Month: November 2011

A Not So Quick Trip

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A not so quick trip
Lisa Baniewicz
Full House

My teenage daughter is no dummy. She asked me to teach her how to fill up her car with gas. In other words, she wanted me to demonstrate for the second time how to pump gas and then have me pay for it. In her mind, saving her own money to pay for gas is asking entirely too much. So, off to the gas station we went … and what an adventure it turned out to be!
She pulled up to the gas pump and got out of the car. She asked me to remind her what to do, so I got out of the car too and closed my door. I used my debit card to pay and proceeded to show her step-by-step how to pump gas. When finished, I grabbed the receipt and headed to the passenger door. It was locked. I said, “Open my door.” She responded with, “uh-oh.” I’ve never known “uh-oh” to be followed with good news and it wasn’t. She had locked us out. (Notice I said “she” because to this day she claims she didn’t do it.)
What was supposed to be a quick trip to the gas station turned out to be a big teaching lesson. I gave her the following advice:
Step one: I told her next time she gets out of the car, don’t lock the keys inside. This will avoid steps two through nine.
Step two: Don’t lock your mom’s keys inside the car as well. Being that there are only two sets of keys to this car, this will pose a serious dilemma.
Step three: Don’t lock mom’s cell phone in the car either. And for the love of God, of all the times not to bring your own cell phone, this isn’t it.
Step four: If all these things do happen, ask a kind stranger if you can borrow their phone to call your father. When he gets upset and tells you he’s not coming to save the day, move on to another plan.
Step five: Go inside and tell the cashier to please call the non-emergency police number, as I’m sure this doesn’t qualify as a 911 emergency. They have more important things to do than rescue a mother and daughter for their stupidity.
Step six: After several minutes of three people searching the phonebook for the non-emergency number and not finding it, just call 911 and apologize profusely to the operator. Assure her that you’d be happy to wait while all other real emergencies are handled first.
Step seven: Temporarily celebrate the fact that your mom is still holding the debit card she used to pay for the gas. Buy a couple of Slurpees and settle in to wait for the police officer to arrive.
Step eight: For some reason if dad surprises you and does show up (like he did), tread carefully as he will not be in a good mood. Be extra kind to him and don’t try to blame him like your mother did. (You may have inherited this trait from me.) Even though he did throw out the third “extra” key just days earlier, the fact is, it only unlocked the doors and didn’t start the car. Who knew a defunct key would have come in handy … and yet so soon. Ultimately, he will not give in and you will not win this one.
Step nine: When the police officer arrives to save the day, apologize profusely for wasting his time and take notes since you might need to use this skill in the future. (Just to clarify, this skill is not to be used to steal cars, just to get into your own locked vehicle.) Offer to buy him a cold beverage and then thank him a million times over. Police officers work very hard and many times aren’t appreciated.
Step 10: Next time you need gas, remind me of our adventure and I’ll send dad to fill up your car instead.

Compliments of The Atchison Globe

A Hectic Halloween

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Hectic Halloween
Lisa Baniewicz
Full House

With Halloween falling on a Monday this year, it really threw me off. For some reason, I thought my children’s school parties were the Friday before Halloween. Luckily, another mom corrected me before I showed up with two-dozen cookies and wandered aimlessly through the halls before my time.
A Monday holiday meant a chaotic morning in the Baniewicz household (as if that’s different than any other morning in my house). Everyone was tired from the weekend and didn’t want to get up, with the exception of my toddler and puppy. Neither one knows what it means to sleep past 6 a.m.
Within minutes of the others rising from slumber, I had one in tears, one frantic child who lost part of her costume, and one disgruntled child who decided she didn’t like hers anymore. (Why did I wake them?) On the bright side, I have a lot of children. That left two others: my daughter in high school that doesn’t get to dress up anymore, and my seventh-grade son who could have cared less that it was Halloween. He put an entire 10 minutes of thought into his costume. His only complaint was that he thought he didn’t look like a football player in a jersey and jeans. He said, “I look more like an ineligible football player.” I laughed because he was right.
As our morning got underway, the questions started firing my way and grew more and more frantic. My pre-schooler started crying because she didn’t have school that day, while my sixth-grader was yelling, “Mom, where’s the microphone for my Katy Perry outfit?” As she ran from room to room I replied, “I don’t know but I did see it this weekend …(long pause) somewhere.” As if that narrowed it down. I considered a recent sighting to at least be a good sign. I prayed to St. Anthony, the Patron Saint of lost things, for some divine intervention. I believe he overslept too, because we never did find the microphone. Clearly he was busy with more pressing issues.
Next, my 6-year-old crossed her arms across her chest and huffed. She announced she didn’t want to be a bumblebee anymore. Interesting. With a whole 20 minutes left to eat breakfast, brush her teeth, comb her hair, and stuff her into a costume with no zipper, there was no question what she was wearing to school. Trying to be encouraging, her older brother listed off names of other girls who were dressing up as bumblebees, too. He laughed and said, “You could all be a hive!” She didn’t find this humorous, but I did.
After getting my bumblebee into her costume, she looked distressed. “How am I supposed to go to the bathroom?” she cried. Oops. Good question. With layers and layers of material it wouldn’t be easy. “How about we just not snap it?” I said. “Then you can pull it up like a dress.” She gave a weak smile. I interpreted this to mean it was doable.
I ran back upstairs to pour an emergency cup of coffee (this was obviously a two-cup day). Before I even reached the coffee pot, I heard my bumblebee yelling she couldn’t find one of her shoes. (Do bees even wear shoes?) With only minutes remaining to load into the car and still no shoe, she opted for turquoise boots. It worked for me.
On the way to school I was reminded once again we still hadn’t carved a pumpkin. Was it really necessary at this point? Trying to see it from a small child’s perspective, I said, “After school we’ll do it.” And then I relished the thought Halloween wouldn’t be here for another 364 days. Yay!

Compliments of The Atchison Globe

Loads of Fun

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The best smelling aisle in the grocery store is the laundry detergent aisle. There’s nothing like the smell of April Fresh Downy or Snuggle fabric softener. It just makes me feel happy. This is where my love for laundry comes to a screeching halt. If I didn’t have to do another load of laundry for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t shed a tear.Due to my family of seven, I average three to four loads a day. I have a friend who has two washers and two dryers just to keep up with her family’s laundry. I’ve tried to motivate myself and have a more positive attitude by buying an attractive, blue washer and dryer when we moved to Kansas. Psychologically, blue is supposed to mean, “yes.” So I thought it would help me believe that “Yes, some day my laundry will be done.” This theory has continuously failed.

I also have friends who have painted their laundry rooms and even put up wallpaper border and curtains to make the room look more inviting. I haven’t had time to do this yet, and I think if I paint one more room in our house, my husband just might kill me.

Laundry frustrates me right from the very first step – sorting the darks and lights. I spend too much time turning clothes right side out. I’m not sure why my children are incapable of doing this themselves. I also don’t understand why their underwear stays inside their jeans. Can’t they take off one, and then the other? What’s the rush? If they’re trying to be more efficient and save time, can’t they apply this idea to other areas of their lives that are more meaningful, like doing chores and homework or quickly loading into the minivan when we’re running late?

When I open the dryer, it’s like anticipating the prize in a box of Cracker Jacks.

I’m always curious as to what I’ll find next. Sometimes when I’m in a hurry I forget to check the kids’ pockets. Usually this means I’ll have a surprise waiting for me when I open the dryer. I have found melted chocolates still in their wrappers and glittery, lip-gloss. Little, tiny, plastic ninjas have greeted me as well as metal jewelry that is so hot it could brand a cow. Once in a while I find the good stuff – money. These are good days, especially if no one claims it.

I’ve read about people who pray for each of their children while they fold their laundry. All I seem to pray about is whether or not one day they will actually help me, or even better, will I get a maid? I also read about a mother who tosses the clean underwear and socks on the kitchen table and threatens there will be no dinner until the laundry is folded. I guess this was during the “tough love” era. I haven’t tried this tactic, but I bet it’s still effective. Knowing my children, they’d ask, “What’s for dinner?” and head for the nearest exit if I’m not serving chicken nuggets or something with ketchup. Nothing is foolproof.

I know it could be worse. While in college, I was doing charity work with Catholic nuns when they asked me to help with the laundry. I said, “Sure, where’s the washer and dryer?” The nuns just smiled and led me to a washboard and bucket. I was speechless. There’s a reason I didn’t live in the days of Little House on the Prairie. It’s no wonder they only had two sets of clothes. Maybe that’s the answer. From here on out, we’re making our own clothes and washing them in the nearest creek. I can’t wait to tell my kids!


Compliments of The Atchison Globe