Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Grind

It's official.  We are back to the daily grind that is school, complete with early morning grumpiness, half-assed lunches hastily thrown together, homework procrastination and complaints, plus mental exhaustion and bad attitudes.  Oh, and my kids are affected too.

I truly enjoyed having the summer off.  I tried to keep my kids busy with camps and scheduled activities but the lazy days with no plans were just as pleasant (especially if my kids were in another room arguing where I couldn't hear them).

Every year we go through the same end-of-summer routine, designed to fool people into believing that my boys are always well-groomed and properly clothed.  As if they hadn't been running around in shoes with holes in the soles, wearing shorts so small they look like Magnum, P.I. would've worn them.  We take the kids to get haircuts and new clothes and they whine and complain like there's no tomorrow.  Why would parents torture their children so?  Fresh, new, clean, stylish clothing and comfortable shoes and outerwear - it's just preposterous!  Throw in the crazy lady at the store who is clueless that her child in the stroller has been screaming at the top of his lungs for 20 minutes straight.  She unknowingly follows us to different departments, oblivious that her 4-year-old is crawling beneath the fitting room door while my kid is forced to try on clothes.  I had to quickly yell, "no kicking intruders in the face!" to avoid bloodshed.  We made it out of the store with 3 large bags of clothing, two unhappy boys, a new store credit card activated so we could get maximum discounts... and a very empty bank account.

I wish I could say that we had a fabulous celebration to mark the end of another summer vacation.  But no. Unfortunately we had to attend my father-in-law's funeral and say goodbye to a wonderful man who shaped my husband into the person he is, and was a Grandpa beyond compare.  What a way to mark the last weekend of break.  The good news is that we got to hang out with family that we only rarely see, and got to meet relatives that live out of state.  My boys and their cousins enjoyed each others' company and messed around with bows and arrows, and pellet guns.  My husband and his brother agreed to take the kids downriver on inflatable rafts - which lost air and took on water and provided a great visual as the teenage fisherman had to pull my brother-in-law's boat to shore because it was so low.  The adults hung out, reminisced, and went through a boatload of wine and beer.  Tomm would have wholeheartedly approved.

The problem arises when you have 11 people sleeping at a residence with 3 bedrooms.  Where's everyone going to go?  Tomm's brother had been at the house already when we arrived and we of course let him keep the guest room.  My brother-in-law, by default, got the second guest room.  Something about needing their 2-year-old in the same room with them, yadda yadda yadda.  The other grandchildren had makeshift beds in Grammy's room, like a big sleepover.  That left me and my husband and our 12 year old.  Luckily my in-laws have a great support system in their town and many friends who offered to create various sleeping arrangements.  We were informed that we could use a friend's RV in the driveway.  I've already written about my family's experience with a tiny camper so we were picturing nice large accommodations.

Here's what we saw upon arrival:

Yeah, see, that's a shell, not really an RV.

So we did what we needed to do and we shut up, trudged outside to our "camper", hiked up the step stool to the oh-so-spacious musty interior, and went to sleep.  This worked out fine until the last night when it started raining.  Luckily my husband woke up and closed the vent that was directly over our bed.  I had a hard time falling back to sleep because I thought I kept hearing dripping.  I checked the other vent and it was closed.  No other sign of rain getting in, so I proceeded to fall back to sleep.  I was awoken by a slow drip of water onto my shoulder.  The "sealed" window above the cab was leaking - on my side of the bed.  From multiple places.  The owners had put a foam mattress pad down for more comfort, and I soon discovered that foam mattress pads absorb an awful lot of water, and then disperse it across the material.  So no matter how far I kept scooting into my husband's sleeping zone, I was still laying in a puddle of water.  I managed to find a position that was mostly out of the water, that was relatively comfortable, and I started to count down the remaining hours until daylight.  I considered making my way inside to a couch or recliner just as another waterfall rained down onto my back.  My brother-in-law found this to be hilarious as I later recounted our restful night.

As another year of schooling gets underway and we try to remember the routines and habits that were forgotten over the summer, we are thankful for the family that we have around us, who share the good times and the bad times, and who laugh at our expense.  And I'm thankful for my own comfortable bed with no waterfall feature.

Hope you all have a great start to fall and another year of happy chaos.  

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