Monday, February 28, 2011

I'd wrap my feet in toilet paper but that just looks dumb.

Let me get right to the point: there is no way I'm going to be able to afford socks if I can't figure out a way to save money on toilet paper.

I pulled into the gas station this morning to fill my tank. Gas today was $3.36 a gallon. $3.36 a gallon! Which makes me feel curmudgeonly complaining about it but you should know when I started driving it was something like 16 cents a gallon. Sixteen cents!

Believe it or not, I don't like feeling curmudgeonly even though most people assume I do because of the perpetual crease in my forehead but it's not me glaring at you, I swear - I just can't hear or see very well and I have to focus really hard on what's going on, resulting in the aforementioned Glare Creases. And plus my mind is always wandering so I have to really, really focus on what people are saying which causes the Glare Creases to deepen and make me look really pissed off. But I'm not, I swear. Well, sometimes I actually am really pissed off but the good news is you'll never know it because you'll just assume I can't see or hear or concentrate.

Anyway, I'm not very wealthy and I'd rather buy Starbucks and books and fantastic socks with my weekly pittance rather than spend it all on boring stuff like gas for my car. The higher the price of gas goes the less socks I get to buy. See my conundrum? [note: this is the first time I've ever actually used conundrum in a sentence. I wouldn't normally use it, but I'm kind of diggin' it, you know? Perhaps I'll work it into an actual conversation with an unsuspecting bystander.]

No socks for me makes me very unhappy, because Big V screwed up the thermostat and now we can't figure out how to adjust the temperature. It's been a steady 67 degrees in our house for weeks. I even jacked it all the way up to 85 - and nothing. My point: 67 is too cold for my toes. It just is.

Thus the socks.

In order to buy the socks needed to warm my toes we're going to have to cut costs elsewhere and I'm voting for drastically cutting the amount of toilet paper we use. This might surprise you considering I'm a girl and you're probably all aren't you going to need that toilet paper on a pretty regular basis? Especially considering you haven't figured out the whole bidet thing yet?

But luckily (or not), when I was 8, my aunt and uncle were watching my siblings and I for the summer while my mom worked and my uncle called us all into the bathroom and imposed a 3-square maximum which I have adhered to for the majority of my life (mostly because he scared the snot out of me and every time I see toilet paper my PTSD kicks in). It's only been in the last couple years where I've allowed myself to up it to six squares. My girls are also minimum users (probably only due to the fact that's what they saw growing up and they know no better).

Bet you're wondering why I think cutting back on toilet paper is the answer when we hardly use any, right?

Well, that's because Big V all by himself requires half a roll at every sitting and he's a pretty regular guy, if you know what I mean. I'm not sure why so much is needed at one time, I mean, I've been accomplishing the same task for years and it's not like I've ever come out needing a fire hose spray down because I wasn't able to wrap my entire fist with a roll of toilet tissue. Besides, even if something icky did manage to find its way to his flesh couldn't he just wash it off? (I'm probably overthinking things. Don't worry; I won't even get into the whole why on earth does the roll need to come physically off the toilet paper roller when you are winding it around your hand? And if you can take the roll off the toilet paper roller, why is it wrong for me to assume you can figure out how to out it back *on* the toilet paper roller? And if you simply aren't created in such a way as to put the toilet paper back onto the roller, how come you have to leave it up by the sink where you splash water all over it when you're washing your hands? Because it never, ever dries by the time I need to use it and that just feels gross.)

So. I am thinking if he cuts down on the toilet paper I will be able to save a few dollars each week in butt wipe supplies and be able to purchase the socks I need to keep my feet warm.

Either that or he could just fix the damn thermostat.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

How can I control my life when I can't control my (son's) hair?

I quickly ran to town and left the baby in the very capable hands of the Bean.

When I left, he looked like this:

When I came back, he looked like this:

Who says your hairstyle doesn't affect your demeanor?
I half expected him to flip me the bird.

"How can I control my life when I can't control my hair?"
~ Unknown

Friday, February 25, 2011

Welcome to my neighborhood: where the police are plenty and the drug paraphernalia abounds!

Before I knew Big V existed on this planet he bought a house. This is the house I, along with my two girls, moved in to. After I met him, I mean. It's not like I just picked up my kids and made my way into some stranger's house, I mean, I was invited.
Anyway, Big V had been living with his parents and partaking in the whole I'll-live-in-your-basement-and-never-pay-you-rent-while-you-ignore-the-girl-sleeping-in-my-bed way of life when something snapped and he decided to buy a house. He probably figured it would be easier to keep girls in his bed without his mom walking in, so, two weeks later he bought the house.

He got a really great deal. Perhaps because of the house fire and the fact the homeowners did most the work themselves so they didn't need a lot of money from the sale to pay off pesky remodel bills. Or, perhaps because the police had incarcerated most of the previous tenants during a SWAT raid. (Less people to have to share the profits with.) Needless to say, it was a decent price. Big V was happy.

Except, Big V wasn't very familiar with the community. Or the fact this part of the community tends to have more than its share of shady characters. It's somewhat sad we've actually grown accustomed to waking up in the middle of the night to find police searching our back yard for some wayward criminal.

Last night around 11pm there was a loud noise. Bigger than a gunshot, yet less impressive than a meth lab explosion. I assumed an electric transformer blew and called it a night. But before drifting off to sleep I happened to notice police activity picked up a bit in our neighborhood. City police. County cars. The unmarked squad. I triple checked the locks on all the doors, took a peek in the back yard just in case, and chalked it up to just another night in the 'hood.

Then this morning I was backing out of the driveway and noticed a green plastic soda bottle laying near the bushes by the garage. Since Woodsy Owl taught me "Give a hoot! Don't pollute!" I put the car in park, hopped out, and picked up the creatively homemade drug paraphernalia from my front yard.

Homemade drug paraphernalia, say what?!

I was pretty certain I (literally) held a key piece of evidence from last night's criminal activity. Wait. I picked it up - now my prints were on it! I couldn't just toss it in the recycle bin; what if Mr. Recycle Man saw it and thought it was mine and called the police? I've never even used drugs (although many people believe that I should); they'll get a search warrant and dust it for prints and find my fingerprints on it and my kids will be taken away and I'll have to get a mug shot and then sit on that hard, concrete bench in the holding cell before being transferred to the Big Pen where I'd never get a decent night's sleep again because it will always be too cold and also they keep the lights on all the time and I can't sleep with the lights on. Sure, I could cover my eyes with the blanket but then I can't breathe because it gets so hot and suffocating and I feel like I'm going to smother to death so then I'll have to peek my head back out again and see the light and never fall back to sleep.

I quickly grabbed a plastic bag crammed in the side of my car door and put the sooty, half melted bottle inside, tied it up and headed to my nearest police department.

Can I help you?

(thrusting the bag in police officer's face) I found this on my property and it's not mine.

What is it?

I think it's a soda bottle someone used to smoke crack cocaine in. I mean, I know it's a soda bottle; I just don't know what was smoked in it. It could have been pot. Or heroin. I'm not sure. I'm not really 'up' on drug lingo. But I'm pretty sure it was used for drugs. I watch 'Intervention' on A&E a lot so I recognized it. 

Was it already in the Taco Bell bag?

Perhaps a bad choice in baggage. Regardless, the police told me they would increase patrol in our area.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Has any woman actually died from being a woman? Because it might be me.

I'm almost positive I've told you before that growing up I thought menstrual cramps was a big load of BS meant only to save weak, lazy high school girls from participating in gym class. My monthly torture lasted maybe 24 hours so I just didn't get it.

Then God spoke to me saying, "Stop being so judgmental!"

And I was all, "oh, puh-LEASE! She just wants attention."

Then God spoke further saying, "Just wait until I put you in your place, young lady."

Fast forward three kids and twenty years later and ohdeargodinheaven can I actually overdose on Midol? Because I'm thinking that's where this is headed. And guess what? I asked my Mom if she'd write a note excusing me from parenting today and she said no.

God wins.

** Sorry to the two male readers I have. Or used to have before they read this post. Come back in a few days and I'll be normal again. I promise. Well, not normal in the average societal definition of the word, but normal as in back to my strange self that you're used to and amazed by. Okay, maybe not amazed by... perhaps just entertained by. Or at the very least I'll be back to my standard operating level whereby you are continually reassured you could actually have it worse with the partner you have chosen to go through life with.

The Riot on the Bayou: MTV's way of letting me know I'm actually a pretty good parent.

Last night I accidently lost brain cells by getting sucked in to a show on MTV called "The Riot on the Bayou: My mother hates my boyfriend." The reality show followed the lives of Mama Tiff and Daddy Cain and their 4 children: Clint (19), Kathleen (18), April (17, and also the narrator of the episode) and Colette (16). They live in the bayou where it's legal to drink alcohol underage as long as you have your Mama's consent which means basically that all these kids were drunk the entire time.

Clint aspires to be a bull rider - he stayed up 2 seconds before he busted up his arm.

Clint: (several hours later) Why's it all green like that?
Mama: That's what happens when bones get broke. (walks out of room to refill beer)

Kathleen is pretty and all the guys like her. She used to date Nick but he was mean and treated her like crap and cheated on her so they broke up. Then they got back together after he saw her shaking her groove thang on stage at a local concert. Mama Tiff didn't like that at all because Nick was a jerk but everyone knows you can't stop true love. Then Kathleen cheated on Nick with Logan because I guess, in the bayou, you can love one person and kiss someone else.

Nick: Why'd you kiss him?
Kathleen: 'cause I was drunk!
Nick: But why'd you have to go make out with someone I got in a fight with?
Kathleen: 'cause I told you I was drunk!

Mama Tiff then hosted a party where both Nick and Logan would be in attendance and surely kick the snot out of each other. Don't worry, like any good mother she armed herself with a can of mace in case things got out of hand.

I could tell you more about the show, but the most important detail I want to get across to you is this: I could so be messing up my kids' lives worse than I already am.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fiscal Responsiblity Prohibits Cool Vacuum Purchases

Obviously, you people don't know me because if you did you would know I'm not rich and therefore cannot afford a Dyson vacuum system and will be sweeping up the tumblehairs that amass throughout our house with the old fashioned straw broom I swiped from the janitor's closet at work. Just kidding. I didn't swipe anything from the janitor's closet at work because that would be stealing from the comppany and then I'd be fired and I need the health insurance so you might want to think twice about snagging those post-it notes on your way out. And also they don't even have old, twiggy brooms in there - they only have cool stuff. Trust me on this.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you'll have to pause for a second and read all about how vacuum cleaners hate me then you can come back and I'll tell you about how I posted that particular blog link to my facebook page and everyone was all you've just got to get yourself a Dyson! and now I'm all I really don't think remortgaging the house in order to obtain a vacuum cleaner is a responsible financial decision and also realizing I'm the poorest of all of my friends. (That's okay because I love them for who they are as a person; not the expensive wine they provide at Book Club.)

But getting back to that janitor's closet; although there were no straw brooms in there to steal, I found this:

 The Coolest Vacuum Ever!

And now I want one.
You probably want one now, too.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Vacuum Cleaners Hate Me

I sweep my carpet.

There. I said it.

I sweep my carpet and I'm not even freaking Amish! I can totally say that without being offensive because the Amish don't blog so they'll never see this. At least, I don't think they blog. They don't blog, do they? There's nothing wrong if they do blog. In fact, if they did I'd really like to read their blog because I watched a documentary about the Amish recently called Amish at the Alter and I have questions about it so if they did blog and I read it I could probably ask them questions in the comment section like how do you make your noodles?

Look, I believe in machines and electricity. I believe in vacuum cleaners. In fact, I strongly believe in the self-propelled vacuum cleaners because then I don't have to exert too much physical energy sucking up the living room rug. But vacuum cleaners do not believe in me.

In the past three years we have gone through 4 vacuum cleaners. Hoover. Eureka. Bissel. Some off brand no one could pronounce. They all broke. They all smoked, caught on fire and left the rancid smell of burnt belt odor hanging in our home.

The majority of the floors in our home are hardwood or tile. We have three small bedrooms with carpet and two area rugs. And to be honest, it's not like I have a regular vacuum cleaning schedule so it's not like the vacuums are being overworked here. And yet, they continue to break.

I feel lost. Rejected. Alienated from the rest of the vacuum loving world. What I wouldn't give to be able to shout at the top of the mountain I LOVE MY VACUUM!

After this 4th one bailed on us I've decided it's best if I just don't get involved with another vacuum for a while. At least not until I heal properly. I'm just not trusting anymore, you know?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

You don't need sleep - You have a BABY!

My beautiful, brave, intelligent, courageous, friend Lena, has just given birth to her very first child. This morning when I logged on to Facebook I read a post on my wall from her -- typed at some ridiculous hour of the night:

my. god. how did you ever sleep?

My Dear, Sweet, Silly Lena,

Forget about sleep. You will never get it again. At least, not in any regular and discernable pattern. In time, you will find yourself scheduling unnecessary dental procedures for the 20-minute nitrous oxide gas nap and announcing you've got a bad case of irritable bowel syndrome which will provide you exactly twelve minutes of pretend diarrhea time while you actually sleep on the bathroom rug (any longer and someone will come looking for you, blowing your cover), but for now, at this moment, sleep is utterly elusive.

Sure, people will tell you to nap when the baby naps, but let's be honest: four days of old sweat, rank body odor and dried breast milk caked on the inside of your used-to-be-white-now-dingy-grey tank top is going to convince you otherwise.

Not that you'll enjoy that little shower of yours because forty-seven seconds into it you'll convince yourself the baby has stopped breathing, suffocated on his own vomit or has been kidnapped by super stealthy ninjas that entered the home through the garage door that you swore was locked but now you aren't so sure so you'll have to get out of the shower and check right now this very second. Then you'll slip on the kitchen floor because how could you dry off when the baby's life is in danger? While you're moaning naked beached whale style on the dirty linoleum the baby will wake up and start crying. Guess who wants to eat? Now you're spraying breast milk across the floor cursing the fact you drank that whole bottle of wine and did those tequila shots eleven months ago.

When the baby is tiny, like yours is now, you'll actually get more accomplished in your day because they sleep. Yes, I said sleep. I know it doesn't look like their two hour intervals of infant-immobility mirrors our adult version of sleeping, but it's the closest thing to it. You'll be able to swaddle the baby and then actually walk away and across the house to grab a cup of coffee, bottle of NoDoz and recreational methamphetamines... give it a couple months and that bundle of cuteness isn't going to let you walk out the room without wailing. (That's when it really gets tough.)

But, I promise you, you will get through it.

You won't think that you'll be capable of it, but you will. Because you'll be able to pull your husband to the side and say (with much conviction) things like if you do not allow me to sleep for the next seven hours uninterrupted I may chop off all my hair and run naked through the streets screaming quotes from Edgar Allen Poe and as sexy and thrilling as that might sound to you, I can assure you the police will see otherwise and I'll be sent to the local insane asylum while you are left all alone with the baby for three full days. THREE. FULL. DAYS!

You will also realize that things like dishes and dusting and ironing do not have to be completed. Ever. Or at least for the next 14 months or longer.

And one day, even though you haven't had sleep in what seems like years and you're sobbing at the fact it takes too much physical energy to brush your hair, it will suddenly hit you: my God, how beautiful my son is! And you will forget all about your hair. And you will forget about lack of sleep and you'll just revel in the grand awesomeness of being a mother. And then you'll snap quickly back to reality and start bawling because what kind of mother am I if I can't even brush my own hair?!

I know because I've been there.  We have all been there.

On a serious note, my advice to you would be this - do not be afraid to ask for help. Every mother will say the same thing: Ask for help. We know this because we could all use it. Mothers of older children will tell you that looking back they wish they would have exercised their right to ask for help more often than they actually did. So, ask for help.

No matter how independent, how in control or how all alone because I just moved to an entirely new corner of the world you happen to be... ask for help. You will be surprised at how many people feel good helping someone else. (Especially new mothers.) Believe it or not, people will want to send you dinner, drop by a gallon of milk, pick up your dry cleaning, and dust and vacuum your house just so you can spend a few extra stress-free moments holding your baby. And then, when he sleeps, you can sleep... because everything else has been done for you. But know that nobody will know what you need unless you speak up and ask for help.

If I were you I'd invite every single mother, aunt, cousin and friend you have to stay with you for a week. In exchange for free room and board they have to get up with the baby in the middle of the night. (With your family & friend's list you'll be booked well into the kid's third birthday.)

I'll leave you with this Twitter post from @Katecake:

So when my husband asks me what I did today
I'm going to tell him I kept a human being alive
using my breasts.
Beat that, employed man!

PS: I'm totally kidding about the methamphetamines. It's actually a pretty bad idea. Just thought I should clarify since lack of sleep can make you do some pretty crazy things....

Monday, February 14, 2011

Doctors Annoy Me... No, Front Desk Staff Annoy Me: Reason #582

The Bean stepped on a piece of glass at the Sadie Hawkins Dance this past Saturday. It was right at the end of the dance when her feet had been completely blackened by the barefoot dancing she had partaken in. Partook. Whatever. She was dancing barefoot. Her feet were filthy. When it was time to go so she stood up and went "AGGGHHHH! MY FOOT!" and quickly sat back down to examine her foot. One of the chaperone's walked by and said, "It's time to go!" and she said, "oh my god! oh my god! My foot is bleeding! I think I stepped on a piece of glass!" and the chaperone looked at her and yelled, "IT'S TIME TO GO!" so she hobbled out of the dance with a dirty foot dripping blood.

At home we washed her foot with warm, soapy water, and then attacked the hell out of it with a tweezers. We must not have done a good job because I got a call from the school Monday morning telling me there was still a piece of glass in it and it's green. I suggested the school nurse pluck it out with her tweezers but I was informed she can't touch the foot nor pick the remaining shard of glass out of the foot because she's not authorized to conduct medical procedures. This is good to know because I had that school nurse on speed dial for my upcoming liver transplant and open heart surgery.

The school suggested taking the Bean to the Emergency Room which costs me $60 for the co-pay. However, an actual office visit has no co-pay; I pay nothing and my awesome insurance covers it all. I'm cheap so I opted for the office visit.

First, I called Dr. N. Out today. Sorry.

Then I called Dr. P. No appointments available today. Absolutely booked.

Then I called Dr. Q who scheduled an appointment for 2:30pm. Yeah!

Then I called my mom and said, "Mom, I'm at work and I know you're already watching the baby for me and also you're busy feeding sheep for my brother with the bad back and also you have to be at home to sign for the FedEx delivery that they won't leave without an adult signature and also you have to pick up my 9-yr old at 3:15pm from school, but hey, how about picking up the Bean at 2:00pm from her school and then driving her twenty minutes to the doctor and I'll meet you there since I'll be coming from the opposite direction so she can get glass removed from her foot?" And she said that would be fine because obviously she does not have enough to keep her busy during the day.

And then I forgot about it.

Until I received a phone call an hour later from Dr. Q's office telling me they have to cancel the appointment because the system shows the Bean has already been established with Dr. G and I said, "who the hell is Dr. G?" and then they reminded me that over a year ago she had gone to Dr. H for something kinda wonky and Dr. H was all, "This is kinda wonky... you should go see Dr. G." and so we did and Dr. G basically said, "this is kinda wonky. Let's just watch it and see if it gets even more wonky."

So, after the appointment with Dr. Q was cancelled, I called Dr. G and asked for an appointment and they were all, "why the hell are you calling us?" and I was all, "because she's established" and they were all, "do you even know what that means?"

So I was directed back to Dr. H, the doctor that told us to go to Dr. G in the first place, but the Scheduling Nazi informed me that her computer screen said the Bean was already established with Dr. G and she "didn't want to get in the middle of it." She switched me to Dr. H's nurse as soon as I started sobbing.

The conversation went kind of like this:

Hello. I'm a very nice nurse with years of experience and would love to assist you on this beautiful day.

Look lady, I'm actually going to have a nervous breakdown in less than twenty seven seconds because no one in the flipping medical world will take a shard of glass out of my daughter's foot and gangrene has probably already set it and it'll probably need to get amputated before I can figure out who her flipping doctor is and I'd just go ahead do it myself but I don't think my flipping hacksaw would be very effective.

It sounds like someone has a case of the grumblies. Let's just pull up your daughter's chart, okay?.... Oh, it shows her that she's already established with Dr. G....

Yeah, about that... I don't even know what established means and we only saw that doctor one time because Dr. H told us we had to and she wasn't even that nice and also her nurse shushed us when we sitting in the exam room waiting to be seen because we were laughing about the time the Bean was getting a wart removed and it hurt and she was reading the medical literature in the room to take her mind off of it and was all "Gentle warts? I want a gentle wart!" because she couldn't really read very well and had no idea it was a pamphlet about genital warts so I don't think they even like us and to be honest, I don't think they even want us to be established.

I see that you only saw Dr. G once and that was at the direction of a very likeable, competent physician. I think someone made an oopsy-daisy and accidently changed it in the system. How about I set up an appointment first thing tomorrow morning with Dr. H?

So now, even though I'm incredibly annoyed, I can't be, because that nurse was so incredibly nice. Like abnormally nice. And you can't hate someone who is abnormally nice. It's like hating the Easter Bunny for being bouncy and delivering baskets of jelly beans and those oozing fake-yolked Cadbury Eggs. It would not paint me in a good light at all. I'll say this, though - there better be one huge hunk of glass in that kid's foot to make all this worthwhile.

UPDATE: The Bean had a huge piece of glass removed from her heel this morning. Dr. H referred to it as "a lot of fun" and "just like treasure hunting." It took twenty minutes of careful digging. Then, just as the doctor held up this long piece of clear glass to admire it, she dropped it on the floor of the exam room. The doctor, the assisting nurse and I all started crawling around on our hands and knees in an attempt to find it and show the Bean. (It was REALLY long!) We finally gave up, they flushed the puncture wound, cleaned her up and sent us on our way.... then they closed the exam room until housekeeping could get in there to (hopefully) mop up the piece of glass before anyone else stepped on it.

Friday, February 11, 2011

American Patriotism Fail.

We were all huddled around the television, anxiously waiting for the start of the Super Bowl.

Actress/singer Lea Michele from the television show Glee came on to sing America the Beautiful. After which, singer Christina Aguilar appeared to sing the national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner - a totally different sounding song than the first one, I might add.

Halfway through the national anthem my beautiful, perfectly coiffed, 15-year old daughter turned to me and asked, "Why are they singing the same song again? Is it like an American Idol contest?"

Obviously something is lacking in her American History education. It's a shame kids these days don't get the proper schooling.

At least that's what I was thinking right up to the point Big V chimed in with, "Wait. So we have two national anthems?" It's a shame those who were kids twenty years ago didn't get the proper schooling....

In an attempt to teach the Bean something (anything) about our national anthem I thought perhaps we could talk out the lyrics. In all my years of living I never once thought of "ramparts" as Ram parts - the sex organs of a male pig.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Intervention: Drain Style

Great things come from writing a blog. For instance, people read it and comment and that makes me feel really good because everyone knows I thrive on attention making an impact on someone's life. Also, sometimes people will read my blog and organize an intervention. Which is exactly what happened when my cousin, David, read my blog. First he laughed and then he cried out in fear for me.

Funny blog. I laughed. But I'm also worried about you.... especially after reading that you and Big V installed your own washer and dryer.

What do you mean? Didn't you read? We got it done!

Uh... does your washer actually drain onto the basement floor?

Uh, no. It technically drains into this really old, iron laundry tub thing. And then that fills up and overflows because it doesn't drain.

And then the water drains on the floor....

Well, technically it's just sort of flowing over onto the floor. Can we say flowing? Because flowing sounds so much prettier than draining. It's kind of like a water feature. In my basement.

That can be dangerous.

No. No, it's not dangerous at all. It's just water. I mean, sure, that one time the Bean was carrying a load of - well, actually she was holding Cletus, but that's beside the point - and sure she slipped in the water, but Cletus was fine!

What happened to the Bean?

Well, she may have cracked her jaw on the concrete floor and it may have bruised up pretty bad... but she had a lot of make-up to cover it up so no one really noticed.

This is a problem. People are getting injured. It's not safe anymore. I worry about you.

You shouldn't. Really. I have everything under control.

I'm here to offer you the gift of help. I can come and properly fix the plumbing. Will you please accept this gift?

I talked to Big V and he agreed with David. "It's time," he said. "You can't do this on your own." So I agreed to accept the help David was offering because nothing says I love you like an Intervention.

Cousin David stopped over to assess the situation and see what he was up against. I opened the basement door to which he exclaimed, "Dear god! What is that stench?" and I showed him the ancient un-draining laundry tub with the stagnant, rotting water filled to its brim. "Oh, yeah. You've got problems."

I half expected him to sprint up the stairs and give up, but luckily for me (as well as for everyone in my house with a sense of smell), he stayed and removed some pipes and unclogged some pipes and drained the sink and cleaned out the sink and oh, man! that is one disgusting job!

He came back a couple nights later and with the help of Big V and a 30-pack of Milwaukee's Best (a beer that just happens to have earned a D- grade from, but I digress) I now have an actual, real, working, draining system that does not put a single drop of water on the floor! Not to mention the cumbersome laundry sink is ancient history which added a LOT of space.

I wasn't there when they were working but caught bits and pieces of their work day: It involved both of them consuming about 13 cans of beer each as well as some sort of power actuated gun nailer (and they both liked the smell of the gun powder). It did not involve telling the girls they could not flush the toilet when the water had been turned off. It did involve the Bean peeing inside said do-not-flush toilet which she subsequently flushed, causing the contents to travel down the big pipe and flowed out the opening onto David's hand. Kind of like a water feature.

After David left for the night I caught Big V staring at himself in the bathroom mirror, flexing his arm muscles.

I never realized how big my muscles look in this shirt. They look huge. I'm going to wear this shirt more often. I mean, look at them - they look huge!

I can't be certain, but I'm pretty sure that was the beer talking.

A big THANK YOU to my cousin David who felt compelled to offer help after reading about our plight on my blog. I cannot begin to explain how awesome it is to have a dry basement floor. Also, sorry about the whole my daughter peed on your hand thing.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Move over, bed hog.

Big V's most prized possession is his California King Bed. Except it's not a California King, it's just a regular king, and no amount of fitted sheets can convince him otherwise. In typical male fashion (yes, I just said that) he wholeheartedly believes 'bigger is better' - never mind the fact when you squeeze that big of a bed in our smaller sized bedroom we end up totally rocking the Fat Man in a Little Coat Decor, which happens not to allow for end tables.

Some people would believe a king bed would make us happy, but it doesn't. There's actually too much room:
I wouldn't mind so much... I remember having to share a bed with my sister when we were little, but Big V doesn't get the whole "making sparks with the socks on our feet" thing that makes sharing a bed fun. He keeps thinking it's code for something else. It's not. I tried to teach him: hold the sheets and run, kind of like the sheets are the pavement - and soon you'll see sparks. But he sucks at making sparks. Well, those kind of sparks. Instead he tries something like this:

And I get all what the hell, buddy? We've got 76" here and a baby who wakes up forty-seven times a night. I want to sleep. As in close my eyes and slumber. Let's try it, shall we?

Some nights, after being shoved halfway off the bed, I actually walk over and enter the unused portion. But he's like a dog sniffing out bacon and within minutes he'll turn over and start moving towards me. (Note to self: quit wearing bacon perfume to bed.) Eventually I get tossed off that side, too.

Then there are the nights of the snoring. Which has been happening quite a lot lately. I usually just poke him.


You were snoring.

Well you have to turn it out more.

Turn what out more?

My clothes.

He's like Sleep Talkin' Man but without the accent. Or the humor.

Anyway, I'm thinking I need some sleep before I drift off in the office bathroom and can't be found for an hour or two because I really have issues with that floor. And I'm thinking my boss will really have issues with that nap. Perhaps I should trade out the king with a twin; same amount of sleeping space but at least the room will look bigger! (Look at me; it's like I'm trying to be positive.)

Still no sleep... but check out the new end tables.

Monday, February 7, 2011

How Stebnitz Builders Saved My Relationship: Bearfoot!

The last time Big V and I went out alone (meaning without kids) was on the car ride to the hospital to give birth to Cletus the Used to Be Fetus. Cletus is now 16 months old. I think. (Give me a break; he's the third child - half of you can't remember your third child's name much less how old they are.) Suffice it to say, we've earned a date night. Except we're old and tired and boring (that's what happens after three kids and 30) and the only thing we could come up with is attempting to stay awake long enough to watch the 10:00pm news.

God sensed we were quickly morphing into Edith and Archie Bunker so he sent Stebnitz Builders to save our relationship.

Stebnitz Builders is a local construction company that specializes in building/transforming your home into your every desire and prides themselves in what they call "The Art of Perfect Listening," which is what Big V could totally benefit from because I've lost count of how many times I've asked him how do you not remember being a part of that conversation? It was just the two of us! But I digress.

Also locally operated is the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater which is home to the fantastic, fabulous, oh-what-I-wouldn't-give-to-perform-on-that-stage Irvin L. Young Auditorium. It truly is a fabulous theatre - the seats are comfy and the aisles are wide enough to actually walk through, and the acoustics are to die for! There is always a fantastic range of world-class arts and entertainment opportunities: musicals, comedies, dramas, ballets, modern dance, orchestras, bands --- anything you want to see you will find at the Young Auditorium.

And guess what happens when two great local companies come together? It's like when peanut butter and chocolate come together... you know it's going to result in yummy goodness and that's what happened: Big V and I got to go on a date!

Stebnitz Builders teamed up with the Young Auditorium and gave away free tickets to see an awesome bluegrass band called Bearfoot and guess who got the tickets??!!

Obviously, we're entirely comfortable in front of the camera.
After seeing this band I want to:

(1) Have a baby and name her Nora Jane because how can you not fall in love with a gorgeous, flirty voice dressed in a super cute black dress and heels, jamming out on a guitar? I want my future made-up baby to grow up and be just. like. her.

(2) Put Jason Norris on my dashboard and have his old-timey-soul-trapped-in-a-young-man's-body accompany my every life move with his mandolin. Also, I want Big V to take up mandolin lessons just in case Jason Norris isn't available to sit on my dash serenading me.

(3) I want to press my man's pants and send him off to work and then fire up the chainsaw. Trust me, you will, too.

(4) Learn to yodel in three part harmony because everyone knows the only thing better than one yodeler is three.

(5) Receive an autographed floppy disk from everyone in the band (because that idea is brilliant!)

Also, I want to infuse some enthusiasm into Angela Oudean because, although she is clearly a brilliant fiddle player and has a gorgeous voice, (both of which I could kill for; not that I would) that poor girl just looked bored to tears. I've never actually played the fiddle so perhaps it's just physically impossible to look like you're having fun while you're playing it or maybe she just lost her pet hamster or something.

Anyway, Nora Jane Struthers seems to be nothing but enthusiasm and I found myself incapable of taking my eyes off her. Or her shoes. Plus her guitar was very shiny and kept reflecting the spotlights so you couldn't help but be drawn back to her again and again while getting momentarily blinded. It was like a bluegrassy rave complete with strobe light action except no one was pouring their beer on my feet and bumping into me.

Overall, the band was fantastic and I highly recommend them to everyone. Listening to their songs was like spending the evening opening Christmas presents - each song appreciated and loved for the uniqueness it provided as a gift to the recipient. You know it's a great band when you can't pinpoint your favorite song. And they truly were all my favorite songs.

After the performance the band sprinted out to the lobby to sign autographs. And by sprinted, I mean they had to have physically ran because somehow they were sitting in place smiling before the first person left the theatre. I've seen lots of these signing meet & greets in my time and rarely does every member of the band look genuinely excited to sit and make small talk to strangers while signing their name a thousand times; but these people did. Even Angela. And then I felt really bad for thinking she was boring on stage. Maybe she just liked the up close and personal stuff better. It was like they had planned a party and invited all their friends. Like me! For a split second I thought I had a real chance at becoming BFF's with Nora Jane, but Big V suggested maybe I should leave out the whole part about wanting to name my children after her since that could be perceived as "creepy and kinda stalkerish." Side note: she has a blog called Nora Jane's Closet that is filled with some fantastic vintage clothing posts. She has a blog... I have a blog.... See? BFF material right there, people. Truth be told, Big V has more of a crush on Nora Jane than I do, which is why he feels threatened by our potential BFF relationship.

Not too tired to meet the masses!
I really wanted their new CD but since we're under 50 years old we don't carry cash on us. We honestly don't know how to function in society without one of those machines that swipes our card so I had to settle with an autographed playbill. Eh, it works. As long as I keep it in mint condition I'll be able to sell it on eBay in a couple of years when this band gets really hot as I honestly suspect they will. Plus, I can order their CD online.

Bearfoot. Not barefoot. There's a play on words here, people.

Then, as if we hadn't experienced enough greatness to our evening, the Young Auditorium announces they're having a free pizza party! Wha-?! First, free tickets, now free food? It was like we won the lottery. Pizza and brownies. Washed down with a cool glass of lemonade. Heaven.

Free food makes Big V very happy!

You know, bluegrass really isn't my first choice of music so I didn't know how I'd receive the show. I know I have a great appreciation and love for all kinds of music so I was pretty confident I'd enjoy the show... I just didn't realize how much I would actually want more of the music the band performed. Big V loved it, too. Our feet were tapping to every song and we exchanged firtatious glances during When You're Away (which reminds me, I'm totally going to need a new apron and a pair of overalls). We were like giddy teenagers walking hand-in-hand to the car, laughing about how the songs made us feel and how Big V is going to see about learning how to play the bass and join a bluegrass band. It was a fantastic evening that reminded us how music can make you feel so alive.

A big, huge, sincere THANK YOU, to Stebnitz Builders and Young Auditorium for giving these two tired kids a night to remember. I hope to see your continued community teamwork in the future; the awakened souls will be worth it, I promise. And thank you, to Bearfoot for your talent and your entertainment. We really needed it.

I also think I really need a bathroom remodel.... I wonder when Stebnitz Builders is going to give away one of those?

Friday, February 4, 2011

A lot of snow fell and no one was murdered in my house which is a very good thing.

It started with opening my door and finding this:

Due to creative drifting we had about a seven inch space between the wall of our house and the wall of snow encompassing our house. Thankfully we live on the top of a slight hill; I've seen pictures where people opened the doors to their homes and the snow was over their heads. Crazy. I snapped this picture with my cell phone and went back inside.

Being stuck inside a confined space with a teenager for two days is not as much fun when you are no longer a teenager and can no longer find the fun in slamming doors, rolling eyes, stomping feet and yelling you're ruining my life! at the top of your lungs.

I can proudly announce that no one was murdered or seriously maimed in or near our house during the blizzard. Personally, that was quite an accomplishment.

While I was spending my snowdays making and consuming large amounts of chili, some people (crazy people, that is) were out and about in this nonsense. I believe this video says it best: 

Enjoy People Are Crazy by Martha Berner & The Significant Others. And if you don't know who Martha Berner is, you should. She is awesome. Just by knowing who she is you've upped your awesome points by at least 25.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I totally blame Jersey Shore. The show. Not the actual geographical location.

I suppose I could talk about the big blizzard coming to Wisconsin, except that I live in Wisconsin and it snows all. the. time. I guess I've kind of grown to expect and accept that come winter time there will be times when we have to shovel actual snow, have the tips of our fingers fall off and cuss at your partner because he was supposed to pick up the milk and now we're all snowbound with no freaking magic to fill the baby bottles. Guess who's staying up all night with that kid? Not it.

Now, if there was some real newsworthy weather prediction to look forward to - like 90-degrees and sunny in February, I'd be as excited as the next person stockpiling sun block and the necessary ingredients to mix rum runners. But it's snowing in Wisconsin in February. That's nothing new. (Not-so-interesting fact: I have not owned a pair of snow boots once for the past 20 years. Can you tell I don't spend that much time outside in the snow? That means I don't shovel and I have all the tips of my fingers.)

Instead of discussing the weather, let's discuss a more challenging topic called What My Teen Daughter Ought to Wear to the Upcoming School Dance:

After that we can discuss Old-Fashioned All-Girls Catholic Boarding Schools Located in Wisconsin and Neighboring States and also Applying to the Nunnery After High School Even Though You're Not Catholic.

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