Around Here Normal is Just a Setting on the Dryer.

After spending over a decade in law enforcement, victim services and social work, we circled the wagons and brought our kids home from public school. Now, we are on year five. After the first years, we learned to lay to rest all of those good intentions of facilitating unrealistic goals of growth, having tri-lingual kids, and raising prodigal children. We now focus on strong vitals and an education that stands just above 3rd world countries.

Frankly, our boys live like college freshman – stay up late, sleep late and cram like it’s their job. Yes, we have the same 24 hour day as the rest of you, but the mental exhaustion of homeschooling puts that productivity at around 4 hours a day. By the time I do my own jobs, home school and some typical chores, I am mentally done. So, I add wine to the equation and gain a few more hours of productivity.

What do I do with this 2nd wind, you might ask? Mostly, I curl up with a book and ignore all types of responsibilities for a couple more hours. What are my boys doing during this sacred time? They are enjoying endless amounts of technology – YouTube, Xbox, Ipads, TV, etc. Why? Because it keeps them quiet. Because it keeps their vitals strong. Because it protects my sanity.

My boys often ask if we are normal and I say, “Yes!” with resounding confidence. I explain to them that they belong to an internationally, renowned private home school program, I somehow manage to work enough to contribute to my part of the household bills and 80% of our food budget goes to home-cooked food! Did I mention the strong vitals?? We are good, I say!

What’s ‘normal’ anyway. Around Here Normal is Just a Setting on the Dryer.

A Burr In My Saddle!

So there are lots and lots….and lots of things that piss me off. The biggest one centers around being Middle-Class. So, in order to allow me to vent…in depth….I have decided to focus a series of blog posts on “Middle-Class Misconceptions” and what I think about those that believe them.

First…..and perhaps the biggest misconception that my class deals with is:

We work, therefore we have money.

In an effort to rid the world of this biggest type of stupid, all Middle-Class people should be given a bag-limit of throat punches.  Say, an introductory rate of 25 throat punches…per month, with roll-over throat punches. However, if you do not use up your tags…then you subject yourself to be throat punched by another member of our club, which will not count against them.

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Membership is free. Just produced your debt to income ratio and a picture of your empty fridge to be accepted.

That is all.

Words You May Never Have Uttered…

You may need a passport to enter another country, but you just need an open mind and some gas to reach the South. However, you may experience the same culture shock that you would endure in the Congo or African Sahara – we have similar language barriers and mating habits. You will certainly encounter those that think you should just turn around and head back where you came from. But…just maybe, if you are in the right frame of mind, you will find us just as fascinating as the Omish, the Cherokee, New Yorkers or the Mormons.

The single defining characteristic of any foreign culture is language and for real, the Southern language should count for a language in college prep. For example:

Befuddled. Definition: confused with a hint of ignorance to the reasoning that X topic is even being discussed. Like…why do you have to discuss ear wax when you could instead discuss the ramifications of Billy Bob thinking that he could fix the leak in his house with anything other than duct tape? This word MUST accompany the gesture of scratching your head at least one time during the conversation.

Flabbergasted. Definition: shocked with a hint of anger. You may hear this when a redneck stubs his toe and blames the wife for placing the incriminating obstacle in his path. Apparently, the wife thinks that if something is static for 50 years, her husband should learn to walk around it. Whatever!

Spirits. In the south, we refer to all alcoholic beverages as ‘spirits’ because it lifts our spirits to partake. Very simple. However, southerners don’t get the whole wine connoisseur mess….we make our own wine from the fruit that God gave us…right here in our backyards. The idea that ‘wine tastings’ happen, definitely befuddle us.

Tattoos. We all run into people and ask them about their tattoos and some get very upset if we insinuate that they had a personal experience with image that they later marked themselves with because they just get tattoos. BUT, in the South, our tattoos mean something. Period. Most may say MOM, some may say F-Obama, but they all mean something to us that will still mean it tomorrow (unless we were drunk.)

Mountains. Some may believe that this is a geographical distinction or even a place where they “vacation.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. ‘Mountains’ is a way of life. It’s a religion. It’s a people.

Helldamn. Although Webster does not recognize this as a compound word, it is the only compound word that can succinctly describe something that went wrong. This something could have been intentional, stupid or just plain fate.

Waterlogged. Definition: a state of being after too many hours in the water. In the olden days, logs were transported via the rivers and they stayed in these rivers for quite some time before they reached their destination. See, our words make sense to us!

Church. Definition: The single reason to defuse any argument under the sun. This word is synonymous with the Good Book, the people attending or the very argument that you can’t win. Church is the end all, be-all in the South. You don’t wear jeans to church….ever….under any circumstances. TV Shows do not have any place in a Southern Church – no divorce, no Modern Family, no Law & Order, no Teletubbies.  Criminal Minds and other murder shows would be acceptable.

Caddywompus. Definition: describes when something is askew or off-centered. For example, I have this retarded tree in my yard that has limbs that are caddywompus and drives me to the brink of a misdemeanor. I would include a picture, but I don’t want to ensue riots, because we don’t have the parking space.

Oh Fresh Hell. Definition: A new ‘alternative’ way of thinking, acting or being. A southern woman might exclaim this after seeing her teenager come downstairs in all black attire and make-up or maybe hearing her son exclaim about the newest way to talk to his girlfriend. ‘Oh Fresh Hell’ may be timeless, but the shit it explains is not – just grab a homemade wine, get flabbergasted, drag them to church in the mountains and scream a Helldamn to those that are caddywompus.

 

This post is brought to you by the my personal friends on Facebook! I hope you enjoyed and please let me know if you have some Southern Terms that weren’t included!

 

I Am As Nervous As A Long Tail Cat In A Room Full Of Rocking Chairs.

So a few months ago my Facebook news feed was overrun with pictures and celebrations of little angels receiving numerous school awards. This week, it’s overrun with first day of school pictures. Facebook has led us to a point that we broadcast every praise bestowed upon us or our little petite ya-yas. We are a homeschooling family and  I just want my homeschooled kids to get their due. Since by May, I am ready to eat my young and could care less about celebrating, I’ve decided to start the year off with a clean slate and award Expectations. This is apropos since we started our school three weeks ago. The very first Monday was a teacher workday…..the first Thursday was a field trip……Friday was a half day….. Yet, another reason to do this now. So bear with me as I celebrate the ‘potential’ of my kiddos. We will stick to public school awards….Presidential, Achievement, Attendance and Overall. Ready?

As far as Presidential Expectation, I have decided that my 5th grader be awarded the Clinton Award. Regardless of evidence, he is always innocent and will only concede an ounce of guilt. My 3rd grader deserves what I shall deem the Watergate Award. He won’t know what happened to his work…won’t remember any conversations that took place during this school year, nor will he admit his own name.

As far as Achievement Expectation, I would like to celebrate my oldest with everything I have got! He is conscientious….persistent and ready to fill out whatever box I throw at him. He will absolutely achieve whatever goals that he sets for himself. Now…about the goals that I set for him:

  1. Putting laundry actually inside the hamper.
  2. Putting his dirty dishes actually in the sink.
  3. Finishing his homework on time.

In light of these goals, I give him…..a 5 out of 10.

For these same goals, plus basic everyday work, I hereby award my youngest with the infamous “Get Out Of Bed” each morning award!

English Expectations: they shall speak the language. They shall understand the language when its suits them. On certain days, they may even correctly define a noun and verb. I hereby award both boys this distinction.

Attendance Expectation. Let us just go ahead and call this award what it is….the Pulse Expectation. In public school, if they show up, they get a mark. In homeschool, we have much more room to move. I don’t mind counting field trips but I refuse to count a day that every participant is comatose. So for our school, both boys shall win the Pulse Expectation. And to add my expectation…thats 3 out of 5 days of school work that they ACTUALLY complete to the best of their ability.

Overall……let’s stop with the rear.

Speaking of rear, allow me to offer their rewards for the entire school year. My 3rd grader shall receive, with all the dignity and pride that comes along with, the Rear of the Year Expectation. If you need a description of this achievement, please look in Wikipedia for a Person that could give two shits about school.
Now my 5th grader has his own distinction. He shall be proud to receive the Mother Theresa Award, because he cares. He cares about his school; he cares about my sanity; and he cares about what others think.

Soooooo…..I’m excited that my boys will meet my wildest expectations for this school year. Wildest being…..they will participate, learn something and not hate me for the rest of their lives!

What are your expectations this year for your young ones?

That Dog Won’t Hunt

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It’s that time of year when us homeschooling moms sit down with our computers, laptops, paper, pencils, laminators, sticky notes, highlighters, etc and plan a new year. We do research, we poll our friends, we beg guidance from strangers, and we contemplate our sanity for pursuing yet another year. We design lesson plans, calendars and other fun graphics to keep us on task during the year. We think of fun ideas to keep our children engaged. We consider including electives, such as other languages, botany, volunteer work, musical instruments. We plan 5, 000 play dates.  We find determination to deliver curriculum, schedules and discipline without quarter. All while, classical music will be playing in the background. Perhaps, we designate a classroom space and plan to set our alarms. Perhaps, we feel confident that our children will master and surpass their weakest subjects. Perhaps….the house will also be cleaned and a healthy, nutritious meal will be provided three times a day. While we are at it, we will just go ahead and send hubby with a nice, packed, nutritious lunch too.

We finalize our plans. We tell our friends our plans. We tell our children about the New Order. We tell ourselves that this year…will be different.

Why in the HELL do we do this to ourselves?? Can we just not do it and say we did? Why must we set ourselves up for this public failure?

It’s akin to going on a diet. That dog won’t hunt!!!! It might start heading to the woods and hell, it might even bark – but it ain’t gonna hunt.

I truly think we would all be better off by just opening the different subject books that are required by law and doing one lesson after another. Expectations make everything worse. Period.

Nothing gets my goat more than when I have spent hours and hours coming up with a creative game or lesson for my boys and we have an all out meltdown within two minutes tops. Then I have to take time out of my schedule to scream at them for not appreciating MY efforts, shame them for not respecting the LAW and provide them directions to the nearest elementary school. All this is followed by the music of screaming and slamming doors and then I’m the only one left listening to classical music (which I don’t even like.).

For real. Just join a program or a co-op and pay them to deliver everything outside of your realities. They will encourage you to do more…but hey…they won’t know any better. You can Facebook your supposed successes all year long. Join the droves of people who are not who they POST to be!

But alas…..I’ll do it all again this year and hope for different results. Wait….where have I heard that before?? lol

?Einstein

 

 

Stay Calm And Eat Your Milk Sandwich.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Snow Days. Seriously. I set my alarm for the time the snow is predicted to start. I can’t even get up in the mornings for important things, but have no problems if snow is in the forecast! Love it. Lots. When it starts snowing, I am worthless…and loud…and dancing. Love It. Seriously. As do my boys.

However. These are some things that I don’t love:

  1. Moooooooooom, when can we got oooouuuuttttt? (Demanding to sled after 5 minutes of flurries.)
  2. Moooooooooom, where are my gloves, hat, snow bibs, coat, pulse, etc (Me: Why are the fingers cut out of these brand new gloves? Child: Duh, I needed tactical gloves.)
  3. After ensemble….mom, I have to pee.
  4. Sounds of tears within the first 10 minutes because the snow in some way hurt. This one really sends me over the edge. “Oh, you got hit with a snowball?” (I thought that was why we are out here?) Whining child states: “But, I wasn’t ready.”  or….”He threw it too hard.” or “My sled went over a rock.” or “The wind hurts my face.”
  5. Mooooooooom, why is it melting? I choose not to use words for this question because I honestly don’t have any words that they like to hear and they just get more pissed when I answer because you are whining or the angels have finished pooping.
  6. When snowmaggedon is predicted and we have blue skies and it’s somehow my fault. Or….when nothing is predicted and we get pounded and it’s somehow my fault.
  7. When I forgot to stock up on booze. (This one should have been first.)
  8. When my 7 year old packs my front door with snow and then rings the doorbell until I answer. (This didn’t work out well for him, although he still thinks it was totally worth it.)
  9. When my 9 year old somehow sneaks outside to pack my toboggan with snow and leaves it for me. (I was too impressed with my “nice” kid’s antics to punish him. Up until this point, I wasn’t sure if he was my child.)
  10. When I forgot to stock up on booze. No, it wasn’t supposed to know. However, I am a country girl and should have been prepared.

 

Patience of a Gnat.

Here it is a Monday already and I’m forced to pick only one thing that I am moaning about for our weekly Monday Moans Event. I went through several ideas in my head and had a hard time deciding on this week’s vent. It didn’t help that every time I sat down at my computer, one of my little darlings bellowed out another need – a very clear and present show of disrespect. And then I had it…………

My kids have the patience of a gnat…a baby gnat….a baby gnat on acid. I see this over and over in our daily lives. They get this from their father.

In fact, the only time that they exhibit any patience at all is when they intentionally wait for me to sit down before belting out a reason that they need me to get up. Sometimes, when they are feeling particularly vindictive, they wait until I’m on a different floor of our house. Special, aren’t they?

I always imagine them on pins and needles, anxiously waiting for me to get settled, as they try to shush each other. Perched on the edge of their seats, covering their snickers with their little hands, they try to keep their patience in check. Wait for it……waaaiiiitttt….just one more minute….almost time….No…wait, she hasn’t sat down yet!….now! “MOOOOOOMMMMM!!!”

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Why do I even holler from the kitchen or upstairs, asking anyone in this entire house and neighborhood if they need anything while I am up??!!!! I even offer specific suggestions like, “Does anyone need a drink, WHILE I AM UP?” or “Should I bring snacks, WHILE I AM UP?” or “Can I bring anything up/down stairs, WHILE I AM UP?” or my favorite and complete waste of oxygen, when I ask, “Does anyone need anything, WHILE I AM OUT?

Are these not clear? Am I confusing in my intentions?

I have arrived at the only possible answer. They do it on purpose.