Sunday, July 27, 2014

Randomness

I started this blog primarily as a way to keep grandparents and other scattered family members updated on the kids as they grew.  Lately, that's been a bit of a bust, hasn't it?

Some of it is because I'm busy, but a lot of it is because I tend to post things that have a theme or a point.  But most of life is pointless.  Not really.  But seemingly.  There are so many random things that happen that are funny, aggravating, and just, well, life.

So enter Randomness posts.  At some predetermined interval (I refuse to commit to a specific time period), I will post little things that have happened, probably accompanied by mediocre pictures taken on my phone.  (I rarely have the big camera handy.)  The grandparents will love it.  Everyone else?  Who knows?  If you prefer posts with meaning, feel free to skip over the Randomness posts and wait for something better to come along.

With that introduction, Randomness #1:

We went to Enchanted Rock.

This was supposed to be my Mother's Day, but life intervened, and this got pushed to July.  We went early to beat the heat.



Nathan, Evan, and Carsten RAN up to the top.  The rest of us resolutely followed along behind.  I learned something from our trip last year and put Austin in the FRONT pack on the way up and switched him to the back on the way down.  (I'm still rocking the Ergo with 2 1/2 year old Austin. It is by far the best baby accessory ever made, and if I had to pick just two new parent products, I'd say the Ergo and the Boppy.  All else, including the crib, is really optional.)  It made balancing on the steep climb sooo much easier.  And the view is certainly worth the climb!




"Someone" ate the last piece of banana cake.

Notice the tipped cake carrier on the top shelf. And the black bar stools used in the commission of the crime.  I was planning on sneaking that piece myself.  Oh well.  Food doesn't last long in our house.



I went for a ride with these folks.

My dad, Mark, and my brother, Sam.  They (and the 30 hilly miles) nearly killed me.  It was the most fun I've had in ages.




Bluetooth can make you look crazy.


We were in the grocery store, and all of a sudden, Evan whispered, "Mom, who is that lady talking to?"

"I guess she's on the phone."

"But I don't see any phone.  Or cord.  Or anything."

And he was right.  There she was, in the middle of the aisle, gesticulating with her hands and talking in a normal tone of voice- to nobody.  "The problem is, it's 16 by 30.  That's just not a standard size.  I'm really not sure what to do..."

Then Evan just dissolved into a complete laughing fit.  "Maybe she's crazy!"



Maybe she is.

Austin found his dream car.

We were on our way into the pool when Austin saw this.  He LOVES Spiderman right now.



He said, "This is my car!"

Then he walked around and pointed back toward our van, "I don't like that car now.  I like this car."

 So there you have it: Randomness.

Until next time!






Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tiny Texan

This past Sunday was the Tiny Texan Triathlon!  Here's my race recap:

I had done this race last year.  It was, in fact, my very first sprint triathlon.  When I got home, I set my bike up on the trainer in my room and didn't touch it again until 10 months later.  I did a little better with my swimming and running, but those became pretty erratic after November as well.  Even though I knew I had let myself slip over the winter, I was still hoping that my summer training would pay off at least a teensy bit by the time the Tiny Texan rolled around again.

My race prep went really smoothly.  Too smoothly, I began to superstitiously tell myself.  I've only done four races in my life, and the lead up to those included having the van- with all the kids in it- break down on the way to packet pick up, realizing the night before that I had zero race "fuel," and nearly abandoning a race completely because of extreme kid meltdown.  Not this time.  This time packet pickup went off without a hitch and I had everything packed and ready to go by 8 PM on Saturday evening.  Too smoothly.  Then, at 9 PM, I whacked my head really hard on the corner of the freezer and felt better.  No need to worry about impending doom anymore- I had a lump on my head.

The Tiny (sprint) and Small (Olympic) Triathlon takes place at Boerne Lake every July.  The sprint distance is considered a slightly "long" sprint: 800 m open water swim, 25K bike over "hill country terrain" and a 5K run.  The views are really beautiful and it's a race I'd wholeheartedly recommend to others. (Just remember:  It's Texas.  It's July.  It's hot.  It's hilly.  It's- mostly- a trail run.  You should totally go for it!)

I got my bike racked and my transition stuff set up.

Thanks, Mike, for the picture!

Transition, Before.  See Below for "After."

And then the waiting.  Lots of waiting.  I chatted with some of the other racers, recognized a few from last year and from the Rockin’ R, and just bounced around trying to burn off my nervous energy.  It’s actually fun to see so many people of so many ages and backgrounds coming together for the same crazy reason.


As the start time got closer, everyone grabbed swim caps and goggles and headed down to the lake to wait there.  The Small Texans took off first to swim their 1500 m.  The speedy ones were finished before the Tiny Texans even got in.  The fast women climbed out of the lake congratulating and encouraging each other.  The fast men climbed out, checked their watches, and shook their heads in frustration.  (I’m glad I’m not a 20-40 year old male.  Their competitiveness must just suck the joy out of everything.  It gave the rest of us something to nervously laugh about while we waited, though.)



Then came the call for the "Tiny Men" to get in the water.  They did, while inwardly swearing never again to do a race with "Tiny" in the name.  And then, the Tiny Women.  

I felt more confident about my swimming this time around, but I was still a little freaked out by the open water.  Try as I might, I couldn't keep a straight line!  For the first 300 meters, I was swimming ALL over the place.  I was getting really thrown off by some of the other swimmers who were swimming off to the right and the left.  One lady actually was swimming TOWARD me.  "Other way!"  "Thank you!"  I think she may have beaten me in the end.  About halfway, I finally started to get into a flow that allowed me to actually swim and not just try to figure out which direction I was going.  (Note to self:  Do not wear goggles that fog on race day.)  The stretch to the shore was a little tough.  There weren't any brightly colored landmarks to aim for. (I thought there was, but turns out it was a picnic area off to the left.  Thank you, fellow swimmer, for setting me straight.)  Fortunately, a spectator with a bright yellow polo had noticed the problem and stationed himself right at the exit point.  Thank you, Yellow Polo Man!

And then it was onto the bike!  My bike was my worst leg last time around, so I was determined to give this a good effort.  It's a pretty hilly ride, but it has some beautiful views.  I had done some training rides on the route so that I'd be better prepared, mentally and physically, for the race.  (That, of course, is when I took these pictures.  I would be in sad shape if I tried to snap pictures while riding.)


 The great thing about these long rides is that there are so many supportive spectators to cheer you on.



I was able to pass a few people along the way, and not too many women passed me.  A few men did.  Very fast men.  People shouted encouragements along the way.  On the way back, I fell in behind a man who was keeping a good pace for me.  (Drafting is illegal- I wasn't close, just behind him.)  As we hit the last big hill, I could see him deflate and slow down some.  "This is the LAST HILL and the view from the top is awesome!" I told him as I passed.  A woman nearby said, "Really?"  I don't know whether she believed me.  This picture doesn't do it justice, especially since the camera flattens everything out, but that's the lake in the distance, and it's breathtaking.  Worth the climb.


Then, it was time to run!  Normally, in my training, my legs would feel heavy running off the bike, but this time, I was having some serious pain in my hips.  Yikes.  I ran up the hill anyway and hoped it would work itself out.  And then came the Dam Run.


Hot. Hot. Hot.  The key for me is not to look down and see this:


Beautiful, cool, lake water does not make me feel better about running while I'm frying.  I tried to keep an even pace- something that I didn't do last year- and an awful lot of people were walking.  Only one woman passed me on the run, and she had an Ironman tattoo- so, you know, whatever.

After much deliberation, I had decided to carry my own water on the run instead of relying on the aid station.  I'm not too great at drinking out of those bitty cups and on a run this short, I don't need an excuse to walk.  I ran the whole way, and on the way back, I still felt like I was running in slow motion, but I couldn't really force myself to go any faster.  I kept telling myself it wasn't as hot as last year.  (That may or may not have been true.  Some of my fellow racers were very skeptical when I said that later.)  And the blisters!  Normally I don't have a problem running short distances without socks, but my new(ish) shoes apparently had razor blades installed on the sides that I wasn't aware of.  I plodded on and swore that next time, I'd take the 4 second hit and put on socks.



And then, the finish line!  I did, apparently, have some extra reserves I hadn't tapped because I did speed up to cross the line.  And then it was on to the after party.  Lots of very sweaty, happy people swapping war stories, and eating the BEST FOOD IN THE WORLD.  (Hunger is, indeed, the best cook.)


Transition, After.
Final Stats:
800 m Swim: 23:57 (I nearly screamed aloud in frustration when I saw that.  The same to the SECOND as last year.)
T1: 1:37
25K Bike: 1:03:26 (6 minutes faster than last year!)
T2: 1:24
5K Run: 35:53 (About a minute faster than last year.  Like last year, the 5K was "long" 3.4 miles.  Maybe one of these days they'll invent something that will help race directors use some sort of satellite to set up the distances properly.)
Overall Time: 2:06:19 (7 minutes faster than last year.  Progress!)
18th of 53 women, 6th in my age group.

I think the training did pay off a teensy bit, and this year, there won't be any dusty bike sitting in my room.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Beach!

June has been a busy month in our household, including a trip to the beach!

I hadn't really planned anything for our summer.  We were pretty much buried the entire school year and thinking ahead to summer just wasn't possible.  But when I looked at the calendar and realized my kids were going to have a FOURTEEN WEEK summer, I knew I had better get planning.  Seven sets of idle hands make for quite a busy workshop.

So I booked a very reasonably priced condo at Port Aransas and got everyone packing.  Austin was ready for days before we left.


Our condo complex was on the beach so we were able to walk right down the boardwalk to the sand and waves.


The waves were pretty rough this year and the kids spent hours jumping and splashing.  And I counted.  Wave.  1-2-3-4-5-6 heads popped up and I managed to hold onto Austin.  Another wave.  1-2-3...



Then, they'd come back to the beach for a snack and a "rest," which essentially consisted of them feeding the seagulls half of their snack and running around screaming while the birds chased them.


They also built a few sandcastles for Austin to destroy.  (At least, that's what he thought they were for.)


In the afternoons, we chilled out at the condo and in the evenings, we picked up dinner and avoided the whole eating-out-at-restaurant-with-kids stress.  After that, we'd go for a swim in the pool.  Megan perceptively noted, "When we get in the pool, it kind of empties out and we have it all to ourselves."  Ah, the benefits of having an army of children.

We couldn't have asked for better weather and the kids are already planning next year's beach trip.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Rockin' R

So...last weekend I did something I had no business doing:

A triathlon!

Seriously, I have gotten so very out of shape since November that racing of any type should have been the furthest thing from my mind.  But, I knew I needed something to get me back in the game, and that something was the Rockin' R Triathlon in Gruene, Texas.


This photo of Gruene Mansion Inn Bed & Breakfast is courtesy of TripAdvisor

It's a beautiful course along (and in) the Guadalupe River, with huge trees arching above the road along the water.  The weather was gorgeous too!

After the Tiny Texan Tri last year, I felt pretty confident that I'd keep exercising and stay focused on getting back in shape.  And while I will admit that I didn't touch my bike at all after that race, I did keep running and swimming through the first part of the school year.  In November, I started toying with the idea of training for a half marathon (it seemed like training for one sport might be a little easier during the school year).  Then, life smacked me upside the head, the stress of everything I was (trying to) balance caught up with me and I cut way back on any sort of exercise.  I ran some here and there, but it was very inconsistent.

As the end of the school year got closer and I started to see light at the end of the tunnel, I started running a few times a week.  I ditched the treadmill and ran outside ONLY.  The sunshine and fresh air did me so much good.  And, all that fresh air might have gone to my head a little after my long winter of deprivation, because I decided in April that I should do the Rockin R, even though it was coming up in just a few weeks.

I got back in the pool and didn't drown.  I dusted off (literally) my bike and didn't die (though my legs thought they might).  I ran with a little more purpose- not very fast, but with a focus on consistency.

And then I signed up for the race.  I told myself that I was going to be slow.  That it was going to be hard.  That I was going to do it for the fun and the fitness and not focus on my times.

When my alarm went off at 4, I thought to myself, "It's a good thing they make you pay for races in advance, because I wouldn't be getting out of bed if I didn't have money on the line."

I got my transition spot set up, and started to worry a little about the water temperature.  It's been unseasonably cool and we'd had some rain, so the Guadalupe was a chilly 72.  About half the racers were wearing wet suits.  Oh well. It was only 400 meters.  I wasn't going to freeze.  

I was also a little concerned about my lack of full preparation.  The race was the Sunday after our last day of school.  I had spent the weekend grading finals.  I hadn't had my bike tuned up.  I hadn't even taken the time to get bars or anything to eat.  I had a banana and some electrolyte water.  That should do it.

And then the race started!  I watched the first swimmers start off across the river and I wondered why they were swimming with their heads up.  When I got in, I figured it out: Rocks!  There were massive rocks just below the surface.  I half swam, half pushed myself across the rocks and then, when the water got deep enough to really swim, at first, I had a hard time finding my rhythm.  I was still a little concerned about the rocks and the water was so MURKY!  I couldn't see a thing.  (Note to self: Do not watch episodes of River Monsters before open water swims.)  I got into a rhythm eventually and finished the swim without a problem.
(400 m. in 9:40, for those who care about such things.  Not too bad for me right now.)
  
Next up, bike.  My transition time was forever long.  (2:36)  My laid back attitude about the race was starting to work against me, but I was having a good time!  The ride was a beautiful one with "rolling hills."  That means there's nothing too strenuous, but it's definitely not flat.  I was SO slow.  That one ride I had taken really hadn't done much to give me any bike power.  No surprise there, but really, it was bad!  I did enjoy the ride (who doesn't love having police officers to stop traffic at every intersection!) but I felt pretty much like I was crawling along.  (13 miles in 57:56; 13.8 mph)

I had told myself when I signed up for the race that I could walk the run if I had to.  I knew that I might not have the endurance that I needed to finish otherwise.  Plus, there was a killer hill right at the start!  They promised the run was pretty flat after that, and some of the racers said it was "okay to walk the hill after the bike."  The second I hit that hill, I suddenly told myself there was NO WAY I was going to walk- not even a single step- on the run.  I don't know why that suddenly became so important.  I think I was a little frustrated by my slow bike and I didn't want to compound it by strolling along for the run.  I found a pace I could sustain and I kept it up.  I was feeling pretty good!

And then I saw the one mile marker.  "What the heck?" I actually said out loud.  I definitely felt like I had been running much longer than that.  But I told myself that the first mile is always the toughest and it was only a 5K.  I stuck to my "run slowly, but run" strategy and finished the race feeling strong.  (5K in 32:59; 9:59 min/mile.  Total time: 1:44:51)

Sorry for the lack of pictures on this one!  I was going it solo and didn't really take any myself.  But what a great day!  It was just the summer jump start that I needed.  It was a much-needed lesson in the value of jumping in and finishing- not perfectly, not even well- but finishing anyway.

Oh, and was I sore the next day?  You bet.  Totally worth it.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Wonder Woman

Dear Wonder Woman,    
      
I’d heard of you before- you’re sort of an American icon- but I’d never seen your show until last month.  I saw a rerun on Endless Rerun Channel, and there you were, in all your leotarded, spinning glory.  I’m impressed.

I was sort of curious as to what you’ve been up to for the last few decades.  Then, as we neared the end of the school year, I realized that you hadn’t disappeared after all.  No, you’ve cloned yourself and taken on a new superhero persona: Wonder Room-Mom. 

You don’t wear leotards anymore (I totally understand how awkward that would be after a couple of kids) and I haven’t seen you spin, but your powers are clearly on display.  You use your super weapons- Pinterest and Sign Up Genius- to conquer End of Year parties in a single blow and plan teacher appreciation activities that are the envy of all.

You are, Wonder Room-Mom, a dazzling sight to behold.  You help your children build national monument models, dress up in themed costumes, and get to soccer practice all without breaking a sweat.  I am in awe.

But I have a request:  Can you cut the Mortal Moms some slack?  I know, with all of your superhuman strength, that it might be hard to fully comprehend their experience, so let me give you a little peek into the lives of the Mortal Moms who surround you.

We Mortal Moms love our kids too.  A lot.  We feed them, provide for them, keep them clean (most of the time, unless they’re boys), hug them, and discipline them.  We help them with their homework as much as we can.  We try to keep track of their activities too.  We do laundry, we go to work, we clean the house, we tuck the kids in at night.

But we’re not like you.  We don’t have superpowers.  When our kids build a model of Plymouth Colony, the glue drips, the toddler scribbles on the outside, and we realize that we’re out of popsicle sticks.  We appreciate our kids’ teachers- maybe even more than you do since we so heavily depend on them to make up for our mortal deficiencies- but all we can manage is a Starbucks gift card with “Thank You!!!!” written on it.  We hope that the multiple exclamation points will fully convey our deep gratitude.  And we really hope the teacher likes coffee.  We Mortal Moms are so busy with feeding our kids and washing their laundry that not only are we unable to execute Pinterest-worthy crafts and costumes, we’ve forgotten our Pinterest passwords.  We’re constantly behind and every time an email comes in with a friendly reminder of an upcoming project/party/playdate, we are plunged into the depths of despair as we try to figure out how on earth we are supposed to fit in one more emergency run to the store for supplies.


So we salute you, Wonder Room-Mom, and thank you for all you do.  Just remember: We’re Mortal Moms, and we’ll keep doing our best, but we’ll never be you.   

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Leave it to the Government, Part 2

Here's just a brief update on my Obamacare experience.  I know lots of people are trying to navigate their way through the new healthcare landscape, so maybe this information will help.

I enrolled in a plan, but I couldn't find any way to pay for it.  The healthcare.gov site told me to expect someone to contact me "within a few days."  I got an email instructing me to call a certain number.  Bingo! That's what I was waiting for!  I called and the lady had a good amount of my information already.  She wanted more of my health details.  Although I'm normally very cautious about that sort of thing, I went into "dealing with the government" mode and just answered the questions.  It wasn't until we started to get to the end of the call that I realized she wasn't actually associated with my chosen health plan and couldn't do anything to help my current situation.  I don't really know who I was talking to or what her job was.  I think her title was something like "healthcare advisor."  I did a panic-stricken mental review of the info I had given her.  No SSN, no credit card number.  I am still keeping a close eye on my accounts and so on.  This health care debacle is an identity thief's dream.  There's so much confusion, so little information, and so many people involved, how can consumers be sure they're talking to the right people?

At any rate, figuring that I wouldn't be covered if I hadn't paid a premium, I went back to the drawing board.  I called my health insurance broker (she's helped our family find the best insurance options ever since Bryan struck out on his own with his business) and explained my situation.  She was able to get me set up with insurance that was pretty much what I'd had before.  It's "off the marketplace," meaning it's not a healthcare.gov plan.  I pay about $120 a month and have a $3600 a year deductible.  This plan might not work for everyone- there were a couple of health conditions that might have been excluded- but it covered me, in spite of my MS.

Unlike what I saw on the Obamacare plans, after I've hit my deductible, my plan covers everything.  There's no separate deductible for medications, no 80/20 up to $15K or anything like that.  If you do sign up for a healthcare.gov plan, PLEASE be sure that you have a trusted broker go over all the details with you.  There are so many bumps and hiccups in all of this that it's impossible, I think, for the average consumer to make a good decision without guidance.  Many doctors aren't covered.  Some medications aren't covered.  Think of it this way: Our health care is now as complicated as our taxes, except that if you make a mistake on your taxes, you could get audited.  If you make a mistake on your health care, you might find yourself in a life-threatening situation.

Here's what I'm dealing with now, though: I'm having a terrible time getting UNenrolled from the other plan.  When I first enrolled, I tried calling to pay.  Then I tried calling back to unenroll.  I was on hold for over an hour each time and ended up hanging up.  I've called once more with the same result.

This experience has made me even more concerned about what the recent changes are doing to America's healthcare system.  You see, I wasn't calling the government.  I was calling Blue Cross Blue Shield.  I had their insurance for ten years before Bryan died.  I always got through right away when I called before.  Now, they're just swamped.  My broker is reporting two and three hour hold times, despite the fact that she has "priority."

UPDATE: I did succeed in getting unenrolled from the marketplace plan.  Apparently, if you don't pay long enough, they'll drop you!  They were very nice about it.  Sounds like it's happening frequently.

So March 31st is the last day for open enrollment on healthcare.gov (though it sounds like extensions are being granted).  Take your time, do some research, and find what works for you.  Call someone who knows what they're talking about.  And, above all, just don't get sick!


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Wacky Wednesday

I have been planning a "Day in the Life" post for awhile.  I always love reading about other people's ordinary days, so I thought I'd do a post on one of our ordinary days.

We, apparently, don't have ordinary days.

This past Wednesday, for example, wasn't ordinary, except, I suppose, for the fact that it, like all of our other days, was peppered with anything and everything out-of-the-ordinary.

Like most of our days, the events actually started the evening before.  Steffen brought me my phone, and I saw that there was a little water under the Otterbox screen.  He must have splashed some water on it.  I took it out of its case, cleaned and dried it off, and then popped it back in.  After the kids went to bed, I realized that the phone's flashlight was on.  And it wouldn't turn off.  I figured there was some secret setting that I was missing, and I didn't want to wake Nathan up to fix it, so I just buried it under a book so that the light wouldn't keep me awake and went to sleep.

At four the next morning, my alarm went off.  When I tried to swipe it to turn it off, I couldn't get the phone to unlock.  All I could do was tap the side button to make it snooze.  At that point, I saw that the phone was once again wet.  Uh-oh.  Maybe it hadn't gotten "splashed" after all.  This was looking like an all-out dunking.  Nine minutes later, the alarm went off again.  Hit snooze.  Nine minutes later, same procedure.  I decided to turn the phone off.  No luck.  That thing wasn't going to be turned off.  I tried turning the volume down.  Nope.  That didn't work either.  Nine minutes later, alarm, hit snooze, and so on.

By six o'clock, I was seriously considering smashing the phone.  But I was determined to see if it could be fixed before taking any drastic measures.

At six-thirty, I realized I had forgotten to print the kids' assignment sheets the night before.  (We go to a university model school.  The kids go to school two days a week and then do assigned homework on the other days.  Teachers post the assignments on a website and parents print them off at home.)  Usually, I print assignments a week ahead so that I know what's coming, but I had been sick the week before, so I was still playing catch up.  Normally, printing all the kids' assignments takes ten minutes.  Unfortunately, the company that manages the assignment website had made some changes overnight.  Every assignment for every child had to be clicked on and printed (or cut and pasted into another document) individually.

It took me forty-five minutes to get all of their assignments together.  (I am still not actually sure if I got every assignment on their sheets.)

I was now really behind.  I don't schedule anything extra on Wednesdays unless I am left with no other choice.  This particular Wednesday fell into that category, and two of my boys had appointments that morning, and they had to be dressed decently.  I went to make sure the kids knew to start on breakfast and then school while I ironed the boys' clothes.  And, of course, at that very moment, an entire bowl of cereal got spilled in the middle of the kitchen.  I cleaned it up, made toast to replace that serving of cereal, and started laughing.

"Well, this day can't go anywhere but up!" I told the kids.

Not true, my friends, not true.

We had a "my shoes don't fit and I hate all dress clothes of every kind" meltdown.  I still managed to get the boys to their appointments on time, and we even did a good amount of school while we were waiting.

That, however, was pretty much all of the school that got done that morning.  All of the other kids were distracted and all of the morning chaos had, it seemed, rendered their brains useless.  I did my best to get everyone back on track and reminded them that their long-awaited Sonic dinner reward was going to take place that very night.

Over the course of the morning, I had taken my phone to the repair shop where they informed me that the damage was probably too extensive to make a repair worth it, especially since the phone was a few years old.  Sigh.  I spent a few minutes mapping out a new battle plan for the afternoon, including a trip to the AT&T store to get new phone.  The battle plan was beautiful.  This day was going to turn out okay after all.

And it would have if it hadn't been for the general unwillingness of the soldiers to follow the plan.

I did get my phone.  (Nathan persuaded me to ditch my iPhone in favor of a Galaxy S4.  Excellent choice so far.)  School, however, wasn't going as successfully.  You see, my kids are assigned the same amount of homework to complete Wednesday as they have over the entire weekend.  That means that we have absolutely no margin for error on Wednesdays.  And since "errors" are the name of the game for just about every day at our house, Wednesdays have a tendency to become disaster days nearly every week.

By three o'clock, I was "fit to be tied," as they say.  I made it quite clear that, until every last assignment was done, the next bottom that moved off of a chair for any reason was going to be grounded.  We did manage to get school done, but the house looked like it had been through hours of a two-preschooler-free-for-all.  I told the kids we needed to clean up quickly so that I could pick up Whataburger and get to AWANA on time.

And it was at this point that I realized I had made a critical mistake.  I had promised the kids Sonic.  A couple of kids had told me they'd rather have Whataburger.  I figured one carcinogenic meal was as good as another, so I said sure.  But what I didn't know was that two of my children think Whataburger is "disgusting."  I was faced with a major meltdown of epic proportions.  I tried to turn back the clock.  We'd revert to Sonic.  No dice.  Two of the kids think Sonic is "disgusting."  I tried convincing them that it's all disgusting, so it really doesn't matter.  I told them they needed to work out a compromise.  They made about as much progress on that as Congress.

Finally, I saw that there was no way these kids could have their reward that night.  The fits were too loud, too disrespectful, and too ungrateful to warrant any sort of treat.  That unfortunately meant that the non-fit-throwers had to suffer right alongside the guilty, but that's life.  I sat them down individually and told them that the reward would come at the end of a good day, a happy day, a pleasant day.

After they became convinced that I wasn't going to change my mind, everyone calmed down slightly.  The house was set, if not exactly to rights, at least in some semblance of order.  We got to AWANA on time, and we pulled ourselves together enough when we got home to get lunches and backpacks packed for the next day.

And, just after the kids went to bed, the battery on my old phone FINALLY died and the alarm stopped going off every nine minutes.  Peace reigned supreme at last.

At least until the next morning.