Calvin


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We’re home again. I think I might be able to start reading other blogs again. I feel like I’ve deserted all the wonderful people who have supported me in my time of need *sniff sniff* and neglected them and their blogs.

Thanksgiving is over, soap making is complete, one lovely Christmas present has been knitted, and our sweet, yellow house is a wreck. I swear I cleaned it before we left for Indiana, but I think the laundry had a party while we were out. In the car, on the 4 hour drive home, Kiki got pretty mad, so Calvin shared a Kit Kat with her and sang, “You are my Sunshine.” Uncle Paul lent us a 1/2 size violin, so Calvin will be able to start learning even before Santa shows up with a new one.

Last of all, it’s official: Trader Joe’s is my everyday market. There’s only one market closer than TJ’s, and it’s one of those local/organic/elitist markets that’s good but expensive. It takes me 4 minutes to get to TJ’s, and that’s with all three stop lights red.

I’m sitting here listening to the cello quartet going on in the other room and trying not to be desolate. My family always does this. When they all get together, they break out the cellos. Sometimes there are violins and violas tossed in for variation, but it’s still string quartets. I don’t play any of those, and I get feeling so left out.

It’s not an exclusionary thing. I know how they feel, they just love playing together. But something in me just wants so badly to play with them. When I was studying trombone, I brought my horn to Thanksgiving that year and played the bass part. It was fun(ny) but not the same. Trombones can’t really do justice to string quartets. They sort of overpower everyone else.

My little Calvin found a 1/8 size violin and has been practicing his sawing technique all day. I think we might let Santa know that Calvin would appreciate a violin for Christmas. Someone asked him last night what he was going to ask Santa for, and he replied, “I will just be happy with what Santa wants to give me.” No lie. Good thing Santa is personally acquainted with one of Calvin’s grandpas that makes violins for a living.

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and I will tell you it might have something to do with one of these two things:

1. For lunch, we had crackers with Boursin Garlic and Herb cheese, Fiber One granola bars (9 grams of fiber, due to freakish amounts of chicory root extract, which is, presumably, very high in fiber, but adds what Derek says is a very “burnt” flavor, which I cannot detect, and confectioner’s shellac, which apparently isn’t an oxymoron, since shellac is edible. I looked it up. It used to be thought that shellac was derived from grinding up the wings of certain beetles, but it’s really a secretion from the female beetle that makes the bark of the tree they live on a little more sticky, so it’s easier to walk on. But in the harvest process of scraping the trees, inevitably some beetles get tossed in too, so shellac isn’t vegetarian, and is definitely not vegan), and a Diet Pepsi. Are you still with me?

Or 2. I was up from 2:30 am to 3:30 am performing my absolute least favorite parenting duty: cleaning up spaghetti vomit from the boys’ bedroom rug while simultaneously encouraging (ordering) the perpetrator to remain in the bathroom with his face pointed at the toilet, to stop crying, whining and yelling, and to try (skip this part if you’re susceptible) to snort out the piece that got jammed into his nasal cavity, causing pain and excess nose running. Curiously, the stuff running out of his nose seemed to have a little more wheat bran than is usual. Also, the poor delinquent has a very developed gag reflex, which makes the whole snorting part precarious. In the end, there was a joyful exclamation, “It came out!” and he went to bed without further ado.

I was, for the first time, really, really grateful for the garbage disposal. I don’t use it often, because of the energy and large amount of water consumed and the fact that it mucks up the water systems (I can’t direct you to where I read this information, sorry, but this will tell you a little), but when you have a towel full of recycled spaghetti, and someone hovering over the toilet, and you just don’t want to stick your hands in there anyway, the kitchen sink with the pig works just fine.

In any case, the stomach pain has ceased, only to make way for a new and exciting headache. Which should have been preempted by the Diet Pepsi, but what can you do?

Here’s another informal poll,

If you could buy a new fridge today, and money was not an issue, which would you pick?

Keep in mind that top freezers are the most energy efficient, bottom freezers are convenient because the normal stuff is at eye level and you don’t have to bend over to get an apple or a carrot, and side-by side fridge-freezers require less opening space, since the doors are narrower, but you can’t put a frozen pizza in them.

Poll SurveyTake Our Poll

Dangit, this isn’t working. I’ll try to fix it.

Today at lunch, I asked the boys if they would prefer peanut butter sandwiches or macaroni and cheese. We had some leftovers of mac and cheese from yesterday, and I’m talking about the psychedelic orange stuff. Calvin chose mac and cheese, Zeeb wanted a peanut butter sandwich. It was all fine with me.

The only problem with them ordering different things for lunch is that there is inevitably some extra. One sandwich is enough for them both, and half a box of mac and cheese is still too much for just Calvin. So I decided to have the extra for my own lunch. Half a sandwich, and about 1/2 cup of mac and cheese. But what adult can abide that stuff? Plus, since we have no microwave in our mini-kitchen, I had to heat it one the stove. I added a little milk, and put it in a pan. If you’ve ever seen leftover mac and cheese, you know that it turns into yellow noodles with no sauce to speak of.

I decided to try an experiment with the tiny remnant of Maytag Blue cheese that I got last week. I plated up Calvin’s noodles, and then put the rest on a plate for myself. I crumbled up a bit of blue cheese on top, and stirred it around until it was melty and a little creamy. I sat at the table, and caused a curious stir among the little people. I guess it looked appetizing to them.

Each boy asked for a taste. I warned them that it would be strong, and after Zeeb tried it, he asked for some more, so he could be strong like Superman. Calvin didn’t think it was overpowering, nor did he start gagging, like he usually does when he tries something new.

Soon, the boys were asking for bites of plain cheese. Plain blue cheese. A 5 year old and a 3 year old. I have no explanation for this phenomenon, especially since my boys are generally quite picky. I gave them a bunch of cheese, and then tried to put it away. They cried, and begged for more. This from the boys who rejected the fresh mozzarella I brought home two weeks ago. Inexplicable. Although they do like the Boursin garlic and herb sheep’s cheese with crackers.

Also, yesterday at work, Derek met Thomas P. Stafford. You don’t know who he is because you don’t know enough astronauts. Derek sums up his career nicely:

He’s one of 24 people who have been to the moon (i.e. in orbit or on the
surface) <<http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=534>>.
He never flew on a shuttle, he took pictures from inside the Apollo 10
module. Apollo 10 was the second mission to orbit the moon and surveyed
the location for Neil Armstrong’s crew to land during the Apollo 11
mission. Apollo 10 was the first to broadcast color TV signals, so the
color footage of the earth during the mission is mostly likely his
(note: the claim that he took the footage only comes from his talk
yesterday, when he said things like “this is a picture I took when …”).

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Derek used to want to be an astronaut. He used to be a 10 year old boy, you see. But ironically, he was rejected from even joining to Air Force (during that two seconds he thought it would be a good idea) because of his color-blindness. I say ironically, because he now works for the Air Force and makes way more money than he ever would have by enlisting, works fewer hours, and doesn’t have to get transferred all over the world. Oh, wait. Is that a pro or a con?

Who wants to help me pick out a house?

I have looked forward to this day with great anticipation for several years, and now that it is here, imagine my surprise as Calvin gets on the schoolbus for the very first time, and I get choked up that my baby is not a baby, and he’s leaving me for the world. (OK, it only lasted for a split second, but I almost shed a tear. And I know that kindergarten is not really the world, but I’m leaving my son’s care and learning in someone else’s hands for 3 hours a day!)

He’s been ambivalent about school. So excited one day, and sour and unwilling the next. This morning he woke up and the first words out of his mouth were, “Mom! I’m going to school today!” Within an hour, he was crying about how he didn’t want to ride the bus, or learn to read, or meet any new friends.

But when we went out to meet the bus, he with his name tag and backpack on, he fairly danced about until he finally spotted the bus. He gave me two hugs and two kisses, and jumped up the steps without turning back. He didn’t even wave to me out the window. And no, I didn’t get a picture of him getting on. Zeeb, on the other hand, shed great tumbling tears that he couldn’t go with Calvin. He kept telling me, “I’m five too!”

Zeeb and Kiki are both asleep now, and I’m terrified to take a nap, because what if I sleep through the time we have to go meet the bus when he comes home? It’s in 2 1/2 hours, but I’ve been know to take amazingly long afternoon naps.

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Ha! I won’t have to take a nap after all. The UPS guy just arrived this second with my copy of this:

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Mom, you’re making nonsense.

Oma, I love you, I’m just not interested in you.

I want some Saag Paneer!!!

Mom, I can’t put my underwear on. I have a smiley face on my butt that’s wet.

Another person told us the other day that Calvin is going to grow up to be a CEO by the time he is 18. He certainly has a few qualities that I don’t think I had when I was 5. He started with brainwashing, and has developed more skills as time goes by.

We were at a gas station, buying treats that I had promised. Calvin had a 6-pack of AirHeads, and I had a bag of Circus Peanuts. He began while we were still waiting at the register for the cashier to notice us. “Mom, I’ll give you one of my AirHeads for one of your peanuts.” Then, a few seconds later, “Mom, actually, I’ll give you one of my AirHeads for 6 of your peanuts.”

The cashier looked at him, and said, “Good bargaining!”

Today, he asked me for a chocolate. I said he could have one, and like we practiced, said “OK, thanks.” Then, “Can I have two?”

He really wanted a shower this morning, and Derek said he could have one later tonight, after mud box. That’s what happens when you get a sand box, a 5 year old, a 3 year old, and a hose. Calvin said he didn’t want mud box. Five minutes later, he came in the house, naked and muddy, and said, “I’m ready for my shower now!”

What do I do?

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