For something this crazy you bring back the blog

You know that improv maxim “yes, and”? Basically, whatever your fellow improviser says, you have to roll with and add to. This describes Margaret (age 6) and Paul’s (age 4) relationship perfectly. Alone, they sometimes misbehave or talk back, but they’re basically good kids. Together? They’ll ‘yes, and’ each other until your house is a ball of flames.

Yesterday they wanted the cat to come play with them in the TV room in the basement. So they picked up her entire bin of cat food and poured it in a trail from the laundry room/pantry (where she eats) to the couch. Apparently there was a can of oatmeal nearby that struck their one-year-old sister’s fancy so they decided, yeah, sure, let’s dump that on the pile, too.

Then, for what reason I have NO IDEA, they poured cup after cup of water along the whole mess of it, so when I came downstairs I found our shag-like carpet saturated with a paste of cat food and sticky oatmeal. Only I didn’t realize it was wet. So I started vacuuming it. Which added a vacuum gummed up with wet cat food and oatmeal to the problem.

We love cats

Oh, and Margaret made a sign for the cat. With a Sharpie. Which Eleanor (age 1) found when I went to call Thomas and ask how to use the carpet shampooer. I came back two minutes later to find Sharpie all over our chairs, the coffee table, her clothes… I think we’re just going to declare the basement a loss and pretend we live in a ranch.

The big kids got a nice long lecture on destructiveness, lying, and the cost of cat food and carpet shampoo while they cleaned AND then helped me pack every single toy they own into boxes to be put away. All they got to keep was books, workbooks, and flash cards. Six days of winter break to go! (SOB)

My slightly spoilery review of Inside Out

This started as a quick take or Facebook post, but got out of control. If you want to avoid spoilers, skip the fourth paragraph (the one that starts “Even the things that didn’t speak to my experience”)


We took the kids to Inside Out on opening night. It’s a great movie. Just wonderful. I recommend you go.

I hated it.
As you probably know, the movie takes place inside the head of an 11-year-old girl. This girl, like all of us, has old memories that are fading, disintegrating, and just plain disappearing (independent of the ones that are collapsing under the weight of stress). But her past is basically a recreation of my family’s present and to see disappear before my eyes hurt. There’d be a memory of her dancing and laughing as a toddler and it was so ‘Eleanor’ it would take my breath…then it would turn to dust and be gone forever.
Even the things that didn’t speak to my experience hurt. I never had an imaginary friend myself, and neither have any of my kids, so I never expected myself to be sobbing in public over the fate of one. I’m crying actual tears right now just thinking about it.
I’m just tired of every Pixar movie I see being a punch to the gut. Crying is a given, but sometimes it’s a good cry (Up). Sometimes it feels almost cruel, like they can’t help but rip my heart in two (Toy Story 3). This was definitely the latter. On steroids. In a sense, those movies were about having happy memories of times past, but in this one it’s clear that you physically can’t hold on to all those happy memories. No matter how sure you are you’ll never forget XYZ, it’s entirely possible you will.
I basically walked out of there thinking life is meaningless, because in 10 years everything that seems important now will be a distant memory. Will I or any of my kids remember the fun things we do this summer? Almost certainly not. So what’s the point? (Clearly, I’ve chosen to take the pessimistic view.)