Monday, June 29, 2009

I'm just sayin'....

Gentlemen: If you smell like an overflowing ashtray that's been forgotten for the past week, you smell wrong. Women will not want to get close to you and cuddle... at least not the ones you're daydreaming about.

I have a secret...

Secretly I wish I was put on bed rest so I could spend my day with my computer, internet connection, and television remote control.


oh, snap! Thought I sent that to postsecret.com

The Difference Between the Two

I know, I know... you're skin is probably crawling in withdrawal! It's been quite awhile since my last post, but that's what happens when one suffers from a full social life. What can I say, it's a curse!

The Bean was at sleepaway camp this past week. Watching her pack was like watching Private Benjamin prepare for a week in the woods: new gold flip-flops with little heels on them, twelve different shades of lip gloss, hair dryer, curling iron, straightener... I asked if she remembered her swim suit and towel and was met with the scowel of a lifetime: "We don't swim, mom. Our hair will get ruined." Since I am Mom and therefore all-knowing and right all of the time, she ended up packing her suit. "So," I started, chest puffed out in righteousness. "Did you wear the suit?" "Yes, mom, okay? I did wear the suit - but only to stick my feet in the pool. I wasn't going to mess up my hair. Do you even realize how long it takes me to do my hair?" (Well, that was a week well spent with full access to a pool.)

Her daily schedule, as she described it, sounded something like this:

6:00 am - Wake Up. (Wait. You actually woke up? You never woke up earlier than 7:00 for school - and we had to leave by 7:15!) She explained it was more difficult to do your hair in a cabin than in a fully functional bathroom.

7:00 am - Breakfast

8:00 am - Back to the cabin to clean it... and to further expand on hair & make-up.

12:00 - Lunch

1:00 pm - Free Time... she usually went into another cabin of friends where they did each other's hair and make-up.

5:00 pm - Dinner Time

6:00 pm - Shower Time.... and then pick out what they're going to wear the next day and experiment with how they should do their hair.

10:00 pm - Lights Out


I guess I don't feel like I really missed anything by not going to camp when I was young....

***

Much to my amazement, Dotter also went to sleepaway camp! I dropped her off Thursday morning and picked her up Saturday morning, worrying constantly every second in between. What if she was scared? What if she got hurt? What if she panicked and no one knew how to help her? What if the other kids were mean and picked on her? What if her counselor shouldn't be around kids? What if she missed me? What if they went swimming and she was teased because she's still scared of the water? What if she almost drowns and then never goes near water again?

I need not have worried. I brought my cousin with to pick Dotter up, and the second we were spied Dotter went running up to my cousin, leapt into her arms and announced "I WANT TO GO TO CAMP AGAIN!"

Dotter's recollection of camp is a lot more detailed than Bean's. She remembered all the activities they did (holding snakes, picking wild berries, going down water slides - with a life jacket), all the food they ate (hot dogs cooked over a big camp fire, bacon for breakfast), all the songs they sang (with all the appropriate arm movements) and everything every young camper said for the entire duration of their stay...

Her excitement was contagious and I can't wait for her to go again next year!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Which reminds me...

I used a word in a recent post that got me thinking....

Years ago I started dating this guy. It was relatively early in our relationship when I accompanied him to a game night one of his friends was hosting. It would be the first time meeting this friend, and all other friends that were going to be there. I was nervous, but friendly, and was able to relax and enjoy the evening.

We started playing Catch Phrase... a game where you use words and examples to get your team to describe a particular word. It was my new boyfriend's turn. While I was not on his team, I was able to listen firsthand to every thing said and suggested.

"... uh, Phoenix has these... uh.... they're small... uh, not big.... "

(oh yes, the guessing went straight to boobs.)

"... uh, you know, they're small - not big..."

(yeah, yeah, we get it. I have small tits. Do we really need to do this?)

I was getting more and more red... the guests starting to look more and more uncomfortable...

Meanwhile the boyfriend knows time is quickly ticking away so he becomes louder and more animated in his quest to win:

"She's got two of these - small - not big - rounded - but just a little bit...."

They start giving timid, pity guesses: "Small thighs?" "Small hands?" "Small toes?"

"Come on, guys! Think! Round... Small... She's got two of these... They're not big..."

And the room is silent. No one is guessing anymore.

The girls are drinking from their wine glasses non-stop, unwilling to participate in whatever is happening; the guys are looking awkardly around the room, suddenly interested in the ceramic rooster sitting on an end table.

But the boyfriend is completely unaware, yelling "ROUNDED! SMALL! SHE'S GOT TWO OF THEM! THEY'RE SMALL!"

I want to crawl in a hole and die....

Thank gawd the timer FINALLY went off and the boyfriend - completely exasperated, throws up his hands and yells, "MOUNDS! Come on, guys! The word was MOUND!"

After several hours of awkwardness (ok, it was probably only two seconds, but it felt like forever) one of the guys spoke up: "baseball. the pitcher stands on it."

(Reflecting back after our failed two year relationship, I would label this event as "Red Flag #1.")

Money brings you THIS?!

Sometimes I wish I was wealthy and had as much money as the majority of the people have that live in this municipality in which I work... but then I see something on one of those really nice, expensive estates and it makes me realize if I was wealthy, I might have to spend my money on things like this:

And I just can't be doing that.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

27 dresses... that won't fit until I lose this baby weight...

So, twenty-seven it is. Weeks, that is. That means I have thirteen left. Thirteen doesn't sound too bad, but then I do that thing where I multiply it by seven, because that's how many days are in each one of those thirteen weeks I still have to endure, and I come up with ninety-one. Ninety-one: now, that's downright rediculous.

I'm told Cletus the Fetus is now about the size of a 2-pound pot roast. Knowing this disturbs me because when I look down at my Baby Mound (we surpassed 'Baby Bump' quite awhile ago) I know there is no possible way this could fit into any crockpot.

As tempted as I am to issue an eviction notice to the hyper rockstar that's constantly jamming out in my womb, I guess I'm committed to my original 40-week lease. (Cletus has the option of vacating the premises earlier, but must give at least seven days notice so I can prepare. And my internal organs best be in the same shape they were when s/he arrived!)

Too Hot to Handle

I wish I had something witty and humorous to say. It might just put me in a better mood. I wish I had something surly to say, at least it would mean my brain is functioning.

A pet peeve of mine is the "gotta complain about the weather" people. (As if we had any control!) But today I have joined their ranks. It's hot. And I mean HOT!

95 degrees.
45% humidity.
So it feels like 102 degrees.
There's currently one of those severe weather alerts that tells us to check on the elderly and make sure our pets don't overheat.

The air conditioner in the house went out.
The air conditioner in my car is not up to snuff (and we're going to the mall tonight in an attempt to cram my preggo bod into a dress that passes as 'Formal' for Friday's wedding).

Not only did I have to try to sleep in this heat (which wasn't succesful), and not only did I have to drive to work with the windows down, hot air lapping around my face, but the air in the office went out.

As in O-U-T!

As in my sweat is sweating. As in my head is spinning and I can't focus and I'm about to pass out. As in it's 90 degrees in our office and there isn't the slightest air movement.

I'm going to die.

Seriously.

I hate this weather.

(But I am looking forward to going home because the AC Repair Man fixed it today. As of 2:45pm my home was a cool 78 degrees.... I CAN'T WAIT!)

Oh - I lied. With the heat index it feels like 105 degrees. That's what the guy on the radio just announced....

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What's in a Name?

Last night I went to watch Big V play softball. Although it was a late game, enough little kids were there to make me think school hadn't been let out yet. Sitting in front of me were three girls who looked in their early twenties. Two were sucking down cigarettes like it was their only life force. The one in the middle was going on and on about how she just found out she was pregnant two days ago and she and her boyfriend were going to call the baby "Gummy Bear" - because that's about the size it is right now. I figured out who the boyfriend was pretty easily: She'd scream "Go Gummy Daddy!" every time he was up to bat.

I wondered if I should cheer loudly for V to show my support, love and excitement, but couldn't quite get myself geared up to scream, "That's right Cletus's Daddy! You smack that ball!"

As I was coming up with more and more obnoxious cheers (obviously meant to purely embarrass the hell out of V ... things like, "Whack it hard, Big Daddy!" and "Swing it like you mean it!") a little boy I would place around five came running up to cig-sucker #1, crying out, "Maaahhhhh!!!! Aidan called me a little F-er!" to which cig-sucker replied equally as loud, "Oh, Jesus Christ!"

Little Aidan was called over (perhaps 3 years old?) and climbed in mom's lap.

Mom: Did you call your brother a little F-er?

Aidan: Yes.

Mom: We don't call names like that.

Aidan: I know - but I didn't say he was a piece of crap.


Heck, if this is my competition it looks like perhaps I could be in the running for Mother of the Year after all!

Monday, June 15, 2009

It has to be one or the other... it HAS to be.

From the research I've been doing it looks like I need to start the gender stereotyping right NOW. It is virtually impossible to find decent gender neutral or unisex infant clothing items. Sure, there's the typical yellow ducks and green frogs - but isn't there something, anything a little "hipper?"

Most successful have been the many organic clothing sites, with their linen colored onesies and khaki colored matching yoga pants with orange stitching... for only $78. Unfortunately I'm on a budget.

I'm hesitant to even voice my frustration because I'm sure the response I'll hear is the critical cry of "I told you to find out what it is!" I've had friends get angry - yes, angry - because I wasn't being fair. As if I was required to find out the sex of my unborn child so they could go have a pleasant shopping experience, and my failure in doing so has wrecked havoc on their lives.

So, on I go... searching for the ever elusive unisex baby clothing that doesn't cost an arm or a leg (or both).

Friday, June 12, 2009

*sigh*



Some people are just relentless.

Take, for instance, Ornery Retired Guy.

Ornery Retired Guy, or ORG, as I'll continue to refer to him, has a seemingly wonderful life. He lives in the cutest little association on the lake. One of the originals, with houses close together, a tree lined old fashioned street, gorgeous lake views. They have their own private beach, regular cook-outs and get-togethers... a little bubbling creek winding its way through the property complete with wooden bridge... Life must be so good here. I assume it is because the majority of the families that live here (albeit, part-time) are happy and smiley and warm and friendly. Except for ORG.

ORG's house backs up to British Lady's house. They're new. They own the estate that borders the entire length of this cute & cozy association. British Lady is also always happy and smiley and warm and friendly. And she married a doctor. That doesn't have much to do with the story, but it's always cool to say you're married to a doctor. Especially if you're British.

Since British Lady moved in two years ago, ORG has been flooding our office with complaints. He doesn't like their carport. He doesn't like how they did their patio. He doesn't like that they removed some plantings that ORG had planted clearly on their property line, which, when pointed out to him he replied with: "There wasn't anyone living here - I can plant anything I want through eminant domain."

ORG waits on his back porch until British Lady comes home and then pounces. Has no problem stomping over to her property to complain about this or that... their lights (inside their house) were on too late making it difficult for him to sleep. He doesn't think their pier is legal and wants them to provide proof to him that the DNR has approved it. The list goes on and on.

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I would handle ORG a tad bit differently than British Lady. She tries to humor him, placate him, listens to him, produces whatever documentation he requests because she doesn't like conflict. I would've filed harassment charges a year ago. But the annoyances have been stepping up and British Lady finally decided the only answer was to put up a fence.

But now the fence isn't good enough. ORG has called and/or stopped in every day since it went up. It's all been legally applied for, built, approved... to us it's "End of Story." Not so much for ORG.

His current list of complaints are as follows:

He does not like the material. Although the code specifies that electric and barbed wire fences are NOT allowed, it doesn't go through and specify the multitude of acceptable materials. Therefore, ORG feels that these "cheap plastic" fences are illegal.

He does not agree with the height. The fence can be no taller than six feet as measured from grade. See, on the British Lady's side it's 6'... but on ORG's side it's almost 6'-3" (and I guess we're supposed to ignore the areas he "dug out"... at least throw some grass clippings on it to make it look like it wasn't intentionally done out of spite.)

Our little village recommends a 40% open / 60% opaque fence for those fences over 4' tall. Like we're going to calculate this on every single fence that comes in. Make it close. ORG seems to think it's more like 35%/65% which is - again - illegal.

Although fences can be constructed right on the lot line... ORG wants them to abide by a one foot offset. We're really not sure why. (British Lady actually built the fence 6" from the property line because she knew ORG would raise a stink.)

And, rounding out the complaints, ORG feels that the construction of this fence has damaged his lilac tree. And that's illegal to damage someone's tree. And if it isn't damaged quite yet, he's sure it will be soon. He definately knows it's been affected - and not in a positive way.


I really, really, really want to yell at Ornery Retired Guy. I want to ask him what he actually expects when he treats his neighbors like crap. I want to tell him he's lucky a restraining order hasn't been filed against him. Instead, in the spirit of job security, I will lift myself out of this chair and head on down to view the offending fence, practicing good pictorial documentation skills and data gathering skills, and produce a legal findings of fact... that, yes, the fence the Building Inspector already inspected and says is legal is actually legal. Then I will advice ORG this is purely a civil dispute, to which he could feel free to contact his attorney.

Really, this is what you choose to do when you retire?

*sigh*




*** Thought I'd share a pic of the fence from my site visit, that way you can judge for yourself how horrible it truly is.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Waist Band Blues

Is it a bad sign when the maternity pants dig into your gut to a point it's impossible to sit comfortably? These would be the hipper "under belly" model khakis. Good Lord. To compensate I've unsnapped and unzipped the pants, and pulled on my big, fluffy winter sweater I keep at the office to wear when the inside temp drops to a cool 67 degrees. It's big - and long - and sufficiently covers my now open pants. How professional am I?

My stomach sticks straight out. I swear it's a close second to Kate Gosselin's bulging belly (which was 52"... I'll have to measure mine, but it sure feels close!). I have difficulty bending forward, shaving, putting on socks & shoes, and, well, I guess sitting in one spot.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

It takes all kinds...

Big V took me out for lunch. We went to this shabby Mexican restaurant where no one speaks English. It has the most delicious food ever.

We walk in and some guy is sitting at a table by himself and recognizes V. This happens a lot so I'm not surprised. The guy stands and says 'hey' and they do their macho man-shake thing while I hover at the side.... "Oh, so you're expecting!" (genius observation) I smile, "yep..." "So did you cheat?" "I'm sorry... what?" "DID YOU CHEAT?" he yells louder and starts laughing while everyone turns and stares.

Ok, look, Mister Pissing-your-pants-you're-such-a-funny-guy, I don't know if you've ever heard of anything call Social Maturity, but you obviously don't excel at the skill. You don't need to cheat in order to get pregnant. And you certainly don't ask that type of rediculous question in the middle of a restaurant in the middle of a busy lunch shift, regardless of what language the majority of the people in here speak.

Low Rider

The running joke in our house right now is this: Big V glances over at me flirtatiously and asks in his oh-so-sultry voice, "So, how's your placenta?" And I smile and respond with, "Low lying."

The doctor told us that my placenta happens to be, well, lying low and covering my cervix. Not too big of a deal... The doctor further informed us that I should not be lifting heavy objects, exercising too much, or having rough sex. I assured her I rarely do any of these particular activities normally, much less while knocked up. I swear I caught V muttering under his breath something like, "I wish she would..." and I am most certain he just was commenting on the fact that I wouldn't be able to help him move the piano that was coming in a few days.

Speaking of the piano! I am SO EXCITED!!
We are now the proud owners of a small awesome sounding Starck upright. Originally I wanted a really old, really tall upright - but the truth is it would not have looked right in our home. This is the perfect piano for us. It was FREE for the taking - we were responsible for moving it (and since it was small no professional movers were required).

This is why I love small towns, one minute you're racing into WalMart, the next you've got the name and number of someone wanting to get rid of their piano.

It sounds so beautiful. The finish is starting to come off, so it needs a little TLC, but it's going to be wonderful! (Let's hope the dog doesn't chew it.)

Things That Annoy Me Regularly... (or, Things That Really Really Tick Me Off When I Feel Like Crap)

LOUD TALKERS!
Seriously. I hear you. This office is small. It's not hard. Trust me, you need to learn volume control.

Answering your cell phone, and continuing the conversation, without ever moving an inch from standing in front of my desk, making ME feel like somehow I've inconvenienced YOU.

Pet Names.
Look, Lady, you seem like a grand person - but that doesn't mean I know you, nor does it make it okay for you to refer to me as "Honey," "Sweetie," "Sugar," or "Dear." Just don't.

Repeating everything I say.
For example: "It says here that I can build an accessory structure 15' tall... is that true?"
"Yes, the maximum height is fifteen feet."
"So, I can build it to be fifteen feet."
(Do you see how this could continue ad nauseum?)

People who walk in commenting about how I look like hell. Yes, I am aware of this. I also feel like hell, in case you're wondering, and really you should do your part in making this as painless for me as possible.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Positivity!

In an attempt to be a more positive person - don't worry, I'll wait until you're done wiping up the coffee that just spurted out of your nose - I've decided to "rename personality traits."

For example:

"talks too much" becomes "likes to share" (flowery, right?)

"bossy" becomes "natural leader" (positive, I know. Who doesn't want to be known as a leader?)

I'm struggling with "grates on my nerves so bad the only way I'll find relief is to stick a fork in my eye."

Cutting Costs

The amount of food consumed in our home each month is atronomical. Bean is a teen who can consume more food in a day than you can even imagine. Big V eats enough food to feed a third world country. Dotter prefers healthier stuff: apples, lettuce, cheese... which the other two could care less about, so I make sure I have enough of that on hand as well. As for me, well, I'm the mom, so I'm obligated to eat the food no one else likes.

One of the things I've done to cut costs for years is order food from Wisconsin SHARE, a food buying networking site that allows citizens to purchase a monthly menu of foods on line. (I love not having to move from my desk to place an order.) There's a distribution site right in my neighborhood, so once a month, on a Saturday between 10-10:30am (bonus! I can sleep in!) I run over, grab my box of food with my name on it, and run home.

The food is actually good. A lot of brands I haven't heard of, but a lot I have. In addition to the fresh produce and standard bone-in chicken, they have a lot of specials. We love the huge bag of frozen chicken nuggets. They have FLAVOR - which is good for a family with tastebuds. Some of the Score! items we've purchased was this ginornmous box of hot dogs, perfect for grilling. The cost came out to something rediculous like ten cents a dog for 80 dogs. Yes, I said 80.

We have a box of frozen breakfast sandwiches - comparable to the Egg McMuffin... which V throws a couple in the micro right before he heads out for the day. We've gotten huge bags of french toast strips, carne asada steak meat, brats, etc.

I'm sorry, I need to change the topic, my stomach is starting to growl.

Today I learned of a second food buying network site nearby which I'm thinking of ordering from as well, just to compare.

In case you're interested, here are the links:

http://www.sharewi.org/
http://www.angelfoodministries.com/

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Reason to Celebrate!

The Bean is about to graduate.

No, not from obtaining her college degree that she worked so hard for.

Not from earning her high school diploma, having been careful to take all the "right courses" to prep her for college, maintaining that honorable GPA, and gracefully manuevering through all those pesky first rights of passages: driver's license, first kiss, first heartbreak.

Oh, no... she's "graduating" from 8th grade.

How does one "graduate" from the 8th grade, you might ask? Well, basically they show up on a fairly regular basis. The grades they earned will be magically erased to allow for a clean slate for their highschool career, so it's really not about the grades. The vast majority of middle schoolers spent numerous days out of school committed to their monthly and weekly orthodontics appointments, so it's not really about attendance, either. Chorus was pass/fail. Band was pass/fail. Art was pass/fail. And the mandatory guidance class "Building Character" was pass/fail. So they really didn't have to work, just participate. Like I said, they had to show up.

But 8th grade graduation is not be taken lightly as I am quickly finding out.

Formal wear is required. Luckily we found a one-of-a-kind dress at a local hoity-toity shop where the eccentric owner assured us she had purchased only three of that exact dress from her contacts in LA. That's right - the Bean is wearing a dress from the same part of the world where famous people purchase their daily blended iced caramel frappuccino. This data alone has earned her several bonus points with the girls of the class (or so she thinks).

The hair appointment has been made, sacrificing an up-do the day of the event for a weekend cut & highlight. (She'll be one of the disadvantaged students that must *gulp* do her own hair.) The shoes will be - no, must be purchased this weekend.

I am a horrible mother because I haven't allowed my 13 year old to go tanning every day for the past 30 days so she can have that oh-so-unnatural glow on stage. Sorry, but skin cancer for 8th grade graduation? Make it worthwhile - save it for marrying your soul mate.

After the graduation ceremony (thank you, school administration, for the reminder to bring a bouquet of flowers and a well charged camera), there is the class After-Party held at a nearby country club (about a 25 minute drive). And then, of course, there are the weekend family parties that are going on.

Family parties?

Am I really obligated to round up family members so we can cheer the accomplishments of someone who is required by law to attend school? Are they obligated to purchase cards and gifts to celebrate someone who is doing what they're supposed to?

Perhaps I should host a "Thank you for not vandalizing property that does not belong to you" party ... or a "Congratulations! For not smuggling drugs out of Columbia!" soiree....

I guess I'm the most jaded parent in America for not doing cartwheels in the street upon learning my little girl has achieved graduate status of the 8th school grade. But really...

Really? You think?

One of the moms in Dotter's class is a real estate agent. She grabbed my email address from the class directory. Since then I have received countless "new listing!" ads.... and not one of those homes has been listed for less than $1.5 MILLION DOLLARS. I'm pretty sure she sees me drive up in my dented Nissan and can quite easily recognize my non-label Target clothing, and yet she seems to think I could quite feasibly purchase the new lake home just listed with the bargain price of $3,400,500.00. Although only three bedrooms, it does come with 100' of lake frontage.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sometimes I forget how truly technologically advanced I am, as evidenced by this little conversation I had this morning:

ME: "... and you can send that over to us electronically...."

CUSTOMER: "oh, okay... that means through the computer, right?"

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

family.

Family relationships are like trying to swim in an ever-changing body of water... sometimes you feel like you're going with the current, sometimes against. Sometimes it's a calm, glassy pool of still waters, other times it's the torrential hell of the rapids. Sometimes you have the energy to swim all by yourself, and sometimes you are left screaming out that if someone doesn't throw you a frickin life jacket this second there's no way you're ever going to make it.

For as energy draining as it can be sometimes to try to successfully navigate our way through the diverse ranges of personalities in any family relationship, it is these same relationships we will be able to fall lightly against and float along with in perfect harmony - at least for special moments from time to time.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Ouch.

Family axes wedding plans, Egyptian cuts off organ

CAIRO – A 25-year-old Egyptian man cut off his own penis to spite his family after he was refused permission to marry a girl from a lower class family, police reported Sunday.

After unsuccessfully petitioning his father for two years to marry the girl, the man heated up a knife and sliced off his reproductive organ, said a police official.

The young man came from a prominent family in the southern Egyptian province of Qena, one of Egypt's poorest and most conservative areas that is also home to the famed ancient Egyptian ruins of Luxor.
The man was rushed to the hospital but doctors were unable to reattach the severed member, the official added citing the police report filed after the incident.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the press, added that the man was still recovering in the hospital.

Traditionally, marriages in these conservative part of southern Egypt are between similar social classes and often within the same extended families — and are rarely for love.

Yeah.... so not worth it...

The One in which I take my Father for his Covid Vaccine

I got a voicemail the other day from the hospital saying ‘since you’re the contact on record we just want you to know your Dad can get a Cov...