Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What Was the Question?

A couple gentlemen paid me a visit today to talk about some business stuff. I'd never met these guys before so I should've tried to make a good impression, right? I should've cleaned my house and made sure I had plenty of refreshments on hand. I should've threatened the kids to behave drilled the kids on the importance of good behavior - maybe even teach them a nice little farewell song with which they could entertain our guests.

But I didn't. I just don't have the gene that makes you get all nervous when meeting people. I don't find it necessary to freak out about every little detail. I don't agonize for hours that my guests might not like my scratched up old Tupperware plates and cups. I don't worry that my china cabinet isn't sparkling. Well, I mainly don't worry about that one because I don't have a china cabinet. But if I did have a china cabinet, I wouldn't worry about it. Of course, my kids would've probably broken everything in it, so there really wouldn't be anything to worry about anyway....

I just don't stress about little stuff like that. My sister's the one who got the stress-out gene. She got it from my mom. My mom is hosting her bunko group next week. That means that for the past month she's been making lists of stuff that NEEDS to be done. She's cleaned everything despite the fact that it's just her and my dad in their house and they generally don't wedge granola bar wrappers in the couch cushions, spill pineapple juice on the floor, color on the tv, or shove dirty laundry in their closet. Their house is pretty much always spotless. It looks like a model home.

She's also landscaped, bought new dinnerware, tried out 52 new appetizer recipes, had the carpets cleaned, bought all new furniture, and built a 1000 square foot addition. OK, so I may be exaggerating a bit. A little bit.

Anyway, back to my visitors. Despite my stellar planning, I had to run out to the grocery store for some food for lunch. It was either that or feed the kids a can of stewed tomatoes and a some questionable looking celery for lunch. I've gotten spoiled with Joe being home most evenings. I haven't had to take all the kids to the grocery store with me in a long time.

I had one kid crawling under the cart. A couple more were writing, "cheese" and "poop" in the condensation on the deli case. Brooklyn was screaming her head off because she wanted to hold the little paper number I'd taken at the deli counter. Clay was sitting in the basket squishing grapes, Austin was teaching Brooklyn to say fun things like, "Get my gun!", and Savannah was giving me dirty looks because I tortured her by making her go with us.

After the grocery store fun, we spent the afternoon with our guests. The visit went something like this:

GUEST: Hi, nice to meet you.
CLAY: Mom! Look, a butt crack! as he indicated a dent in the pear he was eating
ME: CLAYTON REID! to my guest I'm sorry. It's so nice to meet you too.
CLAY: Look! Really Mom, there's a butt crack!
ME: Clayton, that's enough. to my guest He's charming, no?
CLAY: Butt crack! Butt crack! This pear has a butt crack!
ME: apologetically to my guest I dropped him on his head when he was little.
AUSTIN: Mom, come see my garden. I have 22 tomatoes growing now.
ME: That's awesome. I'll look at it later.
GUEST: So, besides your book, have you written anything else?
BROOKLYN: I want chips!
LEXI: Can I read this book to you, Mom?
SAVANNAH: Mom! Jackson's having pop!
JACKSON: Can I have a friend over?
BROOKLYN: I want chips!
LEXI: Can we go swimming?
JACKSON: Where's my baseball game tonight?
AUSTIN: Should I pick the zucchini today?
LEXI: Can I go across the street now?
ME: to guest Ummm, I'm sorry. What was the question again?

This went on for 2 hours.

I'm pretty sure we scared them right back home.
OK, now I need to talk about something serious. I know, I know, I really try hard not be serious. I don't want to ruin my reputation as a goofy dork. However, I wanted to bring something to your attention. I've been super fortunate that I've never been affected by post partum depression. Oh sure, I did the usual crying because I forgot to put fabric softener in the laundry or tearing up over a battery commercial on tv, and other stupid stuff like for a couple weeks postpartum, but I never experienced full blown depression. There are a lot women who don't fare so well when their hormones go bonkers after giving birth, however. Reese Butler founded 1-800-SUICIDE in 1998 after losing his wife to suicide. This program helps 50,000 callers every month. 50,000 a month! Women suffering from postpartum depression, teenagers unable to cope, adults, dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents. Right now, the Kristin Brooks Hope Center/1-800-SUICIDE is privately funded. Information about callers is kept confidential. Trained psychiatrict rescue teams are sent to help; not the police. And they're trying to keep it that way. They need to raise another 55k by August. Yes, that's a huge amount of money, but every dollar adds up. Maybe some of you have been affected by depression. Maybe some of you have even lost loved ones to suicide. This is a program that can help. Check it out HERE.

And finally, because I'm always in search of ways to waste time to enrich my mind with fun, educational games, I wanted to share THIS GAME with you. It's a Journey to the Center of the Earth game! This is a fun one to play with the kids. Just don't play it with your kids who are over the age of 5 or so because they will make fun of your lack of geographical knowledge, and they will marvel at how you ever made it to adulthood not knowing what country lies to the north of Zimbabwe or what layer is directly beneath the earth's crust.

Then after the geography embarrassment, the kids laughed at me as I smashed my little guy into rocks until he became unconcious. And I won't even tell you how long it took me to hop across the rocks to get to the center of the earth! In fact, after I killed my guy 4000 times, I gave up entirely. I think I'll just skip the game and let my kids play so they can taunt me with their vast geography knowledge. I'll just go to the movie instead. After all, Brendan Fraser is in it. Yum-o.


Storycraft said...

Brendan Fraiser who will soon be hitting the movie theaters again in the Inkheart movie, due out this January!!! He was a close friend of the author of the book (Inkheart), and she based the main character on him. So when plans for a movie were in the works, she insisted that he play the role he'd been the model for. How awesome is that?
Okay, yeah, so I'm a wee bit obsessed with Inkheart, what's your point?

Anonymous said...

You know, that's exactly how an interview in my house would've gone and I only have 2 kids. I think it's just a kid thing in general that we're not allowed to talk to other adults. It's gotta be in their union rules or something. It doesn't matter how many you have. You also described one of my trips to the grocery store. Again, with only 2. I'm thinking I should jsut have 6 kids. At this point, what would be the difference?

bee said...

Hi Dawn,

My first time responding to your blog even though I have been a reader for quite a few months...
Just wanted to say a big thank you for posting about the 1800-suicide. I am not in the USA but I still wanted to say thanks.
I lost 2 cousins who were brothers to suicide 18 months apart and it was and still is devastating. I have also suffered with depression for around 7 years now, and just to know that there are people out there like yourself that are willing to post this kind of thing on your blog which has so many readers is great!!!

Anonymous said...

YOU SO ROCK! Thanks for addressing the post partum depression issue. It brought tears to my eyes this morning - My sweet little girl is only 2 but it was a rough couple of years... Not because of her but because of the hormones! Your blog the past year has really helped me laugh about the craziness of children and put things back into perspective! THANK YOU for making me smile!

Kelley said...

Dawn, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who is completely stressed about hosting bunko. I have it next month and I have already painted my kitchen and lined up the carpet cleaners for the week before. These things I can handle, but please tell me, WHAT IS YOUR MOTHER SERVING??? That is my biggest stressor of all. Coming up with something that hasn't been done by another person in my group, but is relatively simple is driving me nuts! I am not good in the kitchen even cooking for my family of five. Don't tell my bunko group, but I have even entertained the thought of dropping out just to avoid this.

Irishmama said...

Dawn - A few questions for ya....reading your grocery store adventures is always a pleasure, but I have to wonder, at what age are you willing to leave one or two of the kids at home for the grocery run? My oldest is 11, and I'll leave him if I know he is A) occupied with something and B) my trip is under an hour.

Also, you mentioned Clayton's middle name and now it piqued my curiosity......what are all your kids middle names?

Have a great day!
Karyn from PA

Mabunny said...

Love the shopping story! I'm sure your guest was ready for anything, and would indeed come back to visit you.
Have a great day!

Becky said...

My friend has a Christian based postpartum organization. Check it out at http://outofthevalley.org/.

Kristi said...

I am pretty much the same way when I am preparing for a visit, stressing about cleaning, etc. I get interrupted like this when I talk on the phone too! I can't imagine doing this with six kids as the two I have can be a challenge!

jamey r said...

my kids have been writing cheese and poop on dirty cars...it must be a seasonal thing.

My Semblance of Sanity said...

Hope your visitors got all their questions answered, I am sure the giggled all the way to the car!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of geography (as in, mine isn't so good for the midwest, so I don't know how close this is to you), my kids just got the new Lego Club magazine, and they're opening an indoor LegoLand Discovery Center in Schaumburg (near the Woodfield Mall, near-ish Chicago, right?) at the end of July. If it were anywhere within driving distance from the East Coast, believe me, we'd have to go. I don't know if your boys (or girls, sorry) are LegoManiacs like mine are, but it sounds cool! Maybe you could use your newfound "reviewer" status to swing free admission and then blog about it as publicity....


Anonymous said...

THANK YOU DAWN!!! I suffered for a long time with PPD and felt very alone. I donated to this cause because it affected me greatly. I felt along for so long and I don't want anyone else to ever go through that.

Carla Bryant

MayberryMom said...

Brendan Fraser=yum-o for sure!!

Kikilia said...

I did great on the geography part- but couldn't even get my guy to jump on the blasted rocks!

Roni said...

I always look forward to your posts. I must say.. that game is kinda addicting lol. I can't get past those rocks.

wehave9 said...

WOW! And I didn't even notice my kids issing that day! LOL Your house sounds like mine, in more ways than one. I have 6 of my own as well and I also have 3 stepkids. Never boring here. And all of our "adult" conversations go just like that. Ever tried to have a phone conversation?!

Mom Of 3 said...

That is how visitors at our house go as well. LOL And the store i try relly hard not to take the kids there. It is never pretty. Thanks for the info!

Feisty Irish Wench said...

I have half as many kids as you, and it sounds like stuff my kids would do. Actually I just blogged about a trip to Staples with two offspring.

My sister hangs up on me when I start telling the kids to sit down, stop picking on the sibling, quit throwing the ball in the house, turn the tv down, get out of the fridge, shut the back door, and get from behind me and stop eavesdropping. Persnickety Ticker finds it entertaining. I guess it's perspective. It's possible the media just find it utterly facinating that you still have hair. I think we do too.

Anonymous said...

I see you favor the Von Trapp family. So when is the next one due??


Queen Telling said...

I think Bunko is a secret front for some kind of cult! My Aunt does the same thing when hosting a bunko game. lol


momto3cubs said...

That game was fun! But we couldn't figure out how to jump the rocks/get the diamonds in Step 3.

Yes, depression is for real. Thanks for posting about that hotline.

Miss Blondie said...

Hi Dawn, this is my first time reading your blog and i really enjoyed it. I only have 1 child and still cant talk to adults w/out interruptions, esp. when i'm on the phone. I swear the minute i make a call he's in my ear.

Crazy Raven Productions said...

Thank you so much for posting that number and that cause on here. I attempted suicide twice when I was 13, but thankfully felt too guilty that my brother or sister would find my body before I did any major damage to myself. After the second try, I walked to the kitchen and informed my mother what I was trying to accomplish. It was the only way to get into therapy, because she feared the stigma of a child seeing a shrink. I'm sure I'm not the only kid who has had to deal with that. Fortunately, my brother and sister didn't have to go through that to see a therapist when the depression hit them (both also around age 13.)

It's a horrible feeling, that despair, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone ever. I know that you have likely helped someone today, someone in need. Well done.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn,

I just love reading your blog. I sure can relate to you on the not so clean house, I would love to have a spotless house. About the wedge of granola bar, When my BIL was painting my living room, he pulled the love seat out from the wall only to find a popsicle stick STUCK to the wall, we had to pry it off. Kids are so funny. Just the other week my son stapled his clothes to his bedroom wall, even his boxers. Hugs to you for doing an interview with the kids home. I know I would have to send mine off somewhere.


She's cleaned everything despite the fact that it's just her and my dad in their house and they generally don't wedge granola bar wrappers in the couch cushions, spill pineapple juice on the floor, color on the tv,

Anonymous said...

Dawn I love your blog it's very funny and also that you do put up information about kids with cancer and things of that nature. I would like to bring this to your attention and maybe you could put it out there for everyone to read at some point... One of my dear childhood friends lost her youngest baby last night... she and her baby put Junior to bed and when they went to check on him a little later they noticed he was missing.. After searching the hosue with no turn up they went into the yard and they found him in an old pond.. His father did cpr on him but little junior did not make it. No one is sure how he got out of the house as all the doors and windows were locked... Even in this tragic and hard time the Hammonds family has decided to donate Juniors heart valves to another child that they can help give life too. If your readers could say a prayer for the Hammonds family as Mrs. Jessica Hammonds is also in her 3rd trimester of a very very hard pregnancy and is on bedrest and in this time they are experiencing the most heartbreaking thing they could possibly go through as parents. So please to all your readers if you have a pool, pond, anything that can hold water please please i beg of you to Fence it or drain it so no one will have to suffer this terrible loss Thanking you in advance for all your kind words and prayers Sasha Francis- Bridge City- TX

Anonymous said...

I actually was thinking of writing you to tell you about the suicide hotline. I actually learned about it on the website postsecret.com. You should really check out the site if you havent seen it before. People write their deepest, darkest secrets on post cards and send them to this guy and he posts them on the website. Its actually very enlightening when you read someone else's secret that is your own. It's updated every Sunday. FYI! You are such a great person for trying to help others!!

Shellie said...

That sounded like what happens every time I answer the phone. Thanks for the info on the hotline in need and the game. We love those games.

barrellfullofmonkeys said...

Mmmmm .. . Fraiser-liscious ;)

Kathy D.

Anonymous said...

You Will Hate Me For This!

Mother of 4. (Ages 9, 11, 12, 17) It's 9,000 degrees with wind gusts of 60 MPH, tornado warnings, and the A/C is on the fritz. Instead of making supper, I am sitting here reading ALL of June and up to today in July. I save up your blog the way *some* people hoard chocolate -- but I'm not naming names, or anything. I opened a bottle of wine, and laughed myself silly! (It's either the wine, or your fabulous blog....Jury is still out!) My kids are plugged in to every electronic machine known to man -- and I'm ignoring them completely! Just wanted you to know how much I enjoy your writing, and will be the first in line when you show up to Armpit, MN for a book signing.
P.S. I walked over to refill my glass with the "magic elixer" and my 9 year old had managed to balance a serrated knife BLADE UP while making another jug of lemonade. Of course, he didn't notice the danger so it's really lucky I needed another glass of wine. Thanks for all you do, Dawn!

Richie said...

I've been reading your blog for awhile and wanted to say hi. I also have something like 5 or 6 kids (they won't hold still long enough to count them).

Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever commented that you remind them of Jon & Kate plus 8?

No? You remind me of Jon & Kate plus 8 (er, 6).

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