Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I'll Have What She's Having

As some of you might recall, last Christmas Santa made the mistake of leaving stuffed puppies which were not identical in the little girls' stockings. They have spent the better part of this year fighting over Rachel's puppy, which happened to have a fetching red bow around its neck and "not-weird" eyes. So, this year Santa once again left very cute stuffed puppies; but this time they were puppies which in no way could be told apart without DNA testing. Problem solved, right?

Naturally, I could not help but be surprised to find Susie screaming and tugging at the puppy in Rachel's arms this afternoon. "Rachel!" I said. "Go find the other puppy and give it to Susie!"

"No!" yelled Susie. "This is mine! Its nose is softer!"

Resisting the urge to pull a King Solomon and cut the coveted toy in half, I located the second puppy, grabbed the first one (the soft-nosed one), and - determined to teach a valuable lesson - mixed them both up behind my back and held them out to the girls. Smug in the knowledge that neither of them could possibly tell those puppies apart, I asked, "Okay, Susie, which is yours?"

That kid didn't miss a beat. "Rachel's!" she said.

Lesson learned - by me, that is. Next year, matching pieces of coal...

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My access to the computer is being severely curtailed by the exigencies of college applications and the fact that a large number of people are showing up in our house tomorrow afternoon for our annual New Year's Open House. The logistics of getting ready for this event are staggering, what with printing out invites, cleaning the house, purchasing food, etc. Larry saw me making the grocery list and said, "Don't forget the pretzels!"

"Anything else?" I asked, anxious for ideas on how best to feed 40 or so guests.

"How about potato chips?" he suggested.

"Why do I think you really believe that all we need to entertain is beer and pretzels and chips?" I wondered aloud.

"Some peanuts would be good, too..."

Sigh. C'mon over to the frat house, y'all; we're having a kegger. Togas optional...




Sunday, December 28, 2008

Le'go My Wallet!

Does my font keep getting smaller? Or is my eyesight getting worse? Seems to me everything looks tinier on this page...

I sure wish that would happen to my thighs and stomach - you know, every time I look in the mirror, they'd look smaller...wouldn't that be cool? I should have asked for that for Christmas.

You know how sometimes you get what seems to be a good idea, but it isn't? Yes? Well, today was all about that. The boys wanted to visit the Lego store at a nearby, very upscale mall. Upscale, as in, we couldn't even afford to go to the food court. So Larry and I thought, "What the heck! That sounds like fun!"

I don't know why we thought that. I can't even begin to explain it. We don't like visiting shopping malls even at the best of times, let alone during the week between Christmas and New Year's. Perhaps a surfeit of sugar and other carbs has addled our brains. So we went. It was crowded. There were more people there than I thought existed in the entire world. Since the beginning of time. Really. Remember those pictures of Grant Park on Election Night? That was nothing compared to what we encountered this afternoon.

Many of these people were in the tiny Lego shop. I assume they were all much wealthier than we are, because they were buying things there - expensive things. Brian started weeping because he couldn't buy anything. Perhaps you think it was cruel of us to take him there and then not buy him anything, and you would be right. In our defense, I'll say that we never buy anything there; in the past, he just wanted to go look at all the models and get ideas for building his own stuff at home.

Anyway, Brian was crying, Rachel was complaining that her bottom was itchy (you needed that info, didn't you?), and Susie was trying to take a nap on the floor of the store. So we left.

That was fun, wasn't it? I hope Larry smacks me upside the head if I ever suggest doing that again.

I Just Can't Contain Myself

ByeBye Pie mentioned in her post today that she and her husband spent approximately 33 million dollars on bookcases. I'm guessing that they must have gone to that mecca of suburban consumerism, the Container Store. I went to the Container Store with my husband once. Let me mention here that I was, at the time, 40 weeks pregnant with our fourth child. As in, very pregnant, in a don't-mess-with-me sort of way...

Anyway, there we were, looking for bookcases or some such thing (because at that point we still had just about zero furniture that we hadn't found at the apartment dumpsters on moving day). I was a tad disgruntled to find that each bookcase/shelving unit cost approximately gazillion dollars, but I was still willing to investigate the possibility of spending our children's college educations money on crappy furniture. Or, at least, my husband was, because he was tired of living in a house filled with dumpster specials....

What pushed me over the edge was the realization that, on top of the exorbitant prices it asks for bookcases, the Container Store charged extra for what they termed accessories: such, um, non-essentials as shelves, say, or the hardware to hold up said shelves. In my opinion, this practice is akin to selling a dress and charging extra for the sleeves. Or a car, and charging extra for the steering wheel...

I can't help but feel a little bad for the saleswoman who enlightened me on this matter.

So we left (sans bookshelves, of course). Larry still claims I embarrassed him that day. I claim that the Container Store is the one who (which?) should feel embarrassed, blatantly ripping off customers like that. Sheesh. Or maybe the customers should feel embarrassed, for falling for such a pricing scam...

So we went to the local fake diner instead, where he fed me ice cream to placate my troubled, frugal, pregnant soul and we sat and listened to the woman in the booth behind us regale her companion with a detailed description of her last C-section. It was that sort of a day.

The End

Friday, December 26, 2008

Chanukah, Oh Chanukah...

Christmas is over, so that must mean it's time for a Chanukah party! That's right, folks, here at our house the festivities never stop. Never, ever, ever...

The plan was that we'd invite my best friend, her husband, and their 5 kids (including the newborn) over for a nice, relaxed dinner. Then Uncle Matt said he might show up. Okay, one extra person, no big deal. Then he called last night and said he and Grandma and Grandpa were all making the trip down here. So that's, um, plus 3. Oh, and this morning my friend mentioned her mother was visiting. Four.

Hmmm....

So Larry and I spent the day cleaning up the house, cooking, wiping Susie's runny nose approximately 7 million times, and running errands for all the things I forgot to pick up during my 3 (final) shopping excursions on Wednesday.

Did I mention the plumbers? We invited them too, as unspeakable things were happening in the downstairs shower every time we tried to use the kitchen sink. Yup, it was that sort of a day! Everyone (including the plumbers) showed up at the same time. The fun never stops! The plumbers didn't want to stay and play Dreidel, however. I don't know why.

You know how to upset a teen daughter? Enlist her help in making over one hundred latkes - and then decide that the electric frying pan is smoking up the house too much, and tell her to cook them outside on the deck, in the cold, in full view of any neighbors walking by.

I can't believe she didn't run away.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

And To All A Good Night...

Wouldn't you know - the person with the winning gift suggestion for Larry was the one anonymous commenter? Step right up to receive recognition, whoever you are - a movie gift card for the two of us was a great idea. Perhaps, from reading this blog, you realized that the last time Larry and I went to the movies together was, oh, 2 years ago?

Anyway, when Larry opened his 25-dollar gift card, he said, "That's great! I can go twice!" What a joker that guy is! I think he was joking, anyway...

It's hard to believe, but our kids let us sleep in until 7:30 today. It almost made me feel bad for letting the teens hide all the little ones' presents last night. Almost...after all, it made for a relaxing morning for the adults while the children searched for their gifts. Thanks to Octamom (I think) for the suggestion.

Of course, we paid for it by this evening when Brian realized that some of his gifts were still missing. He is sobbing upstairs in his bed right now, as a matter of fact. It's just not a holiday without somebody crying, right?

We watched "It's A Wonderful Life" this afternoon and ate carbs all day. What more could one ask? Tomorrow, unfortunately, will be a bit more hectic. I need to make about 90 latkes for the Chanukah party we're hosting in the evening. I don't even know yet if that is a physical possibility. Then we get to play Botulism Roulette with the homemade applesauce again. I'm telling you, the fun never stops...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Waiting For Santa...

We each open one gift on Christmas Eve (and, yes, I know that's not what the holiday is all about, but we like presents, so chill, will ya?) and I opened the one that Rachel had picked out for me. It was a bright (very) red- and green-sequined change purse, and you could tell that she just knew I'd love it. Also, she put 36 cents in it, to sweeten the deal.

I think this gift will turn out to be my personal lifeline through Rachel's teen years. When she's 13 (and acting like Anna), its mere existence will remind me that, yes, at some point Rachel loved me enough to give me the world's most beautiful change purse, and all her worldly savings, to boot. Although I'm sure she'll catch me looking at it on a particular bad day and say, in a voice dripping with disgust, "Why do you keep that ugly old thing?"

That's okay, sweetie; we'll always have Christmas (2008).

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Presents? Oh, Yeah...

For some reason, Larry is cleaning out the fridge. Doesn't he realize he's throwing out tomorrow's post? Now he's muttering something about "dinner." Dinner? Who is he kidding? We had our annual gingerbread-house decorating blowout this afternoon. The kids are stuffed to the gills with candy in various shapes and forms, and my blood sugar level is so messed up I'm seeing double. We don't need dinner - we need insulin. And maybe some tranquilizer dart guns to get the kids to calm down enough to go to bed...

Quick - what do y'all get your husbands for Christmas? Because I still don't have anything for Larry (hmmm, this sounds familiar, doesn't it?), and I'm desperate. Give me some ideas, will ya? Inexpensive ones, of course...

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Day That Disappeared

Every time I decide to abandon routine and be a bit spontaneous, it comes back to bite me. Always. Without fail. Which explains why my entire day yesterday evaporated when I spontaneously decided to go to a friend's house and learn how to make pierogies... By the time I brought the dough and filling home and finished assembling them, it was 5 PM and I realized I had nothing else for dinner; so we ate the pierogies for the first night of Chanukah instead of saving them for Christmas Eve as planned.

I figure I'll make latkes on Christmas Eve, just to complete my poor children's interfaith confusion. Then we'll hang up our stockings, play some Dreidel by the fire, leave jelly doughnuts out for Santa, and go to sleep with visions of Chanukah gelt dancing in our heads. In fact, this approach might be more appropriate than I have heretofore realized, if this news report is at all reliable. (If you're Jewish, click on that - it's funny.)

Susie (aka the preschooler-formerly-known-as-pottytrained) has once again spent her entire day peeing and pooping in her clothes. I swear, she thinks it's a hobby. I asked her why she no longer sits on the potty (because, yes, I am an idiot and think I can get a reasonable answer to that question) and she said, with a shrug, "I just gave up."

Apparently, she's okay with that.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Gosh, A Post About Christmas!

Christmas Pageant last night: Anna's in the Ensemble, so we still had to attend, despite my defection from Angel Duty - plus, I was on the clean-up crew for the party afterwards. I enjoyed the pageant, as I really like sitting in front of 2 women who obviously attended the festivities in order to talk non-stop in non-whispers all through the singing and the instrumental solos and the speaking parts while letting their kids run wild up and down the aisles.

And, no, Larry wouldn't let me turn around and ask them to please speak up, because really, I came to listen to them...he's no fun at all sometimes...

Rachel informed me today that there is no Santa; and I explained that there would also be no presents for her if she ruined things for Susie. So she and Susie went to visit Santa at the pageant (he was there!) and came back with goody bags filled with candy (because, really, there wasn't enough cookies and cake and other junk at the party). Upon seeing the girls' loot, Brian decided he needed to see Santa also; but by the time he got to the head of the line, the elves had run out of bags. I told Brian that's because Santa knew he really didn't believe in him.

Okay, no, I didn't; but I wanted to.

Anna has been doing her best to make me feel lousy the last 2 days, and it's working. Thanks, sweetheart. As if being 45 and turning gray and being 15 pounds overweight isn't enough, I need to have someone looking at me with disgust all the time. And when she looks annoyed when she hears my voice, well...it just makes my heart sing. I made sure to whistle Christmas carols as I drove her home from the pageant. She likes that.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Stealing Sucks

Dear Not-Nice Person Who Took My Stuff,

If you are starving, or if you have kids who otherwise will not receive any Christmas presents, I have nothing against your Ebaying the contents of the bag you found on a mall bench last night.

Otherwise, however, you are a true lowlife. There was a Lands End return slip in that bag - you could have taken it over to Sears (as my daughter was about to do for me) and turned it in. Or you could have brought it to the mall management office. That's what I would have done. You know why I would have done that? Because the stuff in the bag wouldn't have been mine. Yeah. You took someone else's stuff. As in, it's not yours.

Maybe you just happen to be a size 6 (petite) and decided you'd like to wear the clothes yourself. Well, be forewarned: when you bend over in those pants, people can see your butt. I hope everyone sees your butt and laughs at you. Yeah. And those white blouses (2 different sizes) that I ordered for my daughter to try for her orchestra performance and that she didn't like (not that she likes anything I pick out)? I hope the first time you wear them, you spill stuff on them that stains and doesn't come off.

Why? Because those clothes aren't yours, that's why. They were mine, and I was about to return them and be refunded my money. Money that I've been working hard for, thanks. Somehow, when I took that job at the bookstore, I didn't think I'd be spending all the money I earned the first 2 weeks to clothe a perfect stranger. I mean, I believe in tithing and all; just not 100 percent, all right?

Forget the job - I think I'll just cruise the mall and take other people's stuff. Why work?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

As The Food Turns: Skipped Week Edition

Before I begin with my semi-regular refrigerator cleansing, I would just like to say that I am stunned by the number of people cruising the Internet looking for Santa jokes this week. I wish I could think of another one...

I missed a week, didn't I? Maybe because I am tired of embarrassing myself in front of the entire blogosphere all the time, okay? But as this seems to be the only way for my fridge to get cleaned out, I'm back to being humiliated. I regard this process as an expiatory exercise, akin to the Rite of Reconciliation (Confession, for you old-timers) in the Catholic Church.

Forgive me, Father, for I have wasted food.
You are forgiven, child; go forth and waste no more! Oh, and for penance, you must display to the world pictures of your profligacy.

In the front you can see our produce contestants this week: a forgotten bag of baby carrots, a dried bunch of cilantro (I think) and a dried bunch of something else green, and 2 apples. Could someone please explain to me how pioneer families kept bushels of apples fresh over the winter in their root cellars if I can't keep apples for 6 weeks in my fridge? I don't get it.

Moving on: hiding behind the produce is a saucepan of leftover hot cocoa. I would have heated it up, but I could never find a time when I wouldn't have to divide evenly, 6 ways, what little is left in there. I'd rather throw it out. Sorry. I am unrepentant on that one.

As you can see, I have segregated my leftover containers - glass on the left, plastic on the right. Perhaps in a non-fallen world the glass and the plastic would stack peaceably together; but, as we still live in a society riven by superficial differences, they are piled separately. To the left, from the top, are remnants of cooked broccoli, some tomato sauce (no idea where that came from), and cooked green beans (produce does seem to be the theme this week). On the right are the separate but equal containers of oatmeal, rice, tuna salad dregs (bleccch), and jello. Can jello go bad? Anyone?

Okay, I found another Santa joke (again, courtesy of Prairie Home Companion): Did you hear about the dyslexic devil worshipper?



He sold his soul to Santa. Ba-da-bum...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Really!?!


With apologies to SNL, here's my take (only, um, not as funny) on "Really!?! with Seth and Amy":

Anna, really? You've been cleaning up the kitchen since you were 8 or 9, and you thought it was okay to leave the unwrapped sliced French bread out on the cutting board? Really? And that canned pineapple juice mess spilled on the counter? That's okay, too? Really? You know, the part that is really sticky? That just didn't need any attention? Really?

David, we always run the dishwasher after lunch. But tonight you just assumed that that full, clean dishwasher was full of dirty dishes? Really? And then you thought it was okay to sort of pile most of the dirty dinner dishes in on top of them? Really? And leave the rest in the sink for me to do later, or tomorrow? Do I ever look happy in the morning facing a sink full of dirty dishes? Really? Does anyone around here remember that Christmas is coming? Does anyone recognize that statement as a veiled threat? Really!

Larry, really? 3 hours spent on the main floor of the house this evening, and you never noticed the mess in the kitchen? Really? You didn't grab a drink of water, or set up your coffee pot for the morning? Maybe you were too busy looking at things like this on the Internet? Just for your info, I don't think I'd look good in those. Really. And then you're puzzled why I didn't get back to bed until after midnight? Really? Maybe you think I like to do dishes at 11 PM? Are you just trying to make me happy? Really?!

Suburban Correspondent, did you really think you would get away with falling asleep early? Really? After all these years, did you really assume that everything would be okay in that kitchen? Was the evening nap worth it? Really?


Thanks. Just had to get that off my chest. Really.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bad Santa Jokes

For some reason Larry left the sponge mop I use for work in the kitchen (because, maybe, he didn't like it floating around his car?). When Rachel spotted it in the kitchen, she got all excited. "Mommy!" she said. "You could use that here in the house, too!"

Well, yes - that would be nice for a change, wouldn't it? Do you think Larry put her up to that suggestion?

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Speaking of slovenly housekeeping practices, did you know that the smell of a dirty stove drip pan (heated to "high") in the kitchen mingling with the aroma of fresh Christmas tree in the living room can produce an odor noxious enough to make one think (if one is as leery of gas appliances as I am) that the gas fireplace is about to explode?

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Oh, and speaking of fireplaces (don't you admire how I segue effortlessly from one subject to another?), I've come up with a new way to torment my children. You see, I know my Rachel - she probably figures she doesn't have to be good - she can just trick Santa into thinking she's been good. Ha! I'll just tell her that if I feel she doesn't deserve any presents from Santa, I'll just leave the fireplace lit on Christmas Eve.

As Calvin said, "Santa flambe?!" [Sorry, can't find a link to that particular strip]

Then again, Rachel might be intrigued by the concept. Never mind.

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And I'll leave you with my favorite Santa joke (as heard on Prairie Home Companion a number of years ago):

Q: Why does Santa always chuckle, "Ho, ho, ho!"?

A: Because he knows where all the naughty girls live...


Friday, December 12, 2008

NOT About The Holidays

When out driving with the children, make sure to refrain from pointing out a roadside flock of birdies until you ascertain that they are indeed a cute bunch of feathered friends and not a mob of turkey vultures ripping apart a roadkill carcass. The latter, apparently, can be a bit traumatic for the younger set. And for any vegetarians you might be transporting.

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Let's hear it for emergency C-sections! My best friend gave birth early this morning to a 9-pound baby girl - with a prolapsed cord. A very frightening scenario, indeed. But all's well that ends well, as they say...she's now got the cutest little angel in her arms. This is her fifth birth, but first C-section; and she's a bit overwhelmed by how much pain she is in. Can any of you out there give good advice for recovering from a Caesarean? It would be like a baby shower, blogging style.

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It is not yet clear whether Larry and I will still be talking to each other by the end of this joyous holiday season. It depends upon which wins out - the maturity to be expected of a middle-aged adult or my tendency toward holding petty grievances. Has anyone else noticed that the longer you are married, the stupider the arguments can get?

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Anna had a flute recital tonight. There was a couple of hours of pleasant music-making, followed by some refreshments. Or, from the kids' point of view, there were two hours of agonized waiting (involving lots of shushing), followed by copious amounts of cookies and juice. I think Anna's teacher learned tonight not to record a recital held in a church with wooden pews - my kids managed to add quite a few percussive effects to the soundtrack. And, no, I don't know why Brian had those golf balls in his raincoat pocket...

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Time to be off to bed. Aren't you impressed that I didn't waste your time complaining about Christmas tonight?








Thursday, December 11, 2008

Grumpiness Explained

(Sniff.) Bia called me a grumpypants in the comments yesterday. Bia, for those among you who are unfortunate enough not to know her yet, is such a warm, motherly, Italian type that her blog practically smells like fresh-baked cookies. In her blog, she talks about such things as family nights, her sainted Nonna, and how to get along in a big Italian family. If I could be anyone else in this life, I would be her. I mean, I would be she. Whichever....

Anyway, Bia was understandably appalled at my un-Christmas-y attitude yesterday. Let me say in my defense that I used to love the holiday season. I would like nothing more than to be the sort of person whose house is decorated, whose cookies are baked, and whose children are all in fresh matching jammies for those Christmas morning pictures by the tree.

In fact, I've spent the past 17 years telling myself that, once there was no longer a baby in the house (like, say, this year), I would be able to pull off the Christmas I'd always dreamed of. Not fancy, of course - but warm, and homey, with lots of baking and festivities. And nobody spitting up on my shoulder.

But I woke up yesterday morning and realized that

1. my Christmas cards weren't done,

2. I had to bake cookies for no less than 3 separate events in the next week (plus make special decorating frosting for the girls' club cookie-making extravaganza),

3. I had not even begun to think about the baked goods for our relatives' Christmas boxes

4. There were no latkes made and stored in my freezer for the Chanukah party that is less than 2 weeks away

5. I had bought gifts for the kids, but I had no idea for which ones nor how many

6. I'm still in charge of all the day-to-day details of the lives of 8 people here (bathing, feeding, clothing, etc), in addition to my holiday duties

There's more, but I think you get the idea. Are some women just born with the Christmas gene, or what? It's not as if I'm aiming high here - we're talking presents, cards, and cookies, folks. That's as basic as it can get.

So, forgive me, Bia, for grumping. I'm just incredibly jealous. And mystified...how do you do it?


Oh, and if you do come by with those store-bought cookies you offered, could you get them at an Italian bakery? I like those best.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Take Back The Holidays

You wanna know how I'm feeling? Screw Christmas. Screw Chanukah, too. Folks, I've come to realize that the holiday-tradition bar has been set way too high for a mere mortal like myself. Really. Game over. Holidays are supposed to be fun, remember?

I hereby resolve to:

1. Quit the church Christmas pageant. Rachel and Brian no longer want to participate. And I never really wanted to be in charge of Angels (Group 1) anyway. Screw it.

2. Forget the house. It will never be any cleaner than it is now. Screw that, too.

3. Buy a Christmas tree at Home Depot. Unless you're tramping out into the snowy woods and cutting down your own wild tree, it ain't traditional. Don't freeze your butts off at a Christmas tree farm - don't you realize that's where the trees at Home Depot come from? And they're cheaper at the store, too. Duh.

4. Summon all the kids into the (messy) living room, plop them down on the couch without regard to size/age order, and snap a picture. No matching clothes, no neatly combed hair, nothing. Reality photo cards, folks - they're all the rage.

5. Our second annual New Year's Party? Still on. Anyone who doesn't appreciate pre-made guacamole from Trader Joe's and Hebrew National frozen hotdogs in biscuit dough can just stay home. I'll heat up the hotdogs, though. Maybe.

6. Fancy Christmas dinner? Why? We just had turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving, right? Have it more than once a year and no one will appreciate it. I think we'll just have cookies and candy canes that day, thanks. That's all the kids really want, anyway.


7. My holiday table will most emphatically not look like the picture above. I have nothing against beautiful, holiday-themed quilted table runners with matching Christmas china and (gasp!) napkins all the same color. In fact, I admire people who set their tables this way. But I have come to accept that such a layout is not within my capability to pull off. Ever.



8. Meaningful, appropriate gift-giving is now banned. I'm giving people whatever is convenient. A beer-bottle opener for the 6-year-old? Why not? Apparently, she likes beer. 5 homemade scarves to be divided among 10 people? Hey - half of the recipients probably don't even want a dorky-looking handknit muffler, anyway. I'm thinking this could be a lot of fun. Stay tuned for gift-giving ideas for and from the teen set.




9. Latkes for Chanukah? I'm using the mix, straight from the box. I'd use frozen, but those taste really bad. Chanukah gifts? Cold, hard cash - er, I mean, gelt. Chanukah gelt. And dreidels? They're around here somewhere - Lord knows, I'm always running across one in the silverware drawer or on a bookshelf until the day before Chanukah, when they all magically disappear until January.

10. Hah! Screw it. I can't think of #10, and Theo wants the computer to fill out college applications or some such nonsense. Can't he see I'm blogging?

Fellow holiday slackers, feel free to share your own resolutions in the comments. No Martha Stewart wanna-be's allowed. This site is for Christmas/Chanukah slackers only. Got it? Good.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Miscellaneous Miscellany

I took yesterday off, because things were stupidly crazy around here; but you know what? I would rather have been blogging.

I know - it's sad.

After 17 years of keeping house, I'm particular about the tools I use. So, no more pushing that ugly, stringy, industrial-sized behemoth of a mop around the bookstore floors. I'm fast and efficient with the cute little sponge mop I brought in to work with me yesterday. The supervisor was only a bit taken aback by my supplying my own cleaning equipment. Wait 'til he meets my Swiffer...

Bunko tonight - I lost, but I ate lots of food to make up for it.

Hello? Whoever decided that high school seniors should be working on college applications precisely when their mothers are engulfed by the holiday rush? You are a very evil person. This unfortunate confluence of events may push me right off the knife-edge of sanity where I currently reside.

Blogger won't let me load photos tonight. Blogger hates me.

Rachel had something Susie wanted, so Susie said, "Rachel, give it to me!" And Rachel said, "No!" and Susie said, "You have to!" And Rachel said, "Why?" And Susie said, "Cause if you don't, I'll be crying..."

That girl has our number, methinks.

Maybe I'll go to bed before midnight tonight, just for a change. See y'all in the morning!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

As The Food Turns: Saturday Edition

Look - I really don't want to talk about it, all right? No item-by-item list this week; I'll just leave it all to your imaginations. But that jam jar on the top right? You're right - you have seen it before.

I blame Thanksgiving for the shameful fridge-cleanout results this week. And my parents' visiting and taking us out to dinner for a few nights. And just the general chaos of life. And, hey! I started a new job, too! So cut me some slack, will ya?

Friday, December 05, 2008

Why Convents Are A Good Idea

I let Anna bike alone to the library yesterday. She returned a few hours later with the exciting news that a strange man in a red pick-up truck had stopped and asked her if she were from Czechoslovakia (I spelled that right the first try, thanks).

Me [mentally clutching heart]: And you kept biking, right?
Her: And I said I wasn't from Czechoslovakia...
Me: And then you biked away!
Her: No-o-o-o. And then he said, "Well, you look very pretty anyway." Isn't that neat?
Me: And? And?
Her: Then he got back in his truck and drove away.
Me:
Her: He was very nice!

Yes, most serial killers are, aren't they?

And no, she's not biking alone again. Ever.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Dream On


I admit it - I didn't clean out the fridge yesterday. My negligence came back to haunt me in my dreams last night (what is it with all these dreams, anyway?). There were leftovers everywhere; I turned on the oven to preheat it and discovered (too late) that there were Pyrex storage dishes full of food in the oven, their plastic lids melting in the heat. Opening the refrigerator, I found single-serving cups of yogurt far advanced enough in the fermentation process to have burst through their foil tops. There was an entire dinner entree that I had no memory whatsoever of preparing. Larry walked into this scene of housekeeping carnage and said something to the effect of, "What is wrong with you, anyway?"

(A side note here: in the dream, I had to yell at David for attempting to save one of the aforementioned yogurts from the trash. His packrat tendencies irritate me, even in my sleep.)

Is there no rest for the weary? Is anyone else out there tormented at night by their daytime housekeeping inadequacies? Inquiring minds want to know...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Dream Weaver

Last night I dreamed that Larry moved all of us to Central America for a few years. To some small, nowhere town in the mountains (Are there mountains in Central America? Must check), where no one knew any English. And we don't speak Spanish. I expressed some trepidation over this situation and he said, "Don't worry, honey. The language immersion will be great for the kids."

Only a homeschooler would dream that.

Anyway, the day after we moved to this strange place where we couldn't communicate with anyone, he went on a 3-week business trip.

But he left us presents. I got a kit full of hand- and ankle-weights.

So maybe he thinks I need more exercise and that I talk to my friends too much. But I do think he should keep those thoughts to his own dreams and stop interfering in mine, don't you?



Boy, that picture looks weird. Was everyone on drugs in the 70's, or what?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Shopping and Knitting and Puppies!

I took 3 daughters to the mall today to help Anna find a dressy white blouse for Anna for her concert. No, it wasn't easy; but mothering girls is not for the weak. If you can't stand the heat, get the heck out of the shopping center, all right?

We emerged from the mall victorious. And then I came home to undone laundry, a half-done dinner, and general chaos all around. Because I wouldn't want to feel like a success or anything...

**************************

Orchestra carpool tonight - that meant that I had almost 3 hours to sit around and knit. This is why it is a good idea to encourage musical interest in your progeny.

Although you do have to give up some of your yarn money for those darn lessons....[oh, hey, no pun intended - but that was pretty good, wasn't it?]

*************************

If I don't remember to get the recycling out on time tomorrow morning, I am going to have to buy a new house to live in that isn't filled with old newspapers or empty plastic bottles. But at least that isn't as embarrassing a reason for a forced new-house purchase as this one. It's hard to feel sorry for these people, I must say. Anyone stupid enough to e-mail naked pictures of herself to her husband's cell phone and then be surprised that other people saw them deserves online infamy. And now they are suing people over it. I hope the judge laughs at them and tells them to go away. Oh, and confiscates their cell phones, also...

***********************

While I finished preparing dinner, I kept the younger kids busy by letting them watch this puppy-cam site. Anna, hearing them oohing and aahing over the fluffy little things, said, "Isn't it sort of pathetic that they have electronic pets?"

I can't imagine where she gets that sardonic wit from.

Awww - I just went to the site again to copy the link, and all the widdle puppies are settling down to sleep....


************************

Have you noticed? I don't think anyone has thrown up here since July 4th. That must be some sort of a record. I might even have to take "Vomit!" off my header. Gladly.




Sunday, November 30, 2008

Take Me Out To The Costco...

I spent 3 and a half hours at work yesterday evening straightening books on shelves. Yup. And then I cleaned a bathroom. After that, I waited for the cashiers to finish counting their drawers. That netted me about 30 dollars. Which almost pays for the pair of jeans I ordered from Lands End this afternoon...

I'm spending it faster than I can make it.

I made an executive decision at work: despite our company policy of asking each and every customer if we can aid them in the book selection process, I will not proffer assistance to a gentleman(?) investigating a tome titled 101 Sex Positions. I just couldn't picture myself walking up to him and saying, "May I help you with that?"

In fact, I hid in another aisle until he was gone. A whole store full of good books and that's what he picks out? Sheesh.

*************************

Uncle Matt took me and the kids to Costco today. I'd never been. We ate lots of samples and bought 2 big jars of (you guessed it) salsa. Old habits die hard. Then Uncle Matt treated the kids to one-dollar hotdogs. A good time was had by all.

What can I say? We're easily amused.

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There's nothing else here. Check out some of the other one-and-a-half million blogs, will ya? Tell me if you find something good.

Or follow me on Twitter...I think I've got it now...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Tweet, Tweet

Today was getting off to a slow start, so Grandpa decided to liven things up by requesting a visit to the local urgent-care facility to investigate some excruciating ear pain of his. I grabbed one of my many knitting bags and headed out the door with him, leaving Larry on his own to wrestle the kids into the proper clothes for holiday-parade attendance. Grandpa got some antibiotic ear drops, and I got over an hour of extra knitting time in. I call that a win-win, don't you?

Except for Larry - he got to sit on a cold sidewalk for an hour waiting for Santa to ride by...

And I'll admit it - I caved. I headed over to Michael's with 2 50%-off coupons in hand, looking to buy some more yarn for the scarf I'm working on. And wouldn't you know, that yarn was already discounted - I couldn't use the coupons for it. So that I wouldn't have compromised my no-shopping-on-Black-Friday principles for nothing, I used the coupons on some other yarn I wanted.

So, yes, I bought 3 skeins of yarn today. But I don't think yarn-buying really counts as shopping, anymore than breathing counts as exercise. Meaning, it's too essential.


Many thanks to all of you who sent me info on Twitter. I managed to install a Twitter something-or-other on my Firefox whatchamacallit, which makes it way more accessible. After wasting an hour on it this evening, I've determined that Twitter reminds me more of an old-fashioned party line (think the Waltons, okay?) than anything else.

Oh, and Larry found my socks. Behind the dryer, happily unshrunken...naturally, I Twittered about it...

[Is that proper usage? Should it be, I Twittered it instead?]

Friday, November 28, 2008

Random Thoughts On A (Not) Snowy Morning

I'm fine. Really. Just got to get going and make breakfast for a bunch of people...do you think they want their turkey cold, or warmed up?

(Don't worry - they're getting pie with it.)

Could someone answer a really dumb question? How the heck does one use Twitter? From what I can see, I have to go to a webpage, log on, and post. Is there a different way to do it? Because that doesn't seem spontaneous enough to me...

And how do you know when someone you "follow" Twitters? Do you have to keep checking the webpage?

I want to use Twitter because everyone else is doing it. I guess none of us ever really escape the siren call of peer pressure, do we?

Oh, and all you folks up in Canada - could you stop making me jealous with all those blog pictures of beautiful snow scenes in your backyards? Where I'm at, everything is brown. With a little tired green thrown in. It doesn't exactly shout "Christmas!" In fact, it's downright boring.


I'm not going shopping today. If the economy tanks, y'all can blame me.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

As The Food Turns: Thanksgiving Edition

Yeah, I'm a day late. So shoot me. I had my first evening of work yesterday; I'll talk more about that tomorrow, but just let me say that if someone wants to pay me to vacuum, I'm all for it. That's what I've been practicing for all these years.

So, over there, below and to the left (the left! something different every week!) is a comely stack of past-their-prime leftovers, taking their farewell walk, as it were. From the top down:

1. homemade blackberry jam from Auntie Kate. Yum.
2. leftover oatmeal that I once again neglected to force on my hungry children.
3. egg salad. Blecch. Don't do a close-up on that one.
4. Mexican chicken and black beans. I'm surprised to see this, as I managed to serve these leftovers at 3 separate meals. Maybe I should cook in smaller quantities?
5. crockroast drippings. If I had made real gravy out of these, they wouldn't have been left over. Mea culpa.
6. cranberry sauce. Ousted from the refrigerator to make room for the fresh batch we made yesterday.
7. mashed potatoes. We're making more today. Maybe I should have been more frugal and tried using these instead...

Well, I'm off to do an emergency run to the grocery store - because 3 times already this week just wasn't enough. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Whistle A Happy Tune...

Happiness is finding forgotten chocolate in my knitting bag. What more could a gal ask for?

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I am starting to realize that if I've knitted 4 scarves since last December, I cannot possibly knit 6 more in the next two weeks. Do you think it would be a good idea to mail 5 scarves this year and then mail another 5 next year for the people who didn't get any? The problem is, these are all being packed in one big box, so people are going to know they've been left out.

That's not one of the ones I've done, by the way - I stole someone else's picture. So don't start asking me where I got the yarn, or how it feels to knit with, or whatever. I've been using Paton's merino, which is a great deal at Michael's with the 40 percent off coupon.

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My teen daughter wants to see "Twilight" - the movie made from the book that you should have heard about by now if you are acquainted with any of the female species. It's a classic tale of star-crossed lovers, all mixed up in teenage melodrama. Only this particular star-crossed couple consists of a human girl and a vampire guy. I asked Anna how that could work and she explained, "Well, the guy is a vegetarian vampire."

All righty, then. That clears it right up.


*******************

The pair of socks that I knit 3 times has disappeared. I last saw them on top of the washer. This does not bode well. I asked Larry if he had seen them and he said no, but he didn't sound convincing. My guess is that someone threw them in the dryer by mistake and that Larry came upon their shrunken forms and did what any sensible knitter's husband would do in such a situation: he hid them.

Let this be a reminder to all of us: we should hug our handknits frequently and tell them how special they are. Any time together could be our last.

*********************

Susie is fine with her stitches as long as we don't
  1. wipe her face
  2. take off her shirt
  3. put on her shirt
  4. give her drippy food
Apparently, when one warns a three-year-old to be careful of her stitches, she takes it very, very seriously.

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Anna looks surprised and vaguely annoyed to find me still here. As in, "Don't you have a home to go to?" surprised. Or, "You're so old and boring, why do you even bother to go on living?" annoyed. In her eyes, I look precisely like the picture to the left. Only, less fun.

I try not to take it personally. I mean, if I'm lucky, I only have to wait another 20 - 30 years for her to be regarded the same way by her teen daughter.


Not that I'm counting the days, or anything...






Monday, November 24, 2008

A Word To The Wise

How Not To Be An Organized Knitter

  1. Get a tote bag.
  2. Put a work-in-progress in it.
  3. Add a tape measure and a darning needle.
  4. Put another work-in-progress in it, in case you finish the first one while you are out somewhere. Make sure there is enough loose yarn to allow both projects to become entangled. Bonus points if tape measure gets tangled also.
  5. Repeat with several more tote bags.
  6. Buy more knitting needles because you can't remember what you have and it is too time-consuming to check all those bags.
  7. Put the spare needles in yet another bag.
  8. Buy more tape measures while you're at it. Put them with the spare needles.
  9. Misplace bag.
  10. Repeat steps 1-9 ad nauseam.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Never Never Land

I excitedly told my husband this evening that AlisonH instructed me (in the comments on this post) on how to prevent scarring after Susie's stitches are removed.


"AlisonH?" he asked. "Are we taking advice from imaginary people again? Haven't we talked about this?"

"But she's real! She wrote a book!" I said, feeling a tad defensive.

 "She says it's her book."

"Well, she wouldn't lie - she's very nice. She even voted for Obama."

"Maybe she just said that to fool you into trusting her."

That Larry - he refuses to believe in the magic that is the Internet. I bet that when he saw Peter Pan, he refused to clap for Tinkerbell.
Everyone clap your hands if you believe in AlisonH, will you? Sheesh...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

This And That, And Some Other Stuff

Larry and David are off on a biking/camping trip with the Boy Scouts this weekend. I know there is nothing I would rather do than ride a bike all day in 35-degree weather and then sleep outside all night as the mercury drops into the low 20's. I'm glad that the Girl Scouts don't do things like that. We just sell cookies. That, I can handle.

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Do all bloggers entertain a secret fantasy of working in a bookstore? That's what it would seem like from my comments. I think we picture something somewhat genteel and scholarly about the job; but nowadays, I'm thinking, bookstore workers may just be corporate tools like everyone else. For example, there are quotas we need to meet in selling discount cards and magazine subscriptions (no cookie-selling, though). No one has told me what happens to an employee who doesn't meet those quotas - I'm assuming it's something awful, like having to read Thomas the Tank Engine books to the kiddies at story hour. Oh, the horror! The horror!

But, hey - at least I'd get paid. I do that at home for nothing. They pay me for cleaning the bathrooms, too. Imagine that!

*****************************

I've been knitting scarves and socks like a madwoman, with not much to show for it. And my friend has the nerve to be having a baby in December - doesn't she know I'm racing to finish the holiday gift knitting? Where am I supposed to find the time to make a Mason-Dixon baby kimono?

********************

I had to take Susie's bandage off to apply some antibiotic ointment. Seeing the stitches almost made me throw up. I thought they used thread, people! But she looks as though she's got the equivalent of pig bristles on her chin. What's up with that? The poor kid got a glimpse of it in the mirror tonight and started screaming. That's my girl!

I know - now you want a picture. I'll work on it. I promise it won't be as gross as Heather's gallstones.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

More Gray Hairs

That chair? The one that the kids were having so much fun on? The one that was such a great deal at a yard sale? Tonight it cost us a 50-dollar emergency room copay after Rachel swung it around too fast and Susie fell off, landing on her chin.

I didn't know chins could bleed that much.

On the bright side (because that's where I like to live), Susie's teeth weren't knocked out, the stitches at the ER only took 2 hours, and none of the other kids drank Larry's untouched glass of beer while he and I were at the hospital with our injured one.

Yeah, Larry was just settling down for a rare relaxing evening when all this happened. He should have known better, right?

While Susie was still screaming and Larry was attempting to stanch (sp?) the flow of blood, Rachel was yelling at me, "Get the band-aids! Get the Bactine!" She's a natural medic. I just hope she doesn't get any weird sewing ideas after she sees Susie's stitches.

There are 8 stitches on that little chin. Sensible guy that he is, Larry, after getting an initial glimpse of the damage inflicted, said to me, "Let's go. And don't look." I guess he didn't want to deal with an unconscious wife in addition to an injured child. Good call.

And, as usual in these situations, the parents are more traumatized than the child. Susie didn't even cry during the stitching. And she sang herself to sleep tonight while playing with the pretty hospital bracelet the "nice lady" gave her.

******************************

It turns out that the manager at the bookstore is interested in hiring someone who has a kid-induced lobotomy. Imagine that! Can I interest you in our members' discount card?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

As The Food Turns: Freezer Edition

Joss left this comment on last Saturday's fridge post:
"I really enjoy your fridge clean-out posts... I was just wondering though - have you ever considered freezing leftovers and sauces/soups? We inevitably have too much and freezing helps them last longer (although it can clog up the freezer sometimes)."
As a matter of fact, I have considered that. I even have in my freezer a number of foil pans containing dinner leftovers that, in theory, reheat easily. But when I do decide to have a freezer dinner, somehow they never taste very good. At least, no one seems to want to eat them.

I also attempt to save odds and ends that would be useful in future meals. In fact, there are various and sundry items I have thriftily frozen and then forgotten in our kitchen freezer, aka "the black hole." You can see some of them below, to the right. (By the way, I had just managed to snap this picture when the whole tower came tumbling down.)

Let's take it from the top, all right? We have an Amy's frozen burrito, which is strange, as I have never, ever bought one of these overpriced uber-organic fast foodstuffs myself. I think it may have ended up in my freezer during my friend's kitchen remodel last June. Feel free to comment if you want it back!

Next are 2 baggies of bread cubes. I don't know when I put them in there, and I have no idea what I meant to do with them. Which may explain why they are still here...

Next up - frozen strawberries, handpicked by the children in May of 2007. Yup. I guess I was saving them for a special occasion that never happened.

Below the strawberries is a cylindrical container of ice. Why? Because our electric snow-cone maker demanded ice in this exact shape. We became mindless slaves to this tyrannical appliance, as evidenced by the bag of cylindrical-shaped ice blocks below:


What is really odd is that I no longer even own said snow cone maker.

Below the ice (first picture) are 2 containers of cooked pumpkin from Halloween 2007. Again, that special occasion for which I was saving them must not have occurred. Does anyone know if this stuff might still be good? I put an awful lot of work into it.

Holding everything up is a gladware container of what I think was canned tomato sauce. I must have frozen it after using half a can for dinner one night, just as Joss recommends. And then I promptly forgot about it.

Joss, does this answer your question?


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pounding The Pavement

I've seen a recent uptick in my spam box of get-rich-quick schemes. Work from home! 300 hundred dollars a day! Use your computer to make money!

Does my e-mail address scream "I'm stupid!" to scam artists, or what? I think the only way I could use my computer to make money is to sell it.

I interviewed this past weekend for a part-time job at a nearby bookstore. Apparently, I have forgotten how to talk like a normal grown-up. Totally. The manager asked me what sort of situations stress me out. She had to ask me twice, because I was too overwhelmed at first with possible scenarios to even try to be articulate.

I mean, should I have mentioned that a 4-year-old stuffing household items down the toilet almost sent me over the edge? Should I have told her about the decapitation episodes? This was all going through my mind as she patiently asked me the question again. I stammered, "I have 6 kids. Nothing can stress me out anymore." And then I added (because I can't shut up once I do get started talking), "My friends and I call it kid-induced lobotomy syndrome."

All those pimply 17-year-old applicants I was up against should thank me for making them look good.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thank You, Car Talk!

Hey! I took a day off! Bet you didn't even notice...but you see, I had to take some time just to rest on my laurels, as it were...because apparently I've managed to do something special.

I made Click and Clack laugh.

Yup. They linked to me this week, and my blog has been teeming today with people who apparently spend a lot of time at work looking at very unproductive websites.

Are they laughing at me? With me? Who cares? Click and Clack found this post funny. I think I can die happy now.

But before I do that, I'd like to announce that Susie seems to be potty-trained. Oh, I'm sure there will still be some accidents, most likely highly embarrassing ones in very public places; but, essentially, my diapering days are over.

After 17 years, folks...do you have any idea how that feels?

My post-election high has been officially extended one more week...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Victory

After 4 tries on sock #1 and 2 tries on sock #2 (and if you think about it, I really knit 3 pairs of socks here), I finally have this (over there to the right) to show for all my efforts.


This was the first pair I have knit from Sockotta, and I am desperately trying to ignore the fact that the socks are, as I type this post, making my ankles itch. Nope, I just won't think about that at all.






I was also victorious (albeit 3 days late) in my weekly fridge cleaning. And not merely victorious, but downright creative, actually - I present to y'all Still Life With Leftovers:



Nice, isn't it? The dying flowers add a certain je ne sais quoi to the usual stack of Pyrex. Van Gogh, eat your heart out.


P.S. And for those of you who just have to know, from bottom to top it's chicken in black bean sauce, potroast (maybe), black bean soup, scrambled egg, and cooked pumpkin. I'm sure Ma Ingalls would have made some sort of a delicious stew out of all these ingredients before they went bad; I bow to her superior subsistence skills.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Accident Avoidance

Larry asked me out on another lunch date this week. As is our wont, we met at a nearby supermarket (where I made sure not to cut in line) and shared a 6-dollar sub and a bag of chips. That Larry, he sure knows how to show a girl a good time, doesn't he?

After a not-so-leisurely lunch, gentleman that he is, Larry offered to walk me to my car. Now, ever since my little parking lot incident last June, I've been careful to park my car far, far away from any other cars. Seeing as how we have to send some kids to college soon, I just can't afford to take any more bumper-scraping risks. Plus, I can use the exercise.

So, we set off. We walked. And we walked. And we walked some more. In fact, we walked so far that Larry finally felt constrained to ask, "By any chance, did you park at home?"

You know, that might have been an even better idea...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Arlo's Economic Plan

Okay. Deep breath here. Trying not to get upset. Maybe I should stop reading the papers, that might help. Then I wouldn't come across gems like this one. 290 billion dollars handed out to companies who are essentially financial miscreants, and there hasn't been any oversight? Could someone explain that to me, please?

Maybe Congress and the Treasury should dispense with all pretense and just come to my door, knee me in the groin, and take my wallet. I think that would be more honest, don't you?

In honor of the latest economic news, I share with you Arlo Guthrie's recently updated version of Tom Paxton's very funny "I'm Changing My Name To Chrysler." I prefer the original version, because Mr. Paxton managed to rhyme "Iacocca" with "power broker." But the YouTuber who posted that version is looking to overthrow the capitalist system, and I wouldn't want any of you to think I was supporting a Socialist or anything.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Believe It Or Not

I slipped up yesterday: I agreed to meet with friends at Burger King, completely forgetting about my ongoing quest to eat only the food already in our house. I honored the spirit of the Iron Mom subsistence experiment, however, by ordering only from the Dollar Menu. That works, right? I'd hate to be disqualified from the competition at this point.

By the way, BK has this weird thing right now where you donate a dollar to some cause or another and they give you a booklet of 8 Value Fry coupons. So I paid a dollar and bought 8 fries. That can't be right.

Thank you all for the fun potato recipes. We dined on oven-roasted potatoes and carrots last night; and this evening I threw the leftovers in a pan and scrambled eggs with them. Also, I discovered a cache of brussels sprouts in my veggie drawer to serve as a vegetable. Oddly enough, Brian (the quintessential meat-and-potatoes kid) loved them. He kept begging for more.

First the Democrats manage to win a Presidential election and now I have an 8-year-old boy salivating over brussels sprouts. Is it the end times, or what?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Why I Am Happy Today

Way back when Larry and I first got married, we (very quickly) realized there was no way we could collaborate on balancing a checkbook (or on anything else for that matter) (um, aside from the obvious). So I took over the finances and handily saw us through some very lean times. I paid all the bills, oversaw the food budget, bought the clothes...In short, I was the family CFO. But after 10 years of superb financial management, we acquired something new - dental insurance.

What can I say? That insurance company brought this financial maven to her knees. And Larry didn't have a clue until he noticed letters from that nefarious organization piling up unopened. We started having conversations like this:


What's this? he'd ask, waving a fistful of sealed envelopes.
Oh, I don't know, I'd say, vaguely.
Shouldn't you open them?
No! No, don't do that! It's...it's...horrible...I pay them and I pay them...
Maybe you should call someone and straighten things out.
I tried! The baby cried during the voicemail options and I had to call again, and then another kid fell and bumped her head, and...and... it's just not worth it. It just has to go away.



So, manly man that he is, Larry called and figured things out and impressed me so much with his financial savoir-faire that I dumped all the household finances in his lap. Now he does the macro and I do the micro (food, clothing, yarn) and everyone is happy, happy, happy.

Or we were, until about a year ago, when we had to switch to a new dental insurance...

Things were okay at first; but then I noticed dental claim forms piling up around the house. I did my best to ignore the threatening stacks of paper, although I couldn't help but fear that Larry's financial management skills would be felled by the same monster as had cut me down in my fiscal prime. And then who would manage the family finances?

Anna, maybe? But, no - she would just sign all the paychecks directly over to Kohl's. I started imagining us all homeless and hungry, but well dressed.


Well, disaster, I am glad to say, has been averted. Larry, after 2 and a half hours on the phone this morning with 2 dental offices and 3 (count them, three) insurance companies, emerged smiling and victorious. And now we won't be forced to live in our van in the Kohl's parking lot.

The End (I hope)

Monday, November 10, 2008

More Scattered Than Usual

A visiting priest at Larry's church once informed the congregation (or whatever you call it at a Catholic church) that "...'killing for Christ' is not sound theology." Well, someone had better tell these monks that before someone gets hurt.

I don't know how God manages to put up with any of us, actually.

*****************

The plumber arrived at 6:30, just as I was heading out the door to Bunko. I have no idea what he did, but now he's gone and Theo just reported that the shower has spit up again. It doesn't look good, folks.

*****************

I have set up a Facebook account for Anna, which activity required hours of first setting up an account for myself to figure out how everything worked. Then I had to convince Larry that this particular social networking scene seems safe enough (if we monitor it). That took another hour. All so she can gab online...sheesh...who would want to spend time doing that?

She already has more "friends" than me - not that that bothers me or anything...

*****************

I know, y'all want to know how my Iron Mom subsistence experiment is going. I have to admit, I did pick up eggs and yogurt and bread yesterday locally. So, that's 30 dollars - still better than the 350 I would have spent at the commissary (I rationalize). Brian cried at dinner because I made him finish his black bean soup before he could have any of Theo's (belated) birthday cake. And I haven't even told the poor kid yet that it's beans all week.

If roasting chickens go on sale for 69 cents a pound, however, I'm getting a couple. I figure that's like Pa Ingalls managing to shoot some game to round out the family diet, right? Or am I rationalizing yet again?

Anyway, someone tell me what to do with a bushel of potatoes, will you? I paid only 24 dollars for them at the Farmers' Market over a week ago, which is an excellent deal in these parts; but Larry doesn't think I'm going to be able to use them all before they rot. So send me your (dairy-free) recipes! I'll try them all.

*****************

We're making progress with Susie's housebreaking: she still poops in her pants, but she goes outside to do it. Maybe I should just buy her a leash and a pooper-scooper. Whaddaya think?




Sunday, November 09, 2008

Snippets

The leaves are falling in great numbers here, and the 4 youngest spent about 3 hours outside this afternoon, piling them up and playing in them. Need I tell you that I love autumn? Of course, Susie did have periodic hissy fits because there were leaf bits in the pockets of her dress. Or up her sleeves. Or down her neck.

Come to think of it, I probably should have just kept her inside.

***************************

We can't run the water in the kitchen at all, without risking a tsunami in our downstairs bathroom. Or maybe I mean a geyser. Or some other sort of a natural water-based phenomenon. Larry actually said to me, "It's really disgusting, don't even look." Okay, then. The only good thing is that the flood might drown any mice that find their way in there.

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I'm over at MidCentury Modern Moms today, sharing my newfound wisdom on how to handle teen daughter wardrobe crises. Read all about it!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Another Title? Give Me A Break!

Theo's birthday is tomorrow. I got him a gift card to a fast food place. And some more gummy bears. I also picked up a free (retractable!) measuring tape key ring at our credit union this morning. I'm thinking the key ring would be a lot more exciting if it had a key to a new car on it, but that is most emphatically not going to happen. Now excuse me while I try to scare up some wrapping paper that is neither pink nor purple.

*******************************

Larry and I double-dated with another couple tonight. That meant that Anna (as one of our designated babysitters) wasn't able to take advantage of a last-minute ice-skating invitation for this evening. And I am sure she will never let us forget it.

*****************************

Shower drain update: Theo informed me last night (right after I finished my post, in fact) that the bathroom floor was covered with water that had apparently overflowed from the shower pan. Gross, disgusting water which was full of bits of old food...So I did what any capable homemaker would do in that situation: I woke up my husband and told him we had a problem.

It being the weekend and all, he decided to just "keep an eye on it" until Monday, when plumbers are cheaper than on the weekend (cheaper being an extremely relative term here). It looks as though the flood waters aren't rising so long as we do not use the dishwasher. The only pleasure I am getting out of this plumbing ordeal is being able to tell Anna that we have to wash and dry all the dishes by hand. She really likes that.

**********************************

I'm thinking of having the kids live on whatever food is currently in our house for the next 2 weeks, just to make them more thankful at Thanksgiving. I could call it The Great Subsistence Experiment. I've got a bushel of potatoes, half a bushel of apples, lots of dried beans, some canned tuna, and oatmeal. Also, salsa...but you knew that already...

That's more than most pioneer families had to eat for an entire winter, I'll bet. Still, I hesitate. It's not that I worry about potential malnourishment; it's just that I'm not sure that I can take the prolonged whining that such an experience would engender. This experiment could turn into the Iron Man of mom competitions. "Can she take it? Or will she break?"

Hey! Iron Mom! I like it! Anyone care to join me?


Friday, November 07, 2008

Four Things To Say

This article I plan to file under the category of "No kidding! Really?!" Here's the headline:

Bullies May Get Kick Out Of Seeing Others In Pain

Imagine - bullies torment other kids because they like to do that sort of thing. Who knew?

Not the researchers, that's for sure. I can only draw one conclusion from this: we send our kids to college to get stupid. Because I'm sure there is not one kid alive in any grade K-12 who is in the dark on this matter.

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A surprising number of people are, um, airing their dirty laundry in yesterday's comments. And my friend, in an attempt to salvage her housekeeping reputation, told me today that the reason her son didn't have any clean clothes yesterday was because they all had cat pee on them.

Oh. Okay, then. That explains it.

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Sorry to disappoint everyone, but we currently have no mice and no vomit. No vomiting mice, either. We do, however, have a long-standing problem with a vomiting shower drain. Is that good enough? For some reason, our kitchen disposal's pipe at some point joins up with the basement shower's pipe; and the basement shower's pipe never seems to like what we had for dinner. To fix the problem would require major plumbing surgery, which we can't afford at this point.

After cleaning up the regurgitated mess that was left in the shower pan yesterday, however, I am considering selling one of the children in order to raise the funds. I just have to decide which one would bring in the most money.

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And, speaking of money, how about that economy, huh? Can I give everyone one teeny bit of advice? Stop looking at your 401K statements. It isn't going to help, and it's too late to do anything about it. Just hang on for the ride.

Unless, of course, you are over 60. In that case, my advice is to get really, really worried.

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