"What is better than food?"; reboot; OMFG; a farty IOU

So says my Oliver who is a hell of an eater. Today in his camp lunch I packed some salami and a wedge of triple cream brie in addition to yellow bell pepper slices, a Granny Smith apple, and the requisite Pirate's Booty. He was thrilled. God love that child. Jack has a much more truncated palate but he's as enthused about all he does like as Ol is about his wider berth. At least both of them adore Louisiana food. Jack will eat your body weight in gumbo and red beans and rice, and the two of them can take down a loaf of stanky garlic bread like nobody's business.

This is really quite a critical quality, in my opinion. I'm careful not to say too much out loud or to over-exalt in front of them, lest reverse psychology wreak havoc on my desired outcome, but food and drink, and the pleasure that can be taken in trying, enjoying, sharing, and crafting them, add such a zest to life, such a depth of experience, such an opportunity for celebration and memory. And so I like what I so far see in terms of their culinary preferences.


So, I started this post last night when the house was finally quiet and I was feeling marginally zen. And then the stupid low-light or no blue light or whatever the hell program blocks whatever it is in screens that supposedly ruins your sleep flipped on and I couldn't see my pictures and Tom had conveniently forgotten how to adjust the timing of the stupid program's onset and I lost my bizness and called it a day.

The children had been talking loudly and nonstop since I'd picked them up at camp and then driven home through a gale-force thunderstorm -legitimately branches were blowing across the roads- as both asked me to "look at this, Mom" as if I have not been saying for a decade, "I cannot look at you while I'm driving." 

Apparently, they have heard and ingested that as well as they've heard and ingested:

1. "Please do not talk to me through the bathroom door. I would really appreciate going to the bathroom in peace and privacy."
2. "Please do not attempt to tell me something while I'm vacuuming. I cannot hear you and then you get annoyed because I cannot hear you but I have already told you that I cannot hear while the vacuum is on and if I stop and start as often as you attempt to talk to me, I will literally never get the vacuuming done."

I'm fully serious when I tell you that both happened yesterday after we managed to make it home through that storm which was as verbal as it was nature-made.

I would like to insert a brief mention here that while the children are attending the same camp, they are doing different programs there. Not only is said camp an hour and change round-trip two times a day (I did not know this when we registered) but also Jack's program finishes at 3 and Oliver's at 3:30 (another thing we were not told before or during registration). "Well," you are surely saying, "just pick them both up at 3:30." 

Ah yes, that is logical BUT Jack only has a fifteen-minute grace period and so in order to avoid a $30/day "late" fee, I must pick him up by 3:15 and then leave the pick-up location and return 15 minutes later to fetch Oliver. This is lunacy, people.

I would also like to assert that most of Virginia needs to briefly move to Boston so as to learn how to drive. Yes, I know that Boston drivers have a "Masshole" reputation, but I would rather drive on the roads with them and their excellent skills ANY DAY if it meant I could avoid (and therefore live) the incapable Virginia drivers who appear to not know or not care that minimum speed limits, lane markers, turn signals, and no-turn signs are NOT suggestions. Jesus h christ, people. 

Suffice it to say that when I returned to this blog post today, it was without the iota of zen I'd harnessed by last night. I agree with all I'd written yesterday but that foodly blush has been supplanted by the finding of the IOU Oliver was forced to write to Jack last night after farting on him, purposefully, again.

I'd threatened last time Ol did this and Jack came to me in raging tears (because really, Ol has a toxic arse) that next time he decided that laying one on his brother was a fine idea he'd owe him $10.

I don't know about you, but $10 is a hefty fine. I'll be damned if I do something stupid that results in me just throwing $10 away. There are many things I can and want to do with $10 and paying to fart on someone isn't one of them. 

Oliver seemed chastened. It has been a month since any issue, and I thought my intervention had worked.

Last night, after a hellish half hour of enforcing saxophone practicing and summer math review (don't even ask) after driving home though the cyclone, I threw in the towel and put on a movie for the kids so I could cook their dinner in peace and maybe read an article in the paper.

Soon enough, I hear Jack scream, "That's it. You owe me $10, Oliver. Mom, Oliver farted on me. He owes me!" And I said, "You are right, Jack. Oliver, pay up." I swear to G, y'all, Oliver moseyed upstairs and came back with a $20. I don't even have a $20 right now. 

"Jack, all I have is one of my birthday twenties. Do you have change?"


"Fine, I'll write you an IOU. 'Jack, I owe you $10 for farting on you again. -Oliver"

There is a fair amount wrong with this situation but the amount of my fine, which Tom said seemed harsh, is clearly not part of the problem. 

I would love to continue venting but it's time to get in the car to approach the multiheaded beast known as Avoiding a $30-for-15-minute Fine Pick-Up. 

Thank the lord Tom and I are blowing this joint at 5:30 tonight and heading to FedEx Field for the U2 concert. Thrill of a lifetime. Seeing U2 in concert has been on my bucket list for years. Woot!


I'm going to attempt to regain some zen by sharing with you this picture of my first blackberry harvest from the bushes Mom brought me from Nanny and Papa's yard. The original plants are about 65 years old now. I'm so lucky to have two of them (or their offshoots).