On books and libraries and prisoners

Today was exciting.
Sort of.
I spent all day at school making copies, cutting, laminating, etc., while trying to convince a 3-yr-old not to be hungry and tired and to stop changing the default language on AG’s Nintendo DS to Chinese. Have you ever tried to choose an electronic activity in Chinese? Good luck to you, if you have. I couldn’t get it done.  I ended up handing the thing back to Snugglemonkey and saying, “Just change it back to English, please” in a snarky tone. Part of me said that dismissively and the other part of me half expected she could do it. She did. Blows my mind.

After school, we had exactly 45 minutes before we needed to be at the public library to meet up with Mama’s Boy’s class and teacher for a Reading Pow Wow. As anyone who knows him knows, he hates to read. So of course I accepted the invitation to drag him to the library and preach the reading gospel to him. I honestly think he may be coming around a little bit. His teacher is young, single, from Long Island, NY (really fun accent!), and VERY educated. She knows what she’s doing and she is starting to light a fire under the lazy ones.

On our drive to the library, angry clouds were beginning to crowd the sky. In just ten minutes, the day looked entirely different. I was pretty sure we wouldn’t get out of the library without some rain. I didn’t expect it to be so crazy, though. A furious storm unleashed while we were in there. It cut power for a few seconds. Snugglemonkey began to wail, which is typically discouraged in the library. I enjoyed chatting with the teacher about literacy and literature and books in general. Then I started wracking my brain on how to get more books for their classroom and school.

In thinking on all of this, I launched a weird little IM with Todd who is not upstairs as he often is when I chat with him on IM.

(9:41:50 PM) missysnapp: I’m trying to drum up ideas to find mass quantities of books. Or find out how to write grants or something.
(9:44:03 PM) rocketreadytes: what do you mean?
(9:44:57 PM) missysnapp: They don’t have books. There are places that donate money for such things. Just doing a little research to see if we could get some money for woodmont.
(9:45:03 PM) rocketreadytes: oh ok
(9:45:06 PM) rocketreadytes: sounds good
(9:45:12 PM) rocketreadytes: Like Andy Dufrane
(9:45:20 PM) missysnapp: Exactly
(9:45:28 PM) missysnapp: I hear Laura Bush is a person to write.
(9:45:30 PM) rocketreadytes: we just had a moment
(9:45:33 PM) missysnapp: ha

Not that many people know who Andy Dufrane is. Todd doesn’t like to read and doesn’t read ever (I blame the 2nd grader on him…), but he does know about the dude in Shawshank Redemption who wrote letters and got books…for the prison.


An Israelite Kind of Day

Wednesday was a really bad day. It was a frustrating, exhausting day full of Whinese and overreactions.  By 7 p.m., I was pretty much done with the kids. Done with listening to them whine. Done with answering questions that had no answers (why do I have to read?). Done with requests that were stated as demands. Done.

I was.

They weren’t.

So on the way to church, Mamasboy piped up for the 44th time that day that he didn’t like reading, didn’t understand why he had to read, wasn’t supposed to read books that were too easy, didn’t have any appropriate reading material among our 156,000 books for all ages, and didn’t like reading. Did I already mention that he doesn’t like reading? I’ve considered electric shock therapy. Truly. This is all just as wrong as it can be. At any rate, this little miniature tirade from the back of the van on the way to church set me off. I was the camel. His speech was the straw. My back broke. I think I actually heard the bone snap. And as I am prone to do on occasion, I spouted off at the flapping gums. What happened next is a perfect representation of every single member of the family. And here is how the next 3 minutes went:

“Mamasboy, I don’t want to hear another word about this. I am so tired of talking about this. All of you guys have been ridiculously whiny today. I can totally understand why God just got mad and smacked the Israelites around when they started whining. I understand why He sent them into the desert for 40  years. In fact, if I could send you guys into the desert right now, I would.”  Wow, right? I know. Not that I need to clarify this point, but I was the speech maker here. Todd was shaking his head at this speech and I think maybe his hand was on his forehead in exasperation.

There were four distinctly different reactions to my speech in this exact order:

AG: Did not react at all. Silence. He blew me off, as he probably should have. He knows enough now to know that sometimes moms get mad. Just let them be mad. Let the moment pass. Don’t speak. He’s a smart boy.

Mamasboy: “You would send ME into the desert to wander for 40 YEARS??!!” He was now wailing so hard he almost couldn’t get the words out. I felt terrible. Mostly.

Snuggle Monkey: Mama would never send ME into the desert. She would not do that ever.

Beloved, looking over at Snuggle Monkey, said in the very firm, rhythmic voice of authority: Oh, yes she would.

Right about then, Todd pulled into the parking space in the church parking lot and said:

“Get out. All of you.”

And we did.


This morning was a little bit strange. Beloved, now in Kindergarten, is struggling to keep the Grumpy Bear on a leash. She gets in the car in the afternoon, usually with one energetic burst of something school-related. One day it was: “BUENOS DIAS, Mommy!” Yesterday it was: “I got on yellow!” Oh boy. I knew that yellow was coming. She’s a social child. She’s also loud and demonstrative. She isn’t real covert in her socializing operations. Right after her one burst of info, the crying sets in. And then I start trying to get the bear back on the leash.

This morning she got up at 6 saying she didn’t feel well. This is a phrase now almost as common as “Hello” with her. Actually, ‘hello’ isn’t technically a phrase. But whatever. You get the idea. So we’ll see how her day goes on that kind of sleep.

As I was finalizing her backpack with an afternoon snack, I asked her what she wanted.

“Do you want the last of the Doritos or some chips?” I asked.

“Just something available,” she answered. What? Huh?

“What? Something available?” I asked, squinting at her across the kitchen.

“Yes, Mommy. Just whatever’s available.” I didn’t want that one blowing up in my face, so I continued my inquiry.

“How about Cheerios?” I asked. “Do you want Cheerios or Ritz Crackers?” She looked at me and answered.

“You can choose what it is, as long as it’s available.” Why would I put an unavailable snack into her backpack? Apparently someone has learned a new word and is using it at all the wrong times.

I picked Cheerios. Then I spilled half of them all over the floor just trying to pour them into a baggie. I’ll be crushing them underfoot for the rest of the day.

But at least they’ll be available.

What it is

I am about to go take my nightly nap. At this point, it isn’t really a night’s sleep. I rarely get to bed before 1…sometimes 2 a.m. I don’t have enough to show for it. Certainly my house isn’t clean. The book isn’t done, but it IS almost done. I think the kids are happy and I haven’t blown my stack or gone into any formal self-help facilities. I feel like that’s a success all its own.

My dad sent me an email tonight that made me laugh. It didn’t make me want to type LOL, though. I will avoid that like Tuberculosis. If I get his permission, I will share it. But I promised myself when I started this blog that I would never post about others against their will. Life’s too short to make any enemies.

This post is dedicated to my neti pot and the girl that introduced me to the neti pot. We’ll call her Pothead, because it’s fun. She won’t like that much, I don’t think. But, Pothead, you know who you are. Thanks for the neti pot. I have undergone sheer sinus torture over the last few days. Through some agonizing rinsing, I am much better. It was gross, though. The kids could hardly tolerate watching. I’m guessing they aren’t going to let me shove one of these apparatuses up their nostrils when they next get sick…

I saw The Help tonight. I read it a year ago. I have much to say about it that will get its own blog. I just can’t revisit it all right this moment. Sometimes I am ashamed of the South. But for the most part, people are getting better.In the meantime, though, sometimes there’s still drama. And that’s all I”m going to say about that until I’ve had a little nappy.


Live from Gooberville

I must have napped for about four hours today. Several days’ worth of eskimo kisses and too much baby love has left me with a head full of congestion. It serves me right. I did nothing to prevent it. I felt bad for sleeping today, but there wasn’t much else I could do. I was shocked to rise from my cocoon to find that the house didn’t look nearly as bad as I expected. All four children were playing well with each other. It was sweet.

If I could just finish this book I’d get back to posting here. And I will. So much is going on. Todd is remodeling the place we’ll soon be moving to. If we run out of cash before we finish, I thought about pitching a “sponsorship” program on here. You send me $1000 and we’ll mount your name in the family room. Or the porch. Or the hallway. The Informinator says I have to post more than once every month to six weeks for this plan to work. Also, I have to be more likable. Oh well.

Because there wasn’t enough going on, I hopped over to see what was happening in CNN’s little bubble. What a depressing little crypt those writers must live in. Do you think we’d get out of the recession if we just didn’t talk about it so much and with such gloom? Everything is negative. The stock guys just sit in their sackcloth and ashes and wait for a phone call about jobs going bad. And then they all have a good cry together before deciding they should flush all their stocks down the swirlie. More waiting. More crying. More flushing. Then someone says, “It won’t get better for TWO YEARS!” like Paul Revere riding and shouting, “The British are coming! The British are coming!” So, of course, we should cry and moan and flush for two years before we wash our faces and get up and smile about what we DO have.

Sheesh-kabobs. It’s like staring at a really ugly wart and writing a 5-paragraph essay about it. It doesn’t make it go away. It doesn’t teach anyone anything. It’s just a 5-paragraph essay about a nasty wart. Now go do something else.

Overly simplistic, I know. I just can’t see that beating this dead horse over and over again is helping.  Here are the headlines I pasted in from today’s CNN frolic with my commentary. And following that are ten ways to have a good day in spite of it all. God bless!


Missy’s Top Twelve Ways to Be Happy Even if 8 out of 10 people think we are recessed and depressed.

  1. Eat a warm donut.
  2. Bake something for someone. Unless you are like me and your baking skills stink. If you are like me, do not do this one. It will further depress you. You could tweak #1 and buy a warm donut for a friend.
  3. Find a big, ugly hat and wear it. Maybe it’s a Parksdale Farms old man baseball cap like Spemma tries and fails to rock. Maybe it’s a turkey headress. But wear it proudly. It will make you smile.
  4. Read Matthew 5. Let your light shine. You have one. We all do. Now go shine it.
  5. Jog. Even if you look like Hospice should be running with you, it will boost your mood. I’m pretty sure this is how I look when I run, but I don’t care.
  6. Play trash can basketball with a 3 year old. Then bean her with the ball a couple of times. If she doesn’t cry, your mood will soar! If she does cry, you shouldn’t do that beaning thing anymore. My daughter LOVED the dodgeball element of our game this morning and laughed like a maniac every time the ball hit her.
  7. Use a soft ball in #6. Definitely use a soft ball. (Not a softball, mind you. A soft ball.)
  8. Ruin a song with an operatic voice and sing it through to the end. This works better if your kids are present, subjected to the torture, and begging you to “knock it off.” It’s a mood lift regardless. But it’s better if your kids are ashamed of you as you do this. I’ve found KidzBop tunes to work perfectly for this. Also makes the kids twice as crabby to hear you ruin a perfectly good, already-ruined song. It’ll be another 15 years before they understand this. No matter. I can wait.
  9. Sing a hymn at the top of your lungs. Don’t ruin this one. That’s disrespectful.
  10. Sing Battle Hymn of the Republic while marching. I DARE you to feel sad after doing this one.
  11. Take a four hour nap on the couch. It works.
  12. Pray. This one isn’t really number 12. It’s all of them. Don’t forget this one. Sometimes I do.

Don’t believe everything CNN says if you happen to be dumb enough to follow their news (as I am). They don’t know. If they had a warm donut, a game of trash can bball, and a prayer life, they might be writing different stuff.