Thursday, November 25, 2010

Everything but the Kitchen Sink

I'm hosting Thanksgiving this year. I love hosting anything, period. And I'm the type of host, drink in hand, that is ready 30 minutes before you walk through the door. Its the day before Thanksgiving and I am ready, or I was on my way to being ready. The table is set, the flowers are arranged, the sides are prepped, and the turkeys are chilling. I have everything, but the kitchen sink. My kitchen sink stopped functioning.

In the middle of the afternoon today while preparing the sweet potatoes and corn bread, the sink stopped draining. I immediately texted my husband, "Who should I call?". His response was, "I'll come home early and fix it". An hour later, as the pile of dirty pots and pans was increasing and the standing water level in the sink was not decreasing, I texted him again with my fear that we might need to call someone else and its the night before a big holiday. I was met with, "I'll come home now". He came home from work early, but 8 hours later I was still facing the very real possibility of hosting Thanksgiving without a kitchen sink.

My husband is pretty handy. For a business minded, computer nerd, he handles most of our simple carpentry, electrical, and plumbing work around our house. We don't call "people" to fix things until my husband has at least tried first. And he's very good at fixing things, most of the time. But, there are the occasions where my husband has been known to cause a bigger problem while trying to fix a smaller one. Tonight he took apart the kitchen sink pipes and found a clog much lower in the system than he could get to. We did call a drain professional who came out in the evening to snake the drain and it seemed that the problem was solved. But when my husband put the pipes back together they started leaking under the sink. Apparently when my husband was "diagnosing" the original problem, he "may" have put a hole in a pipe. Let me just say this is not the first time he has unintentionally put a hole in a water pipe. But tonight there are no stores open for parts for him to replace the pipe, and they won't be open again until after the holiday. He just threw a plumbers wrench in my plans for being calm and prepared for Thanksgiving.

At midnight, after much arguing about who I really should have called this afternoon (he still maintains he was the right call), he finally informed me that the sink is "functional". Functional, meaning that I can use it, but the pipes are held together with plumbers putty and there is a mixing bowl and bath towel under the sink. We just need it to hold until after dinner and hopefully it will. I had no idea this morning that what I would be most thankful for this holiday is a working kitchen sink, but its officially Thanksgiving and I am.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Check Yourself

Neither of my kids naps anymore. And despite having a designated bench on every level of my house, neither of my kids have been put in a "time-out" in a long time. But my 7 year old is having one of those weekends where he's been possessed by some kind of monster. There's been a lot of excitement in our house with a new cousin being born and preparing to host Thanksgiving. The kids are excited and maybe a little off-kilter, but my 7 year old is out of control. I've been counting the hours until he goes back to school on Monday - since Friday afternoon. We still have 14 hours.

I've always sent my kids for a nap, quiet time, or a time-out for them to gain a little control over their behavior. But telling my "too cool" 7 year old that he needs to take a nap, or that he needs to sit on the time-out bench is only met with more monster growls. I know he thinks he's getting too old for these tactics, but I also know that he needs some alone time to check himself. After his latest misstep this afternoon, I sent him to his room and told him to, "Go check yourself before you wreck yourself". He looked at me like he might have had something to say, but instead just smiled and went upstairs to his room. He got the message that he needed some alone time without any complaints. Its essentially the same message as "take a time-out", but apparently in a language a too old, too cool 7 year old will accept. I wonder if he also got the message after falling asleep for 2 hours, that he's not too old to nap?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Poison Apple

Apple is poisoning my marriage. My husband, who has never worshiped at the temple of Steve Jobs, surprisingly came home this week with an iPad. He's a technology guy, but he's always despised the Apple culture. And now suddenly, I think I have a convert on my hands - I'm not happy about it. Our marriage is pretty strong, but this device might just do us in.

I've dealt with my husband's ongoing Blackberry addiction for years. Because of the Blackberry we have rules in our house to keep the "beeple-bopping" to a minimum. You don't walk in the house texting/emailing, you don't resume prior texting/emailing until you have greeted everyone in the room, and you don't stand at the kitchen counter texting/emailing while life goes on around you. The kitchen is a strict no "beeple-bopping" zone. My husband, despite his long term addictive relationship with his Blackberry, has adhered to the house rules. He gets that his family doesn't want to watch him stand around checking emails. When he's home, he's on our time.

But this new piece of technology has entered into our house and the rules have been forgotten - I'm starting to despise it. The iPad has been here for just two days and it has already affected all of us. The first morning the dog didn't get his walk because my husband was too busy playing with his new toy before work. After work that day, I found my husband standing at the kitchen counter, in complete violation of the rules, glued to his iPad screen. He hadn't even taken his coat off yet. That evening I couldn't pry all three of my boys away from its alluring screen, despite it being homework and bath time. And after the kids went to bed, my husband brought his new friend to our evening ritual of sitting together catching up with a glass of wine - I don't like the threesome. After being thoroughly annoyed by him only wanting to talk about the iPad, I finally left and went to bed alone. I got up later and I'm pretty sure I caught him curled up on the couch asleep with the iPad. I'm giving this new thing a week to lose its novelty. After that its me or the iPad. Only one of us, the one without an apple imprinted on them, will have full reign of the house; unless my husband wants to keep sleeping on the couch.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Adoption Story

Have you ever considered what your kids tell the outside world about you? You know, the things kids say at school when you're not there. We all have arguments or mishaps at home that we think we're keeping in the family, but then we send our kids off to school or a friend's house and stories get told. Kids don't have filters.

Our preschool director always starts off Parents' Night by assuring us that they only believe half of what is said around the snack table, as she hopes we will do the same at the dinner table. Kids have healthy imaginations and a love for story telling. They also have an eerily keen sense of hearing when they want to and a propensity for repeating what they've heard.

In the preschool car line awhile back, my older son's teacher popped her head in the front of the car to share a funny story from the day. The word "adopted" had come up during class and she had asked if anyone knew what the word meant. One little girl immediately raised her hand. She confidently shared that "adopted" is what happens when your family no longer wants you; they give you to another family. Huh, I wonder if there were some threats made recently in that household? But concerning my son, the teacher told me that when the little girl gave her definition, my son's jaw dropped. And he then became visibly upset at the idea of "adoption". I didn't think I had ever used that threat on him; its a good one, but kind of harsh. But this story definitely had me thinking back through his week long wave of bad behavior. What exactly did I say to him when none of my usual punishments were working? Whatever you say to your kids, you have to be okay with it being broadcast to the public, because kids really will say the darndest things.