New Zoo Review

I tried to blog earlier today, but my computer was having some sort of issue that was preventing me from opening Live Writer, and, unfortunately, I’m completely inept at posting without Live Writer.  What I wanted to tell you this morning was that Colleen’s mom was in surgery and prayers/positive thoughts/etc. would be appreciated.  She is out of surgery now, but I’m sure those things would still be appreciated.

Other than that I just thought I’d tell you what’s been going on around here lately.  You know, aside from being both horrified and bored to tears by last night’s presidential debate.  For the love of all that’s holy, do we really have to vote for one of those two?  Really?

I know I said I wasn’t going to get all political any more, but I hope you’ll forgive me for this one last idea:

I propose we all cast a write-in vote for Ronald McDonald this November.  The Hamburglar can be his Attorney General, Captain Crook can be his Secretary of the Treasury, Mayor McCheese can be the Secretary of Defense, Grimace can be the Secretary of State, Birdie can head up the Department of Transportation, and the Fry Guys can fill in all the leftover spots in the cabinet.  It can’t be any worse than what we’re going to wind up with, and this way all government handout programs will include free french fries and milkshakes and subsidized Big Macs!  Yummm!  I know who I’m voting for!

Anyway, here’s what has been going on around Chez E. lately:

  • A~ has been adapting Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night into something she and her siblings can put on for McH and me.  Nerd much?  Just kidding, you know, kind of.  See, she also told me she wants to go to school next year because she is feeling isolated out here in the sticks.  I can totally understand, and we very likely will put her in school next year; but I have reservations.  I remember being that age in school, and I remember reading Shakespeare just for the fun of it because the crap they were assigning wasn’t the least bit challenging or interesting, and I remember being teased mercilessly because of it.  Ditto when I read The Scarlett Letter.  I finally got street smart and switched to the Sweet Valley High series for my book-a-day fix during school hours, but the nerd damage was already done.  So, while I’m immensely proud that she would come up with the idea of adapting Twelfth Night on her own (truly and completely on her own – her eyes lit up when she saw my Riverside Shakespeare, and she said, “I didn’t know we had all the plays!”), I worry that next year will not be what she is hoping it will be.  Seventh-grade girls are mean.  But maybe I’m worrying for nothing.  Let’s hope.
  • L~ is reading much more than ever.  All of the kids are really liking our small-town library so much better.  Have I told you about this library?  It is the elementary school library and the public library all rolled into one.  You would think this would mean the elementary school has one rockin’ library, but you would think wrong.  But still, we love it.  It is small enough that I can see where all the kids are at all times, and the kids don’t feel overwhelmed by and lost in the shelves.  This has helped L~ find things that are interesting to her, so she is reading several chapter books a week now.  She is also becoming quite the able and willing babysitter, which is so, so helpful.  I can make dinner without the baby hanging on my leg, sweep the floor, write a blog post, whatever.  The move doesn’t seem to have been quite as hard on her.  I think maybe she’s just glad to have A~ all to herself rather than having to share her with the neighbor friend back home.  I mean, L~ misses the neighbor friends back home, too, but not as much.
  • Midge.  Ahh, Midge.  Besides beating a path around the pond with her brother, Midge has been tearing through kindergarten.  She will finish all the math by the end of next week, and probably all of phonics before Christmas.  Since K12 doesn’t know how to ship things this year, I’m sure she’ll get even further ahead on her history and language arts while we wait for her first grade curriculum to arrive.  I knew she was a smart cookie, but I didn’t realize she was that ready for first grade.  Other than that, she is just be-bopping through life in her little Midge way, and she and Tank Boy are becoming better and better friends every day.
  • Tank Boy.  Tonight he is going to bed sans pull up.  He has been asking and asking for days to just wear underwear to bed, and I told him he had to wake up dry three days in a row first.  Today was day number three.  I hope we’re turning a corner here.  He is just such a sound sleeper that virtually nothing wakes him up – not even sleeping in a bed that is soaking wet with his own urine.  Makes for a lovely morning when that happens.  He has been doing kindergarten with Midge off and on and is really holding his own.  I’m not making him do it, but when he chooses to join in he is more than capable.  By next year I suspect he’ll be racing through much of the kindergarten curriculum as well.  He is currently grounded from playing with any and all of his trains.  This is due to an incident the other day in which he came to me, hands dripping wet, fingers in his mouth, and told me he lost his coal car in the potty.  I assumed he must have been holding onto it while using the restroom (yes, he still does the squat sometimes) and accidentally dropped it, but no.  He told me he just wanted to put it in there, and then he tried to get it back out (remember the dripping wet hands with the fingers in the mouth?  –  I’ll wait while you go barf –Okay?  Ready?) . . . so he tried to get it back out, but it went “down the hole.”  And, sure enough, it was nowhere to be seen.  Luckily McH was able to shop vac it out when he got home from work.  Turns out the Tank had put gum all over the coal and thought he could get it washed off in the toilet.  Love-ly. 
  • Quinn.  There are things you never in a million years expect to find yourself saying to your kids, or anyone else.  For instance, I never, ever, would have imagined that one day, in a moment of frustration, I would look down at my baby boy and say, “For Pete’s sake child, you are not a poodle!  Will you please get off my leg!”  But I did.  He hangs on my legs all. the. time.  I admit I have babied him a bit too much for a bit too long.  In retrospect, I think I expected too much out of Tank Boy too soon, so I’ve been trying not to do that this time around.  The result, however, is that I haven’t been expecting enough of him.  Imagine my surprise when I found out McH had been putting him in time out for the whining while I was out grocery shopping.  And it worked!  So the whining, which was starting to get bad lately, is now getting better.    Next up on the unspoiling agenda is sleep.  I only say this is a spoiled issue because I know he can sleep through the night.  He has done it a lot.  But lately?  Not so much.  It started with teething, but now?  Just spoiled.  The teeth that were bothering him are in, there are only two left to come and it doesn’t look like anything is happening there.  No, he just wants a bottle every time he wakes up, or to be brought into our bed.  We, on the other hand, are ready for a full night’s sleep.  That has eluded us for at least a month now.  I know a lot of you understand .  Speaking of the bottle:  he is off of it and using sippy cups now, except at night.  Though, as I said, that is changing.
  • Me:  almost finished reading The Count of Monte Cristo.  It is a very good book, and would probably be even better if I could sit down and read it in large chunks rather than ten minutes here and five minutes there.  Other than that, you know, just sweeping the white linoleum fifteen times a day.  I understand why the previous owners put a white floor in the kitchen: it is bright and breezy and they only had two kids and no pets when they built the house.  Five kids and three dogs and two cats, however?  Not good with a white floor, especially when everyone comes in and out via the French door in the kitchen.  The upside is that the linoleum is about ten years old and is starting to come apart at the seams in some places.  So, as long as the economy holds enough for McH to keep his job, maybe we can replace it next year.  Speaking of kitchen purchases, I am looking at wheat grinders/grain mills.  I have it narrowed down to either the Golden Grain Grinder or the Country Living Grain Mill.  Anybody who has read this far and knows anything about grain grinders?
  • McH:  Work, work, work.  He seems to be enjoying it now that his boss’s boss came for a little visit and had a Come to Jesus talk with the I.T. team, at which point they were informed that if they didn’t shape up they would be shipped out, whereas McH would not be shipped out, so they had a choice:  come to terms with the fact that you now have an on-site manager and put on your big-boy underwear, or take a walk.  I think Wal Mart ran out of boxer-briefs that day.  He is also doing his consulting gig in the evenings, which is working out just fine.  It is not over-taxing, but the extra income is getting our savings account beefed back up.  Word is they are looking to keep him as a consultant next year as well.  From there it is anyone’s guess, but our guess is the company will go out of business by 2010, so we really are sticking most of that income in savings and not getting into the habit of living off the total of the two incomes.  Should his primary income disappear if the economy gets worse (unlikely since he is the company’s only I.T. manager with an actual I.T. background), we should be able to live without incurring debt for a while.  The goal is to have enough in savings and enough food storage that we could live for at least six months.  We’re not there yet, but if we’re careful we should be able to get there relatively soon.  Also?  Totally unrelated to disaster planning?  McH has planted grass seed out where the wheat used to be.  With any luck, we’ll have a nice, big lawn/field next year.  We’ve pretty much nixed the idea of horses for now, but still . . . lots more waterless yard for the kids to play in.
  • Rude the Dog:  tolerable, though the cats h-a-t-e him.

And George, if you’re out there, Tewt the Newt says hello.

10 thoughts on “New Zoo Review

  1. rainbowmom

    My husband has threatened that he’s going to pencil in Santa Clause for president this year. Oh, and I read The Scarlet Letter for fun too. Yay for chicks who dig the classics!


  2. I think you’ve got quite the plan there with writing-in Ronald McDonald. I say go for it!

    The kids sound so great. I can’t believe A~ – she really is something, and I love reading about her since it sounds like there are som similiarites between her and my D – I could be so lucky. All the kids really do both impress and crack me up (somehow I doubt I could ever keep a straight face around Midge!). And the gum/train/toilet – oh my! I was wondering how the consulting thing was going – glad it’s going well and that it’s giving you an opportunity to stock things away (does that mean you got that bedding you were coveting?).

    Ok, long rambly comment from me because I’ve been so behind on commenting and didn’t mean to be!


  3. Nancy

    Whatever wheat grinder you get, make sure you can hand crank it. Food storage is there for periods of unemployment or times of disaster. If it’s the disaster option, there may not be electricity.


  4. I’m with you on the debate. A real loser snoozer. G-d help us all, whoever “wins.” I just bought Chasing Shakespeare by Sarah Smith. It looks to be pretty good. Can I tell you that Tank Boy is my hero? I did barf when I read about his antics, but, oh was that story funny. When I hear the toilet flushing, and little boy G says, Uh oh, my heart. stops. beating. Not words you want to hear when dealing with plumbing. Glad yours wasn’t a fiasco. You got lucky 😉


  5. Christina

    7th grades girls are mean. No two ways about it. But not quite as mean as 6th grade girls, in my (and my daughter’s) experience. But you know I made some of my best friends in middle school, so it could be a really good thing for A~. Maybe they’ll have a drama club or something she could join as a channel for her creative energies?
    You and McH are making GREAT financial decisions. I wish we were in a place to do the same. Holding 2 mortgages makes it rather hard to save anything… but we sure are cutting back these days. Though considering the bailout rate these days, maybe we should just spend every last penny and then get our own little bailout from the gov’t? (Kidding! I kid, I am a kidder.)


  6. LOVE the update. Good job on the finances. I’m in the same boat as Christina. I have the best of intentions, but the Kansas house is decimating (my big word of the day) our budget. Keep up the good work…better to be safe than sorry (great, now I’m sounding like my mother.) 😉


  7. Toilet story–too funny…

    Shakespeare adaptation, I love it! One of our fave. summer traditions is the Shakespeare festival at Sand Harbor, and we started taking M. when she was 3. Obviously way over her head, but that didn’t stop her from having a ball. I am hoping to have her do the summer camp with them when she is old enough. A. sounds like a totally great kid. But 7th grade was hell…and that was before all of this techno bullying stuff kids are doing now. Maybe in your town, the girls get all of the mean stuff out in 6th grade though, and by 7th they are nice again?

    Once we get this adoption paid off, we are so following in your financial footsteps. (I hope–the economic crisis can’t be too good for 5* hotel companies, though…) Very wise!


  8. I love The Scarlet Letter. My copy is very well worn. Another of my favorites is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Add it to your list if you haven’t already picked it up.

    Economy, blech. I knew the bailout was a bad idea and here we go. We, too, are storing up goods. NOt just for emergencies, but for the sake of our budget. I made 8 gallons of applesauce the other day wiht a friend and that’s 8 gallons I won’t be buying at the store. In all honesty, with a family our size (6) it isn’t a bad idea to store up for emergencies. Thankfully I can mill grains, soak beans, use bones for broth, make whey/yogurt/butter, etc. I can be very frugal in the kitchen if need be. I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that, there are so many people that don’t know how to live like that.

    On grain mills. I couldn’t get the one website to work. The other is a hand crank and TRUST me, you DO NOT want a hand crank as your primary mill. If it’s just for emergencies, find, but not your weekly grindings. Two to three times a week husband and I would crank away and it got old about the second week. We’re not lazy, just strapped for time and no child old enough or strong enough to help. Yes, my girls help around the house (terribly old fashioned of me.) Anyhow, I’ve got the handcrank in the basement just in case, it was given to us free and were there ever a disaster, I could still make breads (over a fire unless I manage to snag a gas stove one of these days.)

    The mill I did end up getting is called a Wonder Mill. It has three grain settings: Pastry, Bread, and Course. The “Course” setting is finer than anything I could get doubling milling with our hand crank. I’ve ground wheat, millet, spelt, and rice in it and all made a very nice flour. I’m thinking it does 12 cups at a time, their website is very helpful.

    The hard thing here is finding dependable grain. I bought some off the Amish and it isn’t baking up quite right and I’m constantly picking little bits of rock, other seeds, etc. out of it. The shipping on grain is pricey as it’s heavy. Need to find a good grain source that won’t break the bannk (I’m thinking $40 for a 50lb bag of light wheat???)


  9. metaphase

    I was right there with ya’ at Scarlett Letter and having a kid hang off your leg all the time, but you lost me at grain grinder. See, I didn’t even know it was possible to make dinner without a whining, crying kid saying “up, up” while hanging on your leg. But what on earth are you doing grinding grain? I know you live in a small town, but there are grocery stores there, right? Oh wait, I think you must be one of those moms who actually cooks and makes meals from scratch for their families. I’ve heard of those. I think I saw a documentary on the elusive “cooking moms” once. Me? Not so much. Most likely everything I make was once contained in a box, can, or in the freezer section at the store.


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