Every day, a new fort goes up in the family room. The fort building generally produces a turf war, first between siblings fighting over territory rights and right of way access (even imaginary properties have easement and setback issues), then later with me, the landlord who comes to evict the squatters.
I hate these forts. I know they are a traditional part of childhood, but I think they are a mess, and I hate listening to the squabbling over space and noise when both kids have their own rooms with four walls and a door made out of material stronger than pillows. Rocket is the loud neighbor, while Clover would be the one calling the cops or yelling at kids to get off her lawn. And this gets played out every afternoon in our family room.
These forts are the only thing being constructed at our house. People keep asking about our remodel and if it's almost finished, which would make me laugh if I wasn't trying not to cry. Nothing is new here. We aren't even at the building permits stage and sadly the hold ups have nothing to do with us, our architect, our builder, or even our neighbors. The plans were set in December, but it's been months and months of very expensive negotiations with county over our small addition. Bureaucracy is real and it sucks. I have this optimistic fantasy that we'll suddenly get a call saying it's all approved and we can move forward, but really, I feel like we're going to be stuck in this place forever.
We took down our back pergola this weekend to pass it along to my parents. It was a great addition and gave us some much needed shade, which means I'm not used to all of the bright light now that it's gone. Our backyard looks naked and sad without it, but hopefully (this year? some day?) there will be a kitchen going into the spot previous occupied by the pergola. My optimism is melting.
A few months ago, while chatting with a dad at school, he brought up the article So Who Gets the Armrest in the Wall Street Journal. I found this fascinating because airline travel sometimes feels like it's going the way of Lord of the Flies. Flying feels more like riding Greyhound. The article covers things like who gets the armrests (the middle seat), how are bathroom breaks handled if neighbors are sleeping (wake them up), and whether it is okay or not to recline your seat (I effing hate when people recline the seat. For the record, I don't fly red eye. There is nothing worse than learning over to type or read only to have my forehead smacked by the seat of the person in front of me. Once, I had a guy try over and over to recline, confused because his seat was getting stopped by a barrier, which happened to be my head.)
I thought about air traveler ethics during our recent flight because Kevin sat next to a situation that would have made me crazy. Two girls got on the flight with back to back middle seats, and the problem was they wanted to sit next to each other. I should clarify: by girls I mean women in their early 30s. These weren't kids. One of the women asked Kevin to change seats with her friend in the middle seat behind them. Kevin said no because he needed to be near his family across the aisle. The women put the pressure on the three other women around them, sitting in the aisle and window seats of their two rows. Everyone said no, they would not trade for a middle. The middle seat women seemed surprised and bothered by the response, to which I say, "what the hell did you expect?" But, don't worry, they managed to be together on the full flight.
First, back row woman stood up and hung over her friend in the middle row.
Then, front row woman turned around in her seat to interact with back row.
This went on for the full flight. The only twist was when the row behind the back row friend cleared out to use the bathroom, which then the woman next to Kevin moved to that row, to stand behind her friend and give her a back rub.
Again, this was the entire six hour flight.
I cannot imagine what it would have been like if they were seated next to each other.
The middle seat sucks, we all know it, but your fellow passengers didn't force you into that seat, so don't take it out on them.
I wish all airlines showed the little cartoon preview that Virgin airlines shows to explain the rules (actually, I wish all airlines were Virgin America). We are all in this together, so don't act like an ass.
The upside of witnessing bad traveler behavior is that my kids made note. On the way back East, two kids sat directly behind my kids, in a row with their dad, who read the entire flight. The mom slept through the flight in another row. The two kids were pretty loud and often badly behaved. The woman in front of us kept shooting me nasty looks, to the point that I almost shouted out that those were not my kids. Clover was bothered by the noise and the seat kicking, making her aware that a few bad apples spoil it for all kids. On the flight home, toward the every end when Rocket got restless and squirrely, Clover reminded him, "DO NOT be like those kids behind us on the last flight. Remember them? We don't want to be like them!" This message, coming from his sister, was more powerful than anything I could have said.
A simple plan to combat overeating at Easter. Set up the buffet in front of the TV:
Everyone watches who eats what and how much. Want seconds? They must be justified to the room full of people glued to The Masters, mostly because you're blocking the TV while freshening your plate. Please note: the picture was taken a few hours after the party began. Brunch was long over, but people we starting to go back for lunner (is that lunch and dinner? linner?).
We've consumed a lot of peanut butter in the last few days, almost all egg-shaped and covered in chocolate. Reese's tastes the most fresh at Easter. Halloween usually has some dried out peanut butter cups, which makes me wonder if people buy their Halloween candy on Nov. 1 and store it in their freezer until next year.
Mustering up super human strength, I made it back to the gym today, and while on the treadmill, I listened to two old Jewish men discuss the recent holidays. I could no longer listen to Ozzie Guillen on the TV in front of me explain how "I love and respect Fidel Castro" was misinterpreted - the guy rambles regardless of language, thus the holiday talk was a welcome diversion.
One man explained to the other that his weekends have been taken up by the recent holidays as he had to go to someones house for Palm Sunday, "then, of course, there was Easter."
other guy: What's Palm Sunday? Is it like a second Easter?
first guy: Yeah. I guess so.
other guy: We went to Passover at an orthodox friend of my son's. It was four hours!
first guy: Four hours! Why so long? Did you fall asleep?
other guy: I wanted to, but we all had to read. We read every single page in that book! I didn't get to bed until 12:30, which is three hours after my bedtime!
first guy: Every page? Why?
other guy: The guy's orthodox, so you know he couldn't start it until after sundown, which was 8 p.m. Then he read, and he passed the book around so we can all read. We ate during half time. Not half time, but intermission. I told my wife, if they ask about us next year, tell them we're busy!
first guy: How do you know him?
other guy: I told you, he's a friend of my son's. His parents live down the street from us, and he did too, until 2000. He was a partner in a tech firm, and he left, getting $200 million, and soon after, everything crashed. He got out with the $200 million, so after that, he became orthodox.
first guy: Ahhhhhh. The converted are all like that.
My mom didn't repeat her Thanksgiving craftiness that made her a momentary celebrity on Pinterest last year, but she did decide to go wild on Easter with these little deviled eggs made to look like chicks. They were a huge hit, and my mother must have proclaimed a million times, "It's a Rachael Ray!"
My mom has one chef she follows and that is Rachael Ray. I assume she watches her show each day, and she definitely subscribes to her magazine, but it wasn't until I looked up the recipe, so I could link to it, that I realized my mom buys Rachael Ray products too. That part she kept mum about when people complimented her cute egg dish. It turns out the dish is Rachael Ray's Sittin' Pretty Egg Tray. She may be going overboard with the Rachael Ray fandom thing. If she starts saying "sammies" and "yum-o," we'll stage an intervention.
The Deviled Easter Eggs were "so easy," according to my mom, who also has become a huge fan of gel manicures, which unfortunately for her, cannot be seen in this photo because she was eager to correct that weird nail photo used in the Thanksgiving post. Trust me, her nails were an even and normal length, with a pastel pink polish that will last her for weeks. "The last one lasted FOUR WEEKS!" I didn't see them at week four to know how they were holding up, but my guess is that was one week more than should have been allowed, unless her nails grow really slowly.
She had a great Easter.