Life Death and Axe Deodorant

So, I’ve been doing the single parenting thing of late and if I have a few more mornings like the one I had this morning, I’m going to rethink that whole homeschooling thing. Except it’ll be the kind of home schooling that involves nun’s habits and rulers.

The Golf Pro has been absent on a pretty much full time basis as his father’s health has begun to decline in a very serious way and they face their first real end of life chapter in the story of their family. That’s never an easy time for anyone, and it’s made even harder by the terrible theft of dementia and slow, incredible cruel crawl of lowered physical function. He is fulfilling his role helping his mother to both care for him and get through what is likely the most difficult challenge she has ever experienced. Good man. Good son. Go, I say. We will be alright here until you get back. At least that’s the story I’m peddling to him. Visit Gather at for more information

The reality of the single parent parade, which I’ve done before in various ways, is rather more like this… I caught the mouse that was trying to find a home in my home, which was pretty psychologically scarring for me, but more I suppose for the mouse.  I still feel like I violated some kind of pact with life.

Two hours later, after I had used two empty, frozen pizza boxes to relocate the ex-mouse to the trash I saw a kid in the garage finish his tasty green apple and just blithely dispose of the core by tossing it nonchalantly over his shoulder.  These are the moments where autism is the only thing that keeps me from going for his throat.  On another kid, that’s total cause for a beatdown.  I ought to just hand the rodents the keys and move out instead of the mouse-proofing I’m doing.

The heat has been out. It’s been out for about a week since I couldn’t bring myself to lie and say “Yes. I think I smell gas out there,” and I am far too terrified by my own ineptitude and any combination of gas and fire, we’ve been playing the “Ozarks  Family Christmas” game at night and sleeping 4+ to a bed. Last night I managed to fit 5 of us in my bed, but we had to sleep from left to right in a coordinated manner.  It’s like they are staging their own little “Occupy:” movement right here at home. Still, I have acclimatized so successfully to the Southern California weather, that by 64 degrees, I am already Donner-party cold and ready to eat the kid next to me who keeps destroying my house.

Our mornings with just the 7 of us look mostly like this morning did. Once I accepted that I wasn’t really going to call six kids in sick to 2 different schools, I got everyone to school in two stages, so we were only half late.  In the first group we had someone who looked as if they had been drawn by a cross between Maurice Sendak and Dr. Seuss…you know, if they were both on crack. The other child in that group came downstairs with a kind of reverse Mohawk because he had “combed his hair with gel.” O.o  He wasn’t very happy with me for fixing it, insisting that his Dad had shown him how. Oh yeah?  I’ve never seen Dad wear that particular look. Get in the car.

In the second group we had another ugly gel incident and I learned that if an 11 year old with a full head of hair looses an argument with gel, he can make himself look exactly like Rudy Guiliani in his pre-makeover days.  “Was Old-Guy Comb Over the look you were going for?”  “No.”  “Do you want me to fix it?”  Double Bonus? He doesn’t know who Eddie Munster is and that he is his twin. He also doesn’t know that I was totally lying when I told him that it would dry and fall into place during the day.  I’m guessing he’ll work it out by the end of the day. I mean he’s not in those gifted classes for nothing, right? RIGHT?  (Note to self: Must hide the gel. Also, Axe deodorant in the hands of two 11 year olds can cause vision problems).

In the midst of all this, the school district and current sports commitments have scheduled a nice chunk of my time for me in the name of education: DARE Project x3, Talent Show, Mandatory Parent meeting for Outdoor Ed, Toys for Tots, Science Project x3, 6th grade International Taste Festival (75 “tastes” of food from your culture to share), 1st grade Holiday performance, 3rd grade Holiday party, Basketball and basketball pictures and basketball Holiday Potluck, “Technology” day (are you serious?!) and the 6th grade panoramic picture…in 10 days.  I would respectfully suggest that the school district has lost it’s mind.  I mean December being traditionally the BUSIEST freaking month of the year.  Technology Day?!!  Seriously, are the kids in this district still bringing in pet rocks for show and tell?  I’m trying to talk at least one of my kids into bring in a flashlight so they can spend the day turning it off and on and being amazed.

And the International Taste Festival?  I’m all for cultural exchange. I think it’s a great idea, but why in HELL would you schedule that for December?  Something says these 6th graders are about to get their first introduction to Vegemite, thereby winning my kids the “Least Popular Taste” award for this thing. But really, do I seem bitter at all?

Just to put the cherry on top of the sundae, my daughter is in a state of total Attachment Disorder freefall since her first Mom fell out of her program, and her suffering is awful to see while we try and help her process her rage and self-destructive behaviors into a useful crucible that will produce, I hope, a wicked-hard self-love in the end. It would also be good if they other kids didn’t stage a complete uprising against her in the meantime. Mostly, during the days with them all, I spend enormous amounts of energy attempting to defuse and soothe inflamed emotions among the members of the Small Social Skills Theater group I direct here.  But that’s another story I guess…

Right now, the kid sitting next to me is licking peanut butter off his shirt and I still need to get my tree up. Somebody cue Vince Guaraldi and let the Snoopy Dance begin!

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