Sunday, August 17, 2008

School Buses and Blood Marys

School starts in a week. The bus will pick Victoria up at the end of the driveway and Zoe and I will spend our days juicing tomatoes for a winter's worth of spaghetti sauce and bloody marys. Our tomatoes are growing like mad. We harvest about ten pounds a day. Hooray! We grew Striped German, Brandywine, Green Zebra, Amish Paste, and Black Krim. I think we'll try a different black variety next year. The Striped Germans are now a yearly tradition and the Brandywines are really the best tasting, ugliest tomato in the world. I need a good red heirloom tomato that renders a lot of juice. I may have this all figured out by the time Zoe heads off on the school bus.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

It takes longer to grow a tomato than it does to grow a baby.

This never occurred to me before this morning. After our snowy winter, floody spring, and cold summer, I'm desperate for a tomato. Or I thought I was. We are getting about one a day from our garden now. There are nearly 50 thriving plants in the yard. One a day isn't cutting it. I want to see a bushel basket. I want to be up to my elbows in tomato juice. I want a bloody mary. We started our plants from seed in February. That certainly seemed like a leap of faith. It's difficult to choose seeds, place the order, buy the soil, hang the lights, and be convinced that it may still be snowing in June. We started with nearly 100 plants. Half grew to bear fruit. Not bad considering what we've been up against. Staring at the plants does not make the fruit ripen any faster. I should probably write it all up in a scientific study and apply for a grant. I have the research. Yesterday, we ate our tomato in a breakfast burrito with some of those righteous rainbow eggs and extra Tabasco. Today, I may eat our tomato by myself in the yard. Like an apple.

Monday, August 4, 2008

goodwill loves me

I tackled the mess in the girls' room this morning. Tan Van has five (5!) garbage bags of "stuff" in it now waiting to be dropped off at Goodwill. Zoe tore every card in her Elmo UNO game into tiny little pieces and placed them (creatively) around the room. She also managed to sneak a graham cracker upstairs and crumble it into her sister's bed. That would explain the late night cries of "I ITCH! Mom! I ITCH!" Victoria has made a hobby of removing all of the shoe strings from her shoes and tying them together with toys and paper and lots of knots. She has the cutest pants on today. They have little draw strings all over them. She just tied her own knees together. In a knot. I offered to cut the bottoms of the legs of her pants off with scissors. She elected to sit down on the floor and resume watching her show.
The vent is still blocked. I've reached the limit of what I can do. It's going to take professional help. Which can't come until the kitchen sink is put back together and working. I can't have too many plumbers and ac guys around here. Wouldn't look good.
I put locks on the doors. Lots of locks. Locking out....locking in....locking so I can use the bathroom without wondering why I hear Zoe's little voice coming from the basement, where she is most likely attempting to bathe in the dehumidifier water. Zoe will only be home with me for another three years and two weeks. Then she's off to Kindergarten.
I am not engaging my children in mind developing or social activities today. They are watching Scooby Doo. With commercials. Quick call the police.
I am taking a break from putting away laundry and realizing that I have to go to the grocery store. We are out of parmesan cheese and the good kind of bread and anti-cholesterol butter (because even if it tastes like butter, it can still lower your cholesterol). The grocery getting trip can't wait another day. Whatever. Break is over.

But there's one more thing. Being a stay at home mom is hard. The pay isn't great. The respect isn't great. I like stay at home moms. There's absolutely no competition for perfection. None of us can do it. No matter what. It can not be done. So I vote we give up. In a few years, I'll probably go back to work. Maybe I'll have a job I'm good at. This....I kind of suck at. But it beats sticking my kids in the day time orphanage and trying to pretend like I don't have them so I can get a promotion. In the spirit of total and complete failure, I officially declare today "Give Up And Order Pizza Day." or "Give Up And Cook A Frozen Pizza Day."

Pizza. It's what's for dinner.

Friday, August 1, 2008

13 things in the a/c vent

It was so hot this morning at 4am that I had to use the windshield wipers to see where I was going. By 6, I felt like I had been running for days. Most days, delivering 100 papers before breakfast is just good exercise and the only real time I have to think. This morning, it was just humid. After the long drive back to Clear Lake yesterday afternoon to drop off Bastian, I'm feeling a little sore and dumb. This morning's heat just put the finishing touches on exhaustion. I walked through the tomatoes with my coffee this morning and forgot all about the first three hours of the day. The fruit is starting to get some color. So, the weather is bad for me, but good for the garden. I feel like I'm stalking the tomatoes. I check on them four times a day. We have a few green casualties sitting in the window sill from when we staked the plants last week. I look at them fifty times a day. I don't think it makes them turn red any faster.
My parents brought back three very beautiful ripe tomatoes from my grandparents' garden in Missouri. We ate the last one last night with blue potatoes and steak. The kids were all gone so I ended up feeling ambitious and starting a movie. An hour in, I gave up and went to bed. Colin took the papers for me yesterday morning so I wouldn't fall asleep with a car full of kids in the afternoon, so there was no argument from him. We get tired. Stupidly tired.
Bastian took a trunk full of loot to Minnesota with him. I finally gave up on a lot of things I'd been telling him he couldn't take. He's older now, though. I figure he can take care of his stuff. If he can't, he just won't have as much cool stuff.
I scooped the trash and rubble out of his room yesterday and am tackling the little girls' room today. There is a project in there that I'm dreading. The air conditioner vent is in the floor and isn't screwed down (brilliant!!!), so Zoe conducted an experiment where she removed the metal cover and dropped everything she could get her hands on that would fit in a 3" x 6" hole down the vent. So the vent is blocked and their bedroom door has to be open all of the time or it gets as hot as an oven in there. Her toys, a few shoes, and some clothes are all sitting at the bend about 12 feet from the hole in the floor. A broom handle with a wire hanger taped to it is not 12 feet long. I disassembled the tree trimmer and put a wire hanger on that. After retrieving a shoe, a plastic horse, the bottom of Zoe's swimming suit, and half a dozen stuffed animals, I gave up. Mostly because Tori was talking in my ear. "Mom! Mom! I DID not Do This! Mom! Mom! What's down there? Mom! Mom! Mom! Is Zoe in trouble? Will our house light on fire in the winter because all that stuff is down there? Mom! Will it? Mom! Are you getting it? Mom!" And on and on and on and on. All the while Zoe was sitting on the step crying loudly because she knew she was in some trouble for this stunt. I was so thankful when she got quiet that I didn't go and LOOK at her to see what she was doing. So, what was she doing? Spreading lotion all over my bedroom mirror and wall, of course. I've not had the gumption to tackle that situation again. The vent mocks me when I walk by. Today, I will conquer it. Or I will call a professional. I don't know which professional, but I will call one. Maybe a psychic could tell me if the chaos will ever subside. I probably don't want to know.