Thursday, February 25, 2010

To Whom It May Concern - Volume (I don't know and I can't be bothered to look it up)

Dear USA Olympic Spectator: The giant, red, foam, USA cowboy hat? Bold fashion choice. Way to represent! Rube.

Dear Guy at Foxwoods sitting next to me at the slots: You really did look like a Butch-y woman. Didn't mean it as an insult when I called you "she". Peace out.

Dear $676.10 for 8 boxes of clearance carpet tiles really doesn't feel like a discount. And $80.00 for shipping?  This is for our basement.  Thanks but no thanks.

Dear Ants climbing the pipes into my bathroom:  It's February!   We can do battle in the spring. Go night-nights fer chrissake!

Dear Barry Manilow:  I'm so happy I found your Ultimate Manilow CD when we  moved the fridge this week.  I must say, however that listening to it while driving around on a cold and dreary day makes me want to drive into a bridge abutment.  I hope you're happier than you were back in the 70s.

Dear NPR:  I understand that the ethics of force feeding hunger strikers is an important topic but do you think you could schedule the discussion for a time when I am not trying to shovel down a not-so-savory Healthy  Choice meal? Not good.

Dear Me:  Oh, looky!  Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits!  Into the car it goes!

Dear Me (2):  Find a current radio station.  Listen to it.  You're getting a little pathetic.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Marital Advice Monday *

Nearly a year and a half ago, I wrote this post all about when Andy and I went away for the weekend for our 40th birthdays. It was the first time in our parental life that we had together left the boys for two whole nights in a row. It was heaven. And we haven't done it since...until last Friday night.

News Flash! All that stuff I wrote about spending time away being important for a marriage and a soul? It's still there!  We're in a pretty meh place right now.  Compared to most, we're good and for that, I am eternally grateful.  But the day-to-day of winter/school/marriage/house/vitamin D deficient/job uncertainty/parenting still weighs and wears on us.

Last Friday, we shipped the kids off to Nana's where new toys, undivided attention, and late bedtimes awaited them, while we strolled off to Foxwoods for a 21-hour, anti-family vacation.  There, we didn't have deep discussions about our future; what school districts we need to look at, what needs to be done to our house and our debt ratio before we try and sell.  We didn't discuss the next phase of Andy's career or my education.

We had drinks in our hands within 10 minutes of checking in.  We ate appetizers for dinner at The Hard Rock Cafe.  We people-watched, played nickle slots and roulette, and joked about inconsequential things.  And you know what?  Underneath it all, our smiles are still there. 

And so, here is my advice to you:  Find a willing grandparent, aunt, uncle, friend, or mailman on whom you can foist your beloved children.  Leave extra food out for the cat.  Pack it up and head out of Dodge.  Everything will be there when you get back.  And maybe, just maybe, you'll get your groove back, too.

*title lovingly bastardized from my friend (and BlogHer '09 roomie) KC's hysterical Medical Advice Monday posts.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

WWSD - What Would Stimey Do - Part 3-ish

Well, Stimey might be taking a vacation from her Junk Pyramid but here at my little cabina contenta, clutter and odor know no holiday! About a week ago, I started to notice a little puddle developing on the top shelf of the fridge, near the orange juice. So I did what most busy moms would do; I ignored it.

Next, I noticed that the bread (stored directly below the OJ) was also damp. This time, I went out on a limb, mopped it up and took a peek around; finding nothing but assuming (my children) someone had spilled something at some point.

We were away overnight Friday into Saturday and upon our return yesterday, the fridge smelled like we'd left it unplugged for a month, with a couple of gallons of ice cream in it, in July. NOT acceptable.

So today, I put on my Stimey cap (don't I wish I really had one!) and did the unthinkable. I took every single item out of the fridge, removed every single shelf and bin and scrubbed the em effer down.
Even the door!
At least I did it right before shopping so there was less to put back.

Alas, the fridge was squeaky clean but I had not discovered the cause of the leak and thereby, the odor. So it was on to the freezer. After pitching piles of petrified, freezer-burnt dinosaur chicken and syrupy Popsicles, I discovered one lone ice pack jammed against a vent-type thing way in the back. I peeled that off then chipped away at the layer of permafrost on the bottom of the freezer. And hope that I've resolved the issue.

Isn't this exactly how I wanted to spend my Sunday? In the process, I think I have found my all-time least favorite housewife-ly duty. So I have that little bit of enlightenment. Which is nice.

What is your most hated chore?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What to Really Expect - What's Your Point?

Ever hear of foreshadowing? Me too.

It's February vacation and we're headed to my sister's house to let them (destroy her house for a change) play with their cousins. After I finally get the boys dressed and ready, I head upstairs to retrieve my watch. It is from here that I hear the blood curdling screams of my first born.

Like all mammals, I know the differences in my sons' cries. This one was not irate (Gremlin took something belonging to me!) nor was it over-reactive (There is a spider in the basement!!), this scream said, This is my own blood!!!

We meet at the door to my bedroom where HRH is cradling his right hand in his left as blood drips from the puncture wound on the back of his wrist. Gremlin is following surily behind. I grab a towel and apply direct pressure while trying to simultaneously calm him and find out what the hell happened.

Turns out that in the 3.2 minutes I was upstairs, the boys got into a game of poking with sharpened pencils. After repeated "light" pokes to Gremlin's face, he'd had enough and reciprocated by stabbing HRH in the hand with a pencil. I wish there was an "incredulous" font. Are you kidding me?

I steer HRH into the bathroom so we can clean/inspect/band-aid. I instruct Gremlin to go downstairs to retrieve the pencil so I can see if the tip is broken off.

The tiny puncture is slightly black-ish but I can't tell if there's graphite in there or just he's just marked. Also the vein in his wrist is bulging but it doesn't look like it was pricked. Gremlin arrives with the pencil but as I turn to this forensic evidence, he proceeds to poke the bathroom doorjamb with it, rendering the point uncheckable.

When in doubt, call the pedi. I manage to calm HRH's screams and cover the wound with a Scooby Doo band-aid and make yet another call to our doctor. He agrees that maybe he should take a look and off we go, with a quick call to my sister, letting her know about the unplanned pit stop.

Diagnosis: It doesn't look like the pencil tip broke off in his arm and the positioning most likely rules out any bits from traveling to his brain. But essentially, HRH will have a life-long, tiny black dot tattoo.

The boys were also subjected to a lengthy dissertation on the dangers of graphite poisoning (yes, I made up that term), potential enucleation, and general acts of stupidity and violence.

Then we went and played at Auntie's house.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Suffer the Little Children

...and now for a (rebuttal) guest post in response to my Worst Valentine's Day post written by the subject, himself...

Greetings from Macedonia! What better way to celebrate Valentines Day than scratching old scars? Despite my own experience, I am pleased to know that HRH, Gremlin and others are carrying on this fine tradition, at least until "Facebook" reduces the virtue of such childhood kindnesses to just “virtual”. Actual human contact is so 20th century.

Your telling of my experience is accurate, but I should mention that my most vivid memory is the look of horror from the teacher when she realized her error. As teacher, she was accepted by all as an ageless elder of secret wisdom, the same presumption that makes kids freeze in confusion when they encounter their teachers doing something mundanely human, like driving or food shopping.

In reality, my teacher was probably 20 years old and unsure of herself. As her Charlie Brown grew up, I realized that the trauma she experienced was probably, by far, the worst of the day. I am pleased to affirm your assertion that I am not now and never have been, a serial killer, but I am not so sure about that 20 year old teacher.

I’ve often wondered what has become of the hopeful young teacher scarred by my childish trauma. Does she spend Feb 14th getting high sniffing mimeograph (born after 1970? Google it…) fluid before kidnapping a greeting card executive and forcing him to clap erasers until he chokes to death, then disposing of the body using the construction paper guillotine only big kids were allowed to operate? Is she the TV special voice of Charlie Brown’s teacher, so drunk from trying to drown out the trauma that she cannot speak a coherent sentence?

Despite my worst dreams of my teacher, it is probably a blessing that childhood traumas have greater effect on adults than they do on children. Today I visited the Skopje dump and found that many Roma children spend their days digging through the untended garbage heaps for any scrap they can sell. Their faces covered by thin scarves as a simple guard against the smell and fumes of the burning garbage they lit to keep themselves warm while they work. They were their yesterday, I am sure they will be there today, and back again on Valentine’s Day and the day after, etc.

Hopefully, as they grow older, things will improve, and the trauma of such childhood experiences will be less than that of the adults watching them work, helpless at the time to do anything to make things better, except for counting on the resilience of children while waiting for something to change.

That puts my schoolboy Valentine’s Day trauma into new perspective. Suffer the children and their teachers. They are all doing the best they can with what they’ve been given.


Charlie (David) Brown

Thank you, David.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day, Charlie Brown!

Gremlin and I spent this afternoon volunteering in HRH's class. We helped the kids decorate their brown paper bag Valentine Holder Bags, watched as the kids distributed their cards, read Valentine-related stories, and cleaned up. I love how truly excited the kids get over their little die-cut valentines; lots of Star Wars from the boys, lots of Disney princesses from the girls, a few really cool, homemade ones (not from my kid).

The ritual itself really hasn't changed that much in the *cough* thirty+ years *cough* since I performed it. Each year, I can't help but think of the best, worst Valentine's story I ever heard. My friend, David's.

Back in grammar school, David's teacher sent home the requisite list of names for every kid in the class. The night before Valentine's Day, each child conscientiously wrote out their Scooby Doo/Holly Hobby card for each of their classmates, alphabetically, according to the list.

The next day, the children took turns walking up and down the rows of the classroom depositing a valentine on each desk...or almost every desk.

As the valentine piles on every other child's desk grew, David shrank lower and lower in his seat. His teacher, conversely became more and more agitated, frantically searching for the list of names sent home. Sure enough, David's name had been omitted from the list.

In her vain attempt to correct her error, his teacher then had each child select one card from his or her pile to present David with a second hand, name-scratched-out valentine.

David's okay now. Surprisingly not a serial killer but a rather accomplished Harvard grad, living his life with his beautiful, intelligent, younger wife - and a great group of dear friends, who mock him mercilessly every February 14th. He laughs too. As he puts it, Charlie Brown ended up with the little red headed girl after all.

What's your best, worst Valentine's story?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Nearly Wordless Wednesday - Red

My friend, Sue at Laundry for Six was tagged in a meme to post seven red things. She went a little overboard and did ten(ish). I've decided to take up her challenge and post my own seven(ish).

Red is Gremlin's most favorite color.

Tea is my most favorite beverage.

We got a shiny new red emergency plate when we redid the kitchen.

Daisy's ears have been bugging her.
The vet asked us to get a urine sample. Yeah, right.

Hanging above our kitchen table.

My attempt at artistry above the kitchen cabinets.

20 Days 'til pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training!

I'm actually going to tag a few people because I haven't memed in forever:

Jean in Stimeyland, because I'm sure she's got 1000 red pictures just ready to go. And because she's speaking on an Autism panel at BlogHer!

Otter Thomas (not his real name) at Life of a New Dad, because I've never tagged a guy blogger before. And why does that sound dirty when clearly, it is not? And because I enjoy reading his take on the insights and milestones of first time parenting.

Rachel at A Reservation for Six. Because when you're preparing for the birth of your FIFTH child, there's nothing you need more than to help out a friend with a mindless task.

And if you're in the mood, please play along. You can check out a lot of other Wordless Wednesdays over here.

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