Sunday, July 29, 2012

Evil Genius

Chester. Allegedly a short-haired boy kitten. Turned out to be a long-haired girl kitten. Named for the brilliant cat from the Bunnicula series.

  shot_1324662246787Look at her. She doesn't look like the sharpest pencil in the box, does she? Maybe only playing with 48 cards. Elevator's not making it to the top floor. You get the idea. We routinely catch her with her tongue hanging out. I look at that face and I think how sweet she is. And how dumb she is. And my heart swells and I just want to hug her and love her and call her my own.

And then 5:30 am comes along and she shows her true colors.

I am a sleeper. I love and cherish my sleep. If I wake up one minute before my alarm goes off, I am completely irritate. I don't get up a single minute before I have to. My love of sleep is part of the reason I only had two kids. Call me a quitter, but it's the truth.

Chester thinks that she should eat at 5:30 am. I think that's bull(you-know-what.) I can normally sleep through anything. I slept through a tornado once.  It went down our street and knocked down the tree in our front yard.  But I can't sleep through my iPad being knocked off of my nightstand.

It all started a few months ago. She would come in and gently paw the plastic bag in the garbage can, making that annoying crinkly sound. I got the better of her. The garbage can now sits on top of my tall dresser. Score one for Shannon. A few days later, I heard her next to me, making this flopping noise that I could not identify. I did NOT want to open my eyes, because once she sees the whites of my eyes, it's game over. I finally figured out that she was picking up the corner of the area rug and letting it flap back down on the hardwood floor. And looking at me expectantly. I'm not sure if she is smart enough to be proud of herself, but that furry little face sure looked smug. 

She has figured out how to make noise in any way she can. She paws at the closet door. There's a shoebox under my bed that she has started eating. If you don't think listening to a cat chew on cardboard (smack, smack) at 5:30 am is annoying, I would be happy to let you cat-sit Chester for a while. Barrettes and bobby pins are a favorite. They make a fun little tinkling noise when they hit the hardwood floor. My glasses make an ever bigger noise when she knocks them off.

Locking her out of the bedroom helps, but then she just goes in and annoys the kids.  I have too much mommy-guilt to let that happen.

The morning that I thought I might kill her was the morning she knocked the iPad off the nightstand. I chased her down the stairs, muttering incoherent threats. She hasn't done that again, but I only think that is because I keep it farther from the edge.

  IMAG0316It hasn't kept her from trying to eat it, though.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Don't Take Me Out To The Ball Game

Both of my kids played travel ball this summer.  Keebles' softball season began the last weekend in March.  KJ's last baseball tournament ended July 15th.  In between there, we had 120+ games between the two of them and not a single free weekend.  Don't get me wrong.  I am not complaining.  I know what I signed up for.  I am just laying out the facts here.  And one of the facts is that is was face-meltingly hot Memorial Day Weekend and just got worse as the summer wore on.
JJ took this week off for some much-needed rest from work.  We decided that since we hadn't taken a family vacation this summer, we would take the kids to a baseball game this week.  Yay!  Family Fun! Now, granted, JJ had ulterior motives.  He's a Dodgers fan, and it's a heck of a lot cheaper for the four of us to drive to St. Louis or Chicago than to fly to L.A., and the Dodgers were in St. Louis playing the Cardinals this week.  
My children are die-hard Cubs fans.  For those of you who don't live in Central Illinois, the Cubs-Cards rivalry is nearly as tragic as the Civil War.  My children were not happy about going to Busch Stadium, but after we spun it as "A Cool Trip To a Major League Ball Park," and "It's Autograph Night" and "Make This Sacrifice For Your Dad," they decided it would be fun.
So, the stars aligned and KJ's baseball camp got done an hour early. JJ bought a bucket of baseballs for autographs. We had plenty of time to get down there for autograph night.  The trip down was great...good conversation, giggles, snacks, and lots of water.  No traffic.  We parked right in front of Busch Stadium.  And we opened the car doors and the heat hit us like a blast furnace.
What have we done?
Now, I will say that I LOVE the fact that Busch Stadium will let you take in a small soft-sided cooler filled with water bottles.  THANK GOD I knew that ahead of time.  It was a life saver.  We stood and waited to get into the stadium for 15-20 minutes, sweating, all the while, I was trying to convince the 2 K's that this was good fun.  We got into the stadium and one of the ushers directed us to where the autographs were being signed.  The line went up and up and up the ramp.  We just kept climbing, trying to find the end of the line.  We got near the top and found another, shorter line for two different autographs.  Score!  Those poor suckers in that long line were never going to get autographs in the 30-minute time slot.
And so began the waiting game.
At first we were in the shade.  But is was still hotter than Hades.  Tempers were short.  Keebles was contemplating using her baseball as a weapon against her brother.
No patience

Once the line got moving, moods improved.  Except for when you ended up in the sun.  And contemplated jumping over the edge because there was no escaping the heat.
Still waiting.

We kept watching the clock, knowing the autograph signing ended at 6:30.  KJ kept announcing: 20 minutes left.  13 minutes left.  4 minutes left.  With two minutes left, we were so close.  I stepped out of line to take pictures. 

Autograph night

And then, the "handlers" shut it down at 6:30.  My kids were four from the front of the line.  FOUR.  1, 2, 3, 4.  They now have one more reason to hate the Cardinals.  (On a side note, the one player that was giving autographs did get picked off at first base.  It made the 2 K's feel a little better.)

So, we trudged up to our seats, and sat in the sun.  Dear God, why must the sun always be out?

Sheer Joy!

A little sun?

Keebles and I kept a close eye on the temperature.  

Game Time Temperature

It had dropped to a refreshing 92 by the time we left the game at 10:00.

The one thing that could have saved the evening was Dippin' Dots.  But KJ was too hot and cranky to wait in the three-mile-long Dippin' Dot line.  So, we sat through 10 innings of a good ball game with two cranky, sweaty, sticky kids.  (Not that JJ and I weren't sweaty and sticky ourselves.)  We left after the 10th because we still had a two-and-a-half hour drive to get home.
I wish I could say it was all better because the Dodgers won, but they didn't.  Cardinals pulled it off in 12 innings.  And that just made my kids even crankier.
We'll look back on this and laugh someday, right?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

My personal hell.

I swore I wasn't going to whine about the heat.
I have been broken by the heat. I am going to break my promise.
I apologize for offending anyone with that sentiment, but what I really want to say is much much worse.
Back when decided to let Keebles play travel softball, I knew we had a tournament the weekend after the Fourth of July. I have lived in Illinois for 24 years now and I ain't no dummy. I knew this tournament was going to be hot. I have been mentally preparing Keebles for the fact that it was going to be a scorcher since March.
I had no idea.
Apparently, I did something to piss Mother Nature off. She decided that she would show me HOT.
Day one, it was 101. Keebles is the catcher and she has all of that gear and that mask. I was worried about her, but she got through it. I can't say the same about the home plate umpire, who was white as a sheet and disoriented. She was taken away in a golf cart. I am happy to report that she is fine.
Tomorrow is supposed to be 104. Saturday is now forecast to be 106. What the hell?
No, exactly, this is hell.
Some of you enjoy this weather. I like it chilly. I like to pile on the sweatshirts and blankets. I like to snuggle. I am a quarter Swede for crying out loud. Does even get above freezing in Sweden?
As for hot weather, I hate it. I can't possibly get naked enough to cool off. I don't want anyone to touch me. I smell. Sweat runs down my back and pools in my, well, you get the picture.
So, on a miserably hot day, what do I do? Suggest my most-favorite pizza place in the world for a team dinner. Now, mind you, I have never actually eaten there. All through college, I always ordered carry-out from Del Carmen's. J and I would get a 16" double decker and it would feed us for the weekend. We show up with twenty people at the actual restaurant and it's this small little place with barely-there air-conditioning. I look at the other parents on the team and they are looking at me like, "Seriously, Shannon?" Cue the pounding heart and panic! But the service was friendly and fast and the pizza was to die for, so I dodged that bullet. Whew!
Now off to sleep in the sweet, sweet, air-conditioning before sweltering again tomorrow.
Maybe I should move to Antarctica.