Sunday, September 16, 2007

Everybody Clap Your Hands

McD's commercials have sucked bigtime in recent times, but this one makes up for it. Best EVAH!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hally Podder

All four of the Princessa's guests arrived within three minutes of each other. That, in and of itself, was amazing. More impressive was the geometric progression of the decibel level. Even at that, I think we were spared slightly as their voices screeched beyond the range of human hearing and into bat-intercept-only frequencies. Mayhem was horrified. (You'd think he at least would have been prepared since he's the one in school all day with them.) He looked at me and said his ears were bleeding. Then he nattered on about the signs of impending apocalypse. "The darkness approaches! What's that I hear (with my bleeding eardrums)? The sound of locusts?" I took pity on him and took him to the dance early. (He had a fabulous time but right now I'm all about the Princessa so you'll just have to content yourselves with that cameo appearance in today's post.) Duncan met the girls and immediately declared that he would take Chaos and Bug to the game store. They were gone in under five minutes which is impressive speed for a mini herd who as individuals take about 15 minutes to get out the door. As far as kids go, that left only Havoc and his buddy Brandon exposed to the deafening giggles of the Harry Potter fan club. The little guys are smart as well as cute. They ate their pizza and scooted upstairs to build a "Lego community." I'm tempted to say we heard nary a peep from them - but how could we have over the noise the girls were making?! They might have been peeping away and we would never have known. With everyone thus arranged and Linus out of town, it was just Bet and I on the front lines.

I remember being 12. I have distinct memories of my father covering his ears and leaving the room when I had friends over. I thought he was weird. Now? I have sympathy for him. Somewhere in the last couple of decades my ears have lost the ability to interpret piercing shrieks as something pleasant. Bet and I did discover that putting a couple of walls and a door or two between us and the girls baffled the sound to bearable levels. Actually, by some trick of the acoustics, we were able to distinguish their words better from two rooms away. It reminded me of Harry's finally being able to understand the golden egg's clue when he opened it underwater. Then again we had Harry Potter on the brain. As would you, had you been around these girls. It is ASTOUNDING how much HP they can pack into one evening. There was not a moment free of HP. They sang songs (and chants and epic poems) - each about some facet of the Harry Potter universe. Bet could not stop asking me, "WHERE do they learn this stuff?" To say the girls "watched" the Harry Potter movies might be mislabeling what they were doing. They played scenes, replayed scenes, skipped to another part, switched disks, jumped to special features, went back to the original movie, had a shouting match analyzing certain lines, dissected each character's appearance, flung spells at each other and at the people on screen, etc. It would not have been a pleasant viewing experience for the less than thoroughly indoctrinated. One of the girls brought a pirated copy of one of the movies from China. They played that one with the English subtitles on just to laugh at the mistranslations. I had to laugh with them at the one scene I saw. I don't know nearly as much about HP as these girls, but I'm fairly certain that there is no scene where Ron's mom is discussing yogurt with Hally Podder.

It was a fun, but long night. I woke up several times to check on the girls. At 2:30 a.m., they had turned off the movies but were still up talking. (Duh. Slumber party.) I inadvertently interrupted a game of "Would You Rather." (Do boys play this game? One person poses the question, "Would you rather kiss soandso or whositwhatsit?" and everyone has to state their preference. No fair saying something like, "Would you rather kiss Mr. Bean or Daniel Craig?" The choice can either be between awful and repulsive or handsome and charming. In my day you got extra points if you could make the first names the same, e.g. Tom Cruise or Tom Selleck, Sean Connery or Sean Penn.) As I shut the door behind me, I heard one of the girls say, "Ok, I've got one. Would you rather kiss Dobby or Goyle?" Bwa ha ha.

Moving to a new state is such a leap of faith (or a crap shoot - take your pick.) It could be the best thing you've ever done or it could be disastrous. My kids are resilient in so many ways, but of course I've worried about their adjusting. My worries on that score are fading. I love that my sweet, smart, goofy kids are attracting sweet, smart, goofy friends. I love that they're having fun and fitting in. If my daughter starts kissing house elves, we'll reassess, but until then - I'm thinking we're on the "best thing ever" end of the scale.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Yes. No. Crap.

This is Mayhem's new answer for everything. Whether I ask about his homework being done or whether he remembered his laundry, this is the answer I get. It's an enthusiastic, "Yes!" followed by a hurried, "No" (sometimes preceded by a, "Wait!" or a telling, "Uh,") and then a sincerely sorrowful, "Crap." He SO wants to please but then he wants to be honest and then he feels bad both about being scattered and also about the lecture/extra chores he knows he's about to receive. It cracks me up every time he does it. It's a succinct summation of Life in the Mayhem Zone.

I might as well be all about Mayhem today and tell you about his weekend plans: He's going to the dance.

Despite the ridicule from Chaos and maybe to get away from the Princessa and her four friends who are having a HP movie marathon here instead of going to the dance, Mayhem is going stag to the first middle school dance of the year. I hear one of the reasons he's going is because he's been "zapped" so many times. Zapping is some business (game? political process?) involving having someone's name written on your hand along with a time. If the person whose name is inscribed on your flesh looks at you before the appointed time, then you (or they?) are "zapped." Somehow the zapping results in someone being asked to dance - although again it is not clear whether it is the zapper or the zappee who has to do the asking. There are many involved (think Byzantine) rules governing the whole system from what constitutes an actual "look" on down to what color inkpen must be used before lunch. I have no idea how the names and times are chosen and parceled out. And I'm not going to ask any more questions about it, because frankly, the answers make my head spin. If you want to start this program at your school, you must get the details from Mayhem. He is apparently a total stud muffin because he's been zapped a record seven times even before the day of the dance! He forgot to have me sign a French test (on which he got a 101%!!), he can't find either the charger for his cellphone or the headphones for his iPod (both of which are very important to him) - but he had picked out his clothes for the dance by 6 a.m this morning and has asked me to buy him a brand new comb so his hair will be just right for the occasion.

Mayhem: where middle school and ADD collide in the most marvelous fashion.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Chipmunk Snorting

My dog currently has his nose wedged into a small hole in the patio bricks where he once saw a chipmunk flee. He is huffing and puffing - his sides pumping in and out. He is a dog-shaped bellows. He picks his head up, turns to me (clearly gauging my patience level with his antics), and then quickly stuffs his fluffy, leaf-covered snout back in the hole. He wheezes a bit then turns that into a short series of fake sneezes. Then he goes back to huffing and puffing. He will continue this bizarre little ritual for as long as I will let him. WHY? What on earth is he doing? He cannot possibly think he's going to catch a chipmunk this way. Does he think he will learn more about them if he just keeps sniffing and sneezing between the bricks? Canine behavior is so perplexing to me.

Walking to school yesterday, we discovered the unmistakable sign of rabbits. Bet said, "Be careful not to let Wasabi near. He'll eat it." Rabbit poo?!! My dog eats rabbit poo? I am 100% positive that in the little guide book on Wheaten Terriers, where they give you a short quiz to determine if owning a Wheaten is for you, it does NOT ask if you can handle a dog who eats bunny pellets!

I'm beginning to wonder if all that Bounce** has gone to Wasabi's brain. Trying to inhale chipmunks and consume rabbit droppings does not seem normal to me. I know he's a dog, but there has to be a weirdness line somewhere, even for dogs. I'm pretty sure my poor, fluffy dog has crossed it! Anyone know a good therapist for dogs in the greater Raleigh area?

**I would link to one of the several posts about our dog snorting Bounce laundry sheets, but blogger is not being cooperative. Word to the wise - do not let your dog near the Bounce. Before you know it you will be fending off weird canine addictions right and left!

Monday, September 10, 2007

It's Gettin' Hot In Here

Hotness Story #1:
The Princessa has made a bunch of new friends. The only problem? They all think Mayhem is "hot." It TOTALLY squicks the Princessa out. Mayhem thinks it's hilarious. All of last week the running gag in the family was, "Is it hot in here? Oh it's Mayhem." He rolled with it and dished it back saying things like, "Don't touch that pan. It's hot like me. Oh yeah." Middle school is such an interesting time.

Hotness Story #2:
In an encounter with a totally different kind of hotness - Havoc got a chance to tour a real, working restaurant kitchen. We'd gone to the mall to sign him up for Cub Scouts and we passed this great kitchen store. We ducked in to gaze admiringly at all the cool utensils and pans. We were about to leave when in walked a man in a chef's jacket (Chef Benjamin, according to the elegant embroidery on his chest) speaking in French to a man in a suit. They began comparing glassware. Havoc's eyes were THIS BIG. "Mama, that's the first chef I've ever seen who wasn't animated." The chef caught Havoc's stare and came over to speak with us. I explained that Havoc wanted to grow up to be a chef and this was the first time he'd seen a real chef in person. Chef Benjamin said, "And I am French. A real French chef." Havoc said he'd just started studying French that week and offered a tentative, "Bonjour." Chef Benjamin smiled and quickly spoke to the man in the suit, who we learned was named Alex. Alex looked at his watch and nodded yes. Chef Benjamin bent down and asked Havoc if he wanted to take a tour of a real kitchen. Havoc's smile could not possibly have gotten bigger as he said he'd LOVE to. Alex took us down the way to a gorgeous, exotic fusion restaurant. We saw the sushi kitchen and the experimental kitchen where the chef was developing his new recipe for tiramisu. We met the dishwasher (=the heart of the kitchen) and the pastry chef who was making expresso cookies in a mixer that looked just like our Kitchen Aid would if it had been raised in Chernobyl. We met the sous chef and saw the pizza ovens. Havoc was following Monsieur Alex's directions exactly - stepping carefully and keeping his hands tucked close. We got near the grills and it was hot. Monsieur Alex told Havoc that he should be careful but not fearful of the heat. If he really wanted to be a chef then he needed to know that kitchens were HOT. "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen." Havoc assured Mr. Alex that he could take it! It was such an unexpected treat. They were so nice and encouraging - offering my child a once-in-a-lifetime experience that he will remember forever (no matter what he ends up becoming professionally.) Havoc could not wait to get home and tell everyone about it. When I kissed him goodnight, he told me his face hurt from smiling so hard. He also said that he really believed that one day he'd be a chef. "Mama, I have this feeling inside me that is so big. I can't imagine it ever going away." I told him that if that fire continued to burn in his belly then he'd be one of the most wonderful chefs ever. I also told him that if his fire burned dimmer later and he didn't want to be a chef professionally - he could continue to enjoy cooking for himself and friends for his whole life. It was a rewarding and wonderful skill and I'd support him at every level. He hugged my neck and said, "Cool, mom. But I just know this is what I'll do." And he fell asleep smiling.
We're writing a thank you note to Chef Benjamin and Mr. Alex this afternoon. I'm going to have to let Havoc do it mostly by himself because I cannot for the life of me figure out how to convey his smile in words - but I bet Havoc can do it.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Radio Silence

For once I've been quiet because I've been busy with fun things! We've had meet the teacher nights and family dinners and Eureka watching and - just fun things. I'll say more soon - but right now I have to say
It's time for NFL FOOTBALL!!!

Not only do I love football - but it's the Colts! How great is that???! This is absolutely my very favorite time of year!
Peace and happy football to all!