I Want a Zoo

Can someone please explain to me why I cannot get up at 5:15 to work out Monday through Friday, but on Saturday, after reading late into the night (or early into the morning), I wake up at 5:20 and can’t go back to sleep? I fought the good fight until 6:45, at which point I gave up, turned on the light and read until 8:30.

I followed that up with making chocolate chip pancakes for the kids for breakfast and then trimmed my fingernails and cleaned my room. At any point, I could have started, you know, writing.

The thing is, I was really enjoying myself. The dog prints from the rain earlier in the week were banished from my bedroom and my mattress pad was in the washing machine. I danced while I vacuumed and washed the floor.

Then I headed to the kitchen for lunch, but kind of forgot why I was there when I saw the giant bag of chocolate chips sitting on the counter and started making cookies. At 2:00, I gave up all pretense of working on anything resembling a book, and we headed out to buy the least frumpy looking frumpy shoes that my orthotics would fit in (stupid high arches).

They’re kind of cute. Snarky Daughter — living up to her name — didn’t think so. Until I held up the alternative. Then she agreed they were the best we’d found in months of looking. And they’re light blue, which isn’t as cool as 4-inch red stilettos, but they’ll do. From there it was on to Game Stop and Barnes and Noble so Scout Son could blow some of his Christmas money.

Penance for that came in the form of a movie. The child must have been switched at birth, because he doesn’t like movie popcorn. I consider it dinner when you go to a movie after 4:00. So, popcorn, soda and a movie. Yes, true torture. Because no Sith were harmed in the making of this movie. Also, no Deceptacons, Transformers or Starfleet Captains.

If you haven’t seen it yet, you need to go see We Bought A Zoo. This is a great movie about starting over. With the obligatory adorable little girl, a cute, albeit miserable, 14 year-old boy, Matt Damon (I’m happy already), and animals that you’ll fall in love with. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry. And you’ll walk out wanting some wild beast.

The thing is, the movie brought home to me that I must have recently hit a turning point. Because I’m not unhappy anymore. And I should be. Things in my life aren’t perfect right now. I’m still struggling in a lot of ways, and waiting for love to come along, and, you know, living one day at a time. Nothing has really changed from last week or last month or last year.

But today, I was happy. I took a walk after breakfast and pretty much danced down the street. I’m sure the neighbors are wondering what that was about (just a really great soundtrack to walk to). Red Solo Cup came on the radio and I sang along as I drove, laughing because Snarky Daughter thinks it’s the dumbest song ever, and it is, but try getting it out of your head without singing!

I’m sure the patrons of Wal-Mart thought I was nuts as I goofed off with the kids while we were finding the right wire for the iPod to hook into the new car stereo. Maybe that’s it. For the first time in my life, I have a car that doesn’t have a tape deck!

Whatever it is, today was awesome. Even the cleaning. Even as I sit here and realize that it may be midnight before my comforter is dry enough to use. But when we walked out of the theater, all I could think was, I want a zoo.

OK, not an entire zoo. I get grumpy when it’s my day to empty the cat box. I can’t imagine cleaning up after a tiger, although if I had one, maybe UPS would finally put my packages in the garage… Anyway, after careful consideration for about 10 seconds, I announced that I wanted a pair of lemurs.

Hey, if a guy in Great Britain can have a zoo (and since it’s based on a real story, clearly he can), why can’t I have a couple of lemurs? Snarky Daughter immediately pointed out that she still wanted a ferret. Scout Son, the only sane one in the bunch, didn’t want anything– or maybe he just didn’t feel well since he had Bottle Caps candy for dinner.

Ferrets and lemurs and dogs, oh my! And the cat from hell. The other day I wanted a fish for my desk. Really, this is getting out of hand. But I’m laughing again, so maybe just one lemur?


Six Shopping Days Left Until Sanity Returns

Six shopping days left. I think I’m done. Having said that, four cousins and a kid I have never met will appear, needing some sort of gift. But right now, I almost feel like I’ve got the holidays under control.


Never mind that there’s frosting and wrapping paper stuck to my hair. Cakes have been baked. Irish Cream Truffles are done, just waiting to be packaged each night and dropped off with the neighbors. All that’s left is baking cookies with the kids… and wrapping the last of the presents. Which would be all the easier if Amazon would deliver the last of the gifts.

There was a nasty rumor from the USPS that they’d be on my doorstep sometime this afternoon. These are the same people who tell me I can send flat rate packages from my door, but apparently only if I live in a cottage, because I can’t do it here. And though I have searched the yard, the garage and even *gasp* the mailbox, there is no package to be found. These are also the people who ran out of stamps. I kid you not. Out of stamps.

I can’t complain too much about that because without the stamps there’s really no reason to get on those Christmas cards tonight. Hey, last year the annual update became a Valentine’s Day letter, but I did get it out.

So tonight I am taking a break. Peace on Earth. Good will to men, women and children. All of which will be had if I relax and enjoy the twinkling lights on my tree, enjoy a cup of cocoa and play Lego Star Wars with Scout Son.

Tomorrow I will add photos to the letter and start addressing envelopes. Maybe the Post Office will even get stamps and find the missing Christmas present that they logged in to our post office on Saturday. But when they wonder why they’re going bankrupt, I will point to days like today. While singing the 12 Days of Christmas in line at UPS.

Shameless Holiday Joy Moment: If you haven’t heard them and need a laugh, YouTube Straight No Chaser and listen to Christmas Can-Can or their rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas. I laughed so hard I almost had to pull the car off the road.

Merry, merry!


Going Nuts in Scouting

So, in a stroke of local insanity, the Girl Scout nut sale and Boy Scout popcorn sale are going on concurrently. They are also following the middle school’s sale of, you guessed it, popcorn, nuts and magazines.

Now, first, would it be too much to ask for the PTA to not sell the same stuff that’s hard enough for Scouts to sell when their neighbors haven’t just been hit up for this stuff two weeks before? We’re not talking Girl Scout Cookies, which sell themselves. We’re talking Boy. Scout. Popcorn. And. Nuts. Your kids are in these organizations. WHY are you making us sell the same stuff twice?!!?

I admit, I have issues with the whole thing. Adult scouts aren’t allowed to sell fundraising items. Yet, both organizations expect me (an adult scout in each) to take the forms and post them at work. Um, isn’t that selling?

Whatever. But here’s what it comes down to: my kids and I now get to spend two weeks hocking food that nobody actually wants to buy. And, like school fundraisers, we get the kids jacked up on the idea of scoring cool prizes for selling what really is good popcorn. (I have no idea about the nuts since we didn’t sell them last year.) Really, I’d rather write a check to Scouts and run over to WallyWorld to pick up the $4 prize on my own, but selling is supposed to teach the kids responsibility. Or humility. Never sure which one it is as Scout Son totals up the 4 sales each year.

But, as a Scout shows up on your door this year, form in hand, I want you to remember something. When you buy that box of popcorn in the store that’s 25 cents cheaper per bag than Scout popcorn, you’re lining the pockets of some corporate conglomerate, and giving some executive a new boat. When you buy the box of popcorn from the cute kid on your doorstep, you’re sending kids to camp, and helping to provide the Scout experience for boys who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford to participate.

If you haven’t had Scout popcorn in years, it’s gotten better. I can’t speak for the chocolate stuff, although I know people who love it. The caramel corn with cashews is the bomb, and I really can’t tell a difference between the microwave popcorn from the store and Scout popcorn. I just know I feel better supporting Scouts than I do supporting some millionaire’s retirement fund.

The same thing’s true with Girl Scout nuts and magazine sales. Yes, these fundraisers provide a product, but really you’re making a donation to building today’s youth. In both cases, there are options to send food to the troops, or in the case of our Girl Scouts this year, to local food banks.

And isn’t making a change in your community better than buying some guy you’ve never met a new boat?