Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Tuesday in May

There isn't much shaking here at Casa Fraser this week, other than the ants that are still appearing in droves.  I'll save my little ant rant for a bit later in the post.  

Yesterday I trotted Callie's homemade orange cupcakes to the school for her book project presentation.  Every month she has to read a different genre and then respond to literature in some way.  To translate that from teacher speak to layman's terms, she has to do a book project every month.  

Here in the land of checklists instead of grades - I know, so very kindergarten of them - I don't sweat it so much.  Next year she'll get back to numeric grades like she had in 2nd-4th in Texas.  And it wouldn't matter too much if they were giving out grades because the school doesn't have an online grade system in place so that I can monitor her progress.  

This was one huge advantage that our great Texas PUBLIC school district had over the international/American PRIVATE school here in England.  It's so much easier to be a hovering helicopter parent in the states, going online at will - every day, if you please - to see if the latest spelling test or science worksheet had been recorded, and what effect it had on the cumulative average.  I didn't fully appreciate the unlimited access until I had NO access.  But again, that checklist makes it hard to get up in arms with the kid or teacher if Cal isn't pulling all A's.  So yeah, I sit back and give minimal support to see what Cal can really do and let her make mistakes and learn from them with the knowledge that it's better this happen now rather than in middle school where it's more painful.  There is another child in our family that was probably given too much assistance and guidance when she was younger and it was much harder to wean her off this as she got older, though we did accomplish it.

Speaking of kids... It cracks me up how the girls have such a symbiotic relationship.  Woo-hoo, look at me remembering a 25 cent word to use today, which is just crazy because the older I get, the more my brain refuses to call up vocabulary.  I seem to get that tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon more often these days, where I can't retrieve something from memory.  My solution is to doggedly run through the alphabet in my head until I recall it.  The other day, I saw an actress on TV I recognized and it took me almost an hour to come up with her name.  Mind you, it's not as if I had this info to share with anyone.  I just hate being frustrated by this and refused to give up until it finally popped into my head.  By the way, it was Gillian Anderson who played Scully on the X-Files.  Remember that TV show - a bit weird at times but I always liked it, for some odd reason.  

Now that I've rattled about all sorts of things totally unrelated to the kid symbiosis...  Annie loves to have her picture taken and Callie loves to be the photographer.  However, they have recently figured out how to set the timer... like a couple of monkeys.  So one day after school last week they killed about 30 min out in the backyard trying to get a shot of them doing an in-air belly bump.  

Success!  Aren't they just silly little goobers?  The oldest one recently turned 16, but she happily goofs off with the 10-year-old.  When they were younger, I worried that the almost six year age difference would mean that they wouldn't enjoy each other.  I kinda figured that the older one would get into the usual teen diversions, maybe even a boyfriend, and never enjoy hanging out with the little one.  I'm glad to see this hasn't been the case, though they are pretty good at aggravating each other when the mood suits.  Look how green the garden (aka US backyard) is, and we haven't even had much rain lately.

I attribute this lack of rain as the cause for ants that have come marching through one of the many crevices in my 1930s character home.  They've set up shop in the flooring between the ground and first floors (aka US 1st and 2nd).  Thanks to my handy can of Raid! I've been able to stop them from getting into the shower and hallway that share a mutual wall upstairs, directly above the flooring where they've created base camp.  However, that has forced them all down so that they're escaping through one of the recessed lights that sits above my dining table between the kitchen and family room.  At first it was a trickle, not too bad though it seemed like a lot since so many of them had wings.  Imagine the fire ants in Texas flying - the makings for a good horror movie.  

Anyway, yesterday morning I'd had it up to here (I'm holding my hand about a foot above my head), so I decided to go all crazy Texan on the ants.  I tore off a piece of cling wrap and taped it to the ceiling so that it covered the recessed light where the ants were now coming out in a steady stream.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.  I had already spent several days vacuuming every imaginable surface downstairs for hours... 'nuff said.  By the end of the day, I had added a lot more tape so that none of the little suckers were gonna wiggle out of my homemade trap.  

Like all good ideas that include no forethought, done on the spur of the moment without any consideration as to the eventual consequences or effects, you can see the little ant farm I've created.  Last night there were maybe 100ish ants up there.  Overnight they decided it was time to vacate the premises and now look what I've created.  Luckily, the bug guy that came out Friday afternoon showed up at my door unannounced about an hour ago and was appalled at the number of ants in my little homemade trap.  I was initially thinking he might be horrified at what I had done, but he immediately got on the phone to the estate agent so the next step could be taken, which involves removing some cap stone off the corner of the garage, which is how they're getting into the house, so they can bring out the serious chemicals and, hopefully, rid us of ants for good.

It seems my redneck ant trap, now ant farm, has done its trick and we're getting assistance with the latest round of pests to breach the house.  I just wish I'd had a big old roll of duct tape to add that bit of Texas redneck flair to the whole thing.

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