Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Busy Children

While Roscoe was at theater rehearsal and Logan was at the temple with the young men, here's how the other Qshurst-McGee children filled their afternoon.


...played piano. She is now the proud graduate of three lessons.


...worked on refining her army crawl. My attempts to document this were foiled by 1.) her trying to crawl to the camera rather than for the camera, and 2.) her helpful siblings, 3.) her failure to follow instructions.


 ...made final adjustments to his train track.

 ...decorated his raingutter regatta boat.
Which went on to win second place at Cub Scout pack meeting. It was a momentous occasion for all of us since it marked the first time any Qshurst-McGee cub has won anything at any pinewood derby / raingutter regatta / space derby.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

When you were a teenage girl (if you ever were a teenage girl), did it ever seem to you that the boys your age weren't quite on the same page as you when it came to dating and relationships and all? Well, I just sent my teenage son out the door for his homecoming date, and I can tell you: Not on the same page at all.

He managed to pick up on the not-at-all subtle hints from the girl who wanted him to ask her to homecoming. He put together a clever way of asking her. But that was the end of his competence. He came home from school yesterday totally unclear on the details of the group date he was involved in. "Riley and her mom are, like, totally into this," he told me confusedly. Something about flowers and matching colors. It was all above him.
After bowling, before dinner, with corsage, practicing his suave moves.

This morning he went to theater rehearsal. As the afternoon wore on, we received increasingly frequent and frantic phone calls from his friends. Apparently Roscoe was late for bowling, the first phase of this all-day date. Finally he came home, made a call to the florist regarding a corsage, ate a sandwich, and headed to meet everyone at the bowling alley.

As he was about to head out the door, he stopped and said, "I think I'll go put on some deodorant."

And that, ladies, was the extent of his preparations. While you have been carefully planning your outfit, hair, and accessories, it barely occurs to the boys to put on an extra layer of Axe.

Friday, September 16, 2011

How a Housewife Earns Her Keep

Okay, I'm kidding. There are many ways I earn my keep. Including earning actual money. But I've found that with a bit of Internet surfing, phone schmoozing, and creativity, a savvy housewife can almost always get what she needs for less.

I'm only partly kidding when I tell the kids that my true partner in this family is our washing machine. We run a couple loads a day. I love fresh sheets and towels, and nothing takes the wind out of your sails like a paucity of clean undies. Our beloved washer broke down this week, was fixed, but survived only one load before needing a bigger fix. Our favorite repairman said he would order the necessary part, and it would arrive in ten days.

Ten. Days.

My mission: Find the part cheaper and faster.

1. I get online and find the part at Sears. Now I have the exact part number and a baseline price for comparison.

2. I start googling local parts stores. I'd be willing to drive an hour or two to any warehouse with just one of these things. When one person tells me they don't have it, I ask, "Do you have any ideas who else I could call?" I end up calling about five different places. I find it greases the wheels on these phone calls to sound friendly and a little bit hick. For example, I was about to say, "I'm trying to procure a part" but stopped myself and said, "I'm trying to get my hands on  a part." It's also helpful to give an impression of knowledge and competence by knowing specifics like the model number, part name, etc.

3. I finally speak with someone who checks the inventory of "the largest distributor in the US and Canada" and on each of his 14 trucks. He not only fails to find my part locally, he tells me his price is $60 more than the price at Sears. Okay then, Sears it is.

4. Before I click "Place Order," I google "Sears discount code." It's a long shot, but hey, sometimes it works. The second code I try gets me $12.83 off my order.

5. I use my happy discount to justify paying a premium for expedited shipping. The part should arrive Monday.

Mark and I are going to try to install the part ourselves on Monday night. If that doesn't work, we have an appointment for our favorite repairman to come on Tuesday. I appears we'll be able to avoid a laundry-induced Lord of the Flies meltdown. Just don't spill juice on your favorite jeans.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Jesse has entered a phase that, if he follows his brothers' footsteps, will bring him joy for years. Legos.
Most of the time he has in his hands a little spaceship or guy made of a few tiny pieces. Today at the checkout at Target we saw a little packet of bricks to make a flying ninja. For the first time ever, Jesse had his own set.

As soon as we walked in the door, he dumped out the pieces and followed the instructions to put it together.
I love the tidal wave sound of a boy raking his fingers through a pile of bricks, looking for just the right piece. I love the contented concentration as they work.
If I were stranded on a desert island with a boy, Legos would top my list of things to bring.
Followed perhaps by earplugs.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Betsy, 6 months

The baby year of Elizabeth Gold Jubilee is half over.
We're tempering our grief by enjoying all the new things our girl can do. She scoots her toes and crawls arm over arm soldier-style. She holds a dolly when she falls asleep. She sleeps through the night. She no longer feels the need to scream whenever in the car. Her busy hands grab, grab, grab.

In addition, she plays a mean game of cards.
She eats from a spoon.

And, of course, she continues as our family mascot, getting passed from hand to hand.