Perpetual Plan B

Friday, May 27, 2011

Revisiting Italy - The Umbrella

I am finally at a point where I can think about my trip to Italy last fall. I don't know why, but this is one of my favorite memories. I am a little off-kilter, I know.

Airport security must have searched my bag before our flight to Italy. By searched, I mean RANSACKED. I didn't realize how bad the damage was until the very first day in Rome when I tried to open my umbrella because it was starting to rain. It looked a little mangled and when I opened it up it was severely broken.

Well, I didn't want to get wet, so I used it anyway. I got some strange looks, including from many people on our tour. I guess it was pretty embarrassing for people to be seen with me. I tried not to let it bother me because by darn, I did NOT want to buy another umbrella. I had brought mine from home and THEY broke it. It was the principle of the thing. At least that's what I told my cheap self.

I don't think we used our umbrellas again until we were in Florence and that day it rained pretty hard too. By then we knew all the people on our tour well enough for some of them to comment to me to throw the darn thing away. Again, I just figured I could make it through this one more day and it would be fine. I had lots of perfectly good umbrellas at home so I was not going to buy another one, especially when I needed to save my money for necessities, like gelato and scarves.

Anyway, by then even my mom was embarrassed to be seen with me. Actually, now that I think of it, she had probably been embarrassed from day one.

Our little group had been walking a while and were close to the Pitti Palace, so I said I'd run ahead and check on ticket prices and hours for tours so my mom and some of the others could rest a little.

As I was walking up by the line to read the sign that had the information posted on it I realized that people were looking at me and talking about me in Italian (at least I think it was Italian). I thought that they were thinking I was trying to get ahead of them in line, so I was going to try and explain, but then I figured out what was going on. They were making fun of my umbrella. All these little old Italian (I think) people were literally pointing and laughing at me. One even took a picture. I don't think I have EVER felt so self-conscious as an adult as I did right then. I was so embarrassed that I literally turned and ran away (yes, just like Napoleon Dynamite).

Well you can bet that my umbrella ended up in the first garbage can I could find. The sad thing is that that was the only day I took the time to do my hair and straighten it, so it was pretty much a waste of time. I should have just slept in a little longer. Oh well.

Note: This photo was NOT taken by the people who were laughing at me. It was taken by my friend Julie, who I met on our tour. Ironically, it is the best photo of me from the whole trip. I don't think the umbrella looks too bad here. You can't see the worst mangled metal spike thing that wasn't attached to any fabric and kept poking me in the head and catching my hair in it. I think by this time I'd either bent it up or broken it off completely.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What The "Dumb" Kids Do

One day, when Morgan was about 6 or 7 I found a name scratched right into the front newel post of our staircase. The one that was the most visible from the front door.

It said "Dad".

I found that fairly comical, even though I was a little ticked off about the damage.

Morgan must have heard me talking to someone else, saying that only the dumb kids carve their own names into things. We also joked about how it really must have been Hal that had carved his name to throw suspicion on someone else.

That must have gotten her thinking, because a week or so later I noticed on the other side of the bannister a new name, "Morgan".

I was NOT amused.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Think You're Having A Bad Parenting Week?

So, here's part one of the long version of a very long story. I'll post what I wrote two weeks ago now, and then once I can stand it I'll post "the rest of the story". (Parenting makes me TIRED some days!)

Let's start with some seemingly unrelated facts:

My mom is cleaning out some stuff in her house. One day she brought over a big box full of costume jewelry that she said we should go through together sometime.

Morgan got asked to the Junior Prom the day we left for vacation so when we got home we went right to the dress shop so they would have time to alter whichever dress she chose. The prom was less than a week away, so that was pushing it time-wise.

The dress she picked out this time is a pretty brown one with some nice beading on it. Her rhinestone jewelry wouldn't look good with the dress, so we asked my mom if we could look through her jewelry and see if she had anything we could use.

We got the box out and started going through it, piece by piece. Austin started looking pretty interested and got right in there with us and started digging through things. He started grabbing rings and watches right and left. I had to tell him to stay out of things.

It turned out that my mom didn't have anything that was just right for Morgan's dress. She wears a lot more black, so I told Morgan we could see what I had. I wear a lot of brown, but I don't have a ton of jewelry, like my mom. And all hers is a lot nicer than what I might have. Most of hers came from QVC. Mine usually comes from Kohl's or Claire's (or Kmart, to be honest). I do have three nice rings that I realized I had never really talked to the kids about before. They are from when they were born. I bought a nice ring for when Morgan, Landon and Ally were born, that I was planning on giving to them (or their wife) when they grew up. When Austin was born we didn't have extra money, because I wasn't working anymore, but I decided he can have Landon's ring to remember his brother. (Weird tangent, I know.)

I started to put my mom's jewelry away and Austin threw a fit, asking if he could have at least a ring or a watch. I handed him a gold watch that was pretty tarnished and worn out. He then begged for a ring. He'd never had a ring and he'd always wanted one (and he was crying). So, I gave in and gave him a gold ring that looked like it was made out of tiny chain link. I tried to pick one that I thought nobody else would really want. My mom did have some really nice rings and among them was my grandma's college ring and also my mom's mother's' ring, which I was surprised that my mom had put in the box. I wonder if she hadn't really looked at anything before she sent it, just threw in a couple of jewelry boxes and miscellaneous shoe boxes of things to sort out later.

We then got out my things and I showed the kids the rings from when they were born. I also came across Hal's grandpa's wedding ring that he had inherited. I have to mention here, because it is so ironic, Hal HATES jewelry. As in, he gets wigged out if he has to pick up a ring or something. That's why it is so ironic that it is almost comical that he ended up with his grandpa's ring and his brother got the sword that was used in the Battle of Waterloo. Hal is a huge history buff. Oh well. Anyway, I showed the kids that ring too and Austin was very interested in it.

After we looked a little and Morgan found a couple of necklaces to try when her dress comes back, I put all the jewelry away. That was pretty much the end of this story, as far as I knew. This was on Saturday.

Monday, late in the afternoon I was in the kitchen starting to fix dinner. My nice neighbor, Valerie, called me. She said, "I have a strange question to ask you. Our neighbor girl is here and she has a really nice ring with a green stone that she says Austin gave her on the bus. It looks like a REALLY nice ring. Not one a kid would have."

For a minute I started to say I didn't know what she was talking about and that it was probably fine, but then it slowly dawned on me . . . . . . my mom's jewelry! Austin was pretty interested in it. The only thing I couldn't figure out is why he gave it to that particular girl. He was better friend's with Valerie's daughter. I told Valerie that yes, I definitely needed that ring back. I had her ask the girls if they had seen any other rings. The whole time I kept stirring my dinner, trying to make sense in my head of what had happened. She checked and the girls said he had a bunch of rings in ring boxes at school, and on the bus AND at church.

I then hung up the phone and tried to talk to Austin, who vehemently denied everything. It is REALLY hard to get any kind of concrete information out of someone who just doesn't want you to know how bad the situation really is. He started crying hysterically and saying he was sorry he'd ever been born!

Valerie came over a couple of minutes later with a ring that WAS really nice and I didn't even recognize as one of my mom's that I had seen because there were so many of them. Valerie then told me some more information. Austin had also told the girls that he knew where the rings were hidden and also mentioned a wedding ring. Well, I RAN to my room because on Sunday I was sitting in church and had realized that I forgot to put on my wedding ring. It was Monday and I'd been home all day so I hadn't bothered to put on any jewelry. My ring wasn't where I had left it, but I did find it close by. I went back to Valerie and was talking again when I remembered the rings of mine that I had shown the kids. I sent Morgan back to check on them in my jewelry box. It took her a while, but she said it looked like they were all there. After a few more minutes, what Valerie had said rang another bell in my head. Wedding ring. I had shown Austin Grandpa Fronk's wedding ring. I sent Morgan back again to check on that one because she said she didn't remember seeing it. She was gone a LONG time, so I let Valerie go then because I was quietly freaking out. Morgan hadn't found it yet, but after searching we finally did find that ring. Valerie also reconfirmed the fact that Austin had taken rings to church AND given one to the Primary teacher. (So why hadn't SHE called me?)

Morgan then remembered that he did have some kind of fancy boxes in the pockets of his church pants, so she started searching around to see what she could find. I do remember thinking it was awfully easy the day before to get him to hand over his magic wand and long pointy finger on a stick thing that he is always sneaking in his pants at church. Usually he puts up a fight and sneaks them into his Primary class. I should have known something else was up.

By this time Austin could tell he was going to be in some pretty big trouble, so he high tailed it out of there. He ran to his room while Valerie was there and I couldn't find him for a long time. Really, there aren't many places he can hide in his room and I knew he hadn't run back past me so he had to be somewhere in one of the bedrooms or bathroom. I checked under all the beds and in all the closets. Finally, Ally (my fabulous middle child) found him hiding under his covers like the little coward he is. (Yes, I am still mad, even almost two weeks later.)

Well, after a long, mostly one-sided conversation with Austin; me conversing and possibly yelling at times, him crying hysterically, I found out a little more. Austin admitted he had also given a ring to his friend Dallin, along with Martha and the Primary teacher. Valerie had called back saying that her girls also saw him give a ring to a boy named Jackson and some unidentified "blond girl" on the bus.

(to be continued, because I am too emotionally wiped out to finish...)

Edited to add: Long story short - recovered 3 rings; never got back anything from "Jackson", though I talked to two different Jacksons' moms and never figured out exactly which blond girl on the bus was the recipient of my son's generosity. This was also the same week my daughter, Ally, split her head open at 6:30 a.m. the day I was supposed to talk to the bus driver. When I finally did talk to him, a week later, he said I should have talked to him the week before and it was probably too late to do anything about it.

Anyway, here is the result of Ally's misfortune, eight shiny new stitches, luckily somewhat hidden in the eyebrow region.

And here is Morgan in her prom dress with the one necklace that kind of matched it.

Here's hoping that next week is better. (And NO, I haven't told my mom yet, so if you see her, just smile and say "Hi." and then just keep on keepin' on. Thanks.)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Apparently I Need Reading Glasses Too....

Ok, so I was getting ready for bed the other day. On my bathroom counter I found this cute little card that said "Uplift With Courage". It seemed like a nice little sentiment.

I started thinking to myself that maybe I should stick it on the mirror in the kids' bathroom, just to give them a little boost.

Maybe it will inspire them to be a little nicer to the kids at school or in their group of young women at church, I thought. Maybe it will inspire them to run for President someday. Maybe, just maybe.....

Maybe I should have looked a little closer. Upon further inspection I realized that it actually said, "Uplift with COVERAGE".

Uplift with coverage? Huh? What does that even mean?

Then I realized where I had seen that little card before. It came off of the bra I had bought the day before.