Thursday, August 11, 2016

Why Home Improvement Projects are Pointless While Raising Boys

Is there any better way to waste a perfectly precious rainy day than to patch the walls of the stairway and hall that your sweet angel-baby sons use on a daily basis? 
There is not. 
You guys, there should be special wall substances for parents with boys because I am here to tell you, dry wall does not cut it. 
Nope. Not a bit. 
Drywall has an amazing capacity for dings and dents, it scrapes and nicks, and then of course there is also the chipped paint. 

We have lived in this house for approximately 8 1/2 years.
In that amount of time my 3 boys (and their cousins and friends and quite possibly there father...) have managed to make approximately 78,005 dents and holes in the drywall of what we will now refer to as the Spackle grave yard. 
I am dead serious.
It's that bad.

The good news is, there are many dents and holes with a precious memory attached to it. 
Like the time the boys were practicing there Ninja Warrior wall climbing skills and one of them slipped and left a dent in the wall with their head. Or the fact that a loving grandparent gifted one of the boys with a dart board for their birthday and even though they are plastic tipped darts, and even thought the dart board was placed in front of a mammoth sized bulletin board, there are now no less than 7,293 small holes in the walls around said dart board (there could be a reason we never replaced those darts as they 'mysteriously' disappeared). 
I am patching holes and dents that have no explanation whatsoever. 
How, pray tell, do you get a perfectly circular dent in the wall the size of a $0.50 cent piece 2 inches off the floor in a corner? 
And what exactly is happening in this hall and stairs (besides Ninja Warrior training) that could possibly create all of these holes and dents? 

I have a few ideas.... 
Match box car races, sliding down the stairs on a plastic mattress into a pile of pillows,  sword fights (sometimes with real swords), running, throwing all manner of objects (let's be honest, there are almost continuous projectiles flying through this hallway), wrestling, and all manner of childhood mayhem. 
Also, when you are a home schooling family, and you buy your child a mini catapult and a mini ballista because you are learning about medievil times in history, it may just have an adverse effect on the walls of your home. Maybe. 
Did I tell you there is no drywall mud left on any of the outside corners? We are down to that pretty metal strip on every one. 
Every. One.

I know, I know, it's just boys being boys, having fun and making memories. They don't mean it. They are not trying to tear the house down around you as you sit on the couch trying to sneak in another cup of chai tea and read that book that's been collecting dust for weeks now. 
It isn't their fault that their mother is her own special kind of crazy and thought that it was time to repaint the white walls that haven't been painted since before her family moved into this home. 
Although, can the walls really be considered white anymore? Since the hand rails were torn from the wall because of boys hanging on for dear life as they run around the corner, the walls are actually a streaked and muddy brownish grey, but only from about 3 ft high and down. 
It's my own special kind of wainscoting. 
I call it Fingerprints and Boogers. 
I think instead of repainting we will just cover the walls in corrugated steel. The rustic farmhouse look is 'in' now. We live in the country, near a farm. So it could be a good look for us. 
Do I hear someone say ship-lap?
Or for a cheaper option, we could re-purpose some of that old wood paneling they like to put in trailer houses. 
That stuff is virtually indestructible. 
There has to be a creative and durable solution. 
Because parents, I just spent the last hour sweating in the 80 degree humidity of our upstairs hallway, patching 78,005 dents and holes in the walls, 
and there is a light bulb burned out in the hallway fixture..... 

How many more dents will there be when I get around to changing that bulb? 
Glory, maybe we will just leave it burnt out and go with 'mood lighting'. We can just wait to repaint when the boys move out. 

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

That One Time I Went Ice Fishing

 The title is not a typo.
I DID actually go ice fishing. 
For a whole weekend.
During February. 
In South Dakota.
South. . . 
Dakota. . . 

Yep, me. 
And my husband and sons of course. 
As you can imagine, if you know me at all, this was not my idea of a fun little, mid-winter, weekend get away. 
No. I lean more toward . . . well, everything opposite of South Dakota in February. However, my husband loves ice fishing. And he wants his sons (of which we have 3) to love ice fishing as well. So once again, I was outnumbered. 
I could have stayed home. 
Blissfully, wonderfully, alone. 
My H.H. gave me the A-Okay for that plan. But the more I thought about it, the more it just didn't seem like the right choice. 
You know what I mean? 

So we packed up a small mountain of  winter clothes supplies and headed out. 
I will admit, it took three states and some sunshine for my mood to lift above freezing. I was trying. I really was. I knew if I decided to come along, it would not be fair to ruin everyone else's time with my bad attitude. Besides, we have been trying hard to teach the boys that our circumstances aren't supposed to dictate our attitude, so here was a perfect opportunity for me to set a good example.
Example-shmample. Who died and made me a roll-model anyway?

I managed to avoid ice fishing the first night we arrived. Instead I served as the domestic manager for all of our supplies. I neatly arranged the mountain of items we had hauled across 3 states in the small house we were staying in and cheerfully prepared supper for my men who went out to find out where the fish were hiding. 
Alone time: check
The next day, I neatly managed to avoid the ice fishing as well. After dropping 2 boys and an eager H.H on a desolate and barren lake I took off for the nearest 'big town' with my oldest son. We had a task for the day: get the topper installed on my F-I-L's pick-up truck, which we had borrowed for the trip. (let me just say here that last spring we packed for a week in Florida driving my Scion XB. This year we needed a Dodge Ram pick-up truck bed for a weekend) 
I had one thing on my mind while heading even further west from the isolated  frozen lake I had left my loved ones at: TARGET.

That's right. I'm not ashamed.

Oh, my second thought would have probably been: SODA (esp, a McDonald's Coke.) 
Hey, we all have our vices. 

My son and I drove off and the drizzle immediately started falling. Consequently, my third thought ended up being: 'ha,ha suckers!'
I guess that wasn't very nice. 

We spent the day in town, my oldest son and I. 
Bonding with child: check

I even bought my self something I never imagined I would in the spirit of the sport: camouflage mud boots. See, I had packed my winter boots, but the temps were actually quite warm and instead of being covered with snow, the lake was covered in water. 
Shopping: check

The day had actually turned from a drizzly, cold, wet, miserable one to a warm and sunny amazing February day while I was gone running errands. When my son and I got back to the lake in the afternoon, I was actually ready to get on the lake and try my hand at catching a large Northern. You see one thing that is a very helpful element for the improvement of my attitude is sunshine. 
So we showed back up at the desolate lake where my sons and husband had been having a grand old time. 
In all fairness, I should mention that my in-laws borrowed us a very nice  heated fishing shanty and my boys had been fortified with a cooler full of snacks and fully charged electronic devices. However, when I got there, the sun was out so I didn't want to be spending any part of the day in a shanty. I wrapped my new Target blanket scarf around my neck to ward off the chill in the breeze and set out with Hunky Hubby to see what might be so exciting about this ice fishing sport. 
Sunshine and fresh air: check
Bonding with H.H. over something he likes: check
Learning something new: check
Being a good sport: check

I spent the rest of that day and the whole of the next one (which wasn't sunny at all) jigging, drilling holes, exploring deserted island farms, looking for a new 'hot' hole, and warming up in the ice shanty. I reeled in a few nice sized northern and watched the boys and my H.H. reel in some too.  
We laughed, we fell on ice, we bled a little, we rested, we snacked and we walked what must have been miles. I joyfully participated in this frozen tundra winter activity. 
I had a good time. 

But, I didn't love it.

I loved being with my people. My little man-tribe. 
I loved sharing in my husbands hobby and helping to teach my sons to like it too. I am glad I stepped outside of my selfish desires and came along on this trip. I got to be a part of the stories, instead of just hearing about them later. And that is priceless.

Family memories: check
Fish stories: check

But the next time this man of mine suggests a weekend on a frozen, desolate lake, 3 states away, I just might say: 

"You and the boys should go ahead and go without me. I think I'll sit this one out." :) 

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