Thursday, November 29, 2007

Word for the Day: Custody

Sunday, after having been gone to Kingston for Thanksgiving, Moriah sat in her room and played with her Barbies. They were all sitting around in her room like some sort of beauty queen convention. They were even seperated into social groups; you know, The Malibu Group, The Fairytopia Group, The Superhero Group, and the Social Outcasts (the ones whose origin cannot be established any longer or they aren't really Barbies at all). Ken was there too. He always hangs out with the girls.

A Barbie convention all by itself would not be too stressful or devastating. It was the apparent cyclone that had accompanied the convention. I expressed my concern in a calm manner over the obvious natural disaster that had struck because we had just arrived home that afternoon and it would not have been possible for ALL of those things to have been dragged out of the closets and strewn about the room. There could only be one of two explanations: natural disaster or "we've been robbed." And, since none of our stuff appears to have been "jack'd," it has to have been a twister.

Moriah has never been one to comprehend the whole "Clean your room!" concept. We usually try to approach it with baby steps; one small event at a time until the room is straight. While this usually works, it takes too long and doesn't fill my need for instant gratification.

I explained to Moriah that if her dolls were not out of the floor by morning she would most definitely lose custody of them. "What is custody?" I explained to her in elementary terms what custody meant and proceeded to give her a lesson in the antics of social services when we don't care for the blessings that God has given us. Followed by a reiteration of the definition of "foster care."

Monday morning, she had forgotten all of this. Had she not listened!? Am I shouting (not actually shouting, I wouldn't do that **bashful grin with my fingernail in my teeth**) into the wind? It sadden me deeply. But, I had to stick to my guns! No more spinelessness. I went into her room and got down on my knees.

One by one, I gathered their helpless little bodies into my arms. Some were clothed with swimsuits, some fully clothed, others tops and no bottoms and vice versa, and still others were completely naked. And, then.....bless his heart, there is Ken! There were 20 gathered in my arms. Twenty? Is that all!?!! How could that be? There must be more somewhere in the muck! Nope! The rest was mere aftermath of the storm. There were two small "Kelly" dolls on the floor still....but come on, I'm not totally heartless; even the Mormons left the small ones at Mountain Meadows.

Last night, I walked in Moriah's room. She had misplaced her progress reports that had to be returned to school. Is it any wonder? I started to help her look for them and then I stopped. "Moriah, I specifically remember telling you that I was done cleaning your room for you all by myself!" This was followed by a lecture on how we had only been home from Thanksgiving for 3 days and she was already growing mold and losing things in her room. There wasn't even a blank spot where the Barbies once lay!

She found the progress reports and as I signed them I started talking about the conversation of Sunday night about "Custody" and "Foster Care." She claims to recall something about it. I asked her where her Barbies were. She retorted, "In the drawers...where they belong!" That little head shake that she has acquired somewhere over the past four years! ARGHHH!!!!
"Are you sure?" I asked. "YES!" Ohmigosh! More head shaking...this time with a snarl!
I questioned how the Barbies could be in the drawers where they belonged when most of the drawers were scattered around the room.

She ran to her closet! Oh! The deafening sound of plastic and glass breaking and metal bending as it is trampled under feet. Could it be? Had Mom actually finally flipped her lid and threw her stuff away? I witnessed the oncoming birth of an attitude which was quickly aborted by the reminder of the word "CUSTODY!"

"Why? why? why? They are my family! I take care of them! They have no one but me!" By the way, that is not an embellished statement! She actually said that to me!!!! Just what are Hannah Montana and Drake and Josh covering in their story lines these days? Where does this stuff come from? You can't make that up! That came from the heart.

But, it was too late. Cruella had struck. The puppies were gone!

"When we are entrusted with caring for things, such as family, and we fail to do so. Sometimes, when it gets really really bad, someone comes in and takes them away. They aren't gone. They have gone to live in a safe place until we get our ACTS together. Your beloved family has been gone for 3 days and you didn't even notice."

"Acts? What acts?" I'm so glad she asked because it's been so long since I was able to exercise my social work skills. I continued.............

"Sometimes one must attend classes that teach us how to care for our entrusted ones. Sometimes we must merely clean up our environment. Once it has been approved by the court, then and only then, can our beloved ones be returned to us." Amen! So it has been said, so, it shall be done!

Throughout the night, I heard crying. Not just crying. Crying isn't a strong enough word but I'm not sure what the Hebrew word for 'whimpering that gradually progresses into crying out to the mountains to fall on you while pulling the hair and gnashing the teeth' actually is. That would be a more accurate description of the emotions that were oozing under the door to her room. So, thank you King James for simplifying things like....crying.

It was hard on me. I won't go as far as to say it was harder on me than it was on her; but it was hard nonetheless and started getting annoying after a few hours (okay, that was a little heartless).

This morning, I arose from my slumber. I walked into her room. Much to my astonishment, there is carpet in her room! The sun was shining. The birds were singing. The flowers were blooming. It was there for the whole world to see! Gosh bess 'er! (That is borrowed from Luke's prayers.) I have no idea where all of that "stuff" went. I know that the investigators will discover it before the children are returned. After the court approves, they will come back home and another social tragedy will have been diverted. You know, until the next time.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

As I sit here taking a break from the preparation for the trip over the river and through the woods, I think of my morning. I have washed 4 loads of clothes, dried 3, and put away 2 of them. I have packed 2 suitcases of clothes for the kids (hopefully, John and I will have some packed by the end of the day. I have picked up all toys in the family room and put them in their appropriate rooms (not necessarily in their appropriate places in said rooms but I am hopeful that they will make it their eventually). I have located the little treasure chest that Dr. Willis gave Moriah to put her baby teeth in when she loses them........................empty. I need to vacuum and there is popcorn and more than likely baby teeth in the floor. Luke is running around the house playing the tamborine and chanting. I took the kids suitcases out and load them in the vehicle. I fed the turtle and checked on the dog. I fed Luke his usual dose of "chick." Loaded and started the dishwasher due to noticing that the last load of clothes had finished the last cycle.

As I sit here taking a breath from the realization that I have been busy this morning, I think of the blessings that I have to be thankful for (this is, of course, a short list of the many). I am thankful for a washer and dryer that works (and the spare of each that is in storage because this house came with a washer and dryer). I am thankful for both warm clothes and warm weather clothes and enough closet space for all of it. I am thankful for children to pack for and family to go visit on holidays. I am thankful for a loving (most of the time) husband that is healthy, strong, can do anything and has a good job. I am thankful for healthy kids that feel like playing with every toy they have and had rather play with them in the den with mom and dad than in their rooms by themselves. I am thankful for my vacuum cleaner and the new found ability to realize that they are just teeth and it isn't necessary to keep them for all eternity so if they are gone they are gone and stress isn't worth it (it took a 2 year old to teach me that).....I am thankful for the towel that cleaned up the water from the expedition to determine whether or not it is possible to empty the refrigerator water dispenser. I am blessed by the realization that the chanting is actually prayer of "Gosh bless Momma, Daddy, Nanna, Papa, Mam, Paw, Yi-Yah.........." I am thankful for a vehicle filled with gas (for a few miles anyway) to make the trek over the river and through the woods (in our case this is a literal description). I am thankful for a pet small enough that it can make the trip with us or resilient enough to not eat for a day or two. I am thankful for automatic dog feeders and waterers. I am thankful for food in the fridge, a dishwasher, dishes, and dishwasher tabs. For if I lacked one of these items in this day, I would be unable to sit here on the computer (also very thankful for) and take a break.

I know you all have billions of things to be thankful for this time of year. Hopefully, you are constantly reminded of the little things as well as the big. Love to you all and enjoy this time with friends and family even if it is just in thought of days gone by. Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Moriah and Luke at AWANA Clubs

These are pix of Moriah with her AWANA group the night she finished her Book 1. And, Luke being Luke in Puggles.

The One (or Two) that Got Away!?!?!?!

Last week (or a few weeks ago, I'm not sure because time runs together on me now), John went bow hunting and he called me and told me he had just shot a buck. He looked and looked and looked and never found the deer. He had the Supt and a few others out helping him look for it. He had given up, thought he might have missed it.
Then, he went out again and found the carcus of the deer with nothing left but the antlers and bones. I asked how do you know it was the one you shot. Of course, he recognized the rack and then there was the whole retrieval of his arrow from the rotting corpse. I told him you know, circle of life, yadda yadda and so on and so on. At least the animals of God's kingdom had a feast.
Again yesterday, he calls me and says, "I just shot a big deer that made the other one look like a dwarf. It has the biggest rack I have ever seen." I was at my parents with the kids and we all got a little excited. This was fairly early in the day so surely, this time he would find the deer right. I called back a few hours later; he was looking for it. He had someone helping him. Then again, a few more hours passed; still looking. I called a third time; he had given up the search. I was a little irritated by this. "Why did you give up? It isn't dark yet." He told me it did no good to keep walking and walking over the same terrain with no signs whatsoever.
"Are you sure that you shot it?" He assured me he knows he shot it. "Did you have your glasses on?" No, but he had his contacts in. "Did you have new contacts or those old ones that I painted the little bucks on as a cruel joke?" We must have lost cell signal at this point; I'm sure he wouldn't have hung up on me.
I got home and he seemed a bit distraught. I looked at him and said, "This is twice that you have used this story. So, next time you call me and tell me you just shot a deer with a BIG OL' RACK, there best be either a freezer full of meat when I get home or a dead Hooter's waitress strapped to the hood of your truck."

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Luke Increases His Vocabulary, Part 2

Here it is 5 days later, Luke is still "Buttface"-ing. However, it lost some of the humor when John walked in the door and Luke proudly proclaimed, "Hey Buttface!" He is sneaky about it. He will be talking to you and slip it in and go on like nothing has happened. By the time you realize it, he's on to something else and you didn't even get a chance to say, "No!"

Monday, November 05, 2007

Feeling the Heat!!!

Normally on a Friday night we would be at a football game. This week, thankfully, our game was on Thursday night. The kids were wound up because their grandparents were here. John was preparing to go bow hunting the next morning. I started a load of laundry because their was an essential garment that John needed to go hunting.

I went to the linen closet to get a sheet for the airbed that John's parents were sleeping on. It smelled of burning plastic in the closet where by no coincidence the breaker box is located. I called John without drawing attention to it (because it goes without saying that Moriah will panic). John got his dad and they both agreed that it needed attention but they both thought it would be okay until morning. We all went to bed.

About 11:30, Moriah comes in huffing and puffing. Not the huffing and puffing that comes after running a marathon (like I would know what that was like)but the huff and puff of a bad dream or something serious was coming down. "Moriah, What's wrong?" "Mom, we don't have electricity."

I woke John up. "I'll check it in the morning, go to bed." HUH?!?!? I thought to myself. I was in a stupor from being awakened; but I just lay there stewing over his lack of concern as the aroma of burning plastic fills the house and now, we HAVE NO ELECTRICITY. I'm fairly sure that visions of big white-tailed bucks danced in his head. I got up to take care of some business that otherwise would have waited until morning.

I walked by the linen closet on my way to the room where you take care of such business. The smell of burning plastic had become somewhat stronger. I again woke John up. "I really wish you would reconsider waiting until morning to check out the breaker box thing."

Reluctantly, he drug himself out of bed and came into the hallway. Oh, by the way, we still have no electricity. He stumbles through the dark and feels of the breaker box. It was hot. anyone else surprised by this revelation? Now, he stumbles through the house to get his flashlight. Then, we have to locate a flat-head screwdriver. He takes the cover off of the breaker box and lo and behold, there was evidence of a fire that once burned. I asked John if he now wanted me to wake his dad (sidebar: his dad is an electrician). So, I did.

Mr. Fultz was asleep in Moriah's room. It was in it's normal condition. He managed to make the trek to the hallway without tripping and breaking any toes or such. John and his dad managed to rewire some breakers and get electricity for the rest of the night. During the ordeal, John's mom announced, "Something is on fire!" "No, it isn't!" "Yes, it is. I smell plastic burning." Thanks, Mom!!!! Moriah is huffing and puffing uncontrollably again. It's an understandable response if you recall her light switch catching on fire a few years back.

John crawled up in the attic and checked for the nice autumn glow that would usually accompany fire in the walls. It was determined that all was safe. We all went back to bed and slept soundly all night. Oh yeah, right!

Saturday morning, it was determined that the washer, dryer, and freezer were all on the same breaker. They were all running at the same time. This is not an uncommon occurrence. But, while I was doing laundry, someone had started a load of dishes in the dishwasher. I told John that I was fairly certain that this was a message from God that I wasn't supposed to do housework anymore.

I don't think he bought it!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Luke Increases His Vocabulary

Tonight, while at the football game, one of our flag girls told their instructor who was bent over, I didn't really want your butt in my face. She said, "Well, don't bend over. It's not like I've got eyes back there that I can see who's behind me." The girl said, "No, I guess you don't....or do you?" I said, "If she did, it would give a whole new meaning to the term..'buttface.'" ARGGGHHHHH!!!!!

I knew better. It's just been so long since I had to watch what I say in front of a child. From that point on, Luke has called everyone that he sees "Buttface."

"Hey! Buttface! Go Buttface! Buttface face. Butt Buttface. In the pressbox at halftime, "BUTTFACE!!!" "BUTTFACE BAND" All night long, "Momma Buttface. Yiyah Buttface." Again, ARGHHHHH!!!!!!!

Oh well, maybe he will sleep it off tonight. My luck though..............probably not!

How Rude!?!?!?!?!

Tonight, we played Harding Academy here in Perryville. It was Senior night. The last high school football game for the seniors. Harding brought their band. The director said that their show was only going to take a few minutes. A few minutes turned into 8 or 10. Our band didn't get to complete their show because of this. They had a percussion feature and one more tune to play that they didn't get to do. Normally, the clockkeeper can stop the clock and sneak a few seconds here and there. Not tonight, the officials actually walked out onto the 50 yard line and stood while our band was performing. If you are performing and the clock runs down to zero, your team gets a penalty. Our senior drummers had parents there that didn't get to see their feature.

And, if that isn't bad enough, as soon as halftime was over. The Harding Band loaded their bus and left. So, pretty much, let's show up late, ruin senior night, and go home. Just my opinion, I think that is rude and disrespectful....especially since next year....we go there!!!! Maybe we can do our entire performance and let them see the percussion feature that they missed tonight.