Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dude! It's not just a shirt... it's a lifestyle.

Is it just me, or is it hard to find cute clothes for little boys?

Because I find tons of clothes that tease me into thinking I want another girl, but then my teenage daughter enters the room and reminds me why perhaps I ought not to. I'm not sure if it's the eye rolling or the fact that someday I'm going to have to accept the fact that she's going to have sex. Either way, it's way too much to think about with a little girl. I know. It's sexist. Although, to be fair I don't plan on high five-ing my son when he decides to knock boots.

So guess who gets excited when she finds cute things to force her son to wear? This girl!

Can I just say I absolutely adore the label? "Uncommonly Sweet..."

The t-shirt fabric is heavy, thick, durable! No flimsy t's for this boy.

Embracing his Dude Pride!

"dude" shirt courtesy of Miss Mindy Mac Designs

I am *so* hoping she does a "punk" version.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Grab the saddle, kids.... Mama's gonna check out a bathroom.

So, you know I'm deathly afraid of horses, right? What with all those teeth and all. And by all I am specifically referring to their deadly bucking skills. But did you know I also love horses? Really. I do. From a distance, I mean. A very far distance. I really do think they are beautiful, graceful animals and there's a part of me that envisions myself sitting high in that saddle, galloping through an open field with the bright sun warming my face.

And then I remember in an instant it can all come crashing to a halt as the horse bucks my unsuspecting self off the saddle, stamps my body to a lifeless, bloody pulp and bites me. Hard.

Logically I know that if I ever want to reach my goal of enjoying a trail ride I need to suck it up and get on a dang horse. Teeth and all! And that is exactly why I decided to suck it up and talk to Chris Stebnitz at Stebnitz Builders about my whole bathroom hell situation.

It went kind of like this:

Look, I'm probably wasting your time, but there are 5 people in our house and only one bathroom and also I think there's a leak in the only bathroom we have and we're not wealthy so I don't know what we can even afford, but I priced out caskets on the internet, you know, just in case I actually do kill someone as a result from the stress having only one bathroom is taking on me, and those caskets are surprisingly expensive, so I'm thinking maybe you could help me? With the bathroom, I mean. Not the casket because I don't think we're going that route.

Luckily for Chris, we went to school together over two decades ago and I'm pretty sure he remembers how strange I was so he probably reminded himself that he needed call the authorities just yet. Chris was older than me and one of those uber cool kids with tons of friends and also he played the saxophone super awesomely and was in the jazz band. I played the clarinet. And wore think, purple, plastic framed glasses. "Uber cool" missed me by at least a gazillion miles which is partially to blame for my fear of horses that have teeth. (The other part to blame is my father and that goat obsessed horse he brought home when we were kids, but that's another story for another day.)

I sat on the phone and vomited words at Chris while he sat and listened:

We have no idea what we're doing. Or what we should do. We have a house that obviously needs help, but we don't even know where to start. We think of one thing but then quickly realize that affects fifteen other things - like a domino effect. Or worse, Jenga. A big old crumbling pile of blocks. We can see everything going quickly out of control. We don't know how to start or what to do once we get going; so we do nothing.

After my long-winded, one-sided therapy session, I felt relief. I felt lighter just putting my fears out there. At that moment I didn't care if he thought I was crazy, or stupid, or ignorant, or naive. Because I have felt all those things when it comes to home repairs and home maintenance. And there it was. All of it.

Then he said, "What I hear you saying is that there are parts of your house that just aren't working for your family." Yes! Exactly! Wait? I said that? I didn't realize I was so succinct and concise. Nice job, me!

Chris heard me. He heard what I was saying in between the rambling words of fear and offered this advice; homework, if you will. I was to get with Big V and write down everything we wanted done in our house. After that, we were to mark which items were the necessary ones in order to separate them out from the "we dream of's."  Those items which were safety or compliance issues would need to be dealt with first. (For instance, that leaking pipe in the main bathroom. That cannot continue because it would just cause more damage to the house.) Then we were to mark those items that would be necessary to improve the functionality of our family... things we needed to restore some peace.

I poured over my list. Walking through the house, looking at each of the rooms. The lighting, the flooring, the layout. For days I thought and wrote and changed and wrote some more. I typed up my list and used little asterisks to mark what I felt were the necessary items. I fixed my margins and printed out my two pages of size 10 font.

And then I asked Big V what he had come up with. He showed me the back of a wrinkled receipt with the words "laundry chute" scribbled across the top.

Laundry chute?


That's it? You want a laundry chute?


So, throughout this entire house, all you can think of is -- adding a laundry chute?




Are you being sarcastic? Because I know when I'm being sarcastic but sometimes I have a hard time knowing when you're being sarcastic because, well, obviously I've known myself longer than I've known you.

I'm not being sarcastic. You asked what I thought. And I think we need a laundry chute. Everyone chucks their dirty clothes down the basement stairs and leaves them there until someone else moves them. It's dangerous. A laundry chute would solve that problem. Besides, the bathroom is directly above the laundry room so it makes sense. It's an obvious, easy fix. And I want it.

You do realize if we get a laundry chute you're not allowed to dive down it pretending you're in some sort of Mission Impossible-robbing-a-casino-bank-robbery movie, right?

.... well, maybe just once....

Monday, March 28, 2011

Someone wants me to Pay It Forward but all I want to do is sleep.

I would have posted sooner but I was doing this thing called vacationing. And by vacationing, I meanthe 9-year old and I spent 3 hours alone in the car driving to a crappy hotel in Normal, Illinois. And by crappy, I mean our hotel window didn't even shut all the way and I was too scared to ask for another room because be careful what you wish for and so we just cranked the heat up to 78 and it seemed to be okay. Also, for about an hour of the drive the 9-year old was bleating. Like a sheep. Like a whole herd of never tiring bleating sheep.

And I tried really hard not to lose my cool because she's the only one of my kids that actually gets upset if I get angry and she really does take things personally so I tried really hard to be one of those cool, calm and collected mothers.

"Wow. You really are very good at sounding like a sheep. Are there any other animals you know how to do?"


"Huh. Mommy's getting kind of a head ache. I guess she doesn't like that many loud sheep noises."


"Okay. That's enough now. I don't want you to hurt your throat."



Yep. It was a fun drive.

In other news, I got an AWARD! No, not for my superb mothering skills, but rather for my blogging ability (which is ironic because lately I've been feeling like I've hit a slump). But Confessions of a Corn Fed Girl believes in me and presented me with the fabulous Pay it Forward blogging award.

First I felt happy. Then I read the rules ... the ones that said I had to further bestow this award to 5 other bloggers that inspire and entertain me and actually tell them (because how else would they know they got the award?) and then I felt utter panic because are you kidding me? I don't actually talk to people! Obviously Corn Fed is under the impression that I am well adjusted. Surprise!

So, what I am going to do is keep reading Confessions of a Corn Fed Girl and encourage you to do the same because she is funny as shit and you can find out all sorts of things about her like how she has no idea how to ride a bike and that totally makes me feel better because maybe I'd probably, for sure die if I had to approach someone I didn't know (even in Blog World) but at least I know how to ride a bike. Shah!

And I'll also do the other part of the award that says I have to tell you 7 things you don't really care to know about me because I'm pretty sure my readers are just as nosy as I am.

1) I cheated on my 4th grade timed multiplication test and totally got away with it. To this day I feel guilty when I think of it. Worse than that is I still don't know my multiplication facts. I think God was looking down on me going, "What is she doing? That's the worse cheating I've ever seen. Kids these days... I know, I'll let her get away with it, but punish her by not allowing her to become a mathematician. And then I'll give her children who will ask for help on their math homework and she won't be able to help them and she'll always regret cheating." God was right. I do regret it.

2) If I had a bag of gummy worms I would not share any of the red and white ones. Not even if Brad Pitt asked. I'd treat everyone the same and let them eat a green one but no one is getting a red.

3) I will never, ever, ever scuba dive. Not even if you offered me a million dollars. Because (a) I really don't trust that whole breathing apparatus thing, (b) there are sharks and fish that have teeth and biting and nibbling tendencies in those waters, and (c) I have crippling fears of drowning.

4) I will never, ever, ever eat black licorice. Unless you offered me a million dollars. Then I'd convince myself I was eating NyQuil Jello and imagine how I was going to spend all that money.

5) In high school a girl once looked right in my eyes and told me, "You're never going to amount to anything." For a long time I believed her. Fifteen years later I saw that girl again and quickly realized those were her fears, not my destiny. (Oh, how I wish I would have realized that at 16.)

6) I long to bake homemade bread. I have tried. And I have failed. I got the yeast and made the dough and I put it in a bowl with the little hand towel over it and - nothing. It was the exact same size. I threw the dough in my kitchen garbage can and forgot about it. Here's something you might not know: given the right conditions, bread dough really will rise to fill a 10 gallon garbage can. And, yes, I did consider taking it out and baking it.

7) I don't get that thrilled when I hear 80's music. In fact, I change the station. It's true.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Go ahead and fall in love with him.

My boy.

Who has the best laugh in the world.
Especially when he's throwing pieces of banana all over the place.

Who loves taking baths.
Especially since he has learned how to create tidal waves that flood the floor.

Who loves his 9-year old sister.
Especially when he manages to pull hunks of hair out of her scalp.

Who loves to gives hugs.
Especially when he can bite a chunk out of your shoulder at that same time.

Who loves his Mama.
Especially with all her grey hair coming in and that exasperated look in her eyes.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Something's Gotta Give: And I'm hoping I don't have to resort to hiding a body.

My number one goal in life right now is to take a shower without an audience.

When the Bean was tiny I'd drag her little bouncy seat into the bathroom and lay her on it, sleeping, while I attempted to shower. Every six seconds I would peek around the shower curtain to make sure she was still breathing. I never bothered to condition my hair because the softness of my hair was not worth her life, y'all! (I was such a New Mom.)

With the second child, age and experience allowed me to shave the armpits, peek, shampoo, peek, condition, peek, think about shaving my legs, decide against it, and get out.

As the girls grew, the length of my showers grew.

I met Big V when I was living in a cute house a block from the lake with two full sized bathrooms. Two! I was happy.

I then moved with my two kids into his one bathroom house. One.

And then I had another child. Let me help you with the math:

 5 people + 1 bathroom = Hell

To make matters worse, our only bathroom does not have an exhaust fan, which means three minutes into the shower you're feeling light headed and woozy. The mirror is covered in a thick fog and you're about to slip into a coma. Our solution: shower with the bathroom door open.

Give it 48 seconds and the 18-month old is standing on the opposite side of the shower curtain splashing in the toilet bowl, the 9-year old wants to repeat verbatim every ICarly episode she's ever watched, and the teen barges in suddenly remembering she needs money for school lunch and should she get your purse?

I am showering, people! I am naked, soapy and angry because ten minutes ago not one of you even vaguely looked in my general direction and yet suddenly I am the person you need to talk to. Right now. Before I rinse off.

And then, as if it can't get any worse: Big V suddenly needs to pee. Which means he has to come in and kick everyone else out, which makes them whine and complain and I'm still standing in the shower, sobbing, listening to the sound of a urine stream while he tells me he has to play basketball tonight because it's the last game of the season.

Something's gotta give. Either I need more bathrooms or less people - and while it rained this past week allowing for the softening of the soil and easing up the whole where should I hide the body? dilemma, the possibility of me going to jail and being forced to shower with a really scary, criminal audience is enough of a deterrence for me to opt for the More Bathrooms route.

But neither V or I know anything at all about how to put a bathroom in your house. We know one would fit in the basement because the basement is a big, wide open space. But there are all these rules and codes and permits and then there's all the decisions: what sized door? What kind of toilet? What type of light switch? It's too much for my feeble mind. I just want to shower alone.

How much money do we need? Do we have enough? Do we need more? Who do we get? Is our job too big for a handyman? Too small for a 'real' construction company? Are we going to get screwed over and give our hard earned money to someone that never shows up to do the work? Am I going to need to call  Mike Holmes?  I can't even think about this! It's just too much!

I have dreams, ideas, visions: White. Airy. Open. Clean lines. Calm.

How on earth can anyone interpret the (extremely) vague finished product hiding in my mind into something that makes sense, something that we can afford and yet something I'm not disappointed in when it's all said and done?

photo credit: xJavierx; flicker

For years now Big V and I have come right to this exact point.... where we know something has to happen, but we are too scared and too insecure to know what to do next, so we decide to do nothing. And then complain about the fact that no one gets any privacy in the bathroom. Simply put, our fear of not knowing what to do stops us in our tracks.

Oh, and also, anyone in my family knows that I could not actually live with the rounded tub shown in the above photo. I have issues with rounded things. I like straight lines and 90-degree angles. I like mission-style and Shaker furniture. That's why I get along so well with the Amish. Well, I mean, I would get along well with the Amish if I actually knew any Amish people. Except I wouldn't like their horses. Unless they were toothless. Horses bite, people. Stop looking at me like that.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Billy Amongst the Grapes

Many, many, many years ago, my dad worked with grapes. And sugar cane. I have pictures of the burning of the cane fields but I do not have any photos of my dad in the fields whilst they were burning, which is a good thing when you think about it.

The fact that my father has lived this long is amazing to me for several reasons:

(1) His Aunt Joyce tells the story that he was born sick and basically sent home from the hospital with the instructions to just love him until he passes. (As a mother myself I simply cannot imagine.)

(2) As a young boy he had open heart surgery. Which back in the day was pretty gory. Growing up the scars would both amaze and scare me every time I saw him with his shirt off. I was convinced he was a pirate on Captian Hook's ship and had got in a fight with the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk. (Obviously I was not well versed in fairy tales.) (Also, I've always been deathly afraid of the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk thanks very much to my aunt from Australia who sent us the book. The nightmares I had!)

(3) As a young teen, he was involved in a very, very serious car accident, of which a single shard of windshield glass was missed during the hospital removal process and instead of working its way out, worked its way in. It was discovered and removed sometime in his 50's, I believe. He lived through the accident and he lived through what I feared would be a brain tumor. (And the headaches stopped. Imagine that.)

(4) One day he decided to show us kids how to properly ride our dirt bike (a massive machine way too large for the likes of his scrawny children). Show us he did... right into the metal fencing which wrapped itself through and around his leg. Friends of my sister's happened to be driving by and helped cut him out of the fence. (Timmy Blackman, Todd Rodgers - do you remember this?) He then hobbled to the farm house and locked himself in the bathroom where he decided to slowly bleed out in the bathtub before one of us kids were concerned enough to call our mother who was at work. (We may or may not have been the most safety conscious of children.) He had more stitches than I could count.

Now, 45 years, 4 kids, and 7 grandchildren later, I wonder how many times he wishes he could go back and hide amongst the safety of the grapes. Actually, I'm surprised he didn't cut his arm off with the vine clippers.

By the way, his nickname for me growing up was "BJ-Joe go slow." I know. It's lame. Especially since I was hardly the last one out the door. He'd call me that even when I was the first one sitting in the car waiting by myself.

And also, I would just like to point out that it is not cool to name your daughter something where her initials drum up images of a sexual act. If you do not know what sort of sexual act "BJ" drums up then google it. Or ask Nick Hanssen. He's the one that explained it to me on the bus when I was in the 4th grade.

Update: I talked to my mother (not my father, because he doesn't give details) and was told that the scary open heart surgery scars were not open heart surgery scars at all, but the scars from a surgery for Pyloric Stenosis that was done on his stomach when he was just a teeny, tiny couple of months old baby. Apparently he was not able to keep milk down, wasn't growing and something obviously needed to be done, but he was too tiny for the hospital beds. They built a "wooden cross" to tie him on and keep him straight, and not curled up (as babies tend to do), so they could do surgery on his stomach. THOSE are the scary scars of my youth. 

My mother also said he never had heart surgery - which is entirely possible. We don't exactly speak openly and give out information and details about each other, so what I conjured up in the mind of my childhood has probably been gleaned from overheard, hushed conversations that I was too immature to comprehend, so I put them in boxes I could recognize and understand. I went to school with a girl who had open heart surgery, so perhaps I just assumed it was a heart surgery he had. (I'm making a note to ask him; although he hates being asked questions.)

To understand the way our family communicated I'll provide you an example of something that happened when I was in my early 20's:

The phone rang late at night. It was my mother. "I just wanted to tell you that we'll be staying the night because you're father didn't do well pulling out of surgery and he's in ICU."

"Okay.... umm... why was my father in surgery?"

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Nothing Says "I Love You" More Than A Good Old-Fashioned Esophagus Burning.

We went out to dinner as a family the other night because sometimes the public needs to be shaken up a bit, you know?

Anyway. You know that lull of time between appetizers and actually receiving the food you really came to eat where most families talk about their day and chit chat about current events which we don't actually do because we live in Wisconsin and current events in Wisconsin completely sucks right now and you never know who is going to go all Facebook Wall Rage Ranting on you for stating your own opinion or when you'll come across some guy you've never met before who says things like "hopefully that [working two full time jobs] prevents you from getting pregnant when we cut birth control options from our insurance plans!" and I'm all like there's birth control? Because I've already been knocked up - three times!

You get my point. People are getting mean in this neck of the woods. Actually they've been mean for awhile now, but I don't want to dis all of Wisconsin because there's some pretty cool people here. Except for my neighbor Mary, and the guy who says I shouldn't get pregnant and a couple thousand others.

My point is we had nothing to talk about at the dinner table.

And the Bean was all um, I need money and I told her to get a job but she wasn't having it so instead she took Big V up on his offer to eat a jalepeno pepper for a dollar. Here's how that went:

She totally knew I was going to blog about this so she really should have held out for more cash. There is so much I need to teach her.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Your Dog Crapping 8 Inches From The Side Of My House Is Not Okay. Really.

Remember my dear, sweet neighbor, Mary? Mary with the dog? Which is apparently old and blind and can't see where it's going but somehow manages to find itself two feet from our dining room window taking a doggie dump in our lawn even though Mary is standing right there holding on to the leash?

Hey, Mary. Um... I see that your dog is taking a dump. In our yard. Again. Next to the window well that's adjacent to the foundation of our house.

[yelling in crabby old lady form] He's BLIND!

Uh... okay. But. Um. Well, you're holding on to the leash. In your hand. And it kind of seems like you walk him right up our driveway and into our yard to do his business. Because I've watched you do it. A lot. Which, is, uh, kind of annoying.

[yelling in crabby old lady form] He's OLD!

Uh... okay. But. Um.... well, we really don't like all the dog crap in the front yard. It's kind of gross. And, well, it's kind of creepy to look out the window and see your head hovering six inches away from the window pane.

[muttering under her breath while pulling the old, blind dog with her] .... mutter, mutter, mutter....

Mary's Route.
I get that we once had a crazy, satanic dog that I was terrified would one day rip the face off an innocent bystander since she was content in ripping our house and all our belongings to shreds, but we got rid of that dog. My biggest frustration with our ex-dog was that she was a huge inconsideration to all the drivers who had to stop their cars before they ran her over in the street. I'd yell over and over: our dog should not negatively affect anybody else. Ever! And the dog is gone.

Which means now I get to be one of those people. Yep. The neighbor who hates strange dogs taking craps in her yard and really hates the inconsiderate owners who lead them there. Because Mary really has to take a bit of a hike to get right next to our house and so I think she does it on purpose.

In the off chance you think I'm over-reacting, and it's not really that big of a deal, here's some background information,  and here's a picture of Mary I took from the inside of my house:

Note how I could reach out and kiss her. Or punch her. Either or.

See, I wouldn't even mind so much if she brought her dog up to do its business between the road way and the tree (which is about the half way point of our yard). I don't like the kids playing on that side of the tree anyway because it's just too close to the road and I'd much rather them fall in the window wells than get hit by a car. Just my parental choice. That being said, while my kids are risking their lives near the window wells, I'd also really prefer them not actually step in dog shit just in case I have to rush them to the hospital with a broken ankle. I don't want to have to smell the dog crap smeared on the bottom of their shoes during the entire drive, know what I mean?

I'll admit our house is not the best looking on the block. It needs a lot of fixing up - and we'll get there, I promise (here's a hint: the exterior will be last) but in the meantime, could I at least ask that someone who has a dog not walk up and allow said dog to empty its bowels sixteen inches from the side of my house? Take the two foot strip from the curbing into our yard. Really. Go ahead and crap in the yard - just not right next to the house where the kids play.

Now, Mary knows better. I know she knows better because when she sees my car in the driveway she walks on the roadway and the dog dumps about a foot or two into our lawn. In the part the children are not allowed to play in. And I'm happy.

Yet, when she thinks I'm not home, she's way up next to the house again. I like to surprise her by knocking on the window and doing the what the hell is wrong with you, lady look, and watch as her eyes get huge and she starts pulling and tugging and dragging the dog off our lawn.

Anyway. A fun game which has developed from this annoyance is something we call Spotting Mary. This is where people I know are driving by and catch the inconsiderate woman and her dog in our yard and report back to me: hey, I saw that crazy lady and her dog in your yard today. What is up with her?! Or Dude! That crazy woman had her dog in your yard today. She was actually leaning against the side of your house while she waited on the dog! Or Man, the woman has balls! She was sitting on your steps while the dog took a shit in your lawn.

Today's winner is my sister who sent me this picture message along with a text explaining how she was driving by and saw the lady right up next to the dining room window and thought I am SO going to win today! So she quickly turned the car around, pulled over, grabbed her phone and snapped the photo. Unfortunately, by then the woman and the dog were leaving the lawn. Still, I believe my sister is the winner for the day.

Any suggestions on what to do about this?
Or is it really not that big of a deal and I should just let it go knowing the dog will die sooner or later?

(Oh. She also never picks up the dog crap. Ever. She doesn't even do the whole fake carry a plastic bag and act like you're bending down to pick it up but really leave it there thing. I mean, maybe if she tried.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Don't I Deserve an Alicia, Too?

Hey, V, if I die you can have Alicia, okay?


If I die, you can have Alicia. She'd make an excellent mother to the children. She's sweet and compassionate and she'd read to them and take them on fun outings and also pack a homemade, organic lunch for them to bring to school. She'd be their number one cheerleader and talk to them and make them feel good about themselves and also she'd do whatever she could to keep my spirit alive and say things like, "your mother would be so proud of you" as she's brushing their hair or putting on their shoes. She's a way better mother than I will ever be, so you can have her if I die.

Oh. Okay.

[turns to exit room]

Wait! Where are you going?

To watch the sports update on TV.

But what about me?

What about you?

I just gave you Alicia - what about me?

I don't think you'll mind; you'll be dead. Besides, you gave her to me, why would you care?

No. I mean, who do I get if you die?


Who do I get if you die?

Uhmm... I don't know.... how about Chris?

Chris?! No way. I can't have Chris!

Why not? He likes kids.

Because Chris is happily married and they're expecting their third child. You can't break up a marriage!

I thought this was a hypothetical...

Well, you can't hypothetically break up a marriage. Now I'm going to feel all uncomfortable when I see them because I'll be afraid they can sense your evil plan. You have to pick someone else.

*SIGH*  Fine. Bob.


Yes. Bob.

Scrap Metal Bob?

What's wrong with Bob?

He drives around picking in people's garbage in the hopes of finding metal.

So? He's a business man.

He lives with his mother.

So? He's a family man.

Let me get this straight. You feel that when you die I should take on more responsibility by taking care of Scrap Metal Bob? And his mother? 'Hop in the truck, kids! It's garbage day!' No. No way.

*SIGH* *SIGH* Fine. You can have Cameron.

Cameron's gay.

So? You have plenty of gay friends; you're in theatre.

Yes, and I love them all. I also happen to know enough about them to understand that if you told Cameron he was stuck with me and my vagina for the rest of his life, he'd consider that cruel and unusual punishment.

Fine. Then you be gay.

You can't just make me gay. Besides, it doesn't work that way. A gay guy doesn't want to be with a gay girl, they want to be with another gay guy. Preferably one that has a keen sense of interior design.... like Nate Berkus.

Fine. You can have Nate Berkus... whoever the hell he is.

I can't have Nate! He's gay! Why don't you understand this? I gave you Alicia - who is beyond awesome, by the way - and I'm thinking I'm totally getting shafted if you ever die.

Look. I'm sorry, I just can't handle going to my grave knowing you would be with another man. You'll just have to be strong enough to raise the children yourself and keep my loving memory alive. Can I go watch the sports update now?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Johnny Marzetti takes the cake!

Impressing Big V with a decent dinner is pretty easy. He grew up on take out and fast food and is visibly impressed every time I actually produce something edible straight from the oven.

This weekend I told Big V I was going to make a pasta dish called Johnny Marzetti from a recipe I received from a co-worker and that it was kind of like a goulash. He shrugged his shoulders and went about his day.

When it was ready he happily consumed plate full after plate full, making me promise to serve it again. "I didn't know goulash could taste this good!" He gushed. "My mom used to make goulash - but she just made it with noodles and ketchup!"

Trust me when I say this is way better than noodles and ketchup.

Johnny Marzetti
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 large onions, sliced
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 pound ground beef
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked
8 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. In a large skillet melt butter or margarine over medium heat. Add onions, mushrooms, celery, green pepper and garlic. Cook, stirring, until begetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Add beef and cook until it loses its pink color. Stir in tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Stir in cooked macaroni, then cheese. Spoon into 13x9-inch baking dish. Bake uncovered 30 minutes.

Serve with a nice Caesar salad and some garlic bread!
I don't have a picture of the finished product; however,
I do have a photo of the glorious vegetables "in process."

FYI: Johnny Marzetti originated in the twenties at the Marzetti Restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. The dish was named after the owner's brother. And, actually, it's way less of a goulash and more of a baked pasta dish. Just saying.

Friday, March 11, 2011

If James Lipton can be a pimp, YOU can be ANYTHING!

Last night I happened upon a rerun of Saturday Night Live where Will Ferrell pretends he's James Lipton, the old dude from Inside the Actor's Studio and I died because (1) Will Ferrell is funny, and (2) James Lipton is funny - even though he doesn't try to be, you know?

And as I was dying Big V was all I don't get why that's funny and who is he pretending to be anyway? And I was all he's JAMES LIPTON!

The real James Lipton.

But Big V had never heard of James Lipton because he's never heard of anyone who hasn't ever played in a professional sport; such is life with V. Still, I couldn't stop laughing.

Will as James.
 And then I posted a question on Facebook wondering whether or not James Lipton was on Twitter because I'd really like to follow a guy like James Lipton and a friend of mine responded:

Did you know he was a pimp? Not like a pretend pimp, but a real, actual pimp in Paris?

And I was all HUH?!

I saw an interview with him about it. It was so weird. He wasn't like a hit you with a coat hanger pimp, he just kinda took care of the transactions. I'm sure the interview is on Youtube or somewhere.

And I was all HUH?!

I used to think he just oozed failed actor, but it turns out he gave off the essence of smoooooooth pimp. I am now a huge fan.

And sure enough, another friend posted that he, too, had heard James Lipton was a pimp in Paris and so apparently this is old news that I never knew about but now I know and I just can't get over it so I'm sharing it with you because if James Lipton can be a pimp then YOU can be ANYTHING you put your mind to. The possibilities are endless.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The surest way to recover from sickness is to work on your blackmail.

Big V succumbed to the plague which meant I could finally take advantage of that whole blackmail plan I've been busy devising in my spare time.

Me:  What the hell are you wearing?

V:  I had to go ref that tournament today ... I puked twice in the locker room between games.

Me: What the hell are you wearing?

V:  My head feels like it's going to explode; my body feels like someone ran over it with a truck.

Me: What the hell are you wearing?

V:  I keep getting light headed and dizzy; I think I'm dying.

Me: What the hell are you wearing?

V:  I'm so cold. I can't believe how cold I am.

Me: What the hell are you wearing?

V:  But I knew I had to ref and I didn't have any long sleeved white shirts, so I grabbed this one from your closet - I was so cold - and I asked if I could wear it while I reffed the games and they let me.

Me: Wait... so you wore my maternity turtleneck over your official ref uniform all day long while you reffed a basketball tournament in front of hundreds of people?

V:  You wouldn't believe how cold I was.

Me:  I love you.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Let it be known I do not Shake'n Bake on my death bed.

How do I do sick? I crawl into the darkness of my room, zip myself into a sleeping bag before piling dozens of heavy blankets and down comforters over me, take a swig of NyQuil and sleep. I sleep and sleep and sleep until I need to pee and/or vomit at which time I will crawl into the bathroom before retreating to the quiet safety of my darkened room.

I like to be alone.

I like to be unbothered.

I like to maintain my NyQuil-induced drug haze in silent isolation.

Knowing I had to somehow care for my family despite having contracted the bubonic plague (it's the curse of Motherhood; I'm sure you know it all too well) I managed to pull a pack of pork chops out of the freezer and placed them next to a box of Shake'n Bake. They'd be thawed by the time Big V returned from work. The family would not starve. I am a good woman.

I took another heavy dose of NyQuil and jumped willingly into the crazy dreams the black licorice meds produced.

"Hey. Hey!" I was being shook awake. I stared wide-eyed at V. "The kids are hungry."

Who the hell was this guy and why was he talking about children?

"Are you going to get up and make dinner?"

For the love. Now I remembered.

No. I'm dying. Make pork chops.

"I don't know how."

It says it right on the box.

He left me in peace. Twelve seconds later he returned.

"I don't understand it."

Read the box!

"I did. It says," (and this is where he lifted the box in front of him and read the instructions written on the box of Shake'n Bake, oblivious to the fact that I could give a rat's ass.) "....set the oven for 425 degrees, put the seasonings in the bag and then shake the pork chop in it."

That's all you do.

"Hold on. Let me turn the oven on first...." (and he ran out of the room to go turn the oven on so he could come back and harass me for just a little bit longer.) "Ok. The oven is set to 425. Now what?"

What does the box say?

"It says to put the seasonings in the bag; I get that, but how does it stick on the pork chops? Do I have to get it wet?"

Get. Dotter.   My voice is weak.


Get. Dotter.  I say again, gasping for breath.

"Dotter! Your mom wants you!"

The shy, little 9-year old peeks her head in the doorway. "Mom wants me? But she doesn't like to be bothered when she's sick."

Dotter. I'm dying. You must make the pork chops or the other children will starve. And so will Big V. Can you make the pork chops, honey? Can you fulfill your dying mother's wish?

"Sure. Is it Shake'n Bake? Because that's really easy."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thanks to Wikipedia I'm going through opioid withdrawal.

This morning I spent twenty minutes at my local Walgreens attempting to procure the necessary tiger blood and Adonis DNA medication I would need to kick this nasty virus out of my system. Medication aisles can be very intimidating because it's hard to concentrate on 8,467 of something when you can barely hold your eyes open and also when you can't stand without swaying. Luckily I came prepared with my symptoms written on a piece of paper:

You have to come prepared because the medication assholes gods have created a plethora of symptom combinations to pick from and if you're not on your A Game then fuhgitaboutit. You're missing a symptom and still feeling like crap. Who's winning now? Not you.

And so I found the perfect item(s):

See how it says "long acting" and also "relieves cough: up to 8 hours" and "runny nose?" It's like the medication gods knew that was EXCATLY what I needed. And also kudos to the Mountain Dew marketing team for enticing me into the unnecessary purchase of a throwback. As if I can tell whether or not it's made with real sugar. Please. I'll believe anything printed on a package. Did you see my Robitussin purchase? Exactly my point.

I take the recommended dosage and voilĂ ! Three hours later I'm still hacking and sticking tissue up my nostrils to stop the rhinorrhea, which, according to Wikipedia is what we commonly refer to as a "runny nose." Wikipedia also goes on to say rhinorrhea is a symptom of the common cold and allergies and also can be a sign of opioid withdrawal!

Not having a lot of experience in the illecit drug world, I click the opiods link in Wikipedia where I learn that the side effects of opioids include sedation, respiratory depression and constipation.

I feel like I can't move any muscle in my body via the will of my own brain so I'm pretty sure I can check sedated off the list. I have no idea what respiratory depression is, but I'm pretty sure I feel bummed that I have this cough so I'll just go ahead and check that off, too. And while I can't remember the last time I went Number 2, I'm pretty sure that could either be because I don't actually keep track of that stuff or because I'm constipated. I don't know because I'm too sedated to feel anything.

Anyhoo - thanks to my Wiki research I'm pretty sure I'm experiencing opioid withdrawal which totally sucks because obviously that's why the seven dollar bottle of Robitussin isn't working. I could try to bring it back to the store and get my money back; but like Walgreens would really give cash to a druggie. Is that even how you spell druggie? Or is it druggy? No, I think it's I feel druggy because I am a druggie. Don't quote me though because you can never trust someone who uses drugs. Lying is part of the disease. I'd gladly do some research on the proper spelling and usage of the term except I need to find a rehab center to check myself into because I am never going to survive this without help. And guess what, Charlie Sheen? I do believe in getting help. That is what makes me a winner.

UPDATE: Every muscle in my body now aches. I'm pretty sure I was beaten in a drug deal gone bad. Except I wouldn't remember because I was too high to know what was going on around me. Also I want a big bag of Cheetos. What could this mean?!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Drop off circles may just be the bane of my existence.

I don't get it. We can successfully send a man to the moon but no one on this planet can figure out how to design a functional pick-up/drop-off lane at school.

The rules for our school's "circle" are simple: Move Quickly, People.

This means that no, you may not put your car in park, hop out and walk your child to the door of his classroom located at the other side of the building.

It's bad enough cars are passing when they shouldn't be and kids are almost getting creamed on a regular basis as they try to exit the cars, but really, it doesn't help when you park. And then leave your own car.

It's a drop off circle.

That means you drop the kid off and then you drive away. Quickly.

The drop off circle is meant for those mom's who just want to get away and enjoy the silence that sweeps through the car the second that kid gets out. Mom's like me.

I get that you're a much better mom than all those other pathetic mothers (im)patiently waiting their turn in the drop-off circle while you walk hand in hand with your child to their classroom, warmly greeting the teacher each and every morning; but know that we are much better Rule Followers than you and you never know if they'll be handing out awards for that. But if they do, I'm pretty sure you will not be nominated. Just sayin'.

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...