Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Back To School -- Redux

The children went back to school today, thank God! I adore them both, more so separately than together these days. My children are 13 and 8, so we’re talking eighth and third grade, respectively. I think I may have blocked out the amount of fighting my sisters and I did as children, or else my own two bundles of joy are simply destined to NEVER be in the same room for more than thirty seconds at a time. Maybe it’s a boy thing, growing up with three sisters and no brothers I think I may have missed some stuff. I have come to realize that the male of our particular species is a group I will never truly understand. For a long time, I thought I knew a whole lot about a whole lot. Now that I have children, one now a teenager, I realize I don't know sh** about sh**. I do now understand why the eye roll that I perfected as a teen drove my mother completely mad, my eldest son is well on his way to the perfect derisive eye roll and uses it with the exactness of an exceptionally skilled surgeon. My younger son still believes that manufactured tears and outrage expressed at the highest decibel level ever achieved by humankind is the way to best get his point across...that needs to end soon.

I have also discovered, over the course of this vacation, that there is some kind of weird psychic connection between my children and the pixilated creatures in their videogames. I know this because every time their defender of the universe or football player sustains an injury in the game, my children seem to feel the pain the little computer generated person experiences. The days since Christmas (when they got the game console…damn you Santa!), have been punctuated shouts of “Ouch!” and the periodic “Aaaargh!” emanating from the office. Before you think it, I did try to find games that required them to work together as a team...they're simply not interested. The base appeal of annihilating your brother in any form seems to have outweighed the idea of teamwork and peaceful co-existence. It was a worth a shot anyway. Most of the games they play together have deteriorated into someone being completely outraged by the gruesome death of their on screen character at the hands of their brother.

Sisters fight about real things like illegally borrowed clothing, wrecked lipstick and the identity of the villain who keeps cutting the hair off all the Barbie dolls. Brothers seem to fight over things like looking at each other weird, farting at one another on purpose (as a girl, I didn’t even know that deliberate and timely flatulence was possible) and being first…at anything. Maybe we’ll add perfectly behaved children to the list of goals for the year. Don't laugh, I can do this!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Onward to the New Year

I would dearly love to know who keeps leaving Legos in my bed. The rest of the house is asleep and I’ve finally made my way to bed with nothing more on my mind than sleeping blissfully through eight whole hours (yeah, right), I straighten out the blankets before cuddling underneath them, I hear the distinctive clacking of two Legos bumping into each other somewhere in the nether regions of the bed. After a thorough search, which usually involves waking my husband (who doesn’t seem bothered by the presence of hard, sharp-cornered pieces of plastic) stripping the bed down to the mattress pad, I locate the renegade pieces of plastic and drop them into a box next to the bed that seems to have appeared there for just this purpose. Once upon a time, my bedroom was going to be a serene sanctuary from the hustle, bustle, noise and general chaos that is daily life. Somehow, it has evolved into a combination of clothing storage area, TV room and repository for stuff I can’t throw away but never actually use. How did this happen? It’s a fairly simple explanation: I have two children, a husband, a deranged German Shepherd and two schizophrenic felines living in my house. I adore each of the creatures that live with me, but the noise level and the general feeling of imminent disaster seems to grow with each passing year.

I generally don’t make New Year’s resolutions, I never fulfill the commitment I make in a burst of hangover-induced morality and its just one more thing to beat myself up about over the course of a year. Okay, more like for a few hours after the actual instance of resolution-breaking, but who needs any kind of regret at all, really. But this is it! This is the year I’m going to become totally organized and I commit, right here on this page, to get every aspect of my life in order. The time of chaos ruling my life is over. I am going to declutter my house, get my finances into shape, lose every extra pound I’ve gained since I was 14, stop smoking, cook only healthy organic meals for my family and have fantastic sex. I figure once I bring these aspects of my life under control, I will become the serene, well-rounded and supremely happy person I’ve always longed to be. I used to be somewhat (okay I was going to say highly, but someone in my family might read this and they would mock me) organized and fairly tidy. Somewhere along the line, I traded mild organization for hair-pulling disarray and a certain degree of neatness for “it’s clean underneath the clutter”. Of course it might be because there’s so much clutter, dirt can’t possibly penetrate that many layers to actually make the surface underneath dirty. I know people who have more than two children, full-time jobs, husbands and a larger variety of animals living with them and still manage a spotless house. I don’t like them. I don’t even WANT to know how they do it, I have enough feelings of inadequacy, thank you very much.

I found the perfect bedroom in one of those “Beautiful Homes That Regular People Like You Can’t Possibly Achieve On Your Budget” magazines. It’s a peaceful, soothing Zen-like room with a bamboo fountain and meditation space. That’s the goal, this will be my room before the end of the year. I have framed the picture in one of the many document frames I have lying around the house. I really have no idea what I was thinking in buying a dozen document frames but they were SUCH a good deal. I figure if I have the picture there to inspire me, I will be spurred into action. Step one is complete, the goal is set and I am ready to conquer my chaos. Isn’t that what we all want, to rid our lives of chaos and live out our days in serenity?

I’ve come to live with the recurring nightmare that one day, I’m going to open the front door and the entire contents of my house are going to avalanche on top of me like the hall closet in the old “Fibber McGee and Molly” radio show. No more! That particular nightmare will be purged along with every single unnecessary item in the house.