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Take a deep breath. Blow it out. Good. Now take another.

That’s what I’ve been doing since returning from trick or treating: reminding myself to live in the moment and breathe. It’s remarkably hard to make myself do this – I tend to get caught up in the details when I ought to be focusing on the big picture.

Last night, instead of enjoying what is likely to be my last trick or treating adventure with Large (he’ll be choosing friends over family all too soon), I was obsessed with Small.

“Did you say, ‘Thank you’?”

“Slow down. Wait for the rest of our group!”

“Freeze means don’t move a muscle. It does not mean walk slower!”

“Stay on the sidewalk!”

“You don’t always have to be first.”

“Wait for your cousins!”

“Have we lost your sister?”

“I didn’t hear a ‘Thank you.'”

I was already teetering on the brink of sanity by the time Large tattled on Small: “Mom, Henry got a granola bar at that house and he said, ‘What the heck is this?’ instead of, you know, ‘Thanks.'”

When the kindling is dry, it doesn’t take much.

I pulled Small aside and scolded him. He was sullen, as most people are in the face of direct criticism and a strongly worded reprimand. I kept him back from two houses and under the pressure of my scowl, he promised to do better.

He’s excited, I told myself as he ran off. Don’t ruin his Halloween.

He bounced back, remembering to thank a whopping 60% of the candy distributors at the rest of the houses we hit and refraining from running over his younger cousins. But I didn’t. My grump cloaked me as thoroughly as Medium’s vampire cape. I couldn’t wait to get home.

My heart hurts at my own idiocy. Why do I let the little things bother me so much? Why can’t I enjoy the moment more?

I’ve got a year to redeem myself. You’ll remind me, won’t you?

CVS mask plus contact paper and packing tape

Our little goth girl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small goes for realism.

 

 

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Yes, I’m a Harry Potter geek. I’m not going to apologize for it. If I could, I’d be going to the midnight viewing of HP7, part deux, but I digress. This rant is not about having to wait two whole days to get my HP fix. No, this morning’s tizzy is brought to you by Small and Large, children of modest intelligence possessing supremely selective hearing.

After a particularly fun and busy weekend filled with good friends, chainsaws, bikes and baseball games, our whole family has a “case of the Mondays.” Both of my boys realized they forgot essential equipment for their day while we were en route to their separate drop-off points. These concurrent memory lapses required me to turn the car around and go home to retrieve the items, wasting my time and two gallons of gas and putting us 20 minutes behind schedule. Adding to my stress was the fact that both boys were supposed to be dropped off at 9 a.m. at locations 4 miles apart.

I told Liam to tuck and roll when I threw him and his stuff out of the car. It was a gravel parking lot. I’m sure he’s just fine.

How’s your day going? Anything you’d like to rant about? Feel free to howl about it in the comments section.

This rant is from a friend in D.C.:

“Parents, please stop allowing your children to put their mouths on the railings when riding on the Metro. I barely want to sit on the seats fully clothed and I cannot even imagine the amount of germs partying on those railings and handlebars. Just saying…”

I wholly agree. Then again, if it keeps them quiet…

 

At the grocery store, why are there always five scanners and zero baggers? I’d rather wait a little longer in line, even if I need to play defense in the candy zone and constantly redirect the kids’ attention from the educational headlines: “Improve Your Sex Life With These 10 Tips!”, than be required to bag two weeks worth of groceries myself. It’s not that I’m above bagging; I’m a decent enough bagger (even if I perpetually forget to bring my reusable bags). It’s more that I find it incredibly challenging to organize our stock of go-gurts, goldfish and chicken nuggets while simultaneously riding herd on my herd.

I’m puzzling out how to cram the most groceries into the fewest number of paper bags with Small and Medium shaking the row of but-they-only-cost-a-quarter! toys 20 feet away when the laconic teenager says, “S’that your bread?”

There, at the wrong end of the conveyor belt, is my bread. “Yes,” I tell her. “That’s mine.”

“You want it?” she asks.

We stare at one another. My blood is rushing through my veins so quickly my heartbeat has to be audible. I stomp around to the other end of the checkout, nudge the bread onto the belt, return to my unwanted post and resume bagging.

Again, goth girl stops scanning. “Got ID for the wine?”

Again, we stare at one another. I reach for my purse. Except it’s on the other side of the cashier’s station. The side where the customers are supposed to stand. I put an overly full bag in the cart and scrabble around for my driver’s license.

Once upon a time, I was flattered when I was asked to show ID. Now, I’m just irritated. Someday, my testiness is going to get the better of me and an unwitting cashier is going to get an earful of: Are you blind? Can’t you see how old my children are? I’m not wearing any makeup, I haven’t showered in days and I have thirty minutes to get home and everyone fed before T-ball, so please, don’t delay me any longer! As it is, if I didn’t have to bag my own damn groceries, I’d open that screw-top bottle right here and start chugging!

Oh. Now I understand the dearth of baggers.

Introducing the Daily Rant! This category is a new feature that I plan on updating, while not daily (lest you be confused by the title), at least semi-regularly (since I am irritated by a wide variety of things). The Daily Rant will be less stylized than my normal posts – I’m going to use a stream of consciousness approach. Today’s rant – in fact, this whole category – was inspired by a particularly unhelpful employee of a local college, which will go unnamed since it is my alma mater and I don’t want to give the school any negative publicity.

Minutes ago, I called the college and asked to be transferred to the library’s circulation desk. The next person I spoke with was so spectacularly unhelpful, I wanted to reach through the phone and shake her. Hard. Helpful hint: if you are working the circulation desk in a library, patrons are going to ask you questions about which books are in circulation. They also expect that you will, if not cheerfully, at least diligently, try to find the book that they are seeking. This may require you to look something up. Probably using a computer. Another helpful hint: if you are a library patron and you are notified that the book you meant to read is now overdue and that someone else has asked to borrow the very same copy of the book you are currently using as a coaster on your coffee table, it is proper etiquette for you to return the book to the library without delay.

Phew. I think I’m going to like this new feature. Tell me: what are you ranting about?

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