Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Any Favorites?

Well, it's that time of year again - you know, when I ask for help figuring out what subject to use for my Listen To Your Mother audition. Last year it was Rachel's reign of terror, with the decapitated stuffed animals and the toilet-stuffing and all that, and really, that piece came out great, but I am not sure whether I am allowed to use it again or I should maybe cobble together something from all my posts concerning regurgitation. It could be a sort of vomit retrospective, with an emphasis on the advisability of puking in place and the nightmare that is a top bunk covered in your formerly adorable child's dinner.

Vomit is pretty much my muse, really.

You know, it is so much fun crafting these essays and reading them out loud, I don't think I will even care much if I am passed over once again. Last year I lost to a GUY, for heaven's sake, and to several women who had actually meaningful stories to tell. And, yes, I am jealous, not because I wasn't chosen but because - unlike all these other mothers - my life consists primarily of chaos, with no meaning whatsoever; at least, none that I can discern.

I guess they still wouldn't want to hear about my refrigerator, eh?  Too bad, I've got tons of material for that...

In other news,

Brian's new alarm clock works (FOR NOW). I give it a year. It looks very spiffy, though.

Our handyman came by to put in some trim by our new front door, took one look at the mess Larry's made of his remodeled laundry room, and spent 5 hours down there re-organizing it. I sure hope that guy outlives us. I also hope we don't run out of money paying him for his services.

It snowed again, but it didn't stick. I don't even care, which means I am getting old. And boring.

Disorganized as Larry and I are, we actually managed to reserve last year's camping spot in Acadia for this coming summer; let me tell you, it feels weird not to be arguing for months over where we are going for vacation. True, my plan of towing the camper cross-country to see the national parks in Utah was not very practical. But, hey, a gal's got to dream sometimes, right?

I've actually read a few books over the past month - giveaways coming soon!

[Books image: Clipart Panda]

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Time Travel

"I need a new alarm clock," Brian told me today.

"Why? You HAVE one," I said, still smarting from a $1200 car repair bill for our 12-year-old minivan.

"Yes, but I can't set the alarm," Brian said. "I push the hour button and nothing happens."

"Darn it, these clocks always break!" I ranted. "I can't even TELL you how many times I've spent 10 or even 15 dollars on these things, and they never last! I mean, what's the point of even trying another one?"

"MOM," my preternaturally patient teen said, "maybe if you bought one that costs MORE than $15, it might work?"

You know, the kid might have a point. I mean, I keep forgetting it isn't 1988 anymore.  So we went on Amazon and spent a whopping $23 on an alarm clock.

Very futuristic looking. I can't figure out how the numbers get on there.

And it better work, or no one in this house is ever getting a new clock again.

Monday, January 25, 2016

A Pause

So, there was snow. A LOT of snow. It was pretty awesome, really. It snowed and it snowed, and then it snowed some more. The kids in the neighborhood have been playing non-stop. The girls created a sled track that starts at our front door, goes down the steps, across the sidewalk, down a little hill, and ends at the neighbor's brick wall. Naturally, everyone wants to try it. I don't watch, because really, the whole thing is just a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Turns out, this guy was modeled after a real person!
All the plows came and pushed an extra 2 feet of snow (on top of the 2 feet already there) behind all the parked cars around here. Able-bodied teens, therefore, are in high demand. Brian netted a cool $160 over the past 2 days, simply by wielding his snow shovel. By the end of all this, we expect to find him dressed like the guy from the Monopoly game, holding wads of cash and strolling around the house smoking expensive cigars.

I got out there and shoveled, also. My arms hurt. My legs hurt. But, hey, exercise! Larry was off work today (nothing was open, because no one knows how to plow the streets around here), so we're having a hard time remembering which day of the week it even is. Monday? Tuesday? Who cares?

Real life will start up again soon enough. There's a dentist appointment on Wednesday (tomorrow? Day after tomorrow?), and a history class that is held here on Thursday, and all the rest of it. But for now, we have this wonderful snow-filled caesura in our lives, where all that matters is dry mittens and hot cocoa and walks along car-less streets between towering banks of snow. It's like a vacation, only less expensive and more peaceful. And NO CAMPING.

I'll take it.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Be Prepared. Or Not. Whatever.

We're hunkering down, people. Blizzard of the century and all that, but what was really epic was the fact that folks around here have been mobbing stores and gas stations since Wednesday. Actually, earlier, because I tried to buy a snow shovel at Home Depot on Wednesday, and the salesguy just laughed at me when I asked where they were. "GONE," he said. "They're all gone."

The Holy Grail, in these parts
Oh, well, I thought. The grocery stores have them. So the girls and I went back to the car and drove to Harris Teeter. Where we couldn't park, because there were so many people prepping for the blizzard. We drove to Target. The shovel aisle was empty. We drove to KMart, which had a sign on the front door saying, "We Have No Snow Shovels."

This was Wednesday. I gave up on prepping for the blizzard and went home. Maybe tomorrow, I thought, as I scrolled through a Facebook newsfeed replete with photos of empty shelves at Trader Joe's and Safeway. Everyone else is shopping today, so I'll try tomorrow.

I still couldn't park at Harris Teeter on Thursday. There were long lines at all the gas stations. So I did what any responsible person would do in the face of an impending storm of cataclysmic proportions: I spent the evening at my friend's house, catching up on Downton Abbey.

Friday morning (or D-Day, meteorologically speaking) dawned, and I realized time was running short. Brian still needed snowboots, for heaven's sake. I looked online - LLBean had not one pair of size 10 waterproof boots left. NOT ONE. REI had a pair, however, so I grabbed Brian and sped to the store, which was being mobbed by irresponsible people like myself. Salespeople were dashing around as if they were on speed, but I managed to collar one and shouted, "I need the Keens size 10 waterproof boots!" He tossed a box at me, which I handed to Brian, warning him, "That's the last pair in this entire area, buddy. People are desperate. DON'T LET GO."

We headed to Harris Teeter again, where the third time was the charm, at least so far as finding a parking space was concerned. I was still hoping to find a decent shovel. No such luck, but I scored some Sudafed and 3 $5 subs. Who says I don't know how to prep for a blizzard, hey?

Larry came home from work early and sealed his status as Most Favored Husband by driving all over town looking for a gas station where he could fill up my car's tank without waiting in line for an hour. He also brought home propane for the camping stove, so I guess he would definitely outlast me on a Survivor episode. But that's okay, because I have no desire to go on existing after the demise of civilization as I know it. Life without hot water just isn't worth it to me.

So here I am, in the middle of a storm that seems not nearly as dramatic as its build-up, popping decongestants, goofing off on the Internet, and thanking the powers that be that I actually remembered to sign the neighborhood snowplowing contract this week. If our battered old shovels hold up, we just might make it through this thing.

[Snow shovel image: Southern States]
[Sub image: Yelp]

Friday, January 15, 2016

Choice Is Not All It's Cracked Up To Be

"Everyone who comments on my blog is telling me to get a Shark Navigator vacuum," I told a friend last week.

"I have one, too! It's great," she said. "But get the Lift-Away model - it turns it into a canister vacuum."

Well, that settled it. I knew which model to get and everything. I marched myself over to Target, confident for once that I could accomplish an appliance purchase with little effort. No agonizing for 2 years, like we did with the dishwasher. No multiple marriage-wrecking visits to Best Buy, the way we did when looking for stoves. Nope - I was just going to walk right into that store, select a box that had "Shark Navigator LiftAway" printed on it, and sashay up to the cash register with my Red Card in hand.

Folks, there are a LOT of Shark Navigator LiftAway models, all with lots of different parts. There was the professional model, and there was the LX model, and I don't know what all. I stood in front of that vacuum cleaner display for almost an hour, messing with the various displays and staring at the boxes, while  Rachel and Susie continually circled back to me and asked, "Can we go yet?" 

"No!" I told them. "I can figure this out. I just need a little more time, that's all." And the girls would head back to the stuffed animal display, or the Valentines Day candy aisle, or wherever children spend their time when they are trapped in Target by a parent's chronic indecisiveness.

Yeah, I did leave empty-handed. I couldn't HANDLE the choice.

As luck would have it, a few days later in Costco, I noticed a Shark Navigator LiftAway displayed on an end cap. It was 20% off. It looked okay. Most importantly, there were no other models to compare it to. I put that box in my cart and strolled away, trying to look as if I were a normal adult who could make everyday decisions.  All the way through the store (and it is a BIG store), I agonized over whether I should buy that vacuum cleaner. Was it lightweight enough? Would I lose all those attachments? Was it too much money? Was there a better model somewhere else? 

I managed to pay for it by telling myself Costco is great at handling returns. And, with Rachel due to babysit a neighborhood preschooler in our home the next day, I had no choice when I got home but to unbox my purchase and actually, you know, use it on the playroom carpet. The vacuum worked great, once we figured out all the buttons. I even tried out the special speed brush attachment to clean under the end tables. I figured I might as well do that right away, before I lost it. I'm nobody's fool.

So, yeah, decision accomplished. I'm sure my neighbor is happy that I'm no longer borrowing her vacuum cleaner. And, with any luck, this thing will last until I am too senile to care whether the carpet is clean or not. That's my only hope, because Lord knows I don't have it in me to keep making this sort of wrenching decision year in and year out. 

You know, it's a good thing I had my kids when I was younger and able to make decisions more efficiently. Otherwise, they might have had to go without names for years, while Larry and I agonized over which ones to give them. Not that I don't tend to call them by the wrong names now, anyway, but still...

[Vacuum cleaner image: Vacuum Cleaner HQ]


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