Monday, March 21, 2011

In Our House, 'E.D.' Is Not What You Think It Is.............................................

according to my husband, it is 'Electronically Deprived.'  A few posts back, I posted about the fact that our family has now been television-free for almost FOURTEEN months.  Yes, we watch DVDs from Netflix and Blockbuster and RedBox, but we have no cable, no satellite and no FIOS tv service.

For the most part, we are surviving.  The kids miss Sponge-Bob, but we get DVDs when they really get whiney about it.

Yesterday, we were in H.H. Gregg looking for a clothes dryer to replace the one we have here - we have a great washer but a really, crummy dryer.  Michael went immediately to the perimeter of the store to watch Tranformers (he caught it RIGHT at my favorite line from the entire movie:  'This is the official start of the remodel.')  He stretched out on the floor, and he was happy.  The girls went to another section of the electronics/video part of the store and were immediately sucked into a movie on a really really nice sixty-something inch screen with speakers EVERYWHERE!  I went over to where they were about 5 minutes later, and I was immediately sucked in as well.  I recognized Jon Cusak, Amanda Peet, Danny Glover, and someone from ER.....but I had no clue what film it was.  That did not stop me, however, from sitting down on the floor with the girls and watching intently.  It was so relevant to our Emergency Preparedness Project from just a few days before......and so clear that unless we put rocket boosters on our Rubbermaid container and were all able to fit in it, well, we may as well just kiss our you-know-whats good-bye!  Flashlights and saltine crackers were not going to help us one single bit.   And that propane stove that Madison was eyeing covetously was only going to help if it could get itself (and us) to WARP speed!

Mariano told us he was going to wander next door to Barnes & Noble (how intellectual of him) and we told him we would be watching whatever we were watching - we still didn't know the name of the film.

An employee provided us the name of the film:  '2012' -- good thing we have our Emergency Preparedness Kit ready b/c 2012 is literally right around the corner.  Another employee told me that if we purchased the big screen tv, he would give us the DVD of the film.  I looked at him and told him that we had a tv of similar proportions at home but it was wrapped in plastic as we were in the throes of home renovation.  I added that I don't watch tv or films (it's true, I don't -- I watch baseball games........typically NYY baseball games, but little else) but I had really gotten sucked into this one particular film. 

Mariano came back into the store at this point and explained to the salesperson that his family was 'E.D.'  THAT did get a strange look.  He explained that we are 'electronically deprived.'  The salesperson didn't even laugh.  He looked at us like we were absolutely one sandwich shy of a picnic!

Michael watched Transformers in its entirety, and the girls and I watched 2012 until the very end...or very beginning depending on your point of view.  Then we exited the store.  It was 5:30pm, the sun was still shining, we felt like we had gone to the movies, Mariano was sitting on the bench outside the store reading the book he had purchased. EVERYONE was happy AND it hadn't cost the typical $125.00 for the five of us to go to the movies.

Electronically deprived, perhaps!  $125.00 on the plus side, PRICELESS!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Best Laid Plans----------

I sat down at about 11:30pm last night with a not stingy glass of Coke Zero laced with O'Reilly's White Chocolate (a product of Ireland - you figure it out) and a leprechaun cookie from Wegman's, and I proceeded to fill in what has been going on (hence my extended absence from here) in northern Virginia.  Clicked 'publish' and CRASH! (me, drinking more Coke Not Zero).

Here goes again:

I coached an Odyssey of the Mind Team (my team above) (little kids - 3rd and 4th grade - my twins were on the team) all of them first-time OM-ers.  Our competition was March 5th.  I won't deny that I was hating life for about the last 4 weeks prior to the competition...and I won't deny that I swore up and down that I would NEVER NEVER EVER again coach a team (you know where this is going, don't you?)...and I will admit that I probably swallowed more Xanax in four weeks than I previously had in my entire life, my little team did amazingly well.  They placed fourth in a field of 16.  The First, Second and Third place teams were all much older and were competing in our division for the final time as they were just about ready to 'age out' into Div II.  The First and Second place teams had last year placed First and Second just in reverse order.  There were only ELEVEN points separating my little team from First Place and ONE POINT separating my team from Third place.  Not shabby.

To everyone who heard me vow, swear, promise, and state emphatically that I would NOT EVER coach an OM team again, well, that ship loaded with negativity, exhaustion, frustration, and rule books has sailed.  To those who accused me of being 'competitive' (and used it like a 'dirty' word - what's up with THAT?) my official response is:  'I am NOT competitive.  I simply KNOW that I can do things better than anyone else so why shouldn't I do just that?  Since when has doing what one is absolutely capable of doing (and maybe it IS actually the BEST anywhere) become something to shy away from or be ashamed of?????  That being said, bring on the 2011-2012 OM problems and my little team and I are SO THERE!  And to the parents of my little team members, the bottles of Kahlua and Vodka (really excellent quality I might add) were incredibly appreciated!

Fast forward:

Our house looks like something out of the movie E.T.  It is swathed in zippered plastic sheeting which is pretending to be hallways where there were no hallways and doorways where there were no doorways.  The zippered doorways are problematic for Guidry and he resembles a circus dog leaping through the hoop of flames as he makes a running start for the kitchen doorway - exiting or entering, doesn't matter.  He is so confused by all of this that we have had to switch him to yet another very pricey, very not-available-at-PetSmart dog food for his sensitive hound digestive system.  Fortunately, that really bad flatulence issue seems to be behind him -- no pun intended! (wink, wink)

The demolition and renovation of this house should be completed in 3-4 weeks and will then go on the market.  We are building (on paper) a really nice, not ostentatious, reasonably-sized home in Alexandria......which is where for the past 9 months I seem to have spent most of my time driving to and from as everything we do seems to be done where The Father of Our Country lived.  Hey, if it was good enough for George, it's good enough for me.  A friend tells me that since we will be building in the Mount Vernon area of Alexandria on land that was originally part of George Washington's original estate, we will get a Certificate or Plaque or something stating that our home is on property that once belonged to GW.  Really.  I cannot tell a lie!

Back to OM -- Madison's team (division II) mostly 6th graders, placed FIRST and they are going on to State Level competition in the middle of April.  I feel a little like Al Pacino in THE GODFATHER:  'Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in.'  I am driving her to practices and rehearsals in Alexandria anywhere from 3-7 times a week.  Oh, and with gas approaching $4.00/gal, I am not a happy Hummer driver.......well, I am actually b/c I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Hummer, but I am beginning to think that fairly soon I am going to have to start deciding between food and gas.

Off again to Lowe's and Home Depot today.  Tuesday of last week (Mariano was on travel) I went to no less than FOUR Home Depot stores and ONE Lowe's between the hours of 7:30am and 8:00 pm looking for counter tops for the mud room.  I have now learned my lesson and I am committed to staying at least TWO material requests ahead of our contractor.  Hence, the fact that we spent yesterday in and out of numerous Home Depot stores and numerous Lowe's stores and went to THE TILE SHOP (clearly bathrooms and kitchens for the Rich and Famous).  We ended up at 3:30pm parking the truck in the lot at GS in (where else?) Alexandria, took the dog (he had been traveling with us all day) for a wonderfully long walk around Mt. Vernon, arrived back at GS around 4:50pm and saw all the kids' little friends from co-op running into 5:00 Mass.  So, yes, I had the kids wash their faces and hands and sort of neaten up and look somewhat presentable, and we joined everyone for Mass (I go to Mass more than most Catholics).  Mariano sat in the way back and ran out a couple of times to check on Guidry who was in the truck.....a HUGE thing as we had never done that with him before.  Mass, out to dinner with all the co-op families (dog still in truck and loving it -- I was glad he didn't eat the steering wheel or one of the headrests), and finally home at 9pm.

And, THAT is where we have been for the past month.  Add in having to have dinner out 4-5 times a week b/c of the construction, OM rehearsals, the fact that we are usually in Alexandria and our house is not......well, I do think it's better than kicking back in a La-Z-Boy recliner (is that redundant?) with a cold one.......btw, I don't even drink beer.

On Tuesday I asked the kids what they thought we might do to prepare for, say, some kind of EMERGENCY -- you know, a weather emergency, or a tree falls on the house, or something like that.  When the overwhelming answer was:  'Call Mr. Lynn and see if we can get our old suite' (Lynn is the Manager of the Towne Place Suites where we lived for four months while our house was supposed to be repaired by the insurance company) well, I knew it was time for FEMA 101.  I'm happy to report that a short lecture by moi and a one hour trip to WalMart has resulted in our family having quite an inventory of flashlights, batteries, safety matches, bottled water, peanut butter, saltines, manual can openers, and cookies.

Photo of my wonderful OM team is up top.  Photos of demolition and destruction.......oops, I mean construction will be up soon.