Friday, January 25, 2013

The Art of Getting Schooled By a Three Year Old

Actual conversation between myself and my three year old on the way home from work yesterday:

3yo: (very serious tone) "Mommy. The sun is hiding behind those clouds!"
Me: (not so serious tone) "Yes. Yes it is."
3yo: "Mommy. Please turn off the clouds. Please, please, please, please, please turn off the clouds and let the sun out!!"

So, I jumped at the opportunity for a life lesson here: although me, your average, run-of-the-mill mom, may appear to the average observer that I can do magnificent, magical things like control the weather, I am actually just like everyone else. I can not, in fact, control the cloud cover any more than I can control the spin or tilt of the earth, the color of the sky, or the migration of birds.

Me: "I can't turn off the clouds. No one can turn off the clouds - they just happen!" and on and on about nature, the atmosphere and the basics of how the world works. My long-winded explanation for the current weather pattern was met with MUCH skepticism by the world-wise 3 year old.

3yo: "But, Mommy! YOU CAN turn the clouds off. You have the 'troller!!"
(For those of you unfamiliar with "'troller" it's my son explaining to me that I do, in fact, have a controller that turns the clouds off. You know? Like the TV controller? Or, the surround sound controller. You know, just one more controller I carry around in my purse that goes about controlling things, right?)
Me: (adamant!) "No, honey, I don't have a controller for the clouds!"
3yo: "BUT YOU DO!! At your work! You have a controller at your work!! Turn off the clouds at your work!"

And then it hit me: He knows exactly what he's talking about. I DO have a controller for the clouds at my work. See, every morning on his way to grandma and grandpa's house we pass by my work. And, every morning he comments on the steam coming off the cooling towers. Every morning he tells me, "That's mommy's work. You make clouds at your work!" And, every morning I tell him, "Yes, we DO make clouds at work!" (I figure he's too young to learn the whole process of refining, so I stick to the basics like "yes, we do make clouds at my work" conversations with him.) And last week, on a day when the relative humidity was low and the visible water vapor was low, he asked why we weren't making many clouds that day. I explained to him about relative humidity and temperature (not sure if he "got" that or not), but his follow up comment was, "Oh. You control the clouds?" and I distinctly remember saying, "Yeah, kinda."
So, there you go, yesterday I got schooled by a three year old. I guess I should have stuck to the long version of how the refinery works and I wouldn't have been in that position I suppose....

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Cats: They're A Lot Like Humans. Kinda.

The scene: Friday morning, 5:50am. I'm in a hurry to get to work. I woke up with a kid sleeping in my bed because he wet his bed in the middle of the night, woke up and relocated to my room.

So, with the exactly 3 minutes I had to spare that morning, I managed to strip Colt's soaking wet, pee-infused bed down to the plastic mattress pad and toss everything in the washing machine. I silently high-fived myself because now, instead of having that to do when I got home that night, it would already be washed and ready for the dryer....I'm SUCH a multitasker!!

I gathered my coffee, my bags, my lunch, his bags, his lunch, my coat, my keys and headed out to warm up the car. Upon my return to the house to fetch the wee one I heard the distinct sound of a cat covering something up  in the litter box. Only, this noise was coming from the wrong end of the house. See, the litter box is in our bathroom, on the far east end of our house, and this was definitely coming from the far west end of the house. I headed off to explore.

And what did I find you wonder? Apparently Bro, our cat, had sensed the fact that Colt's bed magically overnight had gone from habitation location to giant litter box. I mean, why else would it be sopping in pee smell? The little boy peed here (forgot to cover it up - bad boy!) and then ran off somewhere else. Yes! It's true! This IS the biggest litter box EVER! And she had taken a giant crap right on the spot where he'd peed! AHHHHHHHH.

To rub salt in the wound, (after all, I was already running late, why not clean up a steaming pile of cat shit now anyway?) I came in right at the very moment when she'd discovered that plastic mattress covers are not at all like kitty litter and really don't "cover" very well. Even though she'd discovered that plastic doesn't give her quite the coverage she was hoping for, it didn't stop her from trying. She had ripped that thing to shreds trying to cover her giant dookie.

So, there I was: 6:10am, staring a cat dead in the eyes, and the only thing between us was a shredded plastic sheet covered in kid pee and cat shit. Awesome. This is awesome.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Saying of The Year?: Shit Like This Doesn't Happen to Normal People.

Well, the call from the water association went something like this: "So, Mr. Smeltzer, you guys using extra water up at your place? I mean, your water usage this month is, like, DOUBLE what it usually is!"

Let's think: we've slaughtered nearly every animal on our property in the last 2 months that consumes water. Most of our landscaping was killed during our remodel this year, so we're not watering anything. And, let's face it: we're a bit past the "honeymoon phase" and showering just doesn't seem as, well, pressing as is used to. So, theoretically, we should be using LESS water.

And the conversation went on: "Well, Mr. Smeltzer, you guys been using A LOT of water. Think you might have a leak? Better check."

The though struck my mind to put it off until the morning. I mean, it had been leaking this long, right? What's one more night. We could regroup, reassess and attack the issue in the morning. When it was light. And the hardware store was open, right? Oh, common sense...what were YOU thinking!

So, off we went, shovel in hand, looking for a big puddle of water. And, you ask, what did we find when we checked? A GIANT F-ING leak at the T this side of the meter box! One shovelful and it was like hitting black gold - only of the water variety. Sixty pounds of water pressure spewing forth from the pipe clamps! Obviously the water needed to be shut off. And fast! But, of course! The water meter takes some type of special tool. That's genius - let's make a shut off with a special tool for a valve someone is only going to use if there is an emergency!! Seriously! Great idea! Todd managed to shut it off with some channel locks, but I'm pretty sure we'll never, ever be able to use that 'special tool' on it ever again. Which is OK as I don't foresee ever having this kind of problem again.

So, we've spent the better part of a cold night in the dark on our hands and knees trying to fix a water leak. It's mostly fixed.....well, it's just dripping a bit. Todd, being the awesomeness that is Todd, already has someone lined up to come fix it tomorrow morning while we're at work. Which was WAY better than my plan which was for us both to leave work at lunch and struggle the entire afternoon trying to repair it. My absolute favorite home repairs are the ones that someone else does while I'm at work.

I included a lovely picture of tonight's events, mostly because the video footage wasn't "family friendly". Todd expressed with *great enthusiasm* how excited he was with my decision to put the flashlight down and take some pictures. You can see in the photo how well he's communicating with the broken pipe...

Monday, December 31, 2012

For Crying Out Loud - Let The Grinch Go Already!

So, it's no surprise that a couple of weeks ago Colt caught his first glimpse of The Grinch. We were with some friends on a train ride and he was positioned innocently enough near the entrance to the parking area. He was but a mere blip on the screen of the fun filled day. He, however, consumed the day. And has been the topic of a LOT of conversations since then. Just. Let. It. Go. Already.
As much as we tried to comfort him, he just wouldn't let it go. That Grinch was dressed like Santa. But scarier. And hairier. And way, way worse. So, after a 30 minute car ride home Colt proudly declared, "I want Santa to bring me a Grinch!" Seriously? A Grinch? You just spend an hour scared to death of this thing, clinging to my leg, begging to get off the train and now you want a Grinch for Christmas? Seriously?

...and then, as Paul Harvey would say, he told "The Rest of The Story...." I'm sure I won't do it justice, but it went something like this:

"Yes, I want Santa to bring me a Grinch. I will put the Grinch in the road and cars will run him over. Then, I will throw him in the blackberries and he will get scratches. Then I will take him to the woods and run him over with the four-wheeler and a tree will fall on him. Yes. That's it. I want Santa to bring me a Grinch for Christmas."

I had no idea he's spent the entire car ride home refining the exactness with which he'd torture the poor thing. You should have seen the look in his eyes when I told him The Grinch was a Dr. Seuss book. And that we had the book - in his bedroom!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas: A Time For Blood and Tears

I picked up Colt last Thursday and our drive home started off with a complete fabrication of a story on his part. He said, "I saw Fenton's Christmas tree." Seriously, kid? You haven't seen Fenton since last weekend (The Bouncy House Party Disaster of 2012) and I know for sure you haven't been to his house. But, the story went on: "It has yellow balls and green balls and red balls. Lots of red balls. And they're glass mommy. Glass balls. And candy canes. Yeah. I saw those things on Fenton's tree." Hmm. So, I played along ('tis the season, right?) "Well, honey, what do you think about taking Daddy and getting a tree tonight? Won't that be fun?", there I was: unhitching the horse trailer in the rain and dark so the two of them could go pick out a Christmas tree while I stayed home and cooked dinner. In retrospect, this was personally beneficial situation, right?

Now, I'm not going to say I'm Grinch-y, but Todd and I usually skip Christmas. Spend it somewhere warm, ya know? Like Mexico. Or Belize. So, this bit of Christmas-y fever caught me a little off guard too.

Anyway, I heard them drive in (in the rain and dark), then I heard the tailgate go down, then I heard the distinct sound of a toddler's blood curdling cry. Colt staggers inside, blood gushing from his forehead, running down his face into his mouth and all over his shirt and blanket. Lest I say tailgates are the appropriate height to make that type of puncture wound. I stopped the crying, stopped the bleeding and slapped a Sponge Bob sticker right on his forehead and off we went to decorate the tree.
Now, Colt was very excited. Very, very excited to decorate the tree. I showed him the basics: glass ball (the expendable ones, not my the nice ones my mom handed me down from childhood Christmases), metal ball hooky-thing to hang ornament, tree - and off he went! At a snail's pace. The focus this boy had...slowly, very slowly, walking towards the tree, measuring each step as not to trip, staring at the ball, picking his spot, hanging the ornament on a branch - and then CRASH! the ball slipped off the branch, hit the floor and broke into a million pieces. A t o m i c   M e l t d o w n. Utter disappointment. Tears. Wailing. Screaming. Ah.
Twenty minutes later, after I'd cleaned it up and explained there were 100 more balls where that one came from, we set off decorating the tree. I took the breakable ornaments and the hard to reach places on the tree (like everything over 3 feet up the tree). And, as I neared the end of the ornaments and the back of the tree, I stepped back to admire our creation. And it was then I saw Colt, very carefully, removing ALL the ornaments from the front of the tree and putting them back in the box. Seriously? What is this?
"Oh, honey, what are you doing? We need to put the ornaments on the tree. We're decorating it. It's fun. Like this." (Almost sounds like I'm trying to convince myself, right?)

Then, with a completely straight face and an adamant tone he said to me, "Mommy. We are done with this activity and we need to clean up our tools." And I almost lost it. We've been focusing on this very thing for the last long, how do you explain to a 3 year old that we're keeping this holy hell of a mess up in our front room for another 3 weeks?! I was stymied. Then, he said, "Mom. Really. We're done with this Christmas tree and we need to clean it up. And take it back outside."

As of today, the tree remains in our front room. Fully decorated and the lights turned on at his request. He still has no idea what's going on, but at least he thinks the lights are pretty. Although, they probably have Christmas lights in the Caribbean too, right?