Alert Level Red!

Life at the Criminelli house is a little crazy right now. We are in the midst of getting Firstborn ready for college and ignoring the fact she is going to college, all at the same time.

Just like you, my kids are special and one of a kind. Firstborn has been a mystery to me from the beginning. She was born just 10 days before my 30th birthday. Which was also Mother’s Day. That was the day I had my first nervous breakdown. Nothing says good times more than turning 30, celebrating your first Mother’s Day, and trying to care for a child that hasn’t stopped screaming for the last 8 days of her life. (of course never cried at the hospital.).

I’m not sure when I noticed she wasn’t interested in the same things as other toddlers. Since she was my first, I didn’t have a frame of reference for normal behavior. The first sign I can really think of was the birth of Precious. The two are 22 months apart. As I spent endless hours nursing and caring for Precious, Firstborn had to keep herself occupied. She did this by sitting at the table and writing the 30 words she knew how to spell, over and over again. At 22 months.  I look back and realize this is unusual but at the time I thought it was normal and of course, I was happy she was keeping busy.

Somewhere between 3 and 4 she became obsessed with playing Monopoly, at 5:30a.m. She had to be the banker. By the time real morning started I was already exhausted from trying to land on free parking that I would be distraught at how to make it through until bed time.

Now she is 18 and in just a few days she will be leaving home for school. The college is just 35 minutes away. She will be studying Robotics Engineering. She is excited to go off and be at a school full of kids who, like her, want to learn something fascinating, do something big, and work hard at it. She is excited to meet other girls who like technical stuff (it’s an engineering college), and aren’t really into shopping and talking.

Yesterday, I tried to imagine, based on Firstborn’s demeanor what a day at this school would be like,  and entire college of engineers. Imagine a morning with 4000 people thinking like this:

7:30  First of all, the bagels were stale. As she pointed out, WHO WOULD DESIGN A SYSTEM THAT INCLUDES PUTTING BAGELS IN PAPER BAGS! Obviously, they belong in plastic bags so they stay soft.

7:01 WHERE ARE MY SHOES! WHO MOVES THEM?  No one moves them. She just  can’t remember anything as unimportant as shoe placement.

7:02 IF I WEAR TAN CHINOS WITH THIS BROWN SHIRT I WILL LOOK LIKE I AM WEARING A BUCKSKIN SHIRT! This comment asctually surprised me because it showed she thought about what she was putting on.

7:03 Now that I have to stop at Dunking Donuts for breakfast (because of the stupid bagel bag designer), should I order tea (which she loves) or coffee (which she hates.) WHAT IF I CAN’T STAY UP LATE AT COLLEGE BECAUSE I NEVER LEARNED TO DRINK COFFEE!

This was all followed by the pronouncement that today was the stupidist day ever. Working full time is a waste, why does it have to be so far away? (20 minutes),  her life is ruined. She works as an intern at a nearby Airforce base. I felt that possibly I should call them with a warning that they may want to go straight to a RED warning level today.

When you really break it all down you realize it all stemmed from the people who think paper bags are an OK way to store bagels, we see that from the moment we wake up it is the engineers of the world that make it go round. That and the coffee brewers of the world.

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Family Picture

The picture at the top of the blog is my family. FirstBorn would like it noted that this picture was taken minutes after taking off her goalie equipment at the end of a field hockey game. She doesn’t usually look so sweaty and gross.

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Nothing like a little pressure!

So today my life dream came true. Having my little rant published on the world famous ladies over at Rants From Mommyland, has made my day, week and possibly year. Now with nearly 300 views of this blog today I feel the pressure to write something interesting. This is way harder than it sounds since, of late, my days have been filled with Millionaire Matchmaker and Tabatha’s Salon Takeover.

It’s not like I’m not already under a lot of pressure. My Precious is away at camp. She loves to get mail. EVERY DAY. When she was younger I would write a note for every day and drop them in the camp office when I dropped her off. They were short, and made up. Since I wrote them a week before she even left for camp, I would have to think ahead and make up bunch of stuff that hadn’t happened yet.

With the age of electronics it is now easier. We can send emails that the camp prints out and gives to the girls at lunch. This means I can tell her the actual things I am doing while she is at camp. These are the things that I have written to her so far:

1. I have hired her cousin to paint her room

2. I have been watching Big Brother (for her) and updating her on what is happening in the house. Ditto for The Bachelorette.

3.  There is no number three. I have managed to make those two things into 8 emails.

See the important thing about camp mail is to never mention to the daughter at camp what you are doing with the other one at home. Don’t mention the meals at restaurants, days at the pool, or what new clothes or other “college” necessities you have bought for FirstBorn. Even though Precious is spending her time, shooting rifles, sailing, cooking outdoors and learning how to be a counselor (she is in a training program this summer), and basically having the time of her life, the thought of mom and her debit card at the mall makes her homesick. At least Harry Potter  came out before she left. Last year, FirstBorn was at camp working for the summer and we saw it twice without her.

So, with just over a month left until school begins it is fortunate that I am already on my way to preparing my “What I did with my summer vacation” essay.

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Check out my post at Rants from Mommyland

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Caught in the act.

Oh gosh. Firstborn just came home and caught me watching Twilight, loudly, and alone.

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Geeks and Camp

My house is full of geekery. The Grillman and Firstborn have both bought themselves new laptops. They ordered them online. Firstborn’s arrived a couple of days ago, but she was so busy running around with her boyfriend that she couldn’t get it setup the first night, SO SHE HID IT! She knew her dad would be all over it and she wanted to be the first to..what I don’t know. Touch the keyboard? Press the on button?

This week has been focused on getting Precious ready for camp. A couple of years ago I perfected the camp packing. No suitcases. Rubbermaid containers work best.  Not only does it carry your clothes but it also works as a step onto the top bunk and as a bench. I also like to pack their clothes in big plastic bags with a dryer sheet in them. When you have been at camp a few weeks  nothing smells better than a fresh from the dryer tshirt. But, Precious has a new plan. She bought a new plastic 5 drawer thing. For some reason she thinks this will be convenient. I think it will be hard to get to her cabin.

My kids love camp. But sometimes they have the craziest ideas. Like not taking water activities. Whuck! That is crazy. For years FB wouldn’t take riflery because it was too buggy on the rifle range. WHUCK? Camp is in the woods of Maine, bugs are everywhere.

This year we have the Celiacs challenge. How to get through the 3 weeks of camp will be interesting. Precious is bringing along a tub full of alternative foods for days when the camp food just won’t work. From the looks of the tub she will be there until October.

I, on the other hand, will have to fill 3 weeks of daytime. I will be alone all day for three weeks. what will I do? It will be a challenge to choose between watching every episode of Gilmore Girls, mastering the latest game from Big Fish, or sitting by the pool. Oh wait, I forgot. I will be painting Precious’ room. Last time I painted her room I declared it would be the last time I would ever paint. She thinks differently.

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We all have our personal phobias or fears. At times these may make us act in what may be an irrational manner. Dogs are often lauded for their uncanny loyalty, intelligience, and by dogs I mean, other people’s dogs. My dogs have more phobias and fears than anyone on Hoarders.

KitKat is an 8 year old border collie mix. She is afraid of loud noises. It’s probably not uncommon for dogs to be afraid of gunfire and fireworks. When she was a puppy she ran off down a rural highway and was lost overnight when a car backfired. If the phone rings she takes off like a rocket(of which she is afraid) for our bedroom, her “safe” spot. This has lead us to turn the ringers off on our handsets which in turn means we can never find a phone.

From what I hear, most dogs eat their food with the ferocity of a piranha. Not Kit. She will only eat her food in the middle of the night, after making sure we are in our rooms. Most of the time she refuses treats.

She is also inexplicably afraid of tile floors, our front hallway and crossing thresholds.

Oddly, with all these quirks you would expect that out in the dog world she would be the nerd dog. But she is surprisingly an alpha dog, the leader of the pack. She defends her honor in smackdown playfights with dogs larger and fiercer than her. She can outrun every dog that is up to the challenge, literally running circles around them with her border collie agility.

What makes a dog that is annoyingly afraid of things a pack leader in the wilds of the dog park?


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