Hey Good Lookin’, whatcha got cookin’?

The last couple of times I’ve cooked, one or both of the boys has thanked me. I suppose I could twist this around and say that I’m a great mom because I’ve taught my kids gratitude to the point where they even thank me for providing for their basic needs, but…..

I’m pretty sure that the fact that my kids thank me for completing a task that the majority of moms do regularly, just because that’s what moms do, is hard evidence that I’m failing as a mother. I cook so infrequently that they actually feel compelled to thank me when I do. I’m a pathetic excuse for a woman. I know. But I’ve been doing better:

Since the boys have been back in school, I’ve been making delicious breakfasts for them every morning. You probably think I’m being sarcastic, but I’m not. I’m talking farm fresh eggs, toast with jelly made from fresh raspberries from our backyard, orange juice, sausage. Real breakfast. My mom didn’t believe in breakfast (smart woman) so I’m not a big breakfast person, but the boys are loving it. They gobble it up and rush out the door to meet the bus. Then they ride on the bus for one hour and, during that time, they forget the delicious, filling, wholesome breakfast that they JUST ATE and they pay $1.50/boy to eat breakfast at school.

Me: So I see you ate breakfast at school when I already made you breakfast at home. Must have been something really good to make you want to eat again.

Boy Two: Oh yeah. It was a fruit frudel. It was delicious. 

What is a fruit frudel, you ask? I had the same question. Like I said, it must have been something good for both of them to buy one when they had just eaten. This is what Google says a fruit frudel is:

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I’m not sure if this is exactly what they serve, but how many things could there be called a fruit frudel? So yeah, they spent $3.00 on “heat and serve” fruit frudels when I just served them eggs so fresh that I literally picked them out of a pile of actual chicken crap less than five minutes before cooking. But they would rather eat a generic, processed, preservative-filled fruit frudel.

I wonder if they thanked the lunch lady for the fruit frudel? I’m sure they did. It probably went something like this:

Thank you so much for this heat and serve fruit frudel. We’re starving. Our mom never cooks so when she does try, it sucks and we  have to sneakily hide it so we can come partake of your delicious fruit frudel. 

Whatever. After only seven short days, Mother Swan’s Kitchen is no longer open for breakfast.

All work and no play makes me a dull boy

I forgot how much I love the school year. I hesitate to say that because I’ve seen a few posts bashing moms that are glad school has started. Yeah, that’s a thing now. People say things like:

They grow up so fast, you should want to spend every moment you can with them.

or even things as extreme as:

Why did you have kids if you didn’t want to be around them?

Well, that’s crap. I’m not ashamed to say that I was excited for school to start, but it has nothing to do with how much I enjoy or loathe my children’s company. As a mom working a 9-5, I see my kids the same amount whether school is in session or not. It is of no consequence to me if they spend their day at school, at home, or on the moon. It doesn’t matter, because I’m at my desk and they definitely aren’t there.

So yeah, I don’t hate my kids, but I do love it when they go to school – not because they are gone, but because….

1. It gets us back on a routine. My kids probably took less than five showers all summer. They slept until noon every day and stayed up until who knows when. They ate nothing but junk food all day long, which costs a fortune. When school is in session, we have a nightly routine: homework, dinner, bath, bed. They know what’s coming and they are well-rested, well-fed, and at least slightly more hygienic than farm animals.
2. They get bored. Halfway through the summer, we’ve run out of new and exciting ways to dazzle them. We did Great Wolf Lodge, Indiana Beach, campouts, parties, the fair, the movies, the pool. After all of that, there were still about 1,300 hours in the summer and only so many of those can be filled with new and exciting activities to enrich your life and engage your senses. My kids were ready to get back to their friends and school activities.
3. Along the same lines, it takes less to entertain kids that are exhausted from a long school day. During the summer, after working all day, I come home and they expect something like one of the adventures described above. They’ve spent all day relaxing, preparing for whatever exciting quest I have planned. I, however, did not. Because I was at work. Working. Now that school is in session, this is their preferred activity for this evening:

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Yeah, that’s a makeup tutorial on how to make yourself look like the Elf on the Shelf. That’s the kind of activity I don’t mind participating in after a long workday.

4. The start of school signals a new wave of exciting things to come: new classes, new teachers, new friends, a new season. And you have to get through the first day of school to make it to Christmas. And who would want to deprive their kid of Christmas? You tell me who the crappy mom is.

So yeah, summer is great, spending time with kids, doing so many activities, yadda, yadda, yadda, but the school year is (much) better. My kids and I are on the same page during the school year.

You’re tired? I’m right there with ya, man. Let’s crack open the ice cream (and wine) and see if we can find a gnome makeup tutorial next.

The road to nowhere leads to me

When we lived in town, we were only a few blocks away from my parents. It wasn’t uncommon for Mom, Dad or my sister to unexpectedly drop in for a visit. And by “it wasn’t uncommon” I mean it happened every day, sometimes multiple times per day. The Husband was never a fan of the impromptu visits from my family which, I believe, played a large part in him agreeing to my first pick when we were house shopping – because it is a twenty minute drive from my mother.

I actually fell asleep on the way here the first time we drove by to check it out. The Husband woke me up with a big smile as we went by:

There’s your house, Mom!

I thought he was just excited because he knew I was going to love it. I was mistaken. He was excited because he knew how long it had taken to get there and he knew I had no idea since I’d been asleep. New rule: if it’s a long enough drive to fall asleep, it’s too far to be home.

Anyway, living out here in Siberia, I’ve learned how to improvise and do without:

We’re out of diapers
Town Mother Swan: I’ll run over to Walmart and pick some up.
Country Mother Swan: Guess we’re doing the dish towel thing until tomorrow. Take it easy on the milk, kid.

I don’t feel like making dinner
Town Mother Swan: McDonald’s it is.
Country Mother Swan: If I’m too lazy to make dinner I’m also too lazy to make the voyage to town. Here’s some ravioli, kids. I’ll eat some other day.

The internet is slow and Grey’s is buffering
Town Mother Swan: This is an outrage! What the heck is the problem!? Why is this happening!?
Country Mother Swan: It happens. Guess it’s time for bed.

Six inches of snow fell last night
Town Mother Swan: Ugh I guess I have to shovel this square of sidewalk for the mailman. (alright, I’ll be honest: I hope the mailman has his snow shoes on because I’m too lazy to get out in the cold to shovel that square)
Country Mother Swan: I’ll never make it out of here alive.

Gas is $2.50 per gallon
Town Mother Swan: So?
Country Mother Swan: We are on lockdown. Only essential travel permitted.

The water bill comes
Town Mother Swan: I can’t wait until we move to the country and the water is free.
Country Mother Swan: This free water smells like rotten eggs and it’s yellow and there is no pressure. We need fifteen different filtration systems and now we’re spending more for water than we did in town.

Mom wants to know if I want to come over for dinner
Town Mother Swan: Sure! (as I hop in her car to head there because she asked me in person since she was already at my house as usual)
Country Mother Swan: No thanks, I’m not coming to town today.

Who says that? “I’m not coming to town today.” Like we would have to hop in our wagon and hook up the oxen to make the trip and it’s just not worth the trouble.

All that is fine and we’re making it work, but the worst part is that our house is located in the Bermuda Triangle created where three counties meet. Our road is a county line road and it doesn’t extend any further north than our mile. People really need directions to get here but no one listens to directions anymore.

What’s your address?
Well, it’s….but you just need to come down State Road 15 then turn left at….

Oh I’ll just put it in my GPS.

Well, sometimes GPS has trouble so….

I finish my directions. I can tell the other person isn’t listening because they are still just planning on relying on that trusty GPS. Alright, Smarty-Pants, see ya soon. It actually gives me a little bit of joy when they call ten minutes after they are supposed to be at my house.

Ok, I’m lost. How do I find your house?
Yeah, that’s what I thought, punk.

Truth be told though, I complain about the inconvenience, but anyone that knows me knows that my corner of the world out here in No Man’s Land is on the short list of things that bring me the most joy in life.

Takin care of business

So business is booming for Swan’s Scrap, LLC. Ever since Grammy’s post about the stolen scrap, pick-ups have been pouring in. This weekend, they did six pick-ups, one yesterday, and one is already scheduled for next Monday. He has even expanded from strictly scrap metal to general junk, which is why my yard looks like hodge podge yard sale, but I’m not going to complain about it because you should see Grammy’s yard. Her house is headquarters. They had to move all cars out of their garage so they could keep the inventory secured in a locked facility. I told her she might need to request a zoning variance if she’s going to continue running a salvage yard out of her home.

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Most of his treasures will be cashed in for scrap but a few things were too nice to scrap – a working stove and dryer, a couple of ladders, and a hard-shell assault rifle case which he intends to use to hold his money.

The business is a three-man show. Grammy is dispatch. She’s constantly on her phone, messaging clients, coordinating pick-ups, and sending the crew out. Granddad is the driver and the muscle, and Boy One is the boss man, but not the kind that’s afraid to get his hands dirty.

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So anyway, like I said, it was a record-breaking weekend for the business, but it wasn’t without complications.

Dispatch filed a complaint with the boss against the driver because he got a little rude with her when he couldn’t follow her directions to a certain pick-up. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much the boss could do since he can’t find another driver to work for such low wages.

There was one run-in with the law when the boss couldn’t make it home from a run and had to stop along the way to pee in the woods. Luckily, the officer was just checking to make sure everything was ok, not trying to arrest an 8-year-old for indecent exposure.

Aside from those small issues though, he’s very professional. He shakes every client’s hand and thanks them for helping him out. We’ve gotten so many compliments, and many people have invited him back. One even gave him a magnet tool.

Next week at this time, my boy will be inside sitting at a desk, bored to tears, wishing he was out gathering scrap. School is one of the most important things, and he does well at it, but it kind of makes me sad for him. This boy is built for manual labor.

I’m sure, however, that his crew is looking forward to a little break. So thankful that my mom and dad took the time to do this with him this summer, even though they have jobs and tons of responsibilities too. I think it turned out to a bigger job than they expected, but I believe he will remember this summer forever.

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