____________ April 30, 2016 ___________

Homeschool Capitol Trip

Happy Sunless Sunday.  I sure hope the weather is nicer where you are, because it’s a sloppy, soggy, muddy MESS over here!

SO. MUCH. to tell you.  And photos to put together for you.  And I should put together photos for my blog, too – field trips are something that can be posted public, and precious little over there is, anymore.  Yeah, watch me go…!!

Actually, I spend all of my time writing on MSWord, anymore.  I’m on an apparently strong writing kick.  I’m on page 126, and not even scratching the surface of the thing.  Yes, well… it gets complicated when one is creating an entirely new system of government for her short story.  Because while Disney can just irrationally make animals talk, I have to explain how/why that came about, which brings the story into the future and deals the Earth a cataclysmic blow, and then I have to explain how/why this particular nation (Africa, as a collective – the countries are now states) survived while the more developed, richer Western nations did not.  The answer comes down to government, and therefore I have to have a more viable alternative.  Basically yesterday I researched balance of power in various different empirical and democratic settings… and came up with my own new system.  You really, REALLY don’t want to know.  Only that I get a little too technical for a lighthearted animated storyline.  ((whatevs.))

Backing up, though…  Brian had Friday off, so he was home to narrate my emotional breakdown.  I forgot about those, but it seems I’ve written about one before (when my mom came over, maybe?).  Anyhow, if I get too strung out about something, I kind of pop.  And the hair thing with Isaac primed me to blow.  So I was doing dishes Friday morning and saw something gunky in my hair, and what with Thursday’s pent up emotions… I lost it.  Over gunky hair.  Over the sink.  With Brian in narrator mode:  “And… thar she blows.  Now with the laughing.  Now with the crying at the same time.  Now with the mad scrambling for paper towel.  Oooh, mascara streaks… we have mascara streaks.  And sobbing over the mascara streaks.  And laughing over the mascara… wait, BREATHE…!  You have to BREATHE…!!  She’s not breathing…”

((((((((((He’s a jerk, you realize this, right? ))))))))))))

[I had a shower.  And felt much better after that.  S’all good, now.  Ish.]

Moving on.  Because I’m sure you want to hear about Friday’s field trip to the Capitol.  It was… frustrating.  I think I’m done trying to work with the local group.  I don’t NEED the local group, now that there’s a regional group that doesn’t have the cliques, membership requirements, and stupidity attached.  The regional group is headache free and open to anyone and very loose and easy to work with.  The local group is…

Okay, well, first, we were only going on half of the field trip.  In the morning the group was doing ‘Impressions 5’, which is a hands-on children’s museum in Lansing.  Which – as fun as that is – has absolutely NOTHING to tie it to the second half of the field trip, which was a tour of the State Capitol.  And at the time that I’d signed up, Brian wasn’t a part of the equation, and I knew that he’d want be with us when we take the kids to ‘Impressions 5’.  So I was just going to do the Capitol… and the local group said that was fine.  They also didn’t make a big deal out of Brian coming along on the Capitol trip – mostly because it was free and there wasn’t a limit to participants by the State.

The deal was that they would do the morning at the children’s museum, bag their lunches there (or eat out), then we were to meet as a group at 2pm at the East Information desk in the Capitol, and then there’d be a half an hour for bathroom breaks/re-gathering and the tour would be at 2:30.  So we got there at 1:50, because I’m always early, just in case.  In the olden days, that was what people did.  I’d forgotten that modern people don’t show up at the theatre for a movie until AFTER the start time, previews, and first fifteen minutes of the movie has shown.  (I hate humanity.  Have I mentioned this lately?)

So we’re in the ‘assembling room’ set aside for the local group group, and I picked up a ‘See Lansing’ magazine, and it’s 2:10, and I’m reading thru it, and there are other related things to do in Lansing.  The Library of Michigan.  The Hall of Justice has a children’s program.  There’s a history museum that’s free.  But all of them but the Library of Michigan close at 4pm, so I’m a little disappointed that I wasn’t the one to organize this shin-ding, or I would’ve dropped I-5 and gone to the Capitol earlier, and done these other smaller ones, too.  Because of the local group’s scheduling, there’s NO WAY we’ll have time to do them, on this day.  (<<< Frustration and peevishness at people who still aren’t here, and it’s 2:15.)   By 2:20 I’m going out to the info-desk to ask if we’re in the wrong place.  “We’re wondering what’s going on, too!”  the lady says.

I’m not… They’re… idiots.  Homeschoolers are bigger idiots than normal people, in most cases.  They’re absolutely hideous women, and I hate them all.  Which is why I don’t go to their meetings.  And it’s now 2:25, and I’m thinking that if we ask to do the 2:30 tour without our group, we’ll still be able to hit maybe two of the other places, after.  And just as we’re about to do that, in walks THE BIGGEST WAD OF OBNOXIOUS that I have see in a long, long time.  They’re he-re.  Ta-da!!  And aren’t they awesome?  Forty-two kids of awesome, at 2:28.  And every. single. one of them has to go to the bathroom.  Oh. UGH.

Brian says I need to be nicer.  He says that hatred emanates off of me.  He says it rolls like waves in the direction of the other moms.  And here I was sure I had at least smiled (half-heartedly) at maybe three moms.  I could be wrong, I don’t know.

The capitol was beautiful.  Nothing was in session, so it was also kind of boring, but… apparently the elected folk are only there T,W, and TH, so our Friday was quiet.  And then this guy walks up, and it turns out he’s Senator Hildebrand’s assistant, and he’s got a *special treat* for us… he’s going to let us go right down on the Senate floor!  This was the first good thing about the trip – I had been thinking, “Lord, if we’d only ditched these morons… it would be less crowded, less hassle, faster, less high maintenance.  And HOVERING!  HomiGAWSH.  One kid had a breakdown for some inexplicable reason on the steps and FIVE families had to stop to coddle him.  Everything ground to a halt.  I had NO tolerance for this.  Okay… so maybe Brian’s right, and hatred emanates off of me.  But you KNOW I don’t do the peoples.  We’re already WAY behind schedule, thanks to them.  Now we have to take a pity break for ONE child in a stairwell?!  ((<< And it was the organizer’s son, naturally.))

I initially thought, ‘Wow!  Someone in our group must know Senator Hildebrand (<< he’s from GR) if we get this treat, right?’  What I didn’t know was that on no-session days?  The assistants ALL take the groups out on the Senate floor.  It’s not really a treat.  I wouldn’t have known, but I looked up Hildebrand’s and O’Brien’s facebook pages, and it’s just picture after picture of group after group on the Senate floor.  My bet is that none of the other moms check him out, and they all go on believing that Jee-zus blessed them with the gift.  (<< The local group is SOOOO Jee-zus.  Also a reason for my issues with them.)

I do have to tell you about Senator O’Brien (<< and why I was looking her up).  In the Senate house, there was one thing that stood out – a giant ceramic cookie jar in the shape of pink teddy bear.  Apparently there are 110 members of the House, not to mention aides, so it’s hard to get to know people.  So because she loves to bake, she put a giant cookie jar on her desk, so that people could stop for a cookie and she’d get to know them.  Now she’s in the Senate, and they love her cookies, too!  Isn’t that a great story?!  🙂

Back to sucky homeschoolers – halfway thru the tour?  They started to leave!  And not quietly – it was, (< interrupting our tour guide’s presentation) “Oh, I’M SORRY, but we have to go.  It was WONDERFUL… We’ll see you later, Muffy!!  Oh, YES, it was so fun, Dipsy!  Butch and Spike, get your things.  I said, get your things…!!  Where’s Fifi…?!?!?”  You know what I mean?  It’s a good thing they gave the whip to Indiana Jones and not to me, that’s all I’m sayin’.

If we’d had time, I would’ve liked to have stayed and wandered, some, but I was HOPING there’d be time to scoot to the Hall of Justice and at least look around.  They closed at 4, while the Library of Michigan was open until 5.  But nope – by the time we got past all the uncovered breastfeeding moms on the Capitol lawn (<< ugh…  more idiot mom-like peoples…!), it was too late.  I half think nothing was going on at the Hall of Justice, so everyone just closed up a few minutes early – there wasn’t a car in the lot, and it was only 5 minutes after four!  Another day, alas.

But we went across to the Library of Michigan.  It was really interesting – there’s apparently a ‘History of Michigan’ museum for children there, too.  (The lady I talked to said it’s free on Sundays.)  Anyhow, there was also a gift shop (we collect postcards, so yay!), and then we went up into the library.  And… it was NOT a pretty library.  It wasn’t even really a *public* library, as you might think of one.  It was row after row after row of law journals.  Insanity. And they were HUGE!!!  No, HUGE!!  And some of them, I swear, were written in the 1800s.  They were in plastic bags on the shelf.  And there were card catalogs (yay!!) that I could show my kids, and do you remember those rods newspapers used to hang on at the library when we were young?  Maybe not, but I was SO geeked to see those, again!  It was a library the way I remember libraries to be.

Anyhow, apparently the info-desk ladies situated around the Library of Michigan are bored out of their ever-lovin’ minds, and when a family came in, awestruck, and asked about what we would be best to look at to experience the place, they were actually EXCITED to leave their posts.  One lady took us to the map room – HUGE maps!  Maps of everything in Michigan that you can imagine.  We were looking at maps of the bedrock!  And then the newspaper room – stacks upon stacks upon STACKS of every newspaper that comes out in the state.  You wouldn’t believe it.  And microfische!  My kids don’t even know what microfische is!  (<<They do, now!)  It was like taking a step back in time, but it was ALL Michigan.  Even the fiction – there were only books there that were about Michigan, or written by someone from Michigan.  (<< I took a picture of a book titled ‘The Winds over Texas’.  It was just… okay, so maybe only I thought that was funny?)

Brian thought it was boring and lackluster, but I’m a chronic bibliophile, and was absolutely breathing the smell of aged paper and ink.  Besides… NO. HOMESCHOOLERS!!!!  Blessed, blessed peace!

On the way home, we stopped at the supermarket and bought foods I’m not even going to share with you.  You’ll judge, and YES, I know that’s why I weigh two hunn’ud pounds, but it was MIMOUNA, and that meant a sweet feast.  Ironically, the food I liked best of what we bought was the fruit salad, cheese sticks, and crackers.  I guess I’m not such a sweet tooth?  (Just chocolate.  Naturally.  I am female, after all.)  But we set a pretty table and had a good time snicky-snacking a not-really-supper to bring the leaven back in the house.

Then we went and got in the hot tub as a family.  When we lifted the cover, we didn’t know a toad was hanging on the backside of it, and he fell into the water – which was 103 degrees and WAY heavy on the chlorine!  Everyone freaked out, trying to catch the poor toad, and he just wanted OUT of that hot water, and he was [God has SO much fun with me, I swear it] for some reason chasing ME around the hot tub, and while I’m not normally afraid of toads, may I just say it’s disconcerting to be pursued by one?  Also that it’s very hard to scream and run in a hot tub?  Just… be nice, pal.  Ethan caught the thing, and it was so traumatized, we were afraid it was going to DIE (it spent the night on the ground just off the hot tub, recovering, but was gone in the morning).

Yesterday it rained.  We still needed to unload the platforms for the hot tub, because Monday the trailer has to go back to Grandpa’s.  It… did not go well.  The man WILL. NOT. listen to me.  Ever.  It’s a huge problem, because he doesn’t realize that I’m pretty much always right.  And I know that sounds like an arrogant thing to say, but y’know what?  It’s true.  It’s a curse, not a blessing, but it’s true.  Anyhow, I get ANGRY when he won’t listen, because a) he can’t come up with a reason why he’s not, and b) it makes everything miserable and long and tedious, and c) it ruins the mood of the whole thing.

So we’ve got four platforms to unload, just him, me, and five kids of varying ages.  They’re made of decking, and are SOLID and HEAVY.  So Brian’s thinking the kids are physically able to CARRY THEM all the way around from the front of the house to the back of the house.  *I* am not able to do this, so I know the kids can’t.  I say, “You need to take the truck around by the barn, back up in front of the swing-set, get it in as close as possible to the deck, and we’ll move them off from there.”  He doesn’t want to.  “Nah… we’ll just carry them.”  I give him a look.  It’s a long look.  It’s a long, long, LONG look.  He’s laughing at the look and not taking me seriously.  NOTE. SERIOUS. FACE.

He argues.  I’m now unhappy.  I explain the problem.  He doesn’t really give a crap, it’s a ‘MY WAY’ thing, not a logic thing.  He won’t win – if I refuse to help, he won’t get them moved.  He should know this.  He should also know that I’m always right.  But no.  Now I’m unhappy.

So he gets in the truck, pulls it thru the yard, and starts backing up toward the side of the house.  Nowhere near where I told him to go, and he’s about to take out the dog post with his stupidity.  I have to yell.  I’m now seriously irritated.  He’s pissed because he almost took out the post.  He’s pissed because I won’t let him pull up to the side of the house “and we’ll just carry it from there”.  ((!!!!))  Um, NO… the kids can’t carry something that big that far, and neither can I.

This is no longer enjoyable.

So now he’s FINALLY backing it up (again) and bringing it in where I told him to, and it fits right inside of the swingset (with the swings hung up out of the way)… and I should tell you – we’re not leveling the ground.  It’s raining.  We’re just setting them where we want them to go to see how’ll they’ll look, and freeing up grandpa’s trailer.  Note also that I said it was RAINING, so this whole rig-a-ma-roll has HIM sitting in the truck while we’re out getting damp.  You’ve never seen my bangs, damp.  ((Later, we’re inside, and he goes, “What happened to your hair?!”  GRRRRR!!!!!!  Husbands make my ar$e twitch!!!))

So we’re backed up.  We’re *trying* to lift a 77″ x 62″ platform fortified with IRON, I swear, off the trailer.  Even just getting it the twenty feet from trailer to hot tub?  It’s all every one of us can do – and we’re mostly sliding it along the ground on it’s side.  It. Was. HEAVY…!!!!!

And then I punctured my thigh with a nail.  Yeeeeeah, the cheerleader had already been faltering.  At that point, there was no inner cheerleader left.  Let’s just say that the whole thing could’ve gone a LOT, *LOT* better.  But at least it’s moved.  There’s that.

So anyhow.  Today we’re supposed to level a spot and build a compost.  Mostly I’m thinking it’s not going to happen.  It’s yuck out there.  And I’m feeling a quart low on motivation, emotion… pretty much everything.  After haircut and nose and field trip moms and deck moving…?  Yeah.  Not real interested in building a compost.  Especially when it’s the time of year to EMPTY the compost into the garden beds.  My attitude is ‘just chuck it in the bed and call it good’.  That’s probably BAD, right?

Okay.  I’ll see about pictures in a while.  But don’t be surprised if the hot tub one of the family isn’t included, a’ight?  Cuz… it’s not a good time.  In fact, it’s never a good time.  Nuff said on that.

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