June 13, 2007 

One week into summer vacation, and things are looking bleak.  We had well-laid plans to keep everyone happy through the break:

New Nintendo DS for the May birthday girl, check.

One of those annoyingly ugly blue disposable swimming pools, check.

Computer games, list of acceptable online sites, and a Webkinz for child without May birthday, check.

Wireless Internet access, comfortable deck furniture, library card, pizza delivery number, and access to alcohol on short notice, for Mom. 

Seemed relatively foolproof, it did.  So here we are, seven days in and let me just give you the standings.  Nintendo has been banned, computer access has been taken away (for them, nobody would dare get between me and my access), the Webkinz in non-cyber form is hanging on by a thread solely because she almost has me believing the thing will die if separated from her, one has lost the privilege of the trip to the splash pad tomorrow, and the pool?  Well, let me tell you about the damn pool.  On Sunday, we set about following the “simple, fast set up instructions”.  Apparently, those adjectives only apply if you have a yard that is level, or even close to level, which ours is not.  We hauled dirt to add to one side, we dug up sod on the other side, we raked, we stomped, and we might’ve thrown things and snapped at each other…I probably swore.  Finally, we got it up, and it actually is not sagging all over which was the goal because frankly I’m irritated enough just by the site of the thing and there’s no way I could stand looking at it all summer if it were lopsided and bulging, I just couldn’t.  So we filled it, put the ladder together, and got the filter and skimmer working.  Then we shelled out money for chemicals and pool noodles and inflatable sharks and such.  Today was opening day, and now at 4 PM, the pool has already been banned for one of them – I think I might’ve even uttered “for life” in there somewhere.  If I were you, I would expect that this pool would meet an untimely demise at the tip of a steak knife while “safely” stored in the shed at the end of this season.  Come spring I will blame it on huge rats desperately in need of a nail trimming.  If they raise suspicion over having never seen rats around these parts, I will calmly resort to ghost rats, they’ll totally believe that with all those Goosebumps and American Chillers books they devour.  Thus the “disposable” reference above, because I swear no one bothers to put these things up more than one or two years.  Unfortunate calamities befall them all and now I know exactly why.  “Oh the dog scratched a hole in the side”, yeah sure he did – I wonder if all that rubbing Alpo all over the sides had anything to do with it? 

So yeah, it is shaping up to be quite a summer.  I’m sure we’ll find equilibrium but at the moment everything is all out of whack.  They’re fighting the idea of mom’s brand of discipline being an all day affair and I’m fighting the idea of hearing things like “Mooooom,  BUGS keep landing in here!” all day long.  Because yeah, when you put a big receptacle of water in the middle of your yard, bugs sometimes find it.  Who knew?  The other day the youngest asked, “How do crayons make color?” which is probably a perfectly reasonable eight-year-old question (or she’s hopelessly behind and should’ve asked me that four years ago…should I be worried?) but you know, it stumped me.  So I said, “I don’t know, but we can look it up on the Internet” and she says “Oooh, on www.howcrayonswork.com?”  I’ve taught them well…or not, depending on how you want to look at it.  Somebody should buy that domain name though; she can’t be the only one wondering. 

I guess for now it’s time for me to just suck it up and start practicing my “yes, I’m listening” phrase for those times when they want to go on and on and on about every little detail of a video game (if they ever get the thing back), and maybe pick up a Zen mantra or two.  I’m sure in a few weeks I’ll have this whole parenting thing down pat and we’ll all be enjoying each others’ company, playing games together and singing Kumbaya while holding hands around the swimming pool, but for now, prayers and good thoughts are welcome.   

Now I have to run because I’m pretty sure it’s a bad sign when the kabob skewer burns in half when the meat doesn’t seem to be cooked (yes I soaked them!).  Figures. 



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