Thursday, December 30, 2010

Things I Learned This Year

Reach your goal - even if it's at a tortoise pace. It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you don't stop. I'm talking about paying off debt. I'm talking about losing weight. I'm talking about cleaning out your basement. You don't fail until you stop. So just keep going.

Be who you were meant to be - everyone else is taken. Eat on the couch of you want to. Sing in the rain. Return items you simply do not want. Cry during Sex in the City re-runs (you know, when you finally realize Aidan isn't coming back. Again.). If you want to eat soup every day for lunch, do it. If you want to draw comic books, write music and perform in plays, do it. If you want to stay home and perfect the art of motherhood, do it. Just be who you were meant to be. You'll be happier. Trust me.

Don't blame life. Life really is simple. It's the self-discipline that's hard. You already know the lessons: Be kind to one another. Don't hurl insults at other people - it's mean. Work hard. Pay your bills; it's your debt. Don't spend money if you don't have it. Show up on time. Give 100%. Be honest. Don't lie. Don't steal. Don't blame everybody else. Own your decisions.

Pepsi does not satsify my caffeine withdrawals nearly as well as Coca~Cola does. It may be purely a subconscious, self-fulfilling prophecy, but when left with a mad headache and a can of Pepsi I end up unsatisfied and frantically searching for a Coke. Sometimes that's just the way it is.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Technical Writers Saved Our Laundry

Thank God for Technical Writers. The manuals for the new washing machine and dryer were so idiot proof Big V and I had no problem with the installations. Well, except for the part where we realized the two hoses for the hot and cold water were actually had the words hot and cold printed directly on the hoses after we had hooked them up (to the wrong pipes). We had to take the hoses off and switch them. Oh, and also the part when we got to the very, very end of the washer installation and we thought hmmm, maybe these rubber ring thingy-s are supposed to go on the inside of those hose connection thingy-s and we had to take the stupid hoses off again and put the rubber ring thingy's inside the connection ends. Something about stopping water leaks or something. But I'm sure this was all operator error and not the fault of the technical writer who wrote the manual.

We weren't discouraged because it only took us 14 hours to install the washer so we thought how hard could the dryer be? I mean, anyone can convert a gas dryer to an electric, right? Two days and a bunch of colorful language later we did, indeed, have a dryer that worked. The gas was capped off, the wires connected, the dryer plugged in without any electrocution - in a way it was kind of a let down, but we did it. We did it on our own. Without calling for help. And without needing to kill each other. Sure, there was a point when I considered it... right around the for the love of god just screw the stupid green wire to the stupid green post like it says in the stupid book part, but then I just took a deep breath and told myself calm down, don't do anything rash - you know there's no way you're going to be able to drag his dead, lifeless body up a flight of stairs and into the trunk of your car without help. And, let's be honest, I can't get the kids to pick up their shoes much less lift a finger to help dispose of a human body.

Thank God there were pictures in the manual. I showed Big V the sketches (after I color coded them with handy-dandy colored pencils), he believed me, tightened the wires and lived happily ever after.

Everything works great - except for the whole draining of the washing machine part, which is kind of an important part when you think of it. See, we've got one of those old basements with do-it-yourself plumbing fixtures. And since the people who owned the house before us were more focused on alluding the authorities and warring with the county SWAT Team, the do-it-yourself plumbing is really, really neglected. So much so that the washing machine empties into some sort of contraption which I can only assume is an antique laundry sink that doesn't actually drain. Instead the sink overflows forcing the water to find its way to the floor drain via slanted cement flooring. I'm thinking of just attaching a bunch of hoses together and snaking them through the basement and stuffing it directly into the floor drain. It seems to be the next logical step. I hope there's a manual for that.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Holiday Crazies & Washing Machines, too!

Holidays can be crazy. Insane even. Especially if you surround yourself with insane people, which I strongly suggest you do because it gives you plenty of blogging material.

This weekend we met Byron. I believe Byron fit in that overall insane category, but he was one of those funny insane people as opposed to the eating human flesh for Christmas Dinner at the Dahmer's type. Byron lives with his sister. He has another sister, too, but he doesn't live with that one. The sister he does live with has three kids and they're kind of like teenagers. (He doesn't know their exact age.) Anyway, when they clean their rooms they just throw their clothes in the basement laundry room and some of the clothes hasn't been worn and is actually still folded. This happens at our house, too, but I didn't tell Byron that because it was twelve degrees outside and he was supposed to be lifting a washing machine into the back of our truck and not chit-chatting about how right now he sleeps on the couch but pretty soon he's going to have his very own room.

The reason Big V and I were standing outside listening to Mr. Talks A Lot is because we had to purchase a new washing machine. Either that or go to the laundromat. And I have a love/hate relationship with the laundromat ever since some lunatic in a fur hat came running in yelling at everyone that the washers were full of radioactive energy that the government installed to try to kill off all the people and the only way to survive was if we put aluminum foil around our necks, which he happened to also be sporting. I didn't happen to have any aluminum foil with me so I avoided eye contact, but it didn't work. Eventually he came up to me ranting about how my insides were frying right now this second and can't you feel your organs sizzle? and I was all Is that real fur? Because I don't think PETA would appreciate that.  So, even though I love how all the loads get done at the same time at the laundromat, it was either a new washer or invest in several rolls of foil.

Lucky for us Big V is a hotty and the chick in the appliance department was all this washing machine is on sale at one hundred dollars off, but for you I'll take an additional $75 off the sale price if you haul it away yourself and he was all I am a strong man with a big truck; thank you for the completely undeserved deal and I was all don't forget about me! I can use my military discount for an additional ten percent off and the appliance department chick was all do you hear something? and Big V was all that's just the rippling of my muscles so in the end we got it for a really good price.

I guess the catch was standing outside on the frozen tundra of a big box parking lot while Byron casually leaned on the side of the box telling us about his family history for a good half hour before he'd consider helping lift the darn thing. Did you know his brother collects dice? He has hundreds and hundreds of different colors and sizes and he keeps them in glass jars so you can see them all.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tortilla Torture

The Bean wanted to bring a plate of those pickle-ham-tortilla roll-up appetizers for our family's Christmas. So I put her in charge. Because it's important for kids to get a sense of accomplishment. And by "kid," I mean a 15-year old oh-my-goodness-in-less-than-three-years-she-will-be-considered-an-adult-and-can-legally-defend-our-country kind of child. Plus, I was at work and couldn't make the pickle-ham-tortilla roll-up things at the office in a way that made people believe it was actually part of the "and all other duties as required" clause of my contract. Of course I told her to call if she had any questions....

Bean: Mom, I can't spread the cream cheese on the tortilla. It's too hard.

Me: Put it in the microwave for fifteen seconds.

Bean: Fifty?

Me: Fifteen.

Bean: Fifty?

Me: Fifteen.

Bean: Fifty? Or Fifteen.

Me: Fif-teeeen.

Bean: Oh, I thought you said fif-teee.

Me: No. Fif-teeeeeen.

Bean: Okay. But I'm not going to stand in front of the microwave. They say the radioactive waves can give you super powers or something.

Me: That's fine, stand to the side.

Bean: So, how much of this am I supposed to spread on the tortilla?

Me: Um... do it like you're buttering bread.

Bean: But I like a lot of butter on my bread.

Me: That's fine.

Bean: But not everybody likes a lot of butter.

Me: Then put on less.

Bean: It isn't sticking.... This is kind of hard.... Ok. Now what?

Me: Put ham on it.

Bean: Hold on; I have to open the container. ....
.....
.....

Bean:  .... How do you open it?

Me: You can use a knife or a scissors or kitchen shears, which is a fancy word for scissors....

Bean: It's not opening. What's the point of sealing this so tight?

Me: So it doesn't spoil. Is it open?

Bean: No. I can't get it open.

Me: Go get a hacksaw...

Bean: (yelling towards the background) "Hey, V! My Mom says I need a hacksaw!"

Big V: (yelling from the background) "I've got one downstairs - hold on and I'll go get it!"

Me: NO! IT WAS A JOKE! NO! YOU do NOT need a HACKSAW. Just, please use the scissors.

Bean: Ugh. Finally I got it open. That's just ridiculous. Ok. Now what.

Me: Put your ham on it.

Bean: How?

Me: Use your hands if they're clean.

Bean: No, I mean, where does it go?

Me: Just lay the slices over the tortilla to cover all the cream cheese.

Bean: But the ham is too small. It doesn't cover it.

Me: Then put two slices on it.

Bean: Huh?

Me: Imagine the tortilla is a brain scan. Imigine the center line that divides the hemispheres - now, lay one slice of ham on the left hemisphere and one slice of ham on the right hemisphere.

Bean: Oh! That makes sense. ... Ok, my brain is done.

Me: Oh, goody. Now wrap the pickle.

Bean: How do I do that?

Me: Just, I don't know - put the pickle down and wrap it up.

Bean: Where do I put the pickle?

Me: At the bottom of the tortilla.

Bean: It's so small.

Me: Take two pickles and put them end to end.

Bean: Huh?

Me: Ok. Do you know the game you play with the little kids and you put your index fingers together - touching like in ET? And you say, "Break the pickle...."

Bean: Oh, yeah!

Me: Pretend the pickles are your fingers and make them touch.

Bean: Ok. Got it.

Me: Now, roll the pickles up like you're wrapping up a dead body in a floor rug.

Bean: It's not sticking. The body's going to fall out.

Me: Use some cream cheese as a paste on the end flap of the tortilla. That should seal it shut.

Bean: I just want you to know I will never go to culinary school because I can't put a pickle in a tortilla.

... based on the photo she sent me via text, I fear she may be correct...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hanes Revenge

If Big V has one problem I would define it as Hanes T-Shirt Addiction. As in the man had 68 plain white t-shirts that he wore. All the time. Every day. Rain or shine. You could always count on Big V in a plain, boring, white, t-shirt.

Except it wasn't the "sexy man in a white t shirt" image you're thinking about. (Or the particular image I happen to picture...)


Big V's shirts were stretched out. And kind of grayish. And covered with stains because he wore them to work. And also after work when he would eat buffalo wings and barbequed ribs and spill sauce and wipe his fingers on the bottom hem. 

Since he wore a plain, stretched out, grayish-white, stain covered t-shirt every day people assumed he only owned one. Except he didn't. He owned many. Far too many for any one normal human being.

Enter me.

Like a stealthy ninja in the middle of the night, I took every single white t-shirt I could find and got rid of them. All 68 of them. (Don't worry; he took to wearing any number of his thousands of fire department and sports team t-shirts he had been avoiding.)

Now - many, many months later he approaches me: Didn't I used to have a bunch of white t-shirts?

Mmmm.... I don't know? Did you?

Yeah, I could've swore I had some.

Huh? Did you check your closet?

That's so strange....

I'd say.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Christmas List

A washing machine. That drains.

A dryer. That dries.

New tires for the car. Non-bald ones.

And for the dippy lady who works at the eye doctor's to recode the stupid medical procedure for my daughter's wonky eyeball to something other than "standard office exam" so my insurance company will actually pay the claim already.

That is all.

Well, that and also a Tiffany blue tea kettle.

Make every morning Breakfast at Tiffany's with
Martha Stewart's Blue Enamel on Steel Tea Kettle.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Scaling Back Christmas

In the booming economy my kids got something like 417 gifts each for Christmas. Now we're poor and I'd rather pay for heat so I needed a way to let them know that they'd be having a scaled down Christmas without coming across like the grinch. So, I told them Jesus only got three gifts for his birth and that His birth is what created the holiday in the first place and what makes them think they're better than Jesus that they should get more gifts than he did?

They pitched a fit but only until I explained frankincense and myrrh were some sort of herb and if they didn't watch it they'd be opening up basil and dill weed come Christmas morn.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Great Go Fish Christmas Tag Program of 2010

Of course my kids are going to compare the gifts wrapped under the tree. For hours each day they will compare, brag, cry, get upset, do cartwheels, jump around or stomp, all in the name of gift giving. The bigger the gift, the bigger the brag... and the bigger my headache becomes.

And so it is with much excitement I announce the Great Go Fish Christmas Tag Program of 2010!

The gifts do not have names on them. Instead, they are adorned with half of a fish pair from the commonly recognized card game Go Fish. One present has a card attached depicting a narwahl. Another a clown fish. And another a sand shark. Come Christmas morning each child will have an envelope holding the other half of their fish pairs. Pull out the sand shark - go find the matching gift! I'm thinking it will add a fun spin to the Christmas morning events.

I'm also thinking I may just be a genius.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Just Another Day at the Office

Me:  Hello. How can I help you?

Woman on Phone:  I'm going to subpoena your coworker.

Me: Um. Okay. Is there anything else I can help you with?

WoP: He needs to testify at my trial and tell the judge my life was in danger so I can get my two thousand dollars.

Me: Okay. I'll let him know.

WoP: Because I'm suing my landlord. And he said someone was moving in there.

Me: Who said someone was moving in where?

WoP: My landlord. He said people were moving in to the apartment so I have to remove the mailbox.

Me: Do you live in the apartment?

WoP: No. I moved out. But now he said other people are moving in there and so I have to remove the mailbox.

Me: Whose mailbox is it?

WoP:  Mine. Ninety-nine percent of the people are too scared to put in their own mailbox; they just get their mail at the Post Office, but they don't have to. This is America and you can get your mail delivered if you want it.

Me: It's your mailbox and you moved out and now your landlord has asked you to remove your mailbox. Since you don't live there anymore. Do you want the mailbox?

WoP: Yes! Of course I want the mailbox - it's mine! I still get my mail there.

Me: You still get your mail delivered to the mailbox where you used to live but don't live any more? When did you move out?

WoP: About a month ago.

Me: So, it's your mailbox. You want it back. You don't live there. But you don't want to take it?

WoP: I want to leave it until the court case is done.

Me: Oh, yes. The court case. What is the court case?

WoP: Well, I'm suing because my life was in danger. He gave me my security deposit back but because my life was in danger he should pay me more. He got mad at me and said he'd give me a hundred dollars, but my life is worth more than that.

Me:  -- right.... two thousand dollars.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cinderella Syndrome

Setting:
evening; the basement, where the children had been banished hours earlier with strict instructions to clean the playroom and unearth the carpeted floor.

Characters:
The Bean, 15 - in the playroom, barking orders at her sister.
Dotter, 9 - also in playroom, goofing off and being generally uncooperative.
Mother, 27 (don't question the age, people, it's really not that important) - enters basement to do some much needed laundry.

Scene:
As mother juggles dirty laundry she spies The Bean walking by obviously hiding something, because, really, who walks sideways up a set of stairs with their back to their mother? Hello, red flag! Mother, sensing deviousness, pounces on the now alone, innocent, younger daughter:


Mother:  What was she carrying?

Dotter: Huh?

Mother: The Bean. What was she trying to hide from me?

Dotter: I don't know. Something in a bag.

Intent on getting to the bottom of things, Mother waits like a silent ninja for the unsuspecting child to return.... and when she does:

Mother: What were you carrying?

Bean: Huh?

Mother: Up the stairs. What were you trying to hide from me? (Crosses arms.)

Bean: Oh. That. Uh. It was a bag.

Mother: What was inside the bag that you didn't want me to see?

Bean: Oh. Um.  (nervous forced chuckle) That. Well. Do you remember beginning of Freshman year?

(Mother narrows eyes.)

Bean continues: Well, you told me to do the dishes and I got mad at you because I didn't think I should have to do them and you were like there's only five bowls and a handful of spoons but I still didn't want to do them so I put all the dirty dishes in a bag and brought them down here and hid them in the closet in the playroom.

(Mother wonders for a brief moment if she has somehow slipped into a parallel universe where nothing makes sense.)

Mother: Let me see if I understand this.... over a year and a half ago I asked you to wash a minimal amount of dishes, but instead of actually washing those dishes you decided it would be easier to throw the dishes into a plastic bag and hide them in the deep recesses of a closet in the basement in the hopes rodents and other wildlife would infest our home and feast on the crusted food that was laying around.

Bean: Well, when you say it that way you make it sound stupid.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Babies Versus Teens (Guess who wins....)

Twenty years ago, in an attempt to deter young people from getting knocked up at a young age, our high school required teens to carry a hardboiled egg around for a week. For some reason the staff felt I may need an extra push in the right direction, therefore I was handed the responsibility of "twins." One egg I named Melchizedek Barron and the other I named something far less impressive since I have no idea to this day what it was. For a week I drove around with the eggs nestled in the cup holder of my sporty blue, two door Pontiac Grand Am, rocking out to Salt-N-Pepa's "Let's Talk About Sex."

What they should've done is made me spend every waking minute with a teenager.

Babies are cute. And cuddly. And they smell good if you wash them on a regular basis. Teenagers are moody and hormonal and either don't use enough deodorant or spend in excess of ninety-eight minutes hogging all the hot water so that when you want to bathe all you get is a shrugged shoulder and a not-so-convincing sorry, which doesn't make up for the freezing temperatures you get to enjoy in your shower. Have you ever tried shaving your legs in icy water? The good news is you don't need a lot of band-aids because the blood congeals quite rapidly.

Babies smile and giggle when you sing made up song lyrics as you're dancing in the kitchen making spaghetti for dinner. Teenagers condescendingly ask if you know how ridiculous you look and point out you don't know any of the words and oh my god? Seriously? Spaghetti for dinner? Again?

Babies hug you and snuggle up tight next to you and never want you to put them down. Teenagers visibly cringe if you get too close. And make you drop them off two blocks away from their desired destination for fear someone they possibly kinda, sorta are acquainted with (but don't really know, because they think they saw them once about seven weeks ago in line at Starbucks but can't be sure) might see the two of you together and the world will come to a screeching halt and nobody will ever be friends with them again because you are so unbelievably embarrassing as a parent.

Babies think you possess exceptional intellectual ability when you turn the kitchen faucet on and water comes out. And they still think you're a genius when you turn it off. Teenagers know everything. About everything. All the time. So you don't have to tell them - in fact, just don't speak. Ever. Because they know.

If you have a teen, or are a survivor of the teen years, you get what I'm talking about. A hard boiled egg is just not going to do it.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Conversation in Text

Last night I received a text from my older, wiser sister. But only older by 16 months. And only wiser by 16 points on the ACT. (Lies. I don't really know the ACT difference. At this point in my life I'm not even sure I've ever taken the ACT.) (I am, however, certain I took some military test that told me I'd be perfect as some sort of small weapons mechanic-y person. I took that to mean the test was bogus and the Army just needed someone to fill some slots.) (I went into a position where I did administrative work.) (But I digress.)

Here is our texted conversation:

Sister:  It's the 'damn, I washed another kleenex time of year'. Third load of laundry I've had to pick pieces off while I fold. And no one to blame but me.

Me:  That's exactly why I'm a staunch proponent of using sleeves.

Sister: I don't know why I put them in my pocket anyway. I grab a new one almost every time and end up emptying my pockets because they get too full.

Me:  Shove them up the cuff of your sleeve. When you take the shirt off it'll rain tissue. Use enough and they'll work their way up to your chest.

Sister: lol

Me:  Make sure you stuff kleenexes equally between both sleeves... you could end up half 36DD and half 36A.

Sister:  Of course, at first I'll just look like Hans and Franz from Saturday Night Live.

Me:  Then we could record video of you and post it to YouTube. We'd totally be considered cool.

Sister:  Did you run that by the girls (aka "cool police") because I'm thinking you might be wrong about that.

Me:  Have you seen some of those videos that go ridiculously viral? Uneven boobs would totally take the pubescent market.

***

... and this is why everyone should have a sister to talk to...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

'Tis the Season

If I were President of the United States, I would make it mandatory that all cell phone alarms have a minimum 9-minute snooze because this four minute thing my new phone is doing is just not fair. I've started setting five separate alarms to go off at 9-minute intervals so I can just turn the alarms off and not depend on their stingy snooze.

My plan was foiled this morning when the babysitter called saying something about massive vomiting, digestive parasites and  possible cholera, so guess who had to wake up that very second to track down a child sitter pinch hitter? No snoozing for me. Luckily, our Martha Stewart/Betty Crocker back-up was available which made me think (1) Thank God for this gracious woman, and (2) I totally could've slept for seven more minutes.

All was not well when I went to wake the baby, who looked at me with one eye open ala pirate style due to the fact his other eyeball was crusted over with a gunky puss. Then he smiled this cute little adorable smile and all I could think of was dear god, he looks like a mangy barn cat.

"Come, Dotter," I called to the 9-year old. "Come grab your brother from out of his crib."

"But you're right there," the ungrateful child answered.

"There's no way I'm touching him. He's got mange. Now, take him out before Santa sees what a poorly behaved child you are and all he brings is coal."

Who says the Christmas Spirit is dead?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Up My Dose of Cipro, Please

I was putting a file away at work when I got a paper cut. I immediately contacted the proper personnel to file a workman's comp claim but they wouldn't do it. Instead I was offered some antibacterial wash and a band-aid. I made them pinky swear that if this gets infected and my finger needs to be amputated they'll backdate a claim. I'm not messing around here, people. Infections are serious.

By they way, when I was writing this I couldn't remember the word "amputated" (probably because the infection is already rapidly attacking my brain cells) so I googled remove finger and was somewhat traumatized by the first site suggestion which provided the following detail:

Ever wondered what two colliding
high-strength magnets would do to a lime?
What about a finger?

There is no way I'm clicking on that video. As if I don't have enough things in this world to worry about, now I have to make sure to teach my children to stay away from high-strength magnets because they could smash your finger and it'll get all infected and then you'll die. Which is exactly what is going to happen to me if this paper cut gets infected.

Which reminds me, I need to clean the house and get all my affairs in order because I don't want my family digging around my house after I'm gone.

Sister: What the hell are these? Are these underwear?

Mom: I don't know, isn't there supposed to be elastic somewhere?

Me, From The Beyond: I bought them after my c-section when I had that horrible infection and was super bloated -- I only kept them in case I had another baby and another bad c-section reaction!

Roma Downey: They can't hear you. You've died and I'm here to take your soul to Heaven. But before I do, I'm forcing you to watch uncomfortably while your loved ones look through all the things you thought would always be private.

Mom: What do you suppose this is?

Sister: PUT THAT DOWN! It's unsanitary!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Oh, Just Wear a Patch, Kid

Apparently someone (or something) has been socking my 9-year old in the eyeball causing an inflammation and bruising situation that requires medicated eye drops and multiple visits to the eye doctor. Which wouldn't be too bad if I suddenly hadn't gone all anti-hoarding and held on to the medicated eye drops as opposed to tossing them in the trash last week. I have cough medicine that expired 3-1/2 years ago yet I toss the drops. I know I make no sense.

Eye appointment looming I toss a bottle at the toddler and attempt to find his shoes. The kid owns exactly one pair of shoes. Do you want to know why my kid owns only one pair of shoes? Because he's not my first born. The first born had thirty-eight pairs of shoes to choose from at any given time. The third born child is lucky he gets shoes at all. But because the clock is ticking and the I-need-to-arrive-twenty-minutes-before-my-scheduled-appointment-or-I'll-implode 9-year is twitching I cannot locate the shoes. It's two degrees outside and I have no shoes for the baby. Whatever. He's got socks. Toss him in the car seat and let's get going.

So I drive the twenty minute route with precise countdown commentary:

"It's eleven forty-three. My appointment is at noon. That's in seventeen minutes."

Turn left. Slip through a snow drift.

"It's eleven forty-five. My appointment is at noon. That's in fifteen minutes."

Darn it. A red light.

"Is the baby asleep?" I ask, thinking maybe, just maybe, we can talk about something other than what time it is.

"No. He's drinking his bottle. It's eleven forty-seven. My appointment is at noon. That's in thirteen minutes."

For the love. Who taught this child how to tell time?

The eye clinic is busy. Crowded. There are hundreds of people. Okay, maybe six. But it felt like hundreds because there are only four chairs in the waiting room and I am not in one. Instead I am standing against the wall with a wriggly baby and a time conscious tween.

"It's past noon. My appointment is at noon."

It's a thousand degrees in here. Perhaps only 68, but when you're wearing winter gear indoors you cook quickly. We cannot get in the exam room quick enough.

Yep. It's inflamed. Yep. It's red. Yep. Let's get a new prescription for the drops you threw out. "You could probably keep these for a while," the doctor tells me. "Just in case."  Right. Great idea.

And then, the words that would change the course of our day: "I just want to dilate her eye and take a look; make sure nothing's going on in there."

Did you know they make you wait twenty minutes for your eye to dilate?

This is what will happen in twenty minutes:

The toddler can no longer sit still. He will demand to get out of your arms and walk into every slushy snow puddle left by the entry door. Which means his socks will get wet because you are the mother who doesn't have shoes for your kid. And then he will become uncomfortable because his socks are gross and wet and he will take them off because who wants to walk around in goopy socks?

The toddler will then explode. Literally. He will experience a bowel movement unlike any you have ever seen. And it will smell. Very, very bad. So you will throw the toddler in the lap of your 9-yr and tell her to hang on while you run out into the parking lot to grab the diaper bag out of the car. And your 9-yr old will begin to panic and cry because she doesn't want to be left alone (too many strange people) and you will not be one of those patient mommies who comfort and reassure your scared child; no, instead you will become one of those seething, talking through your clenched teeth kind of mommies: Just hold on to him for twenty seconds while I get the damn bag.

And you will race out to the car. And search it. And look in the front seat. And the back seat. And in the trunk for good measure. But, guess what? You won't find the diaper bag because, guess what? It's sitting on the floor of the garage where you put it when you had to wrestle the toddler into the car seat.

So you will go back inside the waiting room where the 9-yr old is fighting back tears while she fights the squirming toddler who is turning various shades of red and purple because he is not happy he has been restrained for the past thirty-eight seconds, and you will take hold of the toddler and look at the 9-yr old and shamefully admit there are no diapers to be had and the 9-yr old will look at you in horror and disbelief at the exact same moment the toddler decides to vomit the full volume of the bottle he consumed not too long ago. And now, in addition to the baby manure stench, there is a rancid spoiled milk odor filling the air.
Thank God the doctor beckons as you're wiping up curdled milk from her carpet with the festive box of Puffs Plus and avoiding the disgusted stares of those around you. Nothing in the eyeball. (I waited in the hall with the stink kid.) Got my prescription and hightailed it out of there.

But do not fret. All was not in vain!
I got this super cool picture to remember the day:

Friday, December 3, 2010

Well, will ya look at that?

I'm amazed by the little things in life. Like the fact that the woman who watches Cletus the Used to be Fetus told me he likes to eat apples. Even the skins. And I'm all you can't feed a kid with four teeth an apple with skins! He'll choke and die! What is wrong with you, woman? And she looked at me like I'm some sort of crazy person as she whipped out a cheese grater and an organic Golden Delicious and proceeded to explain the mush in the bottom of the bowl is much better for the baby because it's all natural and there's no bad stuff added. And he ate it. Micro-mushed skins and all.

And how I can leave a very clean house and in less than two hours come back to a complete disaster, wondering why there are a pair of jeans dumped in the bathtub and a glass of milk, a 12-volt battery and a vacuum cleaner bag surrounded by metal clothes hangers on the living room floor.

Sometimes it's best not to wonder... easier just soak in the awe of it all...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a LOT Like Christmas. Right?

The Blessed Family has been incarcerated.

Visiting hours are on Wednesdays from 4pm-6pm and Saturdays from 1pm-5pm. Positive ID is required. Please note you must be on the visitors list. If you aren't on the visitation list you will not be allowed access to visit the inmate. God Bless, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays.


I suppose it is possible the plexiglass containment is for their own safety. Why people take off with the Baby Jesus from these displays I'll never understand. I think the lamb would be funnier. Look, Margaret! There's a lamb in our shower! That would totally make someone come running. But hey, check out Baby Jesus in our tub! just gets you Really, Henry? Baby Jesus? Go put that thing back in the park.

In other news, I'm contemplating becoming an Amish Jew because I'm tired of chasing the kid who keeps turning the TV off and knocking ornaments off the tree.


My 15-month old has learned how to turn the television off. And on. And off again. And on again. And off. And on. And - annoyed yet? Yeah, I thought you'd understand. When he's not flicking the tv on and off he's running over to the Christmas tree to shake the ornaments off. Don't bother telling me that any mother in their right mind would make sure the ornaments are on the upper half of the tree because they are. The problem comes in the fact that we don't have what one would consider a normal Christmas tree. Instead of an evergreen we decorated an artifical ficus, thus the natural, prickly, needled buffer along the bottom is missing. The kid can easily get his grubby little paws around that tree trunk and shake the sucker until things start dropping. If ever we're stranded on an island I'm sure he'll succeed in the coconut grab but until then someone needs to stop the little monkey. I leave that to Dotter. Here's how she keeps him occupied (although unsanitary, it seems to work):

Monday, November 29, 2010

Simple Gifts

Remember in high school when we were forced to sit in assembly and listen to someone who knew better tell us not to have sex because then we'd get pregnant and then you'd be stuck with that baby for like, forever? And they told you how stressful things were going to be. Things that we never really cared about anyway. Like, oh boy, if I get pregnant now, it might be stressful trying to graduate while taking care of a baby. Really? We were IN high school. Walking down the halls in jeans that weren't rolled just right was stressful. Being called on by Mr. Norder in biology large group was stressful because, let's be honest, no one listened to him teach so how were we to know how to actually answer a question when called upon?

Those talks did a great disservice. No one ever talked about the realities of the long term effect of having children. And by this I mean picking out Christmas gifts year after year. Sure, you might have yourself fooled into thinking you're the Hippest Mom in the County with your wrapped Baby Alive when your child was four.... but fast forward ten, eleven, twelve years later and what do you got? Nothing. You've got nothing, that's what. Because there is no teenager on the planet who is going to make Christmas buying easy.

Gone are the days of a big box with a fancy bow lighting up your innocent child's face. Simple gifts of a pretty necklace and a fancy shirt have been replaced with vague requests of materialistic gluttony. Kendra's mom spent over three hundred dollars on her Uggs last year. And that was just one gift. Oh, and my dad mentioned getting me a Mercedes, but I told him I'd rather have a candy apple red BMW Z4 sDrive30i convertible. So, what are you getting me?

Won't they be surprised when  the open up the big box of love I've packaged! Oh, they might think it's empty, but I know it'll be filled to the brim with love!

Unavoidable Sabbatical

I have returned from a most unavoidable sabbatical, wherein I was confined to the four walls of my bathroom for a few days. Upon my emergence, I was forced to take care of additional sickies and spent countless hours hauling blankets to the washing machine and hosing off both ends of a spewing baby. Suffice it to say, I did not necessarily enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday.

Here's a summary of the past week (other than the disgusting flu part):

Big V installed a killer floor at my parent's house. They've had the product sitting there for God knows how many months but had planned a Thanksgiving Working Feast Day so he could get help from the other boys in the family (half of which were also stricken with the flu). Big V realized my brother, Patrick, is a mathematical genius, especially when it comes to geometry, because the boy whipped out complicated trim pieces like he was tying shoelaces.

Dotter decorated the Christmas tree. Except it's not an actual Christmas tree, per se. It's more an artificial ficus. But the bows help make it look somewhat Christmas-y and as soon as wrapped presents get propped up around the cheap basket weave base no one will notice it's not an actual evergreen.

The Bean hid Dotter's snow pants. I'm still not understanding that one.

I did the polka 3 times. Each for 4 minutes and 21 seconds. Which is a lot of polka if you ask me.

I paid over $6 for one container of Oberweis Egg Nog. It was so worth it. Then I went online to oberweis.com and geeked out at all the egg nog recipes: Egg Nog French Toast. Egg Nog Cookies. Egg Nog Muffins. Egg Nog Pancakes.

The Bean ate the cool whip I was saving for the Pumpkin Pie. When I yelled, "That was for the pie!" she answered simply but I don't like pie as if that in and of itself explains why one would eat a tub of Cool Whip.

I watched so much HGTV that I now have 37 different bathrooms which need to be immediately installed and an irrational crush on Scott McGillivray.

Because I spent the first half of last week stuck in a cholera outbreak, I spent the last half of the week washing dishes and doing laundry. This was not that fun. Just in case you were wondering.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Early Morning Conversations with a 9-Year Old

Dotter:  Am I Ireland?

Me: No. Ireland is a country. You are most definitly not the country of Ireland.

Dotter: No, I mean am I Irish?

Me: You're all sorts of things. Like a mix.

Dotter: What does that mean? That I'm a mix?

Me: You're made up of all different stuff -- Dutch, Australian, Irish, Scottish, English -- you're like a cake mix. You know, when you use a whole bunch of ingredients and mix them together, then you get a cake!

Dotter: But I don't like cake.

Me: That's fine. I was just using it as an example.

Dotter: I like brownies though.

Me: Fine. You're like brownies.

Dotter: My poop today was all bumpy but at the end it came out like a smooth point.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Dog That Keeps On Giving.

You know how you try to kill something and it keeps coming back to life? Well, Satan the Dog is like that. Except I'm not really trying to kill it off. I'm trying to kill the memory of it off. There's a difference. One makes me a cold-hearted bitch that faces imprisonment in a horribly cold, dank cell that won't allow down comforters and the pleasant silence of watching HGTV in solitary confinement. The other just makes me a cold-hearted bitch.

So, Big V called.....

The good news is - he has found the dog a home! For sure this time. It's about an hour away and he will need to drive immediately to the kennel where the dog is currently being boarded (thirty minutes away in the opposite direction) and drive the dog to its new home. (Guess who gets to hurry home, get the baby from the nanny, tie him in the car, race to the sitters where Dotter is, race home, gather the Bean, take her to youth group, wait a half hour, drop Dotter off at her youth group - which, by the way, she's on the schedule to provide snacks. Joy. Pick them both up at 8:00pm, try to figure out something for dinner, change a few diapers, clean up mashed food off a highchair and stop the baby from eating things out of the garbage? Me. That's who. And I just love working after work. It's my favorite.)

So, Big V is taking the dog an hour away to its new home. But can we all rejoice?

No. Not really. Because, see there's the off chance that Satan might not get along with this guy's other dog. Being that he's been locked up in a kennel for the past few days Satan may have development some sort of anxiety or behavioral issues. As if the dog didn't have them before.

Our conversation was in a state of rapid decline when V defensively snapped, "I hate when you say the dog bit someone."

"But it did bite someone. It bit Josh in the knee."

"But it didn't mean to; it meant to bite Josh's dog."

*sigh*

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Musical Rooms

Cletus the Used to be Fetus is boycotting his newly moved into pink room. I'd prefer a silence strike, but that kid, he's a tricky one...he's decided to proceed with some sort of howling ambush. Every two hours he wakes up and screams. All. Night. Long. He's been doing this for a week. It's getting old. I'd let him cry it out, except we shoved him in a room with Dotter and she needs her sleep. (She takes school seriously and lets the teacher know when her mother failed to ensure 8 nonstop hours of slumber.) I could shove Dotter in with Bean -- if I wanted to spend the rest of my life blaming myself for the murder 15-yr old Bean would surely commit against her 9-yr old sister. To me, the answer is obvious: shove Bean in the basement.

What highschooler wouldn't want their room in the basement? Away from the nosey parents. Away from the annoying little sister. Away from the toddler that plays in toilet water. What highschooler wouldn't want their room in an area designated all to themselves? Television over here. A couple of couches to flop on. A table next to the bookshelves, perfect for homework.

My child. That's what highschooler wouldn't want that. Mine.

I tried to entice her by telling her we could install new carpet or hardwood and promising she could pick out her own color scheme.

"What do you want your room to look like?" I asked as giddy as I could muster.

Her snide response: "I want black walls and my windows to be secured with duct tape. You can give me bread and water through a hole in the wall while you're at it. I can pee in a little tin can, too."

And I thought sweet! This is going to be a lot cheaper than I thought!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Satan's Return

"... we interrupt this program to bring you the following announcement: The damn dog is back."

And so began my weekend.

Big V called me at work late Friday night, hemming and hawwing about the dog. You know, the dog. The we-got-rid-of-you-because-you-ate-through-the-drywall-and-we're-afraid-you'll-eat-the-children dog. The satanic dog I openly referred to as Satan because, well, because it was. The dog that finally, after two very long years, had left our home never, ever to return again. Yes, well, you see, that dog was back. Kind of.

It wasn't quite back in our house, but it was back in Big V's truck.

Here's the short version:

Satan left our house and went to Dan's. Dan had two dogs already. And a girlfriend. He wanted to keep the two dogs. And the girlfriend. So he called V back and was all this is not working out, man. However, Dan found Gas Station Dude who wanted the dog. Because Gas Station Dude loved hungry pit bulls that ate metal, wood, and any and all major appliances. But V didn't want Gas Station Dude to have his beloved dog because Gas Station Dude was Arabian and everyone knows Arabian's eat dogs. (His ignorant racist comment; not mine. And, yes, I did tell him it was ignorant and racist. He said he wasn't trying to be racist, he just didn't want his dog eaten. To which the Bean piped up with people who work at gas stations eat dogs?! That's so gross!)

And so, in order to protect the dog from being eaten, Big V went to Dan's, got Satan and brought him to Aaron's house. Aaron is almost forty and lives with his parents. His mom has a small terrier of her own. Satan lasted less than 24 hours at Aaron's because apparently Aaron's mom felt this crazy pit bull might eat her dog and she wanted to save its life.

So the dog went back to Dan's. But then Dan was all this is not working out, man. You know, again. So Big V went and picked up the dog from Dan's and brought it to Nate's. Except Nate lives with some guy who doesn't even like dogs and might also not want a dog who eats large scale furniture like they're Scooby Snacks, so Big V picked up the dog and took it to Ryan's. Ryan just bought his house so it's new to him and he probably wants to see it stay that way and not in the this dog just destroyed my kitchen cabinets kind of way. So the dog went back to Dan's .... but did it?

Flowchart for Satanic Dogs
No. See, Dan's a smart guy. And he knows V is just trying to bounce the dog from couch to couch because he doesn't want to deal with the inevitable. (Meaning that the dog is crazy and insane and should be institutionalized; not necessarily that it should be eaten.) So Dan did what anybody would do in this situation and when he saw Big V's name light up on his cell phone he left town. This meant Big V was left on a rainy Friday night with a satanic animal that he knew wouldn't be allowed back into our house. (See, I've kind of grown accustomed to the baby. I think it would be fun to see him grow up into a young man.) Which brings us to the phone call I received just moments before I left work Friday night.

"Uh... well... uh... you see... I had to get the dog from Ryan's... don't worry - the dog didn't do anything. It's a great dog actually and behaved perfectly, it's just that.... uh.... someone told them that it might be difficult to get insurance being that it's a pit bull....." A pit bull that has bit someone in the knee cap. Go on. ".... and, uh.... well.... so I was going to bring it back to Dan's but...." Dan? The guy who has told you seventy-six times already that it's not working out? That Dan? ".... uh, yeah... that Dan.... except he's not home. He went away for the weekend...." Smart man. He's catching on. ".... yeah... well... so I know you don't want the dog back in the house and I promised you it wouldn't come back and I'm a man of my word so I'm just going to hang out with it in my truck until I figure out what to do."


A couple hours later Big V called me back. He had a plan! The dog would be boarded in the morning at 8:00am. That was the good news. The bad news was he still had to figure out what to do with the dog for the night. So, he figured he'd come home - but not let the dog in the house - and he would take one of the extra mattresses from down in the basement and put it in the covered bed of his truck and he and Satan would sleep out there. In the back of a truck. In our driveway. With a dog. In the freezing cold.

I said fine. Don't use any of the good blankets.

Then I called my sister: Can you watch the baby tonight because V can't because he's going to be sleeping with Satan in the truck?
To which she replied something along the lines of I can't believe you're making him sleep in the back of his truck. And I explained how it was his idea and not to worry because he was dragging up an extra mattress. To which she replied something along the lines of but he'll freeze? What if he turns the truck on and dies of carbon monoxide poisoning? And I explained that he could use a blanket, just not any of the good ones. And then she said something about what would Jesus do? And I said strike Satan down with a lightening rod? And she was all for the love! Let the man sleep in the basement with dog! And since she's both older and wiser than I am I took her advice. Plus, also I had big plans on Saturday and didn't want to be held up in a police interrogation room.

Big V took the dog to the kennel Saturday morning and I haven't seen it since. (Let's see how long this lasts, shall we?)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Private Lives

After my mother realized I was flunking out of college she expressed her disappointment in me. I was all it's not my fault! I can't help it that my house is, like, right next door to the funnest bar ever created on planet earth and they just happen to sell beer for, like, a quarter! What do you want me to do? And she was all, "Well, I guess, if I were you, I'd start by getting a job."

Well, let's be honest. I was 19 years old and an adult - hello! There was no way someone was going to boss me around. Especially some woman who loved me unconditionally, had only my best interest at heart and would lay down her life for me in a heartbeat. I mean, the nerve, right?

So, I showed her: I joined the Army.

It was surprisingly easy to join. Almost too easy. But, whatever. At least I could live my own life, and not have someone breathing down my neck all the time, knowwhatImean? *nudge! nudge!* (You get why I was flunking out of college, right? Not exactly the brightest bulb....)

And so began my military career.

I can tell you, without a shadow of a doubt, that the reason I detest painting by roller is because of the time I spent in the military.

Ok, so we may or may not have been late getting in one night. (Let me tell you, when they say you'll be back by a certain time you'd better be back. They really take that stuff seriously.) Our punishment was to stay on base under orders for an entire weekend. We were ordered to paint a small office.

We pulled all the file cabinets and office furniture out into the hall.

Then we painted the walls.

Then we stood in the hall at attention and waited for the walls to dry.

Then the Sergeant inspected the paint job.

Then we moved all the file cabinets and office furniture back into the office.

And then we did it all over again.

We moved all the furniture out, painted, waited, inspected, put the furniture back.

And then we did it all over again.

And again.

And again.

You can see why I hate paint rollers.

I hate raking leaves, too. That may be because of another time when we may have returned later than we should have, and we were ordered to rake the lawn of the Quartermasters Building during a special 4-day holiday weekend. We raked. Stuffed leaves in bags. Stood at attention while the lawn was being inspected. And then the Sergeant opened the bags and scattered the leaves all over the lawn and told us to rake them up again. As if that wasn't bad enough, he grew weary of emptying the bags himself and made us do it. So we raked up the leaves, scattered the leaves and raked them up again. For four days. On the same stupid lawn.

Some of the soldiers I figuratively killed.

I also have an aversion to falling asleep on tables. See, there's this job you have to do called "Guard Duty." Essentially you and a soldier-partner stand guard (or, in our case, sit at a table) in front of the door to where all our soldier-comrades were sleeping. The idea is to keep watch and make sure no bad guys get you in the middle of the night. And so, Private Josette White and I were ordered to conduct Guard Duty from 3am to 5am, which happens to be a very not-so-enjoyable time to sit at a table staring aimlessly at a door.

Take it from personal experience, Drill Sergeants frown upon falling asleep during Guard Duty. We woke up when the table our heads were resting on was being flung over by the Drill Sergeant. Momentum shoved me to the floor and he did this Hollywood Jedi Knight move where he pressed his finger into my temple and yelled YOU'VE JUST BEEN KILLED, PRIVATE! AND YOU'VE PUT YOUR FELLOW SOLDIERS AT RISK! HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT? Well, I was just way too tired to explain how I was probably experiencing drowsiness because I hadn't received all my vital nutrients, because I was pretty sure that stuff in the mess hall was depleted of vitamins and minerals. Plus he was yelling really, really loud right in my ear and to be honest, although my eyes were popped open as wide as they could physically go, I still wasn't fully awake.

We did a lot of push-ups that day. And when I say a lot, I mean thousands.

Because we had figuratively killed everyone our Drill Sergeant thought everyone should get up at 3:47am and have a fun little work out. I thought that if we had figuratively killed everyone we should make it really, really spookily quiet like no one was there anymore and we should all just lay really still in our beds. But we worked out before our regularly scheduled 6:00am work out instead. I remember a lot of women glaring at me....

On our way to eat we'd march for a few minutes, Drill Sergeant would halt everyone, call my accomplice and I out to do some push-ups, then get back into formation. We stopped and started that march a dozen times before we got to the dining hall. (And those women were still glaring.) As an added bit of fun our Drill Sergeant decided to drop us - one on each side of the door, in the Front Leaning Rest Position (which means the position your body is in before you do a push-up). And there we stayed. Just like that. Until every single soldier on base had walked through those doors and enjoyed their breakfast.

"Private! What are you doing on the ground, Private?"

*sigh* "Sir, enjoying the beautiful morning, Sir!"

Me at far right.
Employed to defend YOU. And, yes, they gave us weapons.

One thing the military taught me was the importance of aim and identification. That one without the other was essentially worthless. Let's say you could identify the enemy but you couldn't aim worth a darn. It wouldn't do you any good. Now, let's say you were a great aim (like myself) but had terrible identification skills. You may find yourself launching water balloons out of your 4th floor room with your Private Benjamin coherts and hit square as can be someone really, really important. Like, oh, say, a Captain who happens to have a really big ego and a really small sense of humor. (Note to self: when it appears the red sea is parting for a particular member of the military, it is usually parting for someone way more important than you.) I spent the rest of that 90-degree afternoon standing on the pavement in the exact place I had hit him. With my arms stretched straight out, holding two very colorful water balloons, waiting for the sun to set.

Good times. Good times.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sanitize!

Dotter does not have pink eye. Which is good. Because I don't care what people say, pink eye is gross. You would think pink eye wouldn't be gross because there are lots of pink things that aren't gross at all. Like fluffy cotton candy and a quarter of the marshmallows in Lucky Charms cereal. By the way, did you know Australians call cotton candy 'fairy floss'? See, makes pink even cuter! But not pink eye. Pink eye is still gross. And I don't mean the pink eye of a rabbit (although I have always been freaked out by those). Anyway, I'm talking about the pink eye crustiness of thousands of kids a year ... with the gunk and the contagiousness and the ickiness and - ugh! I just grossed myself out again.

Anyway. My point is Dotter does not have it. Her eye does happen to be pink. Well, more in line with red, actually, and it does hurt, but that's because she has a bruised eyeball, y'all. The eye doctor seems to think she poked it or hit it or rubbed it really, really hard, but she doesn't remember doing any of that. She just said she woke up that way. Which makes me think maybe she's poking herself in the eye in her sleep. Which made think aha! I've now got my new web video stream! And I'm considering a live feed of her sleeping to offset the cost of the medicinal eye drops she needs to use to reduce the inflammation.

Monday, November 8, 2010

*eyeroll*

I can't actually wrap my head around this weekend in order to construct one complete and/or coherent sentence, so if it's okay with you, I'm just going to bullet point this post. I'll call it Things I Did This Weekend. Or maybe, Good One, Guys, Now Give Me Normal Back.

Someone other than me who is also considered a grown-up in our house left the garage door open. A skunk got in. Then someone other than me who is also considered a grown-up in our house went into the garage. And surprised the skunk. And the skunk sprayed.

I ate bacon covered dates. Not to be confused with that one time when my date brought over two pounds of bacon. These were the food kind of dates. And since no one actually eats dates but everyone eats anything wrapped in bacon that's how I was able to consume them. And they were good.

I went to a Catholic breakfast. Except I'm not Catholic. And now I never, ever want to be Catholic. Because I thought the flag waving was bad enough, but then the lady next to me leaned over and put her hand on my arm (which is incredibly not okay with me because I have serious personal boundary issues) and I looked into her glaucoma-y right eye, felt uncomfortable and then looked into her clear left eye and actually listened while she asked me, "Do you speak in tongues?" To which I replied, "uh...No." And to which she continued, "because I do. I just started." And then she did. She talked in tongues. I'm not exactly sure what 'tongues' is supposed to sound like, but if it's meant to sound like jibberish then this lady was really, really good. And I was really, really scared. Because this was just one situation I was definitely not prepared for. I thought Catholics were kind of boring. And chanted monotone in Latin. This had a deep south revival with sacrificial chickens kind of feel to it.

We finally moved Cletus the Used to be Fetus out of our room. Because he's one now. And it's just kind of creepy to try to get your groove on and have a head pop up and yell out Hi! It especially is cramping to your style when said 1-year old keeps repeating Hi! four hundred and eighty seven times until you engage him in conversation. And I think that's just bizarre to engage in conversation with someone when you're trying to get your groove on with someone else. But since there's no separate bedroom for Cletus we decided to shove him in the Barbie & Bubble Gum pink room with Dotter. The crib was a tad too big to pass through the doorways so we took the doors off. (Note: real wood is real heavy.) And then the crib was still a tad too big to pass through. So Big V busied himself taking the crib apart and then putting it back together again. And then he told me I'm never allowed to buy anything from IKEA ever again.

The Bean was gone all weekend, living the high life with her friend. She came home to explain to me that our house is an embarrassment and she can't have friends over because it's so disgusting and we have to remodel so her friends feel more comfortable. I asked her if we could please discuss this in the bathroom since we all know how well she keeps that area clean so her friends aren't disgusted.

Then there was this little episode that involved my niece and her manipulative ways which reminded me that, yes, a 10-year old can be described as calculating and dangerous.

To say I couldn't wait for my weekend to be over would be an understatement. I just wonder what this week has in store for me. And if I can survive it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

It Just Is.

I admit there are times when I am what one would call "unbending." My world can be incredibly black and white. There are certain things that are acceptable and there are certain things that are not.

For instance: wearing a seatbelt is required by law in the state I live in; therefore, a seatbelt must be worn. There is no discussion. There is no argument. There is no convincing me that sometimes, in a particularly given case, not wearing a seatbelt is acceptable. That is not to say I agree or disagree with the law. It's not up to me to discuss it - it just is because it's a law. So wear your seatbelt. All. The. Time.

My Black & White Unbendingness is also demonstrated in several other areas of my life. Although there are no particular laws governing the following, there should be.

In no case shall jello of any variety be placed on the same plate as any other food. And especially if there is a bun or other bread product on that plate. Jello juice shall not be allowed to ooze over and soak into my bun. That's just wrong.

Toe nail clippings shall not be placed in my line of sight. Ever. And they shall not, not ever, never, ever be left to sit out on the little side table next to the comfy chair in the living room where I'm just about to set my glass of koolaid because that will send me into a rage of astonishing proportions. I don't tolerate toenails. It's that simple.

It is never acceptable to leave a hair on the bar of soap that's sitting on the ledge in the bathtub. I don't care if that particular hair came from your chest and not your nether regions, it does not belong there. And there is no way I want to be the one to pluck that sucker off. Get it off, get it off, get it off!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go write my congressman about getting some of these 'should be' laws into effect.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Next Best Thing

Well, we managed to survive Halloween. Instead of running with the masses, we opted to create Halloween Treat Jars and deliver them to a select group of people. Dotter created her list, picked out the candy, and stuffed the jars. I helped tie on the Halloween ribbon she picked out. She dressed up as a vampire (the cape was totally the selling point for that kid) and off we went to deliver our goods. I guess instead of Trick or Treating she went Treat Delivering.

Now that Halloween is over it's time to focus on the next big holiday. And by that I mean Black Friday. The day reserved by insane people to willingly wake up at some ungodly early hour to fight crowds in the hopes of securing a super cool deal on a portable DVD player that's only good between the hours of 5am and 7am. Oh, and there's only two of those particular items in the store so you have to fight your fellow man in order to be the first to grab it. Hold on tightly, because your neighbor is at the end of the aisle with his foot out hoping to trip you. The minute you let go he grabs on.... twenty minutes and six people later, some woman is checking out with your portable DVD player. The one you woke up early to get.

No, thank you. Not for me. I stay home and sleep in on Black Friday. I was never into competitive sports. Well, I was on the golf team that one year of high school - but I don't think it counts if the coach asks you to not bother showing up anymore. And I ran long distance in track and cross country, but the difference is no one is hurling objects at you when you're running. It's not like soccer where you're fighting over some ball. It's not like volleyball where the other team is trying to line drive the ball into your face. They don't even try to be sneaky about it - it's called a spike. Would you like a spike to your frontal lobe? No thank you.

If I didn't enjoy the art of expending physical energy at the risk of serious injury in the hopes of landing another picture in my yearbook, I'm certainly not going to enjoy an early session of Utimate Hot Potato Fighting in the middle of Aisle 13 at Target. Besides, I don't think any product is worth a potential black eye.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ah-choo!

I have really bad allergies. Now. I never used to. I used to just see people with really bad allergies and I'd think that is so gross; why are they always sniffling? Why do they always look glassy eyed and high? Why are they always clucking in the back of their throat? They keep saying their throat itches -- I bet they're on drugs. They've got to be on drugs! Druggie!

Believe it or not, I've never used drugs - smoked pot, hit the hippie lettuce, smoked a spliff, cued the cannibis - I just assumed that if you did that sort of thing your throat would itch. I didn't know that pollen in the air could create that kind of havoc.

See, I judged those people. I saw those allergy-ridden icky people gasping for breath in-between sneezing fits thought not-so-nice things and God saw me and said, "Now, that's not nice to judge people. I think you need to learn compassion. Therefore, after the birth of your second child, I shall deliver to you allergies." And just like that, I was allergic.

It got so bad I had one of those "tests" done to see what I was allergic to. "Test" meaning "get stabbed by a thousand little needles that will give you hives." Turns out I'm allergic to the world and everything in it. And so I had to have more shots. Lots of them. Several times a week. In the hopes that the magic shots would clear up the allergies. And sometimes they hurt. A lot. There were two nurses that administered the allergy shots: one good nurse and one evil nurse. I'll let you decide who gave the better shots of the two. Anyway, I tried not to cry too much because I felt really embarrassed wiping my tears while the 6-yr old next to me tried to comfort me, telling me it would be okay and that I'd get a sticker at the end. Determined not to be one of those sneezing, sniffling, glassy-eyed people, I manned up and took the shots like I was supposed to.

My allergies were in check for awhile, but then I had my third child and now they're all wonky again. Damn hormones. Either that or global warming is totally doing a number on my system. Since I don't have a prescription anymore (what with being cured by the shot regimen and all) I simply pick up a box of my favorite Benadryl from time to time. Except Walgreen's hates me now and no longer carries my favored box. Also, Piggly Wiggly hates me. And so does ShopKo. And I can't seem to find a compatible replacement. The one I got yesterday completely removes all traces of fluid in my body. Sure, it cleared everything up in my nasal cavity, but now I have no saliva in which to attempt to speak, my eyeballs are so brittle they're about to break and my urine comes out in dust form. If I happen to hack off my arm with the office paper cutter I'm not sure I'd bleed. Which would be good in terms of clean-up I guess but freaky nonetheless. At least I'm not sniffling.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Trick or not.

The Bean was made for Halloween. That in and of itself made it an awesome holiday. I knew I hit character paydirt when she wanted to be a monk. She was two. Another year she was spaghetti and meatballs. Then she was a super feathery chicken. With orange skinny legs. All her costumes were handmade. All her costumes were awesome. Now she's fifteen and the only costumes she looks at have the descriptive label "sexy" in front of them. Sexy nurse. Sexy firefighter. Sexy cop. There is no sexy chicken. There is no sexy spaghetti and meatballs.

You'd think I could now live vicariously through Dotter - but she wants absolutely nothing to do with Trick or Treating. She hates strangers. She hates strange strangers even more and there's nothing worse than a stranger dressed as a zombie scaring the pants off little kids and rewarding them with a tootsie roll.

She doesn't want to trick or treat and she doesn't want to hand out candy. Although she does want to dress up and do something. Maybe I could just take her to the movies and call it a day. This would work out good because to be honest I don't want to stay home and hand out candy either. Most of the costumes suck. And if I'm going to spend my hard earned money buying candy for kids I don't know, the least they could do is put some effort into it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Maura Kelly really IS a size-ist jerk.

Do you know who Maura Kelly is? You will.

Go read this article she wrote for Marie Claire: Should "Fatties" Get a Room? (Even on TV?)

Go ahead. I'll wait.

I'll wait for you to read it, and then I'll wait for you to call all your friends and exclaim you have just experienced the most ridiculous attitude towards overweight people ever.

And I'll wait while you update your twitter account with Maura Kelly really IS a size-ist jerk.

Maura Kelly writes, "So anyway, yes, I think I'd be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other ... because I'd be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything."

Ouch.

Actually, beyond ouch. I think I'm just dumbfounded. I mean, she gets paid, right? Marie Claire pays her to write. She writes articles and has to update her blog and they actually hand her a paycheck to write whatever she wants. Even if it is incredibly insensitive and hurtful. And mean. She actually gets a paycheck to be mean. The only people I thought got paid to be mean to other human beings were Drill Sergeants. Which, incidentally, I thought would be a very cool gig up until the time I joined the Army and actually came face-to-face with a Drill Sergeant and then I was all these people are just so mean and I couldn't see myself making that many people feel like dirt for that many hours in a day. Also, I couldn't see myself wearing those hats.

Maybe I was just brought up differently. I was brought up that you accept people for who they are. You don't judge. You don't say things that unnecessarily hurt people's feelings. You don't speak hateful comments. You don't purposely try to make people feel less than. Ms. Kelly obviously did not have my mother.

I grew up skinny. Stick skinny. If you drew a picture of a stick person and put a potato on as a head, that'd be me. I could eat absolutely anything I ever wanted and not gain an ounce. At one point in high school I was put on special watch with the school nurse who watched me eat carefully measured out portions of the school's hot lunch and then time me for exactly one half hour to make sure I kept it all down. They were concerned I might be anorexic. I'd finish the watched over meal absolutely famished, drive down to McDonald's and get a Big Mac, french fries and mayonnaise. (Yes, fries dipped in mayo is glorious. You will not be disappointed.) The point is, I had no control over how my body responded to the food I ate.

I've now got two decades and three pregnancies behind me and my body certainly does not look like it did in high school. I don't eat the fries dipped in mayo as often as I used to, I drink too much soda and I don't eat enough vegetables. I've got cellulite, stretch marks and some bright red sspidery blood vessels that burst by my ankle - none of which is going away anytime soon. I suppose it could be said that I should watch what I eat and exercise more and get this body into tip-top shape.

But through all those years and all those pregnancies I've learned some very valuable lessons. I've learned that the kindness of a person's heart is not based on their waist size. I've learned that good friends don't just come in a size 2. I've learned that laughter and good times can be had with people who are medically defined as morbidly obese.

I've learned that everyone has a story and that story deserves to be heard by people who genuinely care. A person's story isn't less important because of their size.

I've learned that our time here on earth is fleeting. That our lives can change in the blink of an eye: a routine ultrasound suddenly reveals severe debilitating defects, a child doesn't return from the park he was playing at keeping a mother waiting until the day she dies, a sister singing along to the radio on her way to work is killed instantanly. Life is hard for all of us. It shouldn't be extra hard for anyone... especially those we think ought to be slimmer.

I've learned that some of the best people in my life have been the largest. People that I learn from, that I look up to, that I wish I could be more like them. More caring. More aware. More generous. More accepting. More vibrant. More full of life. More genuinely good at heart.

I feel bad for Ms. Kelly. She's missing out on a lot of really great people just because they don't fit her particular size requirements. Also, she's getting a lot of hate mail right now which totally sucks.

I question what Ms. Kelly's aversion truly is: the public display of affection (which the article was supposedly about) or her personal disdain for fat people. For the record, I do happen to get grossed out when I see people making out in public -- people of any size, shape, color or sexual orientation. It's just not my thing. Hand holding, I'm cool with. A kiss here or there - fine. A groping make-out session? Ew. Take it to your bedroom. Trust me, there's no size restriction to the heebie jeebies I get when I'm sitting behind the PDA Guru's at the movies and I can't hear over their moaning. I don't care how cute and in shape you are, either.

Update: Wendi Aarons weighs in with her article Should "brunettes" get a room? (Even on TV?) ... and you should, too, because it's awesome. And it'll make you laugh. And laughter always makes the world a better place.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Waiter, there's a Fly in my soup.

You know what's gross? Opening your fridge and finding this:
No, I'm not talking about the cartoony, sponge-printed green and white moose dishes (although they are listed first on my Things to Replace List). Look closer.....

THAT'S gross.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hey, YOU!

Remember when I told you we had to keep my awesome health insurance because the Bean might have something medically wrong with her that explains why she can't wipe the gobs of toothpaste out of the bathroom sink? Well, we might also need it for Cletus the Used to be Fetus because he might have short term memory loss.

This kid is like 50 First Dates except we can't get through sixteen seconds. I absolutely love Cletus - and I mean love in the sense I want to pick him up and hug him and squeeze him and eat his cheeks and never let him go because I can't get enough of this kid. I absolutely love him because he is the happiest baby on the planet. I thought my sister's youngest was, and he was, but now he scowls (which is frickin adorable, too, but you can't really call a scowly baby happy, you know? Even if he only scowls once in a while. It's a technicality.). Anyway, I prayed and hoped for a super happy baby and that is exactly what I got. He laughs these great belly laughs if you raise an eyebrow. He guffaws if you sneeze. He'll run up, hit his head against the wall, laugh, then run away giggling. Who doesn't want to be around a kid like that?

He'll look at you with this great excitement and a touch of awe like oh my goodness! there you are! I can't believe it! And he happily announces, "Hi!" like no one else in the worls matters except for you and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside because he's so excited to see his Mama. (And really, there aren't too many people running up to me that excited to see me.)

He'll look up at me and get all excited, "Hi!" (which makes me smile) then he'll look down and continue playing with his car. Something will grab his attention and he'll look back up, spy me, and look at me like he hasn't seen me in years and what an awesome thing to be running into me like this: "Hi!"

Forty eight thousand, six hundred and eighty-two times a day. "Hi!"

Look of surprise: "Hi!"

Look of surprise: "Hi!"

Look of surprise: "Hi!"

He wakes up: "Hi!"

I change his diaper: "Hi!"

I feed him breakfast: "Hi!"

I have yet to leave his line of sight: "Hi!"

Always with the same look of excited surprise. Always with the same what are the odds we're in this same subway car when I haven't seen you in fifteen years and I live in New York and you live in California? voice.

I love him. He makes me feel like the most special woman on the planet. Even if he didn't remember me from sixteen seconds earlier.

Hi!

Friday, October 22, 2010

That Explains It.

I hope I can keep my job forever because I think we're really going to need the health insurance coverage because the Bean may have some severe neurological problems. I think she's suffering from some sort of awful hand-eye coordination issues because she can't seem to get the right amount of toothpaste to squeeze out of the tube. See, every morning, before she heads off to school she brushes her teeth, because as a high schooler you know there's nothing more important than fresh breath. Well, at least to a teen age girl. I've been told that if you have a teen age boy fresh breath is not necessarily their top priority. Usually it's girls and football, with football taking the lead.

Anyway, I know there must be a serious problem because nobody can be so disgusting as to leave globs of toothpaste in the sink every. blasted. morning. Like this:

Gross, right? That's because it is. And yes, it's there every. blasted. morning. Not in the same spot, and sometimes more, sometimes less.  No matter how many times I send her a picture text with the caption seriously?! are you kidding me?! she still does it. (Trust me when I say texting is her primary form of communication. I have proof.) No matter how many times I force her to scrub the sink and the counter and the wall and the mirrors (hey, I had to make it count, right?) she still does it. For the life of me I can't figure out why she would do this every. blasted. morning.

And then I realized maybe she doesn't want to leave a grody gob of paste at the bottom of the sink every morning. Maybe she just can't help it. Maybe she's standing there struggling to squeeze the tube while attempting to line up the toothbrush underneath and she's so busy concentrating that she squeezes too hard and that's why a half-cup of paste gets globbed onto the bristles and there's just no way a person of her dainty mouth size can lather up with that much minty cleanser. Maybe she's got some sort of neurological issue where she can't line things up right and pushes too hard and ends up with way more paste than she plans. And a hand/eye problem would also explain the nearly 5,000 texts she sends a month because it's got to be hard trying to punch those little keys when you're fingers aren't lining up just right leaving her with a screen of garbled nonsense and so she has to send six or seven texts just to get one that makes sense.
By the way, the fact finder in me computed that in the 30 days of this particular billing cycle, the Bean sent 157.6 texts a day. Taking into account she's in school until 3pm and doesn't go to sleep until 11pm (on average) that only leaves her 8 hours for texting purposes, which equates to 19.7 texts an hour, which means every 3 minutes from 3pm until 11pm she's sending a text. No wonder she doesn't have time to wipe up the glob of toothpaste she left in the sink.

Also, she obtained her temporary driver's license today. There's no way I'm driving in a car with someone who is suffering from such health issues. Someone else will have to teach her to drive.

And also, sometimes, when I see people with their cute little girls dressed in pink with their hair all done in curls and cutesy bows, I secretly laugh with one of those bwah! ha! ha! ha! laughs because I know they'll be walking in my footsteps soon enough. And then I feel guilty and do a quick prayer that they don't ever have to deal with the gross toothpaste thing. And then I remind myself that if she's this sloppy with toothpaste I will totally catch her if she starts a meth lab.

And , yes, my mother does spend a lot of time laughing because she knows the way she survived parenting through my teen years was repeating the mantra just wait til you have your own kids and now she knows without a doubt God has her back, because I definitly deserve what I've got, even though I never actually started a meth lab.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Censury Calm

When the Census push was going on earlier this year the government hired some guy to come sit in the lobby of our building to help people who had questions on their census forms. I thought it was a ridiculous waste of money because (1) most the people around here are not full time residents, therefore were sent the form to their permanent address located somewhere far away from here where I'm sure they obediently filled it out and, (2) there were only ten questions. A couple people were sent the "long form" but that was because their life sucked and the government obviously hated them and screw the government, they don't need to know anything about the people who live here. Ever. (Not necessarily my thoughts, but heard nonetheless.) (Isn't that a great word: nonetheless? I love it and vow to use it much more frequently. "I realize you don't want to take a bath, nonetheless, I am your mother and I told you so." I can so make that work.)

Anyway, Government Guy would come into our lobby and set up shop. This included laying a couple official census questionnaires on the table and sitting on a chair. And he sat. And sat. Doing nothing. Day after blasted day. He would sit straight up in his chair, looking pleasantly in the direction of the lobby doors. And he would sit that way all day long. Always with a smile on his face. Always.

He never spoke. (No one ever came in to ask him for help.) He never looked bored. He'd never read a book, or draw fake prison tattoos on his knuckles, or make crane oragami with the census survey. He just sat there happily enjoying our lobby as if sitting in that uncomfortable chair for eight hours a day was the best thing he had ever done in his life.

A couple times I'd run past him on the way to the bathroom and see him sitting there so obviously content. Looking at the doors. Smile on his face. Not saying a word. And I'd think to myself see how pleasant the world could be with an unending supply of valium...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Overcoming Monday Blues

When I was growing up, my mother made a point of doing nothing on Sundays. It was the Lord's Day, meant for reflection and thanks and peace. We went to church. We stopped by Grandma & Grandpa's for lunch. Then we went home. And did nothing.

And I mean N-O-T-H-I-N-G.

My mom would watch television (usually a British comedy on PBS) and knit, or crochet, or maybe take up some embroidery. My dad would doze off in his chair. And we kids would be bored to tears.

There's nothing to do.... we'd whine. It's so boring!

I never understood then why my mom did nothing on Sundays.

Now I know.

She'd bore herself to tears so that she'd want to go to work on Monday. She'd ensure absolute boredom in order to trigger an excitement to look forward to work the next day. My mom did nothing fun on weekends except clean on Saturdays (and I doubt you would define cleaning as fun). Then she'd do nothing on Sunday except be forced to listen to four kids complain their life wasn't any fun. Anybody would want to go back to work after that mess of a weekend.

See, I've been doing it wrong. I've been enjoying my weekends. I've been filling my two days of freedom up with activities I want to do more of, and therefore, dreading Mondays with every fiber of my being. From now on I'm kicking it like my mom did! My kids will be beyond thrilled....