Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Out of the Mouth of Aston

   This morning I walked past the open bathroom door where Aston was perched on his little blue and green stool brushing his teeth.  As I did I called, "Remember to rinse and spit and clean out your tooth brush".

   Aston poked his head out around the door frame and said, "Hey!  Don't tell me how to do my job!".

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ariel as Advertising

     Ariel needed windows for a job.  The only place that had the size he needed in stock was Home Depot.  So he went there.  Upon arriving a girl asked him if he needed any help.  He thanked her but told her he was just picking up widows and could manage himself.  When he got back to the window section two gentleman in button up shirts and slacks holding clipboards approached him and offered him help.  Suddenly one of the men exclaimed, "Woah, woah, woah.  What are you doing?  Why are you wearing that?  IN HERE?"  The "that" he was speaking of was Ariel's Lowes T shirt.

     "Well," Ariel said, "because they gave me one and you didn't".

     "Get this man a Home Depot shirt!" the one man shouted at the other.

     Man 2 returned with a lovely Home Depot shirt and hat (Ariel's hat was also a gift from Lowes and had one of their brand names stitched into it).  "O.K..  We're going to need those" said Mr. Clipboard, nodding at the  Lowes shirt and hat Ariel had on his person, "We're going to burn them".

     "Now?  Here?" Ariel asked.

     Serious nods from the men.

     What choice did Ariel have.  He did as he was told.  He stripped down there in the windows aisle of Home Depot but not before the men took a picture of him wearing a sad face in his Lowes get up.  When he completed his costume change they photographed him in a happy super hero sort of pose.  Captain Home Depot!

     When Ariel made his way to the register to pay for his windows the girl looked confused.  She asked, "Weren't you wearing a Lowes shirt?"


     "Where did you get this one?"

     "The district manager gave it to me.  He made me give him the Lowes one.  I changed right in the aisle...and you missed it".

     At this point in Ariel's telling me the story I stopped him.  "Wait a minute!" I said.  "Did you actually say that...about her missing it?"

     "Yup" he beamed.  "I even told her I thought it was all an elaborate plan designed by the district manager  just because he wanted to see me with my shirt off!"

     Brilliant Darling.  Simply brilliant.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

With Great Flowers Comes Great Responsibility

     Ariel gave the children a chore a couple of weeks ago.  They are to pull weeds in the flower beds for fifteen minutes a day.  Today I overheard him telling his brother about the chore.  I also heard him say, "It is going very well".  To this I snorted.  "What?", Ariel asked.  "Isn't it?"

     Day one was a fight to even get the kids outside.  All Aston did was cry. Clara pulled a bunch of weeds.  Enzo managed a small hand full.  Day two required threatening to tell Daddy if they didn't get cracking.  Aston didn't do anything except for beg me not to tell Daddy.  Day three Enzo asked Clara to do their fifteen minutes without any prompting.  Then it rained for a few days and we had to start back at square one.  Aston has refused to pull more than ten weeds and Clara and Enzo scream at each other about their poor performances.  This is after I dedicate a chunk of my time to begging them to go out.  Hardly any weeds get pulled and it seems like a big waste.  Today was the icing on the cake though.  I'm actually excited for Ariel to get home so I can share with him just how well his Operation Responsibility is going.

     Before leaving for work this morning Ariel told me that he'd like the children to do half an hour of weeding today because they skipped yesterday.  I told him I'd see to it.  Really, what harm can come of fifteen extra minutes of sitting in the shade on their bottoms insulting each other?  Who knew they would pick today to actually show some hustle?!  They asked what was a weed and what wasn't (See those two big Box Woods and the rose?  Those are the only things that aren't weeds.) and got straight to work.  I was weeding the mint when "it" happened.  Aston let out a blood curdling scream.  He had yanked a hand full of weeds and spun around to dump them in the wagon but got caught in the rose instead and was covered in thorns.  I quickly ran to help him and hold him as he wailed.  That is when the following fight broke out.

The Fight
A true story as witnessed by Mrs. Lora D. Jones

ASTON:(crying) Clara I HATE your rose!

CLARA:(smugly) My rose hates you.

ASTON:(still crying) I'm going to get my own rose and my rose is going to eat yours!

CLARA:(shouting) I'm going to get a Venus fly trap and it is going to eat YOU!

ENZO:(absentmindedly) They only eat flies.

CLARA: I am going to dress him up in a fly costume and then feed him to it!

ASTON continues crying for seemingly endless amount of time.

The End

     In the future I think I will ask Ariel to assign only chores that he has time to over see.  I'm content to battle entitlement issues with simple tasks like clearing dishes, keeping toys off the floors, and occasionally depositing dirty clothes in a hamper.  Anything else is on Papa Bear!  I quit.

The New American Jones Dictionary First Edition

hiclaireous (hi-claire-ee-us) adj. Clara Violet Jones causing great mirth

Aston keeps using all of my best jokes and now he thinks he's hiclaireous.

Monday, August 20, 2012

It's A Small World After All

     During dinner Ariel noticed Clara kind of talking to herself and asked what she was saying.  "I'm naming all of the countries", Clara replied.  I decided to abandon my efforts to make Aston and Enzo stop punching each other under the table and turn my attention to my shining star of a daughter in her impromptu moment of brilliance.  She said:
North Pole
South Pole
I keep wanting to sat Tennessee but I know that is just a state.
Did I say Europe?

Friday, August 17, 2012

You Say Tomato...

     On a chilly February evening I snuggled with my little baby in my rocking chair and watched my sweet husband and three of our darling children working away under the warm glow of the kitchen lamp.  They were planting tomato seeds to plant in our little vegetable garden when spring came.  The kids absolutely loved working with the dirt. Ariel and I loved having them be a part of the creation of our food because we were sure it would get them excited about eating their veggies.  Aston was the most excited of the bunch and told the others, "I hope my tomato grows into a beanstop (yes, that's right, beanstop) so I can climb it up to the clouds".  The next morning he ran straight to the tray of little pots in the bay window and sighed, "Oh, my potato didn't turn into a beanstop after all".

     Checking our seedlings was a favorite daily event.  We got through to Aston that the tomato plants were going to grow tomatoes.  We offered to plant green beans so he could see a bean plant.  Everyone finds the fact that we can go and pick food we grew from seeds amazing but Aston's disappointment with the size of our bean plants was obvious.  Of course, Ariel and I have our own disappointment to deal with.  Baby Dorothy is the only kid who will eat everything we've grown and she had NOTHING to do with the planting process.  So much for that theory.  Aston actually threw up when we forced him to eat one green bean and Enzo cried about the lettuce.  Clara pretended to like the tomatoes but finally said, "I can't do it Mom.  I hate them!"  More for Ariel and me I guess!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Baby Talk

     During Aston's nine month career as a big brother he has really focused his attention on communication both with and for his baby sister.  Sometimes he gets frustrated and says, "Mom, I can't understand her!  What does she want?"  Other times he confidently tells me Dorothy is hungry or tired or whatever, as if she has just relayed this information to him.  Of all the kids he is the only one who speaks to her as if she can understand. He treats her more like a sister than the bigger kids.  They treat her like a baby.  If I leave the room Aston calls after me, "I'll sit with Dorothy".  He does this because he is afraid of being alone and assumes she is too not because he thinks she needs caring for.  He nearly gave me a heart attack while sitting with her today.  I was going to the kitchen to get Aston some water and he and Dorothy were sitting at the dining room table together.  Aston screamed, "OH NO!  Mom come QUICK!"  All of the blood drained from my face as I imagined the horrible things that could have happened to Dorothy in the brief moment it took me to cross the threshold from the dining room to the kitchen.  I jumped back into the dining room and tried to figure out why the baby was sitting in her highchair smiling at me while Aston informed me, 'Dorothy just said,'dehydrated'".

     Thank you, Aston.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Supply and Demand

     Aston has made a request for the commencement of his academic life.  He would like to spend his first year of school in a pair of sneakers that bear the images of the Mario brothers.  With the two July Jones birthday parties behind me I decided there was no time like the present to go online and find these probably hideously ugly shoes. Hey, they are his feet not mine and he'll only be five once. Can you believe I could only find two pair of sneakers with Mario's mug on them!?!  Both pair were lace up, one only came in adult sizes, and the other was eighty dollars. Fail.  Fail.  Fail.  When I gushed, "Of course you can have Super Mario Brothers sneakers for kindergarten Sweetheart, if that will make you happy", I imagined myself popping into a Walmart or Target or Payless or Sears and sorting through an endless sea of crappy velcro sneakers with every fictional character known to man clinging to the side of each shoe and victoriously fishing out a twinkling pair of size elevens with Mario AND Luigi on them making my beloved boy's heart melt for thirty bucks or less.  My internet research, which I'll admit was rushed because Dorothy can now reach my keyboard and is on a mission to crash my computer, gave me Spiderman, The Avengers, Batman, Cars, Phineas and Ferb, and one pair of Transformers sneakers in an infant's size 4 to choose from.  The latter really got to me.  If you can't come up with something sweeter to decorate your infant son's feet with than Megatron, please, I beg you, let him go barefoot.  A second search added Spongebob to the list of choices.  My new plan is to take the young lad to a shoe store and let him pick from shoes that actually exist rather than ones he dreamed up.  It will be fine but I can't help wishing I could have made his dream come true.     

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Friday, August 3, 2012

Ticks and Chicks

     Much like Little Red Ridinghood we live on the edge of the woods.  This is the only place to live if you, like me, really adore each of the four seasons and wildlife.  There is nothing prettier than a snow covered wood and I have the pleasure of staring at over 100 acres of autumn leaves and spring buds.  What a treat.  I sit at my dining room table and watch deer munching on my lawn and compost, who knew they like Fruity Pebbles?!  I have turkeys come by and visit all the time.  I even have a couple of hawks who hold morning meetings on the top of our van.  I love all this, I truly do.  But there are smaller, eviler creatures in the woods that nobody loves, creatures who wouldn't bake a pie with a Disney princess on a bet.  Ugly, dangerous, and if I'm not mistaken, useless creatures live in the woods and make their rotten way into my home like it is their job.  I am referring of course, to ticks.

     Two Sundays ago I was holding Dorothy in such a way that I was granted a rare visual treat, a peek at her neck.  With her many chins out of the way I was able to view the necklace she was wearing.  It consisted of five ticks who had set up camp in my precious baby's flesh.  I plucked them out and rinsed them down the sink drain wishing I knew some good old fashioned curses to place on them and their families.  Then I leaned over to scratch at what I believe was my first patch of plant poisoning and spied a tick of my own nestled in my knee pit (that is what the kids call the back side of their knees, I am aware that this is probably not the scientific term for this particular body part but I've got nothing else).  I tried to evict the scoundrel myself but couldn't position my tweezers quite right so I whined out, "Airrrrr, I neeeeeed you".  In a flash Prince Charming was at my side ready to rescue me.  "Can you please pull out that tick for me?  I can't reach it."

     "That's a tick?" asked the prince.


     "Then I'm going to need you to lie down".

     Thirty six ticks were in the backs of my legs.  Nine were in my right foot.  About twenty were in my back, arms, and bikini line.  Nothing confirms the importance of the institution of marriage like a bug hunt in your bikini line.

     I checked Ariel after that.  Not one tick.  Enzo and Clara were clear too.  Poor Aston had six in his foot.  Not a day has gone by since then that we haven't found about half a dozen of the little scumbags on us.  Yesterday I saw one on my toe.  Then one on my ankle.  Thirty one ticks later I was ready to cry.

     Ariel, not one to be reduced to tears by anything ever, has decided to wage war on the ticks.  He will be the commander and chief of an army of guinea hens.  When he told me his plans to get us some hens I was excited (I like the idea of keeping fowl...completes the country living package for me) but I had to wonder if my husband remembered the last time we tried having pet chickens.

     Flash back four years with me.  It is springtime.  Clara is four.  She, the twins, and my youngest brother are going to start kindergarten in the fall.  My mother and sister have baby chicks at their houses for the first time and I really wish I could too but I know Ariel won't be interested and I don't have the nuts to ask him.  Clara, Enzo, and Aston fall in love with the chicks at Aunt Alyssa's house so she gives them each one as a gift and promises that Uncle Mike will come build a house for them when they get bigger so that I don't have to bother Ariel about them at all.  Enzo names his chick Rex.  Clara names her chick Madilla.  Aston names his chick Cheeeeeken.  Ariel comes home, finds the box of chicks in Clara's room, makes it fairly obvious that he is less than pleased by leaving the room muttering about "stink" and "more mouths to feed".  By the next morning it looks like there is one less mouth to feed because Aston accidently crushed Rex while grabbing for Cheeeeeken.  Aunt Alyssa and Uncle Mike insist on mending Enzo's broken heart though and have Rex 2 at our house by lunch time.

     Some time passes and the chicks are still in their heated box in Clara's room.  The children are enjoying their pets and I am happy we are doing something special with Clara's last moments before I have to hand her over to the elementary school.  But one day when Savanna is over playing she comes and tells me that Clara's chicken is sick in the tub.  I can hear Clara in her room so I am not panicking.  The chicken is nowhere near the tub.  I stroll into Clara's room and my serenity vanishes.  The chicken is drenched all the way through next to the full bathtub on the bathroom floor of Barbie's dream mansion.  I don't normally do carcass removal but these chicks are my fault and not Ariel's so I walk over to Barbie's place while Clara shrieks, "I'm sorry!  She was DIRTY!!!" at me.  Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle, Madilla appears to be breathing.  I instantly figure she must be freezing so I move her sorry tush back under the heat lamp.  I hadn't planned on the seizure she started having when I set her down so I'm totally upset and decide to let the voice in my head have complete control over this situation because, let's face it, farmer I am not.  The voice in my head must not be a farmer either, maybe it is some sort of day spa employee, because after seeing a teeny baby chick gasping for breath on molded magenta plastic tiles next to a very full plastic claw foot tub the first thing it told me to do was grab my hair dryer.  Knowing I was not the boss here I simply followed the order and soon found myself hunched over a little box aiming a purple hairdryer at an epileptic chicken while two four year old little girls watched me intently.

Madilla and me
     Believe it or not, Madilla was restored to perfect health by my master styling skills (NOTE: Blow from above. You DO NOT want to hit the underneath of the wings with your dryer turned to high.  It is just a disturbing sight.).  Unfortunately we found ourselves in need of a Rex 3 though.  Rex 2 was so upset by the sound of the blow dryer firing up that he committed suicide by flinging himself into the wall of the box and breaking his neck.

     I was thrilled to move the chicks outside when Alyssa told me they were big enough.  Not that I would admit it at the time but Ariel was right.  They stunk.  I set up three hay filled clementine boxes and food and water in an igloo dog house I bought at a neighbor's yard sale.  It looked so flipping cozy in there.  After the kids and I placed Madilla, Rex 3, and Cheeeeeken in their sweet new home we wrapped the entry of the igloo with chicken wire and secured it with bungee cords.  Then we snuggled under our quilts and enjoyed a good country night's sleep.

     The chickens weren't old enough to lay eggs for us that first night but I went and checked on them first thing in the morning anyway.  I found my chicken wire bent up and nothing but feathers remained in the clementine boxes.  That was it.  My days as a chicken farmer were over.  Until now, I guess.  I guess we'll be fine.  I mean, it can't go any worse than last time!  Maybe the new hens will eat a few ticks before something eats them!  We can only hope.