Thursday, January 31, 2008

Cinderella Story

Miss me? I fell asleep at 7:30 with the toddler last night. I woke up at 10:30 when Larry came to bed, and I started crying and saying I had to get up. "That's okay, honey," he said. "I finished the kitchen clean-up; you can just go back to sleep." (Yes, he is nice.)

"You don't understand," I sobbed. "I had 4 points left to eat today. That's 2 Twix bars. I have to get up and eat them now, before the points go away."

"Let me get this straight," said Larry. "At midnight, the Twix bars turn into a pumpkin?"

Essentially, yes. They did. Because I was too tired (from starvation, maybe?) to get out of bed and unwrap their wonderful deliciousness and consume them. Damn. And I missed Knit Night, also.

I'm trying to break Rachel of her complaining habit, or at least get her to complain in a voice that is not high-pitched and whiny. She was kvetching nonstop at breakfast this morning (reason? we were having raisins in the oatmeal, instead of jelly), so I sent her out of the kitchen, telling her she could come back when she stopped whining. She didn't return. Then she complained the rest of the morning that she was hungry.

Somehow, I don't think I won that one. And my ears hurt.

Theo had to change a poopy diaper yesterday while I was out, and he was not happy about it. But I think it's good for the teenage males to be reminded every once in a while what exactly being enamored of a pretty girl can lead to. Lord knows, it happened to his father.

I've updated my blogroll a bit, in case any of you desperate enough to land here need something decent to read. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Weigh-In? What Weigh-In?

So, I weighed in today, and somehow I managed to gain 2 pounds this week. While starving to death. Personally? I feel that the woman at the desk was jealous at how the pounds are just slipping off me and fudged the figures....either that, or the scale is off. But what do I care? I don't need no stinkin' weight loss. Round can be cute, so the hell with it.

What? Why, yes, I did have some chocolate when I came home. How did you know? And I just may have a little more, right now. It's okay so long as I write it down, right?

Larry came home, ate dinner, and took David to Cub Scouts. At some point this evening I may get a chance to speak with him, but it will probably be one of those conversations where I end up pointing out the zillion and one things we need to do around the house this weekend. He loves that.

The children started talking at dinner about our having another baby, and I explained to them that I am probably too old to have any more. Rachel agreed, saying, "You would die before it could grow up." Thanks, dear. And who do I have to thank for my premature aging, anyway?

Anna is interested in boys. I knew this already, and I was pretty much taking it in stride. I even gave her a funny book about dating that she actually bothered to read. But it has lately transpired that there is a specific boy who likes her. And e-mails her. And every time I think about this, I start hyperventilating. Anyone remember Kevin Bacon in "She's Having A Baby," right after Elizabeth McGovern says, "I stopped taking the Pill 3 months ago"? That whole scene where he imagines himself in the path of a powerful locomotive? That's me. I am so not ready for this.

Excuse me, I have to go breathe into a paper bag again.

By the way, I really appreciate all the comments on yesterday's post. I am relieved to hear that I am not mean (or, if I am mean, I've got lots of company) for shutting my kids in their rooms by 8 o'clock every evening. Either I do that, or I scream uncontrollably; and I do hate to frighten the children.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Children? I Don't Hear Any Children...

Larry (aka Mr. Security) has managed to load enough "protection" onto our new computer to make it almost as slow as the behemoth I was typing away on previously. You'd think, if he really wanted me to spend less time on this thing, that he would see the error of his ways, wouldn't you? Alas, I'm once again stuck watching pages load at a glacial pace; but virus-free, of course. And on a bigger screen.

As I type, Brian is indulging in one of those irritating, drawn-out whines that make the sound of fingernails on a blackboard pleasant by comparison. I cannot see the use of whining, evolutionarily speaking. It most definitely doesn't encourage the continuation of the species. Perhaps my children are a Darwinian dead end.

Dear Lord, don't let me kill him.

In other, more pleasant, child-related news, Lego's are 50 years old today. I heard on the news this evening that there are enough Lego bricks for each person on Earth to have 62 of them apiece. So, I am asking all the people who have obviously left their share in our living room to please come pick them up. Thank you.

Can you even imagine a world without Lego's? Do you realize this news means that, prior to 1958, parents had not only precious little in the way of TV to entertain their children, but also no decent toys either? What the heck did kids do? Play with sticks? Outside? All the time? Did parents back then simply shove them out the back door in the morning and slide the lock? And how many question marks can I put in one paragraph?

Brian is still whining. Say what you like, that kid has endurance.

Is there anyone else out there who cannot stand their children in the evening? I'm fine (well, I guess that may be debatable) until approximately 7:30 PM, when I suddenly realize that I have to share my entire life with these creatures and I cannot take it anymore. The whining, the nose-picking, the tattling, the Berenstain Bear books - everything becomes intolerable. So, I send them all to bed. The teenagers probably resent that a little, but tough. They need lots of sleep, anyway.

Let's not talk about kids anymore. Let's talk about knitting. So much more soothing....I'm knitting a scarf (the mistake-rib pattern from this post of Crazy Aunt Purl). Only I'm using size 13 needles. She must be a tighter knitter than I am. This is a very exciting project because I am using my brand new circular-needles kit (yes, I know you don't need circulars for a scarf; but I didn't own size 13's, which deficiency provided me with the perfect excuse to buy needles and I, um, sort of got carried away). Now I have a fun little carry-case out of which, on the merest whim, I can whip out a pair of any-size needles (from 2-15) and various size cables to connect them. I am knitter, hear me roar....

Pardon my exuberance, but knitting purchases are just so exhilarating. Better even than homeschool curricula purchases...I guess because knitting purchases don't involve children who may not want to cooperate with your plans to teach them 3 foreign languages before they are 12 years old. Knitting is just for me. Me, me, me, me, me.......

Hmmm....now I'm sounding like my 2-year-old. Maybe because Larry ("Aren't we paying 40 bucks a month for Weight Watchers?") won't let me have any more Twix bars. Even though I have 5 activity points to use up before my weigh-in tomorrow....isn't he mean?


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Sex and Taxes

Aaah - I just filed our state and federal taxes.

Done.

Pretty amazing, huh? I think so. Of course, our fat refund is enough of an incentive to be proactive about filing. Gotta love that child tax credit, you know. Gosh, with all these kids, we're practically making money. Maybe we had better go have some more...

I cleaned the house and caught up on laundry this morning while Larry and the children were at church (major advantage to agreeing to raise the kids in your spouse's religion, not yours), all so I could escape to our annual Yoga Center luncheon this afternoon. It was a treat to enjoy a meal on a non-vinyl tablecloth with glassware that wasn't plastic; and no one there whined the entire time. The food was terrific, unlike the slop that I dish out day after day, week after week,....so good, in fact, that I spent the rest of the week's Weight Watcher points on it. Which is unfortunate, because I would really like to eat something tomorrow.

I did weigh-in at 2 pounds lighter last week (for a total of 4.5 pounds - go, me!); but I forgot to boast about it, what with being so busy having run-ins with the law and googling "chastity belts" to buy for my teenage daughter. This morning I informed her that if she's not mature enough to take care of a baby, she's not mature enough to be having sex with anyone. I also told her that, despite how the movies and TV make it seem, teens can resist their sexual urges and keep their clothes on. And I'm not raising her babies.

I think I embarrassed the heck out of her. Good.

Larry wants the computer - he's starting to mutter something about "wasting time" and "imaginary friends" again. He's just jealous he doesn't have a blog.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Just The Facts, Ma'am...

What's worse than being pulled over by a policeman? Being pulled over by a policeman with 3 impressionable children in the car....

"Mommy, why are we sitting here?"
"That policeman behind us wants to talk to me, honey."
"Why, Mommy?"
"I don't know, sweetie." (And really, I didn't.)
"Well, why is he just sitting in his car?"
"He's checking our license plate and making sure the car isn't stolen."
"Our car is stolen?"
"No! No, honey, it isn't. He's just making sure."
"Mommy, are you going to go to jail?"

Turns out I had rolled through a stop sign (barely, okay? I all but did a complete stop, dammit) waaay back, and then I was so busy explaining to my kids the difference between a limo and a hearse (don't ask) that I didn't see the police car following me with his lights flashing. Duh. When I finally spotted him, I pulled over thinking he needed to pass me. That's how innocent I felt. Really.

When he came to the driver's window, I felt as though I were being arrested by my teenage son Theo, as the cop looked all of 19 (which he may have been - he was an MP on an Army base). One great thing about being stopped by an MP is they sure are polite. Ma'am this, and ma'am that - hey, I may be a criminal, but I still get respect. And he let me off with a warning. I could have pinched his sweet baby cheeks, I was so grateful. But I didn't. I drove off (carefully) and made it to the commissary without being stopped again. And with the kids pointing out every single stop sign all the way there.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Movies, Mice, and Miscellany

The movie The Spirit of the Beehive was recommended to me by Netflix because I "enjoyed Annie Hall and Modern Times." Here is the description:

"In this mesmerizing allegorical tale set in post-Civil War Spain, precocious young Ana ... becomes obsessed with finding the spirit of Frankenstein's monster after watching director James Whale's 1931 classic. When she happens upon a wounded military deserter, Ana believes that she's evoked the cinematic creature."

Yeah, that just shouts Woody Allen and Charlie Chaplin, doesn't it?

A neighbor just called because she and her husband are hearing what they assume are squirrels in their attic. The question is, Why did they call me? I mean, do we look like Rodent Central over here? Anyway, I explained to her that we don't do squirrels, we do mice (everyone specializes these days, you know) and I gave her the number of the neighbor who owns his very own squirrel trap (the humane kind). I like to be helpful when I can. Which isn't often...

Larry took the teens out to a meeting about "summer workcamp" this evening. Sounds great, doesn't it? But the "camp" only lasts a week. I figure, if you're going to call it "summer workcamp," it should last all summer. Otherwise, why don't they just call a spade a spade (and what the hell does that mean, anyway?) and call it "way-too-short workcamp" or (better yet) "not-nearly-long-enough-to-make-you-appreciate-the-comforts-of-home, you-spoiled-brats-you, workcamp"?

Maybe the organizers felt that was too wordy.

I know I've been greeting a lot of people lately, but tonight I would like to give a wave to those people heading over here from MadMad's blog. I may not be as uproariously funny as she is, guys; but I do grow on you. Stick around.

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I Don't Think So....

I'm okay. Really I am. Just remind me not to try having a meaningful conversation with my teenage daughter ever again. It's too frightening.

My best friend took her daughter and another girl to see Juno. My friend told me that the 2 girls were puzzled that the stepmom didn't just raise the teen's baby (please note: this option wasn't even discussed in the movie), along with her own 5-year-old (Juno's half-sister). I said I was sure that Anna didn't see it that way. Anna walked into the room just then, so I said, "Anna - did you think Juno's stepmom should have offered to raise the baby?"

Anna immediately said, "Oh, yes!" And then, seeing my own shocked look and my friend dying of laughter behind me, she added, "I mean, [and right here she did this weird little forward-and-back hair flip thing that teen girls do] if I had a baby, you would raise it."

Obviously, there are a few things I need to make clear to her. But not today. I'm too shaken up.

So, I take it back. Don't take your daughters to see Juno. Now that I am trying to view the movie through my daughter's eyes, I realize she thought the whole thing was pretty cool and dramatic. Teenage girls love nothing better than being in the center of all that drama. And they have no concept of all the pain involved, both emotional and physical.

My best friend didn't stop laughing for almost half an hour, by the way. Every few minutes she would stop to take a breath and say, "Here, Mom! You're not doing anything! You raise it!" and then she'd start laughing again. And I think she was laughing at me, not with me.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Conversation Pieces

Heavens, I was a tad giddy yesterday, wasn't I? All the excitement (and blood loss) must have gone to my head.

The little girls are doing their best today to stay within a 6-inch radius of my body. They are currently hanging on my arms, climbing on my computer chair, and talking non-stop. I hope I don't hurt them.

Latest conversation between my concerned husband and me:

Me: "Diesel says that we should buy the warranty with the new computer."
Him: "Who?"
Me: "Diesel - he's a software guy who has a humor blog."
Him: "You mean, he is someone with a blog who says he's a software guy. He could be some 18-year-old loser. Or someone's dog that knows how to type."
Me: "I didn't know dogs could be funny...."

Oh, and I finally had a cute conversation with my 5-year-old, just like the rest of the mommy bloggers seem to have every single day:

Me: "You know, you are really, really smart. You can be anything you want to be when you grow up. You could be a doctor." (Larry and I are going to need help navigating the geriatric health care maze in the not-distant-enough future.)
Rachel (shaking head): "No, I want to be a mommy."
Me (fighting the urge to hug her and feed her chocolate): "Well, you can be a mommy and a doctor. Some ladies do that, you know."
Rachel: "No, that would be too hard, doing all that at once. I'll just be a mommy."

I want to be a mommy - with one little sentence, she has managed to redeem herself for all the craziness she put us through last year. Because I totally eat that stuff up. I told you she was smart.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Fabulous Prizes!

I am just full of blogosphere news today. Ready? Here goes.

Firstly, I am proud to announce that, at the urging of Manic Mommy and with the added incentive of the prizes she is offering, I donated blood today for the first time in my life. And it didn't even hurt. And I got out of the house for 2 hours without the kids for a legitimate reason (as opposed to just wandering around Target or the local bookstore). If you'd like to know more about Manic Mommy and her blood donor drive (and trust me, she is truly obsessed about this cause) check out her blog. Manic Mommy, a picture of my bandaged arm is coming your way (as soon as I figure out how to do that).

Secondly, I have come into my 15 minutes of fame; I am the Housewife of the Week over at MommaSaid.net. All I had to do to win was to tell MommaSaid why my week was the worst ever. As anyone who follows this blog knows, I am an expert at whining; and now I have tangible proof. The write-up for the award (hee, hee, I won something) was done by the website's owner Jen Singer, who showed remarkable perspicacity and taste by selecting me as this week's winner. Ahem. (Was that good, Jen?) I won a book about big families called Table For Eight: Raising a Large Family in a Small Family World (by Megan Francis). Gosh, I love free stuff.

But enough about me....I'd like to thank all of you who have supported and encouraged me on my long, slow climb to the top. I will not forget those of you who knew me before I became Housewife of the Week. Fame will rest gracefully on these shoulders.

Maybe.

Larry had the day off today; so he spent his time making sure that I would be confused trying to navigate my way around the new computer. He set up many different accounts, some with parental blocks, all with special passwords. And a very special account all for himself, because he is the Administrator. I do believe that he is drunk on power. I also believe he was trying to block the entire blogosphere, so that his wife would stop talking about people she doesn't know as if she had actually met them. This nefarious plan of his failed, however - thank goodness.

He calls y'all my imaginary friends. And he always looks worried when he says it.

Whew - back tomorrow with our regularly scheduled programming (kids, and vomit, and mice, of course).

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Heaven, I'm In Heaven....

I had grand plans for this blog today; but first Larry had to hook up the new CPU and install all the virus software and then sit at the keyboard muttering "Crap" to himself periodically for hours and hours and hours. And now I've forgotten what I had wanted to write. I'm sure it was brilliant, too.

So instead let me sing the praises of a large computer screen, one big enough that I don't have to constantly scroll down to read a single paragraph; and also the praises of an up-to-date computer mouse with that little roll thingie on top, so that when I do have to scroll down, I don't have to go click-click-click-click forever. And best of all, let me extol the virtues of a computer with enough power that I can click on 2 pages in succession without freezing the whole thing up for 15 minutes.

Yes, we've been roughing it here with our antiquated 2001 computer; but it was almost worth it so that we could appreciate what everyone else takes for granted - the ability to surf more than 5 pages an hour on the web.

Oh, and while I was exclaiming over the improved visibility available on our 19-inch screen, Larry boasted, "I have 2 28-inch ones at work, you know." I think it's a guy thing.

I took Anna to see Juno today. We met a friend of mine and her daughter there, and of course the girls chose to sit far away from us in the theater. But that's okay, because if they had been nearby, I would have been embarrassed as heck. Really. And you know how a trite movie review will say, "I laughed, I cried" about a film? Well, I laughed. I cried. I'm surprised my friend didn't move elsewhere also. It was a great movie. Go see it. Now.

And judging by the comments from the last post, I'm guessing that none of you have ever seen Operation Petticoat. You need to go to Netflix immediately and put it at the top of your queue. I forget who is in it, but it's someone famous. Wait, I just checked. Cary Grant and Tony Curtis. Go. You won't be sorry.

I'm feeling bossy tonight.

And a final word of caution to you menfolk out there: don't be tempted by Petticoat Planet, which appears on the same search page as Operation Petticoat - it looks pretty trashy. How trashy? Here's the synopsis - Steve Rogers, a blue collar space jockey, crash lands his corroding craft onto a desert planet. But his luck is about to change when he finds himself to be the only man in a wild western town inhabited by beautiful whiskey drinkin' women. I wonder whether those whiskey drinkin' women care what size his screen is.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Me, Me, Me, Me, Me, Me

I've been tagged! Here are 6 inconsequential facts about myself (or a me, me, me meme) (as ordered by Fannie Mae) (Fannie Mae, by the way, is one blogger who knows how infuriating a teenager can be).

That's easy! Everything about me is inconsequential.

1. I always feel as though I am getting away with something because no one is making me get up and go to work in the mornings....I mean, how cool is that?
2. I think Lysol Wipes are the greatest invention since sliced bread.
3. I used to be in the Navy, and I really miss having a uniform. I liked always knowing what to wear.
4. I majored in History in college, and therefore I was completely unemployable when I graduated. In fact, I had one prospective employer call me long-distance (back when such things as "long-distance" mattered) just to tell me that he had received my resume and that history majors were a dime-a-dozen. I don't know why he bothered to do that. Maybe he was having a bad day and needed company.
5. Before I joined the Navy, I thought that everyone who volunteered for the military liked to kill people. But that's not why I joined. I joined because I pictured myself being a cute Navy sailorette like the nurses in Operation Petticoat. Also, I needed a job (because I was unemployable - see #4, above).
6. My favorite line in all of moviedom is near the end of Operation Petticoat. It is "The Japanese have nothing like this!" If you don't know what I am talking about, rent the movie. You'll understand.

Hmmm....who shall I tag? Bloggers already tell each other so much of the minutiae of their daily lives, it's hard to imagine wanting to know more about any of the people I read regularly. But I'll tag MadMad, because that will make her write another post and I love her posts; and Diesel also, in the hopes that Grundir the Implacable will do the job for him; and, let's see....Mrs. Smith, because I'd like to know more about her life before she dragged her 7 kids off to India for 3 years; and mrs. g., of course, because she always cracks me up with her effortless wit.

Holy cr*p, that's only 4. I don't have enough blog friends to pull this off, I'm afraid. Oh, I know, I'll tag Motherwise (because she was the first blogger to "friend" me, before I even knew what the heck that meant - I felt so popular!) and Planet Nomad, a new blog friend, because she seems to live an interesting life (i.e., a life totally unlike mine). Whew! That was hard. And now I have to figure out all those hyperlinks....

Here are The Rules:
  1. Link to the person that tagged you.
  2. Post the rules on your blog
  3. Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
  4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
  5. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

I am signing off now - Larry is due back any minute, and I need to be able to give him the impression that I did something this week beside hang out in the blogosphere.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Spending Spree

I had a nightmare last night, all about a pair of giant rats (that could talk) that were chasing me and trying to bite me...I really do seem to have rodents on the brain these days. I woke up terrified. If I had heard those stupid mice scrabbling in the wall at that point, I probably would have jumped out the window.

Something about Larry being away makes me want to spend money online. Not much, just a few books at Amazon say, and maybe a set or two of bamboo needles and some yarn at Knitpicks, and after that maybe I'll mosey on over to some homeschooling sites and pick out fun learning tools we don't really need.....just a little something each night to help me forget that I am stuck here with 6 kids, 2 of whom are teenagers who will never, ever be as boring or pathetic as I am.

My credit card doesn't leave me alone with the kids. My credit card loves me....

Of course, the most important news around here is that it is finally snowing - so the kids had a great time outside today, which means I had a great time inside not being bothered by my precious offspring. And when they did come in, I was rejuvenated enough by my time alone to cheerfully serve them homemade hot cocoa with mini-marshmallows floating on the top. And isn't that the way it is supposed to be?

I made sure to make the teens do a lot of shoveling. It's good for them. Strength through suffering.

Larry is still not home. Time to go fondle my credit card again. It misses me....

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Giant Mice! Missing Husbands! Prehistoric Computers!

Apparently, things could be worse on the rodent-infestation front, from what I read in this news piece - at least the ones in our house are a manageable size. And an added bonus: I haven't come downstairs in the morning to find a mouse sitting on my kitchen counter, the way my neighbor did yesterday. So, really, I have nothing to complain about.

Let me say something nice about my teenage daughter Anna (for once). She has magnificent hair. Utterly stunning, streaked with varying shades of gold and brown and thick and wavy as a lion's mane. It is hair to die for. Hair that women spend hundreds of dollars trying to imitate. So, naturally, she spent the better part of last year trying to straighten it so it would hang limp and flat against the sides of her head.

I am happy to report that she has given up this lost cause and has instead turned to the myriad hair products out there that accentuate the curl while damping down any unattractive frizz. In fact, we haven't actually seen Anna in days. Occasionally I slip some food under the bathroom door, where she has sequestered herself in her quest for the perfect curl. Theo, meanwhile, is taking bets on whether a person can actually wear out a mirror.

My children keep baking goodies that tempt me to fall off the Weight Watcher's wagon. Anna made brownies several days ago (before she consecrated her life to hair gels), and tonight David whipped up a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Of course, Anna does hate me for existing; and I'm sure David hasn't gotten over the trauma I inflicted on him this week. What I'm saying is, I don't believe for a second that these are instances of innocent culinary activity. Revenge baking, is more like it.

Larry is still away. He is going to come back on Friday saying how he had to work really hard and it really wasn't any fun at all going to Europe and staying in hotels and eating in restaurants for work purposes, and I may just have to kill him. But only after he orders the new computer, though. I'm not sure what to get, or I would have one already. Instead, I'm still working with this old set-up that looks and acts like something on the Flintstones (I mean, if the Flintstones had had a computer) (which isn't so unrealistic, when you consider that they possessed a vacuum cleaner, okay?). I half-expect a little man to pop out from the back of the monitor with a handful of crayons and yell at me for making him draw too fast.

It occurs to me that I hyperlink too much (I'm a hyper hyperlinker, in fact); but everything I talk about here has such an involved history, and I want to make sure that newbies know what is going on. And speaking of newbies....

I'd like to say "Howdy!" to all the reviewers popping over here from humor-blogs.com. Make yourselves at home and make sure you read more than just the January posts, because, quite frankly, the funny stuff happened in October and December. It's all there: the puke, the Halloween costume ordeals, the joy of the vastly-overrated holidays....Or check out the Popular Posts to the left for some earlier laughs. It's all free!

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

This And That, But Not Much

I lost 2 and a half pounds this week. Which means, that I can sit down to the computer to type without having to unsnap my pants. In my mind, that's progress.

My husband has left me for the week, and he forgot to take our resident rodents with him. He's coming back Friday evening so that we can spend a pleasant weekend watching him get over jet lag. Or, rather, the kids can. I'm outta here.

Susie can now say, "I need to poop, please give me a diaper." This amazing ability to articulate her toileting needs makes me suspect that there is no reason why she shouldn't be using the potty. Except she refuses to. She also refuses to stay in her bed all evening. She's on a little power trip that should only last, oh, 16 more years. There's nothing like being the baby of the family.

No funnies here tonight, I guess. Just wanted to say hi, and thank all the people who have been stopping by. Y'all come on back now, you hear? And in the meantime, stop by Derfwad Manor and see what's up over there. Make sure to check out Mrs. G's explanation to her daughter of why PC is better than Mac. I guarantee you haven't thought of it her way before.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

All About David

David - let's talk about David, shall we? He is rarely featured in this blog, because he keeps a fairly low profile. Obsessed with all things aeronautical, he spends his days quietly reading books on space flight, making paper airplanes by the dozen, and attempting to construct space stations out of tinfoil and craft sticks. A sweet child, a quiet boy, if a little weird.

But he's a packrat. Now I know a lot of you are going to comment and say that your kid has a lot of junk in his room, too - but we are talking a qualitatively different level of packrat-ness here. As in, today I had to go through his drawers and closet and throw out burst balloons that he had gotten from the dentist; broken toys, the pieces of which he had dug out of the garbage when I wasn't looking; innumerable squashed paper airplanes; broken pencils.....2 trash bags full, and I barely made a dent. And now he is mad at me. Even though I didn't touch his space station models, his oatmeal-container pontoon planes, his tinfoil-and-duct-tape rockets. He cried. This concerns me.

I consider myself a relatively unflappable parent. I don't obsess over how much my kids are fighting, or whether they know how to share, or what their SAT scores are. I assume that, with any amount of luck, they will all grow up to be fairly responsible, normal adults. But this particular problem makes me picture David as one of those lonely adults you read about in the paper on a slow news day -you know, the seemingly normal, gainfully employed middle-aged person who has to be evicted from his dwelling because the health department has declared it hazardous, filled as it is with old newspapers and junk mail and broken furniture, with only a narrow path winding its way through the junk to the front door. And there will be pictures of 2 local firemen lifting him bodily from the house as he screams and tries to clutch at some of his treasured possessions on the way out.

(There won't be cats, though. It's only the crazy ladies who have the 40 feral cats hanging around. I comfort myself with that thought.)

Have I mentioned that he has several stuffed animals he sleeps with? Nothing odd there, I know. Sort of cute, even for a 10-year-old boy. But there's also a bedroom slipper, missing a mate. An old glove. A lonely washcloth. His bed is an asylum for misfit household objects. This carries compassion to new levels, I believe. You will recall that he is the one who painstakingly reattached the heads to all the stuffed animals that Rachel decapitated? They are all there, in his bed - survivors of the carnage.

Please - someone comment and tell me that you were like this as a kid and it's okay. Please? (But not you, Diesel - that would just make things worse.)

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Wherein We Are Still Sick And Still Have Mice

Okay, so after another sleepless night spent with a coughing child, I staggered out of bed (out of couch, really) and showered and got dressed up. Why? Because I finally had a doctor's appointment for Rachel. Yes, the exciting day had arrived, and I wanted to be prepared.

Let's face it - when the doctors see short, slightly rotund me come in dressed in unstylish jeans, they peg me as a SAHM frump. So I pulled on my power outfit (complete with 2-inch heels, which put me just over 5 feet) and Talbot's wool coat (8 dollars at a local rummage sale) and took Rachel to her appointment. I even combed my hair. And I left all the other kids home, because if the doctor realizes that I homeschool, well, I'm a double-frump.

Wouldn't you know, this is the first pediatrician appointment I've gone to in aeons where the doctor or nurse has not called me "Mom"? Coincidence? I think not. And, the triage nurse asked me if I needed a note for work. Me - as if I were a real person. I didn't even know that adults needed notes for work. But I didn't let on. "No," I said coolly, "not necessary." I wanted to add that I was the person people had to bring notes to, but I didn't think I could pull it off.

So, the doctor was very nice and gave us the codeine syrup and warned me, "Now, you don't want to give this to her until bedtime, because it will knock her right out." Horrors. Rachel barely had her coat off at home before I got that stuff down her. She had a wonderful, 3-hour, blissfully-cough-free nap.

In the meantime I drove 45 minutes so Anna could pick up her flute from the repair shop. We live in a densely populated metropolitan area, so I have no idea why we had to drive all that way for a decent repair shop. I can't imagine what people in Nebraska or Wyoming have to do when a musical instrument needs fixing. Being sick myself, I felt like hell. I came home, went to bed, and let the house fall apart around me, as is its wont when I am not on duty.

I got up briefly later in the evening - just in time to hear Theo tell Larry that he had just seen a mouse in the family room. Larry said he'd take care of it later; but, upon hearing the hysterical noises emanating from his wife's mouth, he wisely readjusted his to-do list and put "catch mouse" at the very top. See? He loves me. Or maybe he just hates hysterical noises.

He couldn't find Theo's mouse last night, but a mouse did show up in the trap in our kitchen this morning. So, either we caught it (good), or our house is truly over-run with tiny little rodents that only look cute in nursery rhyme books (bad). Not being overly optimistic, Larry bought a whole bunch of mousetraps this morning, so we wouldn't run out while he goes away this week. It's not every husband who would think of such a caring gesture before he deserts his wife, now is it?

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Someone Here Hath Murdered Sleep

Well, I had The Talk with the kids tonight. All 6 of them. I sat them down and told them, "Remember - either be a doctor or marry one." That way, they won't have to watch one of their children cough her lungs out all night long, again, because they can't get their hands on any codeine cough syrup.

The doctor did prescribe some other cough medicine over the phone, some namby-pamby crap, and I told him, "It won't work. You may have 8 years of med school, but I have 16 years of raising children. Give me the good stuff." No dice.

My lord, I am so pissed off. I really feel sorry for whichever doctor we finally see tomorrow morning.

Am I crazy, or should a sick kid be able to see a doctor the same day that the kid is ill? I do have superpowers, but I am still not able to predict a day in advance that my child is going to be up all night coughing. I'm just not that good. I admit it.

And, in case you think I'm sounding a little insane, you're right. Chronic sleep deprivation will do that to a person. Do you know how long it has been since I have had 4 hours of unbroken sleep? Have you any idea? Prisoners of war are treated better than this.

You know, friends don't let friends blog sleepless. I'm signing off.

(But, oh yes, Larry caught our little rodent friend this morning. And disposed of him. Once again, I am glad that I get to be the helpless female. While he did the dirty work, I hid in the bedroom. Of course, now Larry is suffering from what I call his Hemingway Syndrome - the way he's acting, you'd think he'd bagged a cougar.)

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Patter of Little Feet

Well, my claim of victory over our resident rodents seems to have been a bit premature. As in, 2 nights ago, I was kept awake by the sound of a mouse scrabbling around in the wall right by my head. This was not a sleep-inducing experience. I woke Larry up, though I don't know what I expected him to do at that moment. So then we both lay awake and listened to the scrabbling, until the mouse suddenly fell and landed on the metal heating duct and ran along it to the other end of the house. Sweet dreams!

So, yesterday, Larry manfully deployed traps under the kitchen sink and in the attic above our bedroom. I elected to stay in the living room last night to keep Rachel company, who is sleeping sitting up to prevent coughing spells (because someone has to be sick around here, you know). I was woken up sometime past midnight by that damn mouse running along the heating duct in the ceiling above the couch. So I left Rachel to fend for herself and went upstairs to listen to traps snap over my head instead.

But they didn't. Not yet, anyway. So now I am sitting here trying to decide where I can sleep tonight and not be reminded that our house is overrun with disgusting little rodents (and, no, I am not referring to the children).

I'd get a cat, but Theo's allergic. I know you're all dying to suggest that.

Knit Night went well this evening - I even talked to a woman who owns her own spinning wheel and I must admit that she does seem rather normal. Or maybe I've just been hanging out with this group too long. And I got to show off my very first mitten. It has a thumb and everything. I am quite proud.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

More Pounds, Less Dollars

Regular readers know that I have a small issue with overdue library books and late fines; nothing I can't handle, just a bad habit that costs me 10-15 dollars a month. I'm okay with that.

And I knew I was facing a hefty fine today, as Christmas and New Year's had both landed on my regular library day this year (are they always exactly a week apart?).  I expected to pay as much as 30 or even 35 dollars, like I did the year we were all sick and couldn't make it to the library for a month.

But folks, today's fine was in the triple digits. I thought I'd die. To make matters worse, I hadn't gone to my usual branch (where someone may have pitied me and erased half of it).  No! I went elsewhere and got the strict German-lady librarian, who looked as if she wanted to fingerprint me. And then take my children away, so that they wouldn't have to be raised by a criminal.

It was a lot of money.

I didn't even have the comfort of coming home and treating myself to some chocolate, because I had finally dragged myself back to Weight Watchers today. Some of you may recall my boasting about reaching my goal weight, way back in April of 2006. Yup, I was pretty proud of myself.

Well, let's not live in the past, okay? I walked up to the receptionist and said, "I haven't been here in a year and you have to promise not to say anything critical when I step on that scale." Because if she did, I knew I would cry. Fortunately, she was a nice person who had apparently dealt with similar situations. And who took 40 dollars from me, because I was over my goal weight. Just add that to my tab today. I'm trying to spend money faster than Larry can earn it, is all.

The good news was that my weight, while way up, was still 5 pounds less than what I had thought it would be - so I feel as though I lost 5 pounds today (after only one day of dieting! Cool!) Isn't Weight Watchers great?

In other news, we managed to get rid of our gingerbread house village today, despite David's best efforts to hang on to his little creation forever. I had to stuff it in an opaque garbage bag when he wasn't looking, and then I ran out to the garbage cans and threw it in. I felt like a murderer, disposing of a dismembered corpse.

Oh, and I seem to have struck a nerve with my last post - apparently, many women out there hate dinnertime with kids. I'm all for starting a new cultural trend to feed the kids early and put them to bed, much as they did in Victorian-era England. Larry and I never have been able to understand all those experts who claim that eating dinner together is a healthy family activity. We strongly suspect that they don't have any children.

Okay, I need to get back to dealing with a bunch of small people suffering candy-cane hangovers. It's not a pretty sight.



[Librarian image: Fragile What?]

[Scale image: First Aid Warehouse

[Family dinner image: Arya M. Sharma, MD]









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Monday, January 07, 2008

Rachael Ray, Not!

I'd like to post, really I would. But considering it took me several minutes just to get to this page, it may not be a possibility. Not before midnight, anyway. This old set-up of ours is a tad temperamental. If I click on one browser tab and then change my mind and click on a second one before the first page loads, the computer gets annoyed and sort of freezes up and won't do anything. I guess it doesn't like it when I can't make up my mind. Or when I talk to it too much. You'd think we were married.

Even the keyboard is slower. It hates me.

I've been compensating for the less-than-pleasurable computer experiences by knitting more. Which activity is way more productive and doesn't make my husband worry about what I'm typing and who I'm "talking" to. I've started a pair of mittens (in the round) and a sweater (!) for Rachel. I don't really know what came over me, as I have never knit a sweater before. I didn't bother checking gauge, either - if it's too big, she can wear it next year; too small, and Susie can have it. There's a definite advantage to a knitter having numerous children of various sizes.

I'm working on finishing the second sock (go me!) of a pair, and I think I will start a scarf, too, just to keep busy. Because I don't have enough to do.

I outdid myself at dinner by making almost everyone cry (not Larry, though). The new vegetarian entree I made upset Brian greatly. Brian is the quintessential meat-and-potatoes sort of guy, a trait I usually find charming, but not when I have a migraine. David (the vegetarian, the one I made the meal for specifically) didn't like it and was crying because he was hungry and I was annoyed. Rachel cried because she wanted the leftover noodles from last night's potroast, but she didn't want the meat, and I said no. Susie cried just to keep everyone company. I finally quit the scene entirely and went upstairs and took a 2-hour nap. When the going gets tough, I run away.

I am never going to cook anything ever again. The hell with them. They can eat yarn.

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

I'm Baaaack!

Kudos to Larry for managing to hook up our antiquated computer system to the Internet! Unfortunately, this gives him yet another piece of ammunition in our ongoing argument over the dubious value of hanging on to useless junk versus the virtues of travelling light, as it were. Be that as it may, I am definitely working on the horse-and-buggy version of our modern-day computers. As in, I'm surprised I don't have to keep pedalling something to keep this thing running. (But, you know, a set-up like that would not be a bad idea...)

Larry took our dead CPU to the Geek Squad for an autopsy, and the diagnosis was a defunct motherboard. Whew. I was afraid they'd tell him it had something to do with too much blogging. So now we're having a fun discussion of whether to replace the motherboard (mother bored?) or to buy a new computer with the money we had been saving towards my laptop (sob, sniff). Today was also the day that I got to pay over one hundred dollars to fix a problem with Anna's flute. And another 30 dollars to buy her a tuner to replace the one that Rachel bathed in the toilet last year. We're expecting our car to break down any minute, just to add to the fun.

But that's okay, because we are made of money. Ask Anna.

I consoled myself over the loss of my computer by going to Michael's and picking up supplies for a few knitting projects. I showed remarkable restraint, considering that all yarn was 30 percent off this week; but I must have fondled every skein in the place before I could tear myself away. I think the damage came to less than 40 dollars. You knitting bloggers can appreciate my amazing self-control, I am sure.

Knitting bloggers - shouldn't there be a shorter name for that by now? Knoggers, perhaps? Remember, you heard it here first.

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Aaaack......

I'm blogging from a neighbor's house because my computer is brain-dead. I'm still in shock from the whole experience; yesterday everything was fine and it didn't freeze up even once and I had thought we were on the road to recovery. I only left for a few minutes to bathe the children; but when I came back, it was gone. I never even got to say good-bye. RIP, my friend, RIP.

And now I owe Larry big because he backed up all my word documents a few nights ago. Too bad he didn't know to back up the Christmas pictures. He did suggest that we wrap a bunch of boxes and stuff some candy canes in the stockings and re-enact Christmas morning for the camera; but I just don't think my heart is in it.

Well, I need to get out of my very kind neighbor's hair....you all will have to carry on without me...

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Happy Anniversary To Me

Well, it's our anniversary (#17); and Larry's left me here with 4 kids and a greeting card and a pack of M&M's while he goes skiing with the big kids. Yet another reason to go to our neighborhood Best Buy and treat myself to a laptop, don't you think?

Of course, my husband is nobody's fool; he's taken my babysitters with him. Foiled, again.

I am beginning to realize that Larry purposely left me with the expiring-computer-mouse condition. Think about it: the computer works for 15 minutes, then the mouse dies, leaving me no choice but to shut the whole thing off. And get up and do something useful around here. I feel manipulated.

My toddler has an endearing habit of climbing up behind me on my computer chair and keeping me company while I type. Which is fine, unless she suddenly slips off, all the while maintaining her kung-fu grip on my hair. Ouch.

I'm in the mood for short paragraphs tonight. Can you tell?

I haven't cooked in 3 days. Instead, I've been feeding the kids cheese and crackers left over from the party, pizza, and canned soup. They love it. I am the best mommy in the world. It doesn't hurt that I'm sharing all my Christmas chocolate with them, either.

Well, time to enjoy a nice quiet evening with the house to myself. Not that the teenagers bother me or anything. But I just want to be able to sit around and knit without seeing myself through their eyes. As a middle-aged boring loser. Is that too much to ask?

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Hooray, It's Not The Holidays Anymore!

I'm feeding the kids party leftovers all day. They love me. I should do this all the time. Before lunch, we played Christmas Bingo and whoever won got a Christmas cookie. I need to get all the junk food out of the house before the good times come to a crashing halt this Monday with my first official weigh-in. I hate dieting, but I also hate not being able to breathe with my jeans snapped.

I wasn't going to post a New Year's resolution; but last night, while I was having panic attacks over the fact that our computer had frozen up and realizing that I might not be able to access all the articles I've written, ever again (mostly homeschooling crap - not for general consumption), articles that I sometimes manage to sell for genuine legal tender (not much, but enough to buy myself some clothes without feeling as though I am taking food out of my children's mouths)...

Where was I? Oh, yes, last night I made my resolution: back everything up on an external drive. Constantly. Not later. Because "better late than never" does not apply in this situation.

Anyway, Larry wrapped up his nomination for Best Husband of the Year award by staying up late to do a temporary fix on the computer and get all my word docs on one of those flash drive thingies, which I will now keep under my pillow at night (in case of fire). He neglected, however, to tell me he fixed it; and so I discovered his good deed by accident after wandering downstairs in the middle of the night, unable to sleep, my writing career (humor me) flashing before my eyes all the while. Which explains all those middle-of-the-night comments I left on everyone's blogs, okay? I hope they made sense. I was giddy with relief at the time. And I missed you.

The holidays make me sort of sentimental.

And before we give Larry too much credit, let's just say he was making a sensible financial decision by fixing the computer before leaving with the high schoolers on their ski trip today - he knew that if he left me alone for 3 days with a broken computer, well, odds were I'd either call one of those Rent-A-Geek places and pay gazillion bucks to regain access to my world, as it were; or I'd decide to spend those gazillion bucks on a new computer for myself. With just my stuff on it. And I wouldn't share, ever.

We're still having to restart the computer approximately every 5 minutes, because the mouse freezes up. I e-mailed Microsoft for a hotfix and they sent me the link (ooh, don't I sound computer savvy?) and I downloaded a zip file (?) and I unzipped it - rather, the computer says I unzipped it; but maybe the computer is lying, because I can't find all the files I supposedly unzipped. So I'm stuck. Maybe I will just wander by Best Buy today...


Maria has tagged me with a birth month meme, where you take the attributes supposedly associated with your birth month (I'm June) and talk about how they apply to you. Very fortune-cookie-ish, but I like fortune cookies.


Thinks far with vision - I suppose this refers to the fact that I am constantly imagining how I will set up the house when the kids have all flown the nest.

Easily influenced by kindness - Why, yes, I am a sucker...

Polite and soft-spoken
- Please. I'm from New Jersey. Get real.

Having ideas
- Don't we all? I should hope so.

Sensitive - As in, one unkind comment could ruin my whole day. So, don't. Make fun of Diesel instead.

Hesitating, tends to delay - Hmmm....I don't know....I'll get back to this one later.

Choosy and always wants the best
- Anyone who has seen me scarfing up store-brand chocolate chips out of the bag would want to debate this.

Temperamental - I am a woman, after all.

Funny and humorous
- But, of course. Goes without saying. Ahem.

Loves to joke - As long as it's about other people (see sensitive, above).

Good debating skills - Don't you hate how anyone with an obnoxious, totally undisciplined, mouthy kid always says their little monster has "great debating skills"? "He'll make a great lawyer!" they proclaim. How about "He'll make a great a**hole!"?

Talkative
- That's what my husband thinks, anyway.

Friendly - pathetically so.

Prone to getting colds
- Apparently.

Loves to dress up
- Yes, just so people will ask me questions that I take unreasonable umbrage at.

Easily bored - Are we done yet?

Fussy - Moi? Just because I can't sleep right if I can't find one of my special pairs of soft wool socks for bed? And the socks have to match, or my feet feel uneven and keep me up? Okay, yes.

Seldom shows emotions
- Doesn't my husband wish?

Brand conscious - I don't think so (see choosy, above).

Stubborn - Of course. What? I'm going to let the stupid people with dumb ideas run the show? I don't think so.

Barb, I tag you, of course. You're always funny with these things (putting the pressure on - sorry), and it will take your mind off the move.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Do Not Ask For Whom the Ball Drops

I would like to hear a round of applause for my husband, who has indeed finished painting the main living area of our house in time for our party on New Year's Day. As predicted, we are hanging up those curtains with the paint barely dry; but they will be up! And Larry has piled on even more marriage points. He's winning, folks!

After Larry put away all the painting paraphernalia (sp?), we spent some not-so-quality time hanging up all the pictures that have been lying around since we moved. I do not recommend this stressful exercise in togetherness unless either your marriage is solid as a rock or you and your spouse are both far too broke to even consider splitting up. By the time we were finished, Larry was drinking and I had to go to a neighbor's house to calm down.

This evening we went to our first ever New Year's Eve party. The whole family was invited, so we figured, hey, why not? That way Larry and I could spend the afternoon fighting over interior decorating instead of cooking dinner. We had to leave the party by 9:30, before any kids started crying; but unfortunately after some poor unfortunate asked us, "Do you both work?" and I immediately replied, "Yes - I work my butt off at home, and Larry works to bring in the money." You know that phrase shocked silence? I experienced it tonight. It's quite loud.

So, perhaps my response was a tad too snarky. After all, the question may actually have been a sort of compliment - maybe I looked professional, all dressed up as I was. Usually people don't even ask; they assume I'm a stay-at-home frump. I ran my theory by Larry, but he was pretending not to know me at that point. You'd think I'd embarrassed him or something. But that's okay - he embarrasses me all the time. I was just getting even.

Well, time to turn in so that I can get up bright and bushy-tailed - I need energy to yell at the kids all morning while I get ready for our party. Larry is a bit miffed that we have absolutely no idea how many people are showing up (a little, um, mistake on my part); so we need to prepare for the worst-case scenario. And I have to find the New Year's paper party goods I bought on sale in January 2006. They're around here somewhere.

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