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.

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...