion to try the Family Dollar just a few stores down in the strip mall.

Family Dollar was a bust, so I head to Wal-mart. But on the way I have to pass Target, and I'd MUCH rather shop at Target than Wal-mart, so I turn in. Here I only stump 2 employees with my odd request. After a bit of roaming around by one employee and another checking the computer for the item (but she confessed to not knowing how to spell it, so it COULD be somewhere in the store), I realize I need to go home and check on lunch progress.

But, on the way out of Target's parking lot, I pass a hobby store that I had heard has science supplies. Ah, I think to myself, "Maybe THEY have some," so I whip into a parking space near the door. Turns out they don't stock the item, but the nice man behind the counter did know what denatured alcohol was...and knew that the people who fly model helicopters use them to remove stickers. Exactly! I'm getting least I've found someone who knows what denatured alcohol is?

I return home to find everything going smoothly, help feed Caitlyn, who had just gotten up from her nap, and suggest just using the stove to heat the beaker. But, seeing the burner, the stand, the thermometer and Kevin's sad puppy dog eyes, I volunteer to go to Wal-mart. After all, I don't want to squelch his enthusiasm for chemistry, right? Really, I fear he doesn't care about chemistry, but does want to play with fire.

So, I head to my FIFTH, yes fifth, store in my quest to find something I should have already purchased. After looking a couple of places I think it might be, I head to the hardware department, thinking it might be near other adhesive removers. I immediately see an employee and hold my breath as I ask for denatured alcohol. To my great surprise, a second employee overhears me and says "behind the paint counter". What! Someone who knows what I'm talking about AND knows where to find it. I could have hugged her....really! I can't help but think, "why didn't I just come here first?"

My family knows how much I despise Wal-mart. When someone wants to go there I groan inwardly (and usually outwardly). I'd rather take a beating than shop at Wal-mart. But, I confess, today my aversion wasted the better part of an hour. I'm willing to swallow my pride and admit "this might not be working for me".

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The New Normal or Same Old Chaos?

School has officially been in session for a month, but we are still looking to find our groove. I'm hoping this isn't how the whole year is going to feel, and we can settle into a routine soon.

Alyssa continues to work at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and has added a bit of nanny-ing to her schedule. For the first time in twelve years I am not her primary teacher, as those duties have been relegated to the local college and an online instructor.

Kevin continues to work at Grandy's and volunteer at Braveheart. Combined with his church activities and social schedule; working, volunteering and school keep him fairly occupied.

Hannah continues to love her horseback riding. We're going to attempt to get her to the barn more often this year, so she's thrilled. She's decided to try her hand at Western riding, so we'll shove all the English paraphernalia to the back of the closet and make way for the cowboy hat and spurs. Stay tuned for updates as her first show is a week from Saturday.

Victoria just keeps dancing which means I keep on costuming. Nutcracker is in full swing, so I forbid her from auditioning for a lead part in the Christmas play at church. I confess, I am a mean mom!

And last, but certainly not least, is little Caitlyn. She is a joy from the time she arrives until she is picked up. A few "Hannah-like" behaviors have begun to emerge, so she might end up being more of a challenge than first suspected. But hey, I've got some practice under my belt, so I'm not intimidated.

All in all, we're surviving the new school year, and with Patrick's "banquet season" (3 fundraising banquets in 3 weeks) fast upon us, chaos my not give way to normal until...the holidays. Yeah, right.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Father of the Year

Okay, so most of you sports fans have probably already seen this; but in case you haven't, check it out here. This guy deserves an award for his reaction to his daughter's shocking throw. Really, this guy must be a gem!

And then, if you have a tissue handy, check out this article about Albert Pujols. See why he's so popular around our house?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Which Season Is It?

Every year about this time I grow nostalgic. As a rule, I love living in the South. But when the beginning of school rolls around and we're still running the air conditioning twenty-four hours a day - every day, I begin to long for autumn in Ohio. I just can't seem to help myself. I miss waiting for the school bus on crisp, fall mornings. I miss new sweaters and football games. I miss seeing the fog roll off the pond when the cool air brushes against the warm water. And the leaves. I miss deciduous trees. Don't get me wrong; live oaks, with their massive spreading limbs, have their charm. But they don't change colors. I daydream of playing in the mountainous piles of leaves in the neighbor's front yard.

Really, do you think kids can grow into normal, healthy adults when they've never bundled up and huddled together on freezing bleachers at a football game? Aren't you scarred for life when, instead of sweaters and coats, you wear shorts and flip-flops to the season opener? No matter how long I live here, I can't wrap my mind around wearing tank tops to football games in the end of September. It just doesn't compute. The calendar says it's fall, but the temperatures are unmistakably summer-like.

Eventually, fall arrives here too and gives way to a winter of sorts. And then I decide I'm glad I'm not in the North. Really, wearing coats and gloves is way over-rated. No boots to find. No snow to shovel. No gray, dreary skies for days or weeks on end.

So, I've come to expect my season of nostalgia. And like all other seasons, it too will pass - only to come again next year.