Thursdays at CatholicMom.com begin with a look at the past week’s Small Successes!
This week has felt like an uphill battle–nothing big, just a bunch of small annoyances conspiring to move me from cranky to anxious to impossible to be around in a single afternoon. Most of these are not things I have much control over, and sometimes rolling with it can be exhausting.
Case in point: we’re having the deck for our above-ground pool replaced because it was unsafe. The new deck promises to be super-sturdy and long-lasting. The building process is even longer-lasting. This means that there are building materials and tools and a builder in the backyard, so no one can play back there (or use the pool. And the weather’s hot.)
So when the Street Urchins come to play, they’re in the house, making noise and leaving a mess. I’m trying to walk that fine line between welcoming the boys into the house and allowing them to walk all over me. On Sunday morning, after several of them had slept over, I announced that they needed to clean up the family room (it was totally trashed) and then I went out to the back porch, where I heard:
“You have to vacuum, because you were throwing breath mints.”
The boys know where I keep the soda, and The Kid does bring out snacks (and sometimes a kid will come here eating something, but that’s just his, which I find odd…) and yesterday they all had a Fruit Roll-Up and a soda and then, after I laid down the law about not using the backyard where there was wet cement (we all know how that would end, and it wouldn’t be pretty) they went out the front door to play basketball down the street. I went into the family room and found 4 empty soda cans on the table and 5 Fruit Roll-up packages on the table, the couch and the floor, plus one cell phone.
I was livid.
It’s a good thing my neighbor showed up to borrow a jar of salsa right then. She’s very calm, though she told me that there’s no way she could put up with the boys day in and day out like I do. She asked what I was going to have them do about the mess, and I concluded that I might say something when the cell phone’s owner came looking for it.
By the time that happened, I was calmer, so when the Street Urchin came in to pick up his phone, I pointed toward the mess and said, “You guys need to pick up the trash from your snacks.” He didn’t bat an eye, just picked up a couple of cans and wrappers, put them in the trash, grabbed his phone and asked if I wanted him to send the rest of them to clean up the rest of the mess. I did. They did.
One bright moment in all of that: when the boys were still in the house trying to figure out what they could do since our backyard was out of commission, one of them suggested that they play that demonic Charlie game that’s making the rounds of the middle schools. Before I could jump on that, another kid said, “No. We can’t play that game here.”
“No, you can’t. We don’t play Charlie here,” I interjected.
Then they all wanted to know how I knew about Charlie, which left me the opening to tell them that we don’t invite demons into my home. And they were good with that explanation.
And finally, after I don’t know how many weeks of arguing with my computer about the printer, which would come up as “offline” when I tried to print but happily spit out The Kid’s homework assignments from the other computer, I finally nailed down the problem as firewall-related, re-set the setting, and am able to print without sending something to the print queue and then turning off my laptop. In the battle of Barb vs. Printer, I have emerged victorious.
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