Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Magnets and Gravity and Welsh Choral Music and Strawberry Cake--A Week in Preview

As you know, it has been three weeks since I wrote in this blog. Gone are the days of triple blog entries in one day. My free time has managed to disappear in a hodge-podge of kids and work and strange positions of contortion that I manage to tie myself up in these days. Free time no longer exists. This week is a case in point.

This past weekend was a blur. I really need a weekend to recover from my weekend. Saturday, we helped my mom move into her new apartment. I didn’t so much “help” as taxi the children all around town so that Ruanita could help. This may come as a shock to some of you, but she is a bit more of a workhorse than I am. She excels at manual labor, whereas I excel at coming up with means to excuse myself from manual labor. Saturday, I didn’t have to work very hard to come up with excuses. I still have a sprained ankle that, though better, makes it difficult to climb up and down stairs. Lucas had choir rehearsal that he had to be dropped off at and picked up from. Sophie had a play date she had to be picked up from, as well. So I pretty much played chauffeur all morning while Ruanita provided the muscle for my mother’s move. Then Saturday afternoon, I had to go grocery shopping. That is an affair that involves copious amount of Starbucks coffee and several hours of kid-free meandering through SuperTarget. It’s hard work, but someone has to do it.

Sunday was Lucas’ first concert with the Metropolitan Boys Choir. Ruanita had volunteered to help set up. Again, she is the muscle in this finely oiled machine we lovingly refer to as the Pierce-Ralph family. So she went early to set up while I ironed Lucas’ tux, dressed the kids, fed them lunch, and wrestled the Wii remote from Lucas’ icy grip. She drove back home just in time to pick Lucas up and taxi him over to the concert site two hours early for last-minute rehearsals. The rest of arrived about forty minutes before the concert was to start and spent that time perusing the Silent Auction items that were a part of the annual show. Sophie did not quite understand the concept of a “Silent Auction” and begged us profusely to buy her the Hello Kitty gift basket that was up for auction. When I tried to explain that we could not “buy” it for her, she pouted lavishly. Eventually, we were allowed in the church (yea…the concert was at a church with both amazing acoustics and rock-hard wooden pews). We endured three hours—THREE hours—of numb asses as we listened to choral music performed by the Metropolitan Boys Choir, the Ramsey Fine Arts Boys Choir, and the Metropolitan Men’s Choir. The music was nice. The performances were good. Lucas didn’t even appear on stage (ummm…the altar) until the third hour. He was adorable and perfect and heart-warming. I particularly enjoyed the white-boy dance moves he displayed during the choir’s rendition of “Blue Suede Shoes.” But try wrangling two five-year-olds through a three-hour choral music performance. Traditional Welsh children’s songs? Yea…Sophie and Nicky were, shockingly, not interested. All I can say is thank the Lord above for fruit snacks and the Android apps market.

Yesterday, I began my weekly ritual of ten-hour days at work. Last night, after one such ten-hour day, Lucas and I began working on his Science Fair project. Thursday night is the Hale School Science Fair. We had not even begun working on his project as of last night. So yesterday, I (not Lucas) printed a bunch of information for his project. Then last night, I (with Lucas sitting beside me barely feigning interest) perused the internet for interesting facts about magnetism and gravity. Then I (with Lucas piddling beside me and the twins screaming in my ears) did a dry run of his science project. We were supposed to be proving—with the help of a shoe box, a paper clip, and a magnet—that magnetism is a stronger force than gravity. Unfortunately, our project crashed and burned. It did NOT do what the experiment outline we used had said it would do. Needless to say, I was a bit frustrated and managed to scream and growl at the two five-year-olds attempting to loudly “assist.” My outburst of rage brought Ruanita running into the kitchen, where she managed to save the day my combining four magnets to make a super strong magnet that finally worked. Tonight, we must finish the project, assemble the display on our poster board, decorate our shoe box, and practice the presentation Lucas will give at the Science Fair about how this project was entirely his idea and his work and that his mom in no way, shape, or form took it over in her typical control freak firstborn fervor and did it for him.

Tomorrow, after another ten-hour day at work, I will take Sophie to Girl Scouts. Yay! Fun! Another evening of Sophie glued to my thigh while refusing to participate in the activities, frowning haughtily at whatever snack is provided, and flashing weary dirty glances at the girls who try to befriend her. Yay!

Thursday is the annual OPTIONAL Hale School Science Fair and picnic. It was optional, that is, until Lucas signed up for it—thereby making is MANDATORY for the Pierce-Ralph clan. Yes, not only do we get the pleasure of participating in the Science Fair, we also have to pack a picnic lunch and eat on the school grounds with our hoodlum children.

Saturday, I am hosting a baby shower for my sister, Jennifer, at my house. I bought all the decorations and snacks on Saturday when I went to the grocery store. I even managed to bake a couple dozen cookies the day of Lucas’ choir concert. I still, however, need to bake TWO cakes for her shower. A homemade strawberry cake and a homemade chocolate Oreo cream cake. Yes, my cakes from scratch are pretty damn good, if I do say so myself. So when my sister asked that I bake the cakes for her shower, I happily agreed because…you know…it was a bit of an ego stroke for her request my homemade cakes. Being an extremely competitive firstborn control freak perfectionist (as I alluded to in my Science Fair story), I respond quite well to compliments. As a matter of fact, tell me I excel at something, and you will have my loyal adoration for life. Tell me I am the best at anything, and I will do your bidding for eternity. Tell me I am intelligent or talented or clever, and I will follow you around like a lost puppy. I am shallow like that. I am not quite sure when I will bake the cakes. Two homemade cakes take quite a chunk of time to prepare and decorate. I am considering working from home tomorrow and preparing the cakes between meetings about NCQA Prep and Medica DHS Hearings and UHC Appeals. (I just threw those terms in there so you could all be jealous that my conference calls are more exciting than yours—as evidence by the plethora of acronyms.)

Finally, on Sunday, I might be able to breathe a sigh of relief that the week is over. No…wait…Sunday we will have homework to do. And baths. And cleaning up after the shower festivities. And getting ready for another 50-hour week. And oh yea…did I mention that I have decided to tackle writing a novel? Ludicrous, huh? I have written twenty-five pages and hit a wall. Actually, I haven’t so much hit a wall as plowed head-first into a time constraint. I need to make time every day to write. However, as you can tell by the glaring lack of entries on this blog lately, that is easier said than done.

So goes my life…


Madgew said...

Shannon, this is all so much fun to read. And remember a novel can always be a short story:). I am so excited about meeting all of you. Such fun ahead when I get there.

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