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Posts Tagged ‘the old man is snoring’

One Sunday afternoon in the long ago year of 2000 AD, Bill and I were sitting on the couch at my parents’ house. It was late August and we were at a loss for what to do with ourselves. We couldn’t make out or spoon or any other normal lazy day couple stuff because, while my dad wasn’t one to keep a rifle slung over his shoulder when I had boyfriends over (that was the DCFI, who was not there that day), he elicited a quiet intimidation. The kind where, although the smile was on his face when he greeted my male friends, it never quite reached his eyes as if to say “See my frowny eyes? They will get even more frowny if you don’t keep a respectable distance from my daughter while you are under my roof.” and also, “Harumph.”

So this is what made us start a tradition that has lasted our entire relationship. Because instead of turning on the TV and spending the afternoon sitting a respectable distance from one another watching the meerkats on Animal Planet argue over acorns or somesuch, we picked up a book. I plucked it from my mom’s bookshelf in the family room- stealthily- as I didn’t want her to know I was planning to crack its cover. You see, I had been making fun of her for months for getting wrapped up in this series of books. In fact my left eyeball went lazy for a time because of the serious and epic rolling it did every time I walked into a room when she was reading these books (true story! (minus the true!)). A book about a boy who goes to a special school that teaches him useful life lessons like how to spot a true friend and how to lull a three headed dog to sleep. A little book called Harry MOTHERFUCKING Potter. (Uh, maybe minus the MOTHERFUCKING). We sat (a cushion apart) in the family room and read the first few chapters aloud to one another. We weren’t instantly hooked- we didn’t even finish it for another two months due to our busy school, work and drinking schedules, but once we made it through The Sorcerer’s Stone, there was no turning back. Not only on Harry Potter, to which we’ve become geektacular uber fans, but to reading out loud to one another.

After getting through the first HP we quickly moved on to Chamber of Secrets and a curious thing happened…I fell asleep. If you know me this is a big deal because I don’t ever just fall asleep. Though my insomnia attacks me both ways- I have trouble falling asleep AND trouble staying asleep- the falling asleep aspect has always been the biggest struggle. I can lay in bed for HOURS without drifting off. My brain is missing that shut off switch that most people have- it just keeps on thinking about everything- from what I should have said in a conversation that day to which hair color looks better on which Olsen twin and why,  to what I would say if I accidentally stepped on Dave Matthews’ toe if I ever ran into him in an airport, the probability of which is low since I don’t ever fly and he rides on a giant bus and even if he did fly he certainly wouldn’t be in coach on freakin’ Sun Country airlines because that is all I can afford and God I’m so broke but I really want to save up to travel to England and then I could visit the castle where they filmed parts of Harry Potter and wasn’t I writing a post abut Harry Potter somewhere way up there or was it about reading aloud and- YOU SEE INTERNET? You see how my brain is broken?

So, yeah. I fell asleep and it was a pretty big fucking deal for me. Imagine Bill’s surprise when he looked down and his crazy girlfriend’s Crazy just- POOF! -shut off. Without him having to punch me or anything. He was so used to me getting routinely mad at him for falling asleep when I was saying REALLY important things (like things about the Olsen twins and airports etc etc- only out loud. To him. Poor fella.) He, I’m sure, did that little dance all parents do when dealing with a child who has fallen asleep- a very quiet, very desperate attempt to keep that child asleep while you make your escape. And it worked. Let’s all just take a minute to imagine Bill’s happiness at that moment.

So after we finished reading HP 1-4 twice, which was all that was out in that long ago time, we moved on. I let him choose what he wanted to read next which was the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I tell you, people I have never fallen asleep faster in my life- it would have made the likes of Snoreface jealous! While I love the story LotR weaves and loved the movies enough to watch all the extended versions plus all 5,924 hours of bonus features on each disc multiple times, the books are…well…they’re crap. I don’t like them. Please don’t send Hobbits after me on some quest to throw me in a fiery pit of magma. I appreciate Tolkein’s genius but his writing makes me want to punch myself in the head. Or…fall asleep. Which is exactly what I did. So YEA Tolkien! You accomplished what 4 Tylenol PM a night couldn’t (also: RIP Chisty’s liver). Somewhere near the end of the second book Bill got pissed because I was falling asleep two sentences in and while this really was the goal for reading to me, he also happened to enjoy the books and wanted to finish them this side of never. So we made a deal. I would cheat and look up who lived and who died which was all I cared about and Bill could read the remainder to himself.

Meanwhile, my job was to find some new books or series for us to read out loud to one another. I worked at Barnes and Noble at the time so I asked around for some recommendations. We liked to keep it simple and found that kids’ or Young Adult books worked the best- If I had to think too hard my brain would spin out and that was not our goal, but we also wanted good books, not just fluff. Over the years we have read some amazing books, some not so amazing- here are our recommendations if you ever want to get really lame like us:

1) Harry Potter 1-7, J.K.Rowling. These books were made to be read out loud. We’ve read 1-5 together so many times we’ve lost count and just finished our second go round of 6 and 7 and I’m already ready to start over again. I can’t wait to read them to my kids. They will love them or they are disowned. DIS. OWNED.

2) Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Tolkien. Only in an emergency and only if all other heavy sedatives have been tried and failed.

3) The Hobbit, Tolkien. This one is a much better choice than LotR. Less poems and odes to trees and such and you don’t get 500 pages of obscure character history per every one page of legitimate storyline.

4) A Series of Unfortunate Events, Lemony Snicket. These were all the rage back when I was shopping for a new series. I think we made it through 4 of them before we tired of the same story being told over and over again. But definitely a good no-brainer book.

5) The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis. Some of the books were good, others were kind of a bust. I really wasn’t a big fan of A Horse and his Boy and Bill didn’t really care for The Magician’s Nephew. I sort of felt like I was suffering through them at certain points but the end of the series is so sad and so beautiful. By happenstance, this is the series we read through both of my pregnancies’ early days so I was pretty miserable. I have not so fond memories of getting up to puke mid-sentence. FYI-We read them chronologically- not in the order in which they were published. I’m a chronological type of gal.

6. His Dark Materials, Phillip Pullman. Although I had a hard time staying awake for these they are really pretty amazing books. We actually have never finished them out loud because Keaton, that selfish little bugger, showed up 11 days early and we couldn’t read to each other over the screaming. I do have a very vivid, sweet memory of Bill reading the third book to me by book-light, as I snuggled our newborn son in my hospital bed on his first night in the world.

This is where we took a 16 month break due to the afore-mentioned screaminess of Captain Screamy Pants. Also because we shared a room with him and we preferred to read aloud all snuggled in bed which you can’t do when a certain little goblin baby is sleeping a few feet away. Since claiming a room of our own again we have gotten our Potter fix by re-reading 6 and 7 in preparation for July’s release of Half Blood Prince and moved on to read Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien. Light read, good-ish, and now we just started Coraline by Neil Gaiman. I just watched the movie with my niece and am excited to get into the book. I also plan on adding more Gaiman titles to this list as he is awesome.

This practice of reading out loud has helped work me through some really really craptastic bouts of insomnia and given us something to do together as a couple that didn’t require the TV. It also gives me an excuse to catch up on all that awesome kid-lit I missed out on because it interfered with my reading of Babysitter’s Club Super Specials. We’re at a point in our life where we don’t have much energy left by the time 9 pm hits and wrapping up together under the covers and drifting off to your partner’s voice tell a story is more than a good end to an exhausting day.

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I’m not sure what kind of lovely weather the rest of the world has been enjoying but I can tell you that here we have had the driest spring in 75 years. I was amazed at how green the vegetation had stayed for the most part but about a week and a half ago the grass started turning brown and the ponds around our neighborhood were drying up, the water getting an icky scummy film over the top. So Mother Nature did what is apparently the only thing she knows how, and ignored those little sayings about moderation and things in doses. The much needed rain started on Saturday and here we are on Wednesday and it’s still sprinkling down.

I really love rain, especially thunderstorms, but 5 days indoors is bringing flashbacks of last winter which was, how do you say…really fucking unpleasant. Not wanting to get caught up in a whiny cry fest of too much PBS and not enough calisthenics, I have been passing the time through any means I deem necessary. So this is what we’ve been up to!:

Sunday I did something with my daughter I am ashamed to say I’d never really done before. We napped together. Now this may or may not have had anything to do with the fact that Sister’s Night deemed it impossible for me to get out of my own bed (which is where Rowan takes her naps) until 6 o’clock pm central standard time…but it still counts. Rowan has always been an extremely independent sleeper. I’ve tried to lay down with her on numerous occasions but the little sprite always informs me that I’m too big and could I just go sleep somewhere else, already? On Saturday though, she was tired from staying up late playing with her Ellie and snuggled right in along side me for 3 and a half hours. This was awesome. Then we ate buttered toast and pretzels together in bed after we woke up. Blissiness. Except for that whole hangover thing and the crumbs I’m still finding in my hair.

Monday, with the rain still pouring down, we did this:

It's a table! With a blanket over it! How original!

It's a table! With a blanket over it! How original!

Alright so not the newest idea on planet earth but we had fun anyway. I lined the underbelly with pillows and this little number got us through rainy day #3.

Flashlight and fairies are necessary pillow fort items.

Yeah, also day #2 without getting out of pajamas. My mothering excellence knows no bounds.

Monkey nervously circled the fort, looking for signs of the children's disinterest so she could claim it as her evil lair.

Monkey nervously circled the fort, looking for signs of the children's disinterest so she could claim it as her very own evil lair.

Not this time around, Monk. Also, nice cat butt.

Not this time around, Monk. Also, nice cat butt shot.

(Hey, speaking of cat butt! One of my cats did something so offensive to my carpet it will definitely never be the same (No Photo Available, as I was too busy trying not to puke). I think these two cats were put on earth solely to break me of my near obsessive feline-loving habit. Mission accomplished, you stinkpots.)

While I was making a living-room-floor-picnic lunch I heard a little muffled voice call out “Shtuck! Shtuck!” Hmmm, I thought Keaton was in the fort so I just said, “Crawl out, Mister!”. Then the little voice cried more fervently “Shtuck, Mama! SHTUCK!” So I followed it and here he was

Shtuck under the bed.

Shtuck under the bed.

Incidentally, I thought he had gotten the idea to crawl under it from the fort we built. After further inspection however, I realized he was probably going for that sippy cup you see up there on the right side of the picture. A sippy cup that went missing last week. Full of milk. There is No Photo Available for that one either. Gross.

I made him figure out how to un-schtuck himself. Kind of like his birth day but with less screaming and blood, so not really like his birth day at all.

I made him figure out how to un-schtuck himself. Kind of like his birth day but with less screaming and blood, so not really like his birth day at all.

Day #4 was split between a soggy walk and the library, but I could tell the weather was starting to have an effect on them. Keaton just isn’t that into books so I ended up chasing him around, trying to prevent his chubby fists from smashing the kid-sized but very real computer keyboards that I’m sure they only put out to piss off toddlers when their mothers won’t let them play them like keytars. In an attempt to distract him I lured him over to a low bookshelf where he promptly tripped on the carpet and ran nose first into the metal shelf. Here is where I apologize to all the library patrons for the five minutes of painful screams they endured at this point in our visit….so, yeah…sorry! (Am I the only mom who leaves the freakin’ LIBRARY with an injured child? Yes? I suspected as much.)

Today, when I awoke to the drippy drops of pittery pattery rain, I flicked off the heavens, gave up, put the kids in their rain gear and let them splash in the biggest puddles they could find. It was too wet to bring the camera along but you’d all be jealous of how much fun they were having if I had the evidence to show. these two don’t hold back when it comes to stomping in anything. We came in, had chocolate milk and lunch and they are now peacefully napping away the afternoon. So, to sum up, there are worse things in life than rain, but know that I’m not ruling out a move to the Sahara if this lasts too much longer.

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