Showing posts from May, 2020

Captain Mom's Log: Week 11: Day 75

I come downstairs to an overpowering and musty scent. "What is that smell?" I ask the boys who are having breakfast already. It is not as pungent as the chameleon's uric acid-filled feces, nor does it seem like the small mammal house at the zoo, which is what I usually think the litter box resembles. It's not earthy and offensive like the crickets. Admittedly, we have too many animals in our humble house, but this smell was not one of them. Nor did it quite seem like burned breakfast or anything else human-made. "Do you guys not smell that?" The boys continue to ignore my question. Mom noses are always combing the air for things that are uninteresting to boys. Oliver grooms himself on a pillow. The smell is strong near him. I check him for renegade poo. There is some sort of tannish gray matter sprayed all over the couch cushion. It looks like rotten baby food. "Yeuch," I inspect it without getting too close. Then I see the source. Oliver

Captain Mom's Log: Week 11: Day 74

It's muggy and overcast today. The plants lap up the water as it rains off and on. My impatiens vibrate and dance in the fine spray. We may not be at the beach, but the forest is not half bad. Birds chitter and flirt as they flit from limb to limb. Squirrels fill their chubby faces with the last of the bird seed. Trees rain big sudden droplets of water as squirrels chase each other round and round the branches. I sip my Surprise Coffee that arrived on Friday. It is Stumptown quality. It is called Four Leftys. I want it to be my Forever Coffee. Even at the end of the pot, slightly charred and lukewarm, it is better than what a certain coffee chain likes to call a fine roast. "Start your morning right. Choose from a bold assortment of burned plastic." No thanks. Chief Mate furiously scribbles in his school notebook. They are working on animal habitat graphing. He raises his hand when he has a question so Teacher Captain Mom can answer without disturbing the entire class

Captain Mom's Log: Week 11: Day 73

Today we built stations for a virtual field day. Laundry basket, cardboard box, balls of socks, and an empty oatmeal barrel became a Skee-Ball game. Spoons and wine corks became a spoon race. Paper airplanes and cardboard box became Paper Airplane Cornhole. I could only laugh as my construction paper airplane curved, did a double barrel flip, and came right back to me every time. Not anywhere near the target. The aerodynamics of construction paper are quite different from my usual copy paper planes. Chief Mate spent a significant amount of time covering his in masking tape only to be abandoned by me when it was time to fly. (It was also time for me to make dinner.) We will test it out tomorrow. Hush puppies with rice and beans for dinner. Every once in a while you need a good ol' taste of the south. Perhaps it was Memorial Day or cornhole inspired. Perhaps I'm feeling patriotic because I want our country to get its $#!@ together. Sending good vibes never hurts. In any event

Captain Mom's Log: Week 11: Day 72

Dreams are getting stranger and stranger. The stress of social distancing, global deaths, and lack of jobs intertwines in bizarre ways. We are fine, but as an empath, I tend to let it all in to bleed out through my subconscious. ~ I was back at the school and we were slammed. Phone call after phone call to find the children who couldn't make it back to class. Were they at work with their mothers or at home without a ride? Did they have lunch? Did they need new clothing and is there enough in our bin to supply to those in need? I looked at my schedule and there was no way I would make it in time to my reading group. I was still manning the cafeteria. Putting out fires between stressed out coworkers and upset children whose oranges were moldy and who were being overcharged by kitchen staff.* I walked briskly up the winding staircase and found myself in a living room. It was poorly lit, bright blue carpet and there were piles of books and knickknacks in all corners of the house

Captain Mom's Log: Week 11: Day 71

Happy Memorial Day. Thank you to all those whose bravery made this weekend possible for humans to enjoy, even in our temporarily limited ways. We are forever in your debt. Tonight we relished some homemade ice cream that was left to incubate in the freezer. After ten minutes of shaking an iced bag with soaking wet towels, frozen appendages, and no help from the crew, I resigned to stuffing the baggie in the freezer and waiting. Half-assed is the way to go. It was delicious. That is all. END TRANSMISSION

Captain Mom's Log: Week 10: Day 70

The days are getting longer, the frogs are getting louder, and my hope continues to grow. I see people being kind, helping each other out, and keeping busy whenever they can. Even the tiniest gesture matters tremendously. Yesterday, Chief Mate had a visitor. A Friend from school. They stood several yards apart and spoke Frog to each other. Meeping and hopping about in the yard. "You can speak Human, you know," Friend's Mom said. But clearly in that moment it was Frog that needed to be said. The eight minute visit made the weekend that much more bearable. No, not bearable, Special. Visiting is rare, odd at best, so we are lucky to spend limited time with two of the three Admiral Grandmas. Outdoor walks, face masks, and constant reminders to keep ourselves from drifting toward each other. The familiar pull of the Admirals' magnets are strong and we must resist the urge to bump together and breathe the same air. We sure miss those hugs and kisses, but it is better

Captain Mom’s Log: Week 10: Day 69

I bought flowers for the front yard. They are an obscene shade of red. I drove the back roads to the grocery. I wanted to keep driving. I wanted to find a shady spot in the middle of nowhere where the clouds were still visible. I wanted to spread out a blanket and eat cherries and drink my iced tea and feel the earth bumpy and warm. I wanted a full car of family and friends to do this with. Instead I returned home, grumpy and tired. I won’t let the Inner Beast win. I get the speaker, my phone, a tarp, and my sleeping bag. I blast bad jazz music and spread out on the grass in my “backyard.” I am at Wolftrap. I am with friends. I am at Wolftrap. I... Hate this song. What kind of jumpy jazz two-note minute-long solo is this?? “You paid for this?” Co-Captain Dad comments while manning the grill. “I supported a local venue for streaming. Yes.” I sip my tea. I swat a mosquito. “I have no regrets,” I say to no one. The red flowers look sublime. END TRANSMISSION

Captain Mom’s Log: Week 10: Day 68

Cardinals are plentiful in our new world. Usually I catch sight of one or two each season. But I have seen one or two every day for the past couple of weeks. The word cardinal comes from the Latin word cardo which means hinge or astronomical pole. Some say it is the messenger between spirit world and ours. I like to think that my late grandmother, who taught Latin and was an avid birder, is stopping by to say hello. The great world of web has the following words associated with the vibrant red cardinalis cardinalis. If it means something to you, wonderful. If not, no harm done and carry on with your day. Hope Love Cheer Pride Focus Energy Renewal END TRANSMISSION

Captain Mom's Log: Week 10: Day 67

The local inhabitants are making marks on the sidewalk again. "Bruno was here," "Emi was here," "Stay home," and other various primitive scribbles in chalk. "Why is this symbol here again?" Chief Mate asks and points to an arc of 4 or 5 hash lines.  We have seen it in several places around the neighborhood for the past month. "I think it is his tag," I say. "Whose tag?" "Timo, the young one who can barely hold the chalk without chomping on it for a bit."  We run to get our chalk. We make stealthy work of it. I add my signature flower. I hesitate.  I add, "Stay safe."  I instantly feel cliche. How long does a phrase need to be around before it is considered a cliche? Is it the length of time or the condensed repetition?  "Stay home," is stated on every radio commercial, every YouTube ad, every flier in the mail.  "Stay safe," every email, every social media thread,

Captain Mom's Log: Week 10: Day 66

I went running today. It was harder than usual, but I did it. It felt amazing. Even breathing in the pollen. It felt tremendous to breathe. I still feel alive. I still feel vibrant. I am still here. I just sneezed five times in a row. They got more and more slow mo each time. I could feel my muscles expand and contract. It was like that video we watched on the giant film reel in fourth grade about germs and why you should cover your spray when you sneeze. I covered, but I could still see the particles of snot and spit cover the house that we just dusted yesterday. I unearthed things from my being I don't care to describe. We are out of tissues. I have resorted to paper towels to lessen the leaking. My nose is red and raw. Pollen. Is. Not. Cool. I can still breathe. I think I will run again tomorrow. I am still alive. END TRANSMISSION

Captain Mom’s Log: Week 10: Day 65

There is a sort of stillness in the air again. Time has slowed and I can actually see the particles of pollen suspended in the air. I can feel them wafting down and coating my throat. I wipe down the cat every time he comes in with a damp paper towel. Yes, we still have those, although we will have to journey out to find toilet paper again soon. We've only managed to buy it twice in the last 65 days. Good Lord. 65 Days. I joined the artillery training earlier today. Clay ammo slung into cans and a cardboard target. I squinted to see the balls zip through the air, but the second they left the sling shot they blended into the surroundings. They disappeared immediately. It was like Kipling's blotchy Giraffe hiding from Leopard and Man. "Giraffe moved off to some tallish trees where the shadows fell all blotchy. ‘Now watch,’ said the Zebra and the Giraffe. ‘This is the way it’s done. One—two—three! And where’s your breakfast?’ Leopard stared, and Ethiopian stared, but al

Captain Mom's Log: Week 10: Day 64

Freedom is not having a single thing to do. It is the lightness of having no cloud looming overhead nagging a to-do list in your ear. It is pouring your favorite iced drink and sitting outside and listening to the birds whistle, “lookuphere lookuphere lookuphere,” and “drinkyourtea tea tea.” Ten weeks. This is no longer temporary. I don’t want to wait to begin enjoying life again. I want to enjoy Now. I’m not interested in ignoring reality or pretending that things don’t suck tremendously. I am interested in relishing the small things that bring happiness. I like the way chalk feels soft and powdery on my fingers. I love the cool refreshing taste of peach iced tea. Unsweetened, in case you want to know which side I’m on. The rustling of the wind in the leaves makes me smile. Oliver covered in peach and yellow chalk makes me giggle. Dancing an Irish jig to the fiddle for the whole neighborhood to see is invigorating. Freedom is being alive to enjoy the life we are given. Freedom

Captain Mom's Log: (Week 9): Day 63

(A by-the-way-this-also-happened-in-Week-9-but-was-unrelated-to-Gradschool-Black-Hole side note) Our feline companion's ear has gotten worse. We had to find a facility that would take him and allow us to remain in the car. The drive-through veterinarian was not an experience I ever thought I'd have in this life time. Chief Mate and I took the expedition together. He had not left the neighborhood in ... (blank thought bubble) ... let's just say, quite some time. I was beginning to think he may not remember what it feels like to sit in a car. Getting Oliver in the carrier was not easy. After three failed attempts to shove the beast through the tiny door (how did Oliver get so big??) and Chief Mate laughing hysterically, I tried putting treats in the back of the crate. But it was too little too late and Oliver was far from dumb. He made sure to give me a side-eye and silent meow in protest of my feeble effort. We had to take the crate apart and rebuild it around him.

Captain Mom's Log: Week 9 (In its entirety): Days 56-62

As I sit in front of the fan trying in vain to dry the beads of humidity pooling in my pores, let me recount the events of the past week. Some are most pleasant, others, excruciating, and all kept me from the daily log. Let us begin with the Mother's Day that was, but then wasn't as it was supposed to be. The plan was to have breakfast twice.  Round One: eggs, made by Co-Captain Dad because I would inevitably sleep in and starve the crew if they were forced to wait.  I knew there was a good chance that I would miss first breakfast all together, but it was a risk I was willing to take. Sleeping in is divine.  Round Two: buttermilk pancakes from scratch with maple sausage, made by Me after I stirred from my slumber.  But this round would not come to pass on Mother's Day...  Day 56 (Mother's Day) I yawned and stretched and a cute little bouncing face appeared in my periphery.  "Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom," Everything was still fuzzy as I

Captain Mom's Log: Week 8: Day 55

Anothersaturday. Chilly. Another day of oscillating the air conditioning to heat. Except we forgot to set it to heat last night. I awoke fresh and freezing. Fuzzy Blanket never felt so inviting. Chief Mate and I made a morning sandwich. He was the lettuce, I was the cheese. Fuzzy Blanket was (arguably) the meat. It's a purplish gray color. Perhaps the closest it could get to meat would be chicken liver pâté. It was too early to think of such gag-inducing foods. So we move on to other ingredients. The mattress clad in olive green became the veggie patty. Brown blanket became the bread. A scarf that keeps coming out of the closet due to the unusual frigidness of May was (obviously) the mayonnaise. Nameless lemur became the little garlic. Veggie sandwich was complete. A heavenly scent wafts up from downstairs. Eggs. And coffee. "Time to get up!" I announce. "No! We have to be a sandwich," Chief Mate combats. "The human is coming to eat the sandwich,

Molasses Minutes of 1989

Molasses Minutes  is an off-shoot of Captain Mom's Log. This one is dedicated to my Amazing Mom. Happy Mother's Day to all the moms!!!  At Lord and Taylor (Again) I get to sit on High Squishy Stool while I wait for Mom to pick the right lip color at Lord and Taylor. I love looking at the plastic lipstick colors that stick out of the counter. I run my fingers over the smooth cylinders. Something so satisfying in feeling the flat angled end. I desperately want to do something with one, but it's stuck good. What is the point if you can't sample it? Or use it as a character in a counter-top play? Their uselessness mocks the artist in me. "Can I try Pink Pearl?" Mom asks the saleslady. Her shoulder pads are the size of my head. She looks both old and young at the same time. Her eyes are weathered and her neck is ringed with age like a tree. Her face is perfectly taut. It looks plastic. Like the perfectly impractical lipstick colors protruding from the count

Captain Mom’s Log: Week 8: Day 53

Time has slowed. Molasses Minutes stretch and I acutely remember what it was like being a child. The top three slowest moments of my life resurface. And linger. The Molasses Minutes of 1986  Standing in the Eternal Line at the Post Office.  The rope that separates customers is blue and soft. Velvet, like my favorite fancy red dress that I can only wear on Christmas. I hope to stop growing so I can wear it every year. Except I also want to keep growing so I can be taller than Mom.  "Stop playing with the rope," Mom fusses.  It clangs when I give it a push. The vibration shoots up the rope to the copper metal clip that holds the rope to the metal pole. Clang. "Stop it." Mom looks around at the other customers. "How much longer?" I ask. "Five minutes," she says. "At most ten." I look at the giant clock on the wall. It has already been ten minutes. I watch the red second hand pass the 8. Two, three, four, five. The 9.

Captain Mom's Log: Week 8: Day 51

All Things Beautiful Chalk on the sidewalk Frogs on doors Mushrooms peeking out A vacuumed floor Words between neighbors Lack of cat poo A hug from your child Moss covered shoes (please post something that is beautiful to you on this blog post!) END TRANSMISSION

Captain Mom's Log: Week 8: Day 50

The grass is tall and the leaves crunch beneath our feet despite the sporadic onslaught of rain we have had over the past week. Our legs begin to sweat under cover of long pants. Such discomforts are small in comparison to the benefits of avoiding tick encounters. Chief Mate whacks the vines and plants that threaten our passage. I carry the saw. Our mission, which we chose to accept, is "Free the Tree." Down the hill, through the broken fence, across the tick grass stands the lonely tulip tree. It is young and still fighting for life in the vicious forest. Trees are silent as they vie for sun. A hundred-year-old brute will hog the sun, in essence, squelching the life out of its own saplings. It knows that with the next season, there will be plenty more offspring to resume the cyclical competition for life. With our help, Lonely Tulip stands a chance. It is young. I can just barely touch my fingertips around its small trunk. There are no suffocating parents nearby. But there

Captain Mom's Log: Week 7: Day 49

Admiral Grandma is taking us to the zoo. Me and Chief Mate and Commander Cousin. The windows are open and there isn't much traffic. It feels amazing to have the breeze on my skin. The sky is orangey, like a soothing sherbet sunset. It has been ages since we have gone out anywhere. I have a strange feeling, like we aren't supposed to leave the house. I ignore my gut and snake my hand around in the wind. The parking garage is ominous. Always is. But it's the cleanest I've ever seen. A fresh coat of cool gray paint makes the floor smooth and inviting. I keep an eye out for lurking bizarros in the corner. My mom taught me to always keep my senses alive in a parking garage. We arrive at the hotel lobby and there are all of the other Admiral Grandparents standing around waiting. They have refreshments. The hotel bellhop arrives and I suddenly remember why we aren't supposed to be going anywhere. He starts to cough. We need to leave. "I think we ought to go back ho

Captain Mom's Log: Week 7: Day 48

My eyes fight to stay open. Days of computer screen are taking their toll. "Mom." The second grade Physical Education class we completed together last night has my body begging to drift back into dreamland. "Mom." The fuzzy blanket, still soft because I rarely let Sweaty Boy use it, invites me to stay for five more minutes. "Mom." Drool pools at the corner of my mouth and I don't move to wipe it. Nothing matters in this new world of home-hygiene. "Mom." Something with lots of hair lands in my face. In one split second my brain recognizes that the hair in my eyes, nose, and ear is more stiff and straight than my own hair. Chief Mate does not have such hair. I snort awake annoyed. "What the??" Rainbow Dash's bright eyes and bushy tail mock me. "Bud, please don't throw things in my face." "It's time to wake up." Happy Saturday. END TRANSMISSION

Captain Mom’s Log: Week 7: Day 47