SoCS – the pain and angst of guessing games

I don’t like guessing games.  Never have, never will.

I don’t want to spend time hemming and hawing over what might be in the box when someone gives me a present.  I’m convinced I’ll guess wrong and make them feel badly, or maybe I’ll guess right and ruin the surprise.  Either way, I’d rather just graciously accept the gift, thank you very much.

I come off as a big old fuddy duddy but I hate most guessing games that children insist you do, too.  What’s behind my back?  When’s my birthday?  What’s my middle name?  Nothing I want to spent time thinking about.  Also, per the kid thing, those jars in classrooms where you’re supposed to guess the number of items in the jar – UGH.  I actually had to teach this skill one year and it almost killed me: Now kids, here’s how you use estimation to determine a logical guess for how many jelly beans are in the – when what you really want to do is shout out THREE HUNDRED FORTY-SEVEN and be done with it.

Guess the sex of the baby.  Guess what’s for lunch.  Guess your best friend’s dream job.  Guess when the baby will be born.

Nope, nope, nope nope nope.

Call me a fuddy duddy if you will.

Linda’s SoCS prompt this week is (no surprise here) “guess.”  You should click over and check out who else participated.

SoCS – two philosophers walked into a bar…

High bars, low bars…some say how successful you feel depends on where you set your goal line.  

I’m not sure how I feel about this philosophy.  I mean, in some instances it makes sense.  Going into a Saturday hoping to have a good day may seem like setting a low bar to some, but if setting the bar low means you find pleasure in a cup of coffee and walking the dog then who am I to argue? 

Then again, aiming to graduate college with whatever GPA constitutes “passing” strikes me as a bar set far too low.  Little to aim for, no incentive to challenge yourself – I think some folks sell themselves short when they’re cruising on Ds and keep on rolling.

So where’s the happy medium?  (And you can’t say average.)

My kids aim high.  In school, in sports, in more ways than I probably know, T-man and Bear want to achieve.  I’m trying to help them find balance, find a way to live peacefully even when life doesn’t hit those high notes.  It’s a work in progress.  I could say the same for me.

Linda’s stream of consciousness prompt this week is “high/low.”

SoCS – head, shoulder, knees, and toes (knees and toes)

My limbs have always been a source of…I don’t know what the word is.  Amusement?  Oddness?  Simultaneous strength and weakness?  Whatever it is, when Linda’s SoCS prompt was “limb” the first place my mind flew is these arms and legs ‘o mine. 

I was a scrappy kid, one my dad jokingly referred to as “long neck and skinny legs.”  Not “jokingly” as in it wasn’t true; more like it was so true you just had to laugh.  Stork-like wouldn’t have been a poor description either.

I had this bizarrely long neck and skinny, knobby legs.  My knees looked nothing like the silky smooth models from Nair commercials – my bumps and knots defied every razor’s attempt to shave without drawing blood.

My lower (lowest?) extremities aren’t much better.  These bony ankles jut out, knocking themselves against furniture and each other every chance they get.  The odd bumps on the sides of my feet have made sitting “criss cross applesauce” akin to penance, and my big toes?  We do not speak of the big toes.

My elbows are pointy and bony, a ridiculous display of the awkward phase I never grew out of.  I guess my body didn’t get the memo that middle school was supposed to be the gawky years because my limbs have carried this awkwardness right into my forties.  But, as silly as my limbs might be, it’s hard to be too awful mad at them.  They’ve seen me through the years, good and bad, right up until this moment.  Who knows, maybe if I’d been one of those Nair knee girls I’d have ended up snotty and entitled.

That’s the story I’m going with, anyway.

Cee’s Stream of Consciousness prompt this week is “limb.”

SoCS – the things you find way up high

I gotta admit, our ceilings wig me out a little.

(Psst.  Come closer.  I’m about to talk about what things look like inside our house which, I might add, is not how things look outside our house.  BrightSide works hard to keep the yard, etc, looking good and now here I go, throwing wide the front doors.)

I mean, I love that they’re high.  BrightSide says they’re a little too high, utilities-wise, but I do love a room that doesn’t feel like it’s smashing you into the floor.  That wonderful height makes them, well, challenging to clean…and, if I’m honest, it’s not like cleaning my ceilings was already high on my list of things to do.  Add the fact that I have to screw an extension on the scrubby bristle brush thingie and now we’re talking a chore that’s ranked below Tupperware organization.

You can imagine how low that one is.

So since we live out here in the nature and such, critters like our house.  Critters like spiders, among other things we shall not think about, which means I do have to keep an eye out for errant webs or those weird single strands that connect a cupboard to the ceiling – I mean, what’s that all about, a transit system from the kitchen to the family room?  At any rate, for some reason (probably that whole survival of the species thing) the spiders like to leave webs high, which is weird because at least 75% of the time we kill them as they scramble across the floor.  Sorry, nature lovers, but inside the house is my domain.

Wow, I’m rambly this evening.

It’s always fun to see exactly how long I can stand it before hauling out that equipment to brush off ceiling corners and such, and then it’s also super fun to see how many cobwebs (those aren’t the same as spider webs, right?) have snuck into my nooks and crannies.  Well, not MY nooks and crannies, because I would surely notice if that was going on…


Linda’s SoCS prompt this week is “sealing/ceiling.”  I had it written.  I thought I had it scheduled.  Looks like last week’s Saturday lands on Monday.

SoCS (belated) – reality check

The lovely Linda posts her stream of consciousness prompt on Fridays.  I saw this topic come across my feed, but I was off the grid this weekend so I wrote my post longhand.  (I’m old school like that.)  I’m now transcribing it, word for word, punctuation mark for punctuation mark, without a bit of day after editing.  Pinky promise.


The ’70s were a rough and tumble time to be a kid.  There was no bubble wrap parenting when kids played unsupervised until the streetlights came on.  Playdates were unheard of when kids just congregated at one house until they were fed and kicked out to another.

It left a lot of opportunity for, um, adventure.

“Why are you back so early?”  Well, Kim tried to jump the creek and crashed her bike in front of me.  Then I ran over her leg and she had to go home.  It was awful.  “But did she die?”

“How was your day?”  Great until they served tuna salad in the cafeteria.  “Okay, but did you die?”

“Why are there 40 BandAid wrappers on the counter?”  We were playing roller derby in the cul-de-sac.  “So?”  I fell a few times.  “But did you die?  No.  So don’t waste all our BandAids – money doesn’t grow on trees.

Linda’s SoCS prompt inspires fun writing.  This week’s prompt was “book title.”  Instructions: Take the title of the book you’re currently reading or the one sitting closest to you when you’re ready to write your SoCS post and base your post on the title only.  My book is But Did You Die? Setting the Parenting Bar Low by A Bunch of Know It Alls.

SoCS – anybody got a Sharpie?

I’ve had something of a fascination with signs lately.  The ones with misspellings or incorrect punctuation are particularly vexing (that’s a nice crotchety word…vexing), and I daydream about doing Sharpie corrections on the fly.  Yes, that’s kind of a sad daydream, but let’s not address that right now.

I’ve managed to restrain myself because a) adulting, and b) I’ve made it to 46 without a record and really don’t want to get arrested for vandalism.  Although I think I’d have an excellent argument in that the offensive signs themselves are really the vandalism, but bygones.

Just a couple of the signs I’ve wanted to correct:

**  Names in yards or on mailboxes.  Is this a southern thing?  Or does everyone announce their presence with a sign?  Maybe it goes back to the pioneer days when you had to claim your land with a flag.  At any rate, I’ve given up hope that the general population will internalize that ‘s is possessive and works for, say, The Smith’s house.  If, however, you’re going for just the name then it needs just the s.  But can someone tell me why the sign companies aren’t gently advising their customers on the correct version?

**  a.m. versus p.m.  Okay.  I get that midnight is tricky since it comes after all the evening hours but for real, people, if your store/restaurant/rollerskating rink posts that it closes at 12:00pm that is noon.  As in lunchtime.  If, however, you close at midnight?  Use the a.m.  Just do it.

I’ve also been trying harder to pay attention to the (metaphorical) signs in my life.  Where I’m heading, what I’m doing, all that jazz.  I’ll admit it…in my twenties I thought this was bunk.  That sounds harsh but for reals, folks talking about “getting a sign” sounded just a bit hippie dippy to me.  I am now eating those words, of course, but there it is.

Surely that’s a sign that it’s time to sign off.

Linda offers a weekly Stream of Consciousness event.  This week’s prompt is “sign.”

SoCS – sin (lite) for a third grader

I was raised extremely Catholic.  Not so much in a daily mass, weekly confession, don’t-you-want-to-become-a-nun sort of way.  More like a church on Sundays, memorize your prayers, receive the sacraments, and show up for holy days sort of extreme.   

I guess you’d call it more serious than extreme religion-ing.

At any rate, a major rite of passage for us was first communion, a sacrament we received in third grade.  If you know any Catholics then you know this one is a pretty big deal (okay, they all are), but speaking from someone who remembers what it was like to prepare for it at eight years old?  It was a big freaking deal.

Before you could receive holy communion, though, you had to receive the sacrament of reconciliation.  Most of you have probably heard of this one as confession.  As in, face the priest (who, I’ll admit, always made me nervous because they were, like, HOLY), remember the prayers, and confess your sins.

There’s nothing like waiting in line for confession to make an eight-year-old’s mind go completely blank.  My visit with the priest would be imminent.  I had to go in there and say something.  And I had nothing.  Nothing.  Suddenly I was Mother Teresa, love personified, instead of the girl who hid half her dinner under the bathroom sink and tormented her younger brother by hiding his stuffed bear.  Puh-lease.

But when push came to shove my brain would freeze.  So I’d find myself with the priest, supposedly examining my conscience, and admitting to things like I didn’t clean my room or I didn’t share my cookies.  The lamest sins ever, but still quaking in my proverbial boots because HOLY.  Looking back, I can’t begin to imagine how those priests sat through fifteen third graders admitting to sin (lite), without even cracking a smile.

Pretty impressive, when I think about it.

Linda’s Stream of Consciousness prompt is always a fun way to empty your brain onto the screen.  This week’s prompt is “admit.”

SoCS – the almighty weather app

We are obsessed with the weather around here.  My kids are probably the only ones their age who religiously check the weather app before going to bed.  Try to get them to turn in for the night without their fix and there’s likely to be a riot on our hands.

What will the temperature be in the morning.  You wouldn’t think this would matter an awful lot since they’re going to be inside a building all day long, but it does.  Especially with T-man.  BrightSide gave him a cutoff (don’t ask me what it is, they keep changing it) for what the temperature needs to be for him to leave the house in shorts.  Lawdy, the uproar over shorts around here…it’s enough to drive a girl to drink mimosas espresso.

Whether it will be raining, and when, and for how long.  Bear rolls with this but T-man is an outdoors fella, so rain is a pretty big deal.  Rain ruins skateboarding plans.  And scooter time.  And basketball.  And whatever else those boys do when they’re hanging around in the driveway for hours at a time.  (No, they’re not drinking beer.)  Whether it’s gonna be a light shower that passes during school hours or a steady rain all day is the difference between a “YES!!” or a “awww, man” when the boy gets in my car after school.

T-man’s also oddly talented (well, I guess not oddly, it’s just a skill I don’t understand) at reading the skies.  Guess his fifth grade science teacher did an outstanding job because that kid can tell whether a storm is imminent or if it’s just a gloomy sky.  And he’s never wrong.  Never.  I have learned not to buck T-man’s predictions or I end up soaked in a shower.

Now that we’re heading into summer I suppose we’ll shift our obsession to temperature highs.  I’ve already seen my car heat to 100° as I sit in the car rider line.  (I’d like to say I delicately fan myself ala Scarlett O’Hara but in reality I’m mouth breathing as sweat soaks through my hair.)  I am particularly heat sensitive (as well as cold sensitive, ‘cuz I’m low maintenance like that) so I keep a close eye on summer weather.  Highs into the 90s or (ugh) 100 will land my butt firmly on our couch for the day, whether it pleases my kids or not.

When they get older they’re welcome to melt outside all they want.

Linda’s blog hosts a weekly Stream of Consciousness event.  This week’s prompt is “whether/weather.”