A New Normal

I’m really trying hard to figure out a new normal around here. The girls go to school at two different times at two different schools and let out at two different times. Because the church is less than a mile from both campuses, Wes has been Super Taxi Papi while I do my runs in the morning, but I can’t see this working out long-term for any of us, since I spend the whole run wondering whether or not Emma will convince the teachers that she needs to partake of the school breakfast (in addition to the breakfast she eats here at home) and wondering if Ana has mistakenly gone to the holding area for the fifth graders, where no one has noticed that she’s 1/3 the size of every other child in the room.

Which makes for a stressful run. And even more stressful for Wes, who post-run gets a call from me, asking a million questions about the girls. I’m sure we’ll figure out a way to get everything done soon, and I’ll settle into a new normal. I hope!

In the meantime, I’m sure enjoying the fun, new parts of school. This afternoon, Emma came home with a homework assignment to draw the faces of all of her family members. (I think the goal was to practice drawing circles.) I well remember this assignment from last year with Ana and was hopeful that we could avoid the meltdowns of yesteryear. We did, as Emma drew her circles with flair, then showed me all five… wait a minute. Five? “Who is this?,” I asked, pointing to the final circle. “That’s Charlie!,” she said proudly. He is a member of the family, after all. (And an important one at that, since she also drew him a body.) She’s so smart…

… and so sneaky! I’m not sure how I got preoccupied enough to miss this until the damage was done, but a few days ago the girls decided to give baths to some of their stuffed animals. (Actually, Ana decided to bathe Emma’s animals, and Emma was more than happy to take them to her.) Once I discovered all of the soggy animals on Emma’s carpet, I took them all to the bathroom to wring them out and set them out to dry, telling the girls while doing so that, “I can save them this time, but the next time you two get these stuffed animals wet, there may be no saving them, and they’ll have to go in the trash.” I left them pondering that, took the animals to set them on top of the dryer (the warmest spot in the house) and came back to find both girls sitting in the bathroom with quivering chins. “What?,” I asked Ana. “We are just SO SAD,” she said. Emma nodded and sobbed, “I will miss Sparkly Turtle SO MUCH when you throw-ded him in the TRASH!” Break. My. Heart. I assured them that no animals would be going to the trash this time, then tried to explain how wet animals can grow germs and Mommy can’t always fix it and so on and so forth. Emma spent the next two days visiting Sparkly Turtle at the “hospital” (the top of the dryer) and telling him, “Don’t worry, Sparkly Turtle! I will NEVER get you wet again!” I really hope she means it because I’m not sure I could watch her cry like that again. Please, Emmy, for my sake and yours, DON’T put that turtle in water again!

And in the spirit of slimy animals (trust me, it’ll make sense soon), Ana has recently decided that she wants to travel the world when she grows up. I’ve asked her how this will fit in with her plans to be a mommy, and she has informed me that she won’t be a mommy — just a world traveller. I asked her if I could go with her on some of her adventures, and she said, “Oh, no. It is too dangerous for you. Because when you climb a mountain, there’s a big snake waiting up there to bite you!” Not sure where this is coming from (though we suspect that scene from The Three Caballeros about Mexico City), but it does indeed sound dangerous. When I asked her what places she would visit on her world travels, she told me, “Mexico, then Walt Disney World, then Duncan. Then, San Antonio and Alvarado.” She’s going to be a busy girl. (Oh, and when Emma heard this, she asked, “Ana, can you take me with you to Walt Disney World?,” to which Ana answered, “Sure.” Seems there are no snakes waiting on a mountain there in Orlando.)

Speaking of snakes lying in wait, there was one waiting for me in the mailbox… in the form of more medical bills! Way back in March when Wes went to the doctor, the insurance wouldn’t pay for the routine bloodwork done. I went back and forth with them, the doctor’s office went back and forth with them, until finally I just gave up and paid what they didn’t cover. Wes went back to the doctor in June for a strep throat diagnosis, and unbeknownst to us, his positive test in the doctor’s office was sent to the hospital (!!!) for further testing. I don’t know why — it’s just the way they do things. The insurance paid for part of whatever the hospital had to do to an already positive strep test, but of course, they didn’t cover it all, leaving us with a bill that is greater than what we budget monthly for medical expenses. On the plus side, though, the very friendly insurance rep that I spoke to said that the payment would count towards our deductible. So, if Wes gets hit by a bus, I’m already ahead. Well, not really, since we still have quite a way to go until the deductible is met. But still, we’re on our way to getting that taken care of, and with the way this is going, he only has to catch strep throat two more times, and all of his hospital bills are covered! (Unless, of course, I’m missing some fine print. Which I probably am.)

Oh, health insurance. One day I will be smart enough to understand all your intricate fine print and exceptions. But likely not until I have extensive brain surgery, which you most certainly will not cover because stupidity is indeed a pre-existing condition. Ha!

In an effort to prevent injuries and get even more medical bills, Wes and I have been going through shoes like the Cookie Monster goes through cookies. (I hang with Emma, so it’s all Cookie Monster comparisons around here.) Everything we’ve read says to switch to a new pair of running shoes after three hundred miles, and we’re holding to that as our standard. As you can imagine, we’ve been able to figure out what works and what doesn’t work for us, and we now approach shoe-buying with extensive research, trial-and-error experience, and irrefutable logic. That’s why Wes picked out his last pair of shoes solely (no pun intended) on the basis of their flamboyantly orange color. Seriously. He did. I was more mature in my approach to shoe selection and bought the only pair of shoes that I could still wear in a size 9. (My feet seem to have grown half a size, and I refuse to wear a 9 1/2. That’s just too close to a 10 and custom-made shoes for me, thankyouverymuch.) Despite our vain reasons for purchasing our most recent pairs of shoes, we’ve been very fortunate because as it turns out, they are THE MOST PERFECT RUNNING SHOES EVER. They are, without a doubt, the best shoes either of us have ever run in. Fortunately for us, they’re older versions that are being clearanced on several sites to make room for the newer versions, so we’ve been able to buy shoes to get us from September to the marathon at probably half the cost of what we normally would have paid. Woo-hoo! I love a good deal. Even if it means that I have roughly six hundred miles to run in six months.

And just because it fits this random post, here’s a picture of the girls, looking bewildered. I think it was because I told them that they’d be in school for the next, oh, seventeen years. Or more, depending on post-graduate plans. Fun times.

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