Showing posts from May, 2008

You Saw Me In Jurassic Park

So, if you happened to go into a T-Mobile store today and heard the 2 young salespeople snickering about the middle-aged woman who had just left? That would have been me. Because I just couldn't take it anymore. I had bought one of their cellphones a couple of months ago, and I couldn't figure out how to work it for the life of me. It was one of the most basic models, too. No camera, no anything....

Feeling desperate, I marched in there today and demanded a tutorial on the basics. Like how to turn it on on my first try. How to adjust the volume on the ringer. How to figure out where to get a ringtone. How to find out how many minutes I had left (we use a prepaid plan). The girl took it from me and started punching buttons. "Whoa, missy!" I yelled. (Okay, I didn't say "missy.") "I can't tell what you're doing! How did you get that?"

"Well," she said, "you just sort of mess around with it and you figure it out.&…

To-Do List

Google Search of the Day: "teenage girl in poopy diapers"

Maybe I won't complain about my teen daughter Anna anymore. At least she's potty trained, right?

In case you wonder what I do all day:

1. Get up (very important, but much harder than it looks)

2. Shower and dress

3. Check blogs (also very important, though I don't know why)

4. Feed children breakfast so they'll stop whining

5. Remember that we have to do our yearly standardized tests.

6. Look for standardized tests, always a time-consuming activity.

7. Inflict said tests on 2 little boys.

8. Check blogs again (why not?)

9. Cast on for the first of a pair of socks (3rd try, due to needle size and gauge issues). Completing these socks has become a point of honor. I will finish them or die trying.

10. Feed children lunch early, as my dental appointment is at 12:45 on June 4th.

11. Realize that today is not June 4th. I've spent the entire morning dreading a root canal that is not happening for another week.


Mona Lisa Smile

To the person who found my blog after googling "my sister and her friends like to dress me up in diapers," I would like to say that I most emphatically cannot help you. Please - go away. Thank you.

Is he gone? Good. Back to our regularly scheduled programming...

I've been spending my evening trying to figure out Kindle. Luddite though I am, I am determined to stay abreast of whatever technological wave is cresting, all the while mixing my metaphors madly as I go. So far, all that I've figured out is that it costs one heck of a lot of money, and then I still have to pay for the books to download to it. I could pay a lot of library fines with that sort of dough.

[Whaddaya mean, Luddites don't have blogs? This one does. I can't work the DVD player, I can't work my cellphone, I can't work my microwave, for heaven's sake - but I do blog. I'm a little leery of electric toothbrushes, also; but that is another story.]

This evening Anna asked if …

The Seasons, They Go 'Round and 'Round

First pool visit of 2008 today! If my kids ever express doubt that I love them and would do anything for them, I will point out that - against my better judgment - I don a swimsuit and venture out in public for their sakes each and every summer. Yes, I am willing to undergo public humiliation just so that they can have some good childhood memories. Our pool, by the way, is super-fantastic - the baby pool is a splash pool that goes all the way to 3 feet deep, so all the non-swimmers are happy; there's a sandpit for the little ones to dig in when they are sick of the water; and there is lots of shade and trees. I love our pool! I just hate the public humiliation part.

That said, sitting there today reminded me how much time has gone by since I first became a mother (16 and a half years, but who's counting?). Obviously, this pool is a magnet for the younger-kids crowd; and "younger kids" usually means younger (read,less jaded) mothers. All I could think as I sat…

Of Books and Birthdays and BBQ's

Neva4getme has won my first (and maybe last) ever giveaway! Please contact me with your address so that my friend/secret agent can mail you Jen Singer's book You're a Good Mom from a location that is not here. The winner is due with her second baby any minute, so this can double as a new baby gift. Yes, I am cheap.

Things have finally quieted down here at the old blogstead, now that all the people Dawn and Sue sent over have finished checking me out (and, um, didn't come back). I'll admit it - it was exciting to feel so popular for a couple of days. Sort of like when the cool girls in high school let you sit at their lunch table for a bit, you know? For a few glorious days, you felt as if you were cool and beautiful and interesting to talk to... I mean, so what if they pretended you didn't exist the week after that?

Or was that just me that that sort of thing happened to?

Never mind. If you look at the sidebar to the left there, you'll see that yet anot…

We Been Jammin'

Strawberries! We're all about strawberries today! 40 pounds of strawberries, to be exact. That's approximately 25 quarts, Mir, you rookie! I laugh at your paltry 2 gallons! The excursion with just the 4 younger kids was pleasant and fun (yes! it was!) until we got in the car for the hour-long drive home. Rachel decided that she didn't like the CD I was playing and screamed in fury for, oh, 25 minutes or so. It felt like longer. Her screaming was punctuated by periodic wails from Brian: "Rachel! Don't hit me!" and "She's trying to undo my seatbelt!" That's one strange little girl.

Not having any duct tape handy, Larry and I decided to endure the aural onslaught silently rather than add to the noise by issuing idle threats. When we got home, we took Rachel out of the car and gave her a cookie to thank her for finally quieting down.

Ha, ha, ha - no, we didn't. We put her in her room for the entire afternoon. A gorgeous afternoon re…

Parental Guidance Required

I was in Target with Anna the other day (no, I don't know why I repeatedly subject myself to this sort of torture), waiting while she tried on assorted garments in the dressing room. I was wandering around the juniors section in a sort of existential state of despair over the porn star look for teens when - miracle of miracles - I spotted it! A skirt, a full skirt, that went below the knees! Complete with an attractive smocked waistband and ruffled hem! I rushed over to check out the price, and there on the tag were the disappointing words - tube dress. As in, most emphatically not a mid-length skirt. (I would like to note here that, in the store, this garment appears much shorter than it does in the picture in that link. I think they had a midget model it.)

Crushed, I returned to the dressing room, where I held a scintillating conversation with my teen daughter (formerly known as "Beloved") that went like this:

"Why can't I buy this shirt?"

Near Death Experiences and A Giveaway!

Hi! I cleaned my toilet 4 times last night! Another 6 times this morning! I am a toilet-cleaning goddess!

That's what happens, you know, when you have the stomach virus from hell that keeps coming back. Friday, Sunday, and again today! New and improved! In between toilet cleanings, I lay curled up on the couch in a fetal position. And decided that I was suffering from nothing less than end stage colon cancer. Isn't that fun? My only hope was to get well enough to go to the endodontist for my root canal appointment at 12:30. Why I was bothering to take care of my teeth when I was obviously not long for this world is beyond me.

So it wasn't shaping up to be a great day.

But now it is almost dinner time, my stomach seems to have jelled back into one solid mass, and the root canal didn't hurt! I am the world's biggest dental wimp, so that is saying a lot. Of course, the novocaine hasn't totally worn off yet. But have no fear - I have some prescription codeine…

We're All Patient, So Shut Up Already...

The comments are flying fast and furious forthis post over at Derfwad Manor, and no wonder. Mrs. G has written an eloquent piece on why she ended up homeschooling her 2 children, and people are falling all over themselves telling her either

A) thanks for putting that better than I could (that would be all her homeschooling readers)


B) you must be so patient to homeschool your kids (that would be the, um, uninitiated saying that, of course).

Last I checked, none of us has to pass an exam measuring how much patience we have with our children before we file that homeschooling paperwork. And it's a good thing, too.

Tell me, how many of you with children would have had the patience, BK (before kids), to put up with even a small percentage of what you tolerate on a daily basis now: the whining, the fighting, the mess, the poop? Almost none of you, I'm willing to bet. Yet here you are, doing it, and you haven't killed any of your offspring yet. Congratulations! We're…


Well, I am a big girl and I can admit when I've made a mistake. I've realized that I left a very important item off the joy rush list I made for Barb. Forget the stupid mountains, all right? They're probably full of deer ticks anyway. What should have been on the list instead, what give me a supreme feeling of joy and elation every single time I see them, are the items you see pictured to the left and to the right. (If I were mrs. g, I would draw some arrows here, but I don't know how yet.)

That's right, those are simple wooden bifold doors. And isn't it always the simplest things that give us the most happiness? A child's smile, say, or a sunny day, or closet doors that actually conceal the ungodly mess behind them....

You see, once upon a time about a year ago, we bought this nice townhouse. A townhouse that was fairly functional, with all its closet doors working the way they should. They opened, they closed, they didn't fall on anyone. It w…

In Which I Chastise Ungrateful Grown Children

Today, I must confess, I'm mad at Sue. And not just because she's funnier than me. I'm over that. Really. But, geez, Sue, you're a mom, right? And yet, you're inviting all your readers to make fun of the food their mothers fed them? Maybe you haven't been a mother long enough. Maybe you still entertain the notion that as long as you make healthy, fun meals, your kids will not have any complaints about how you feed them. Right? Am I right? After all, if a kid's unhappy, it's got to be his mother's fault.
Ha, ha, ha, ha! Oh, I slay me.

Well, let me tell you, Sue, just wait. Yeah, that's right...just you wait. There will come a day when you realize that no matter what you feed those darling children, someone will whine and complain. There will come a day when, every single time you put a plate of food in front of one of your children, your stomach will clench up in a knot of anticipatory dread; because you know that within 3.4 seconds…

Joy Rush

[Edited to add: Once more Dawn has linked to me without warning me, which is akin to the people at NOAA seeing an F5 hurricane bearing down on some unsuspecting coastal town and not bothering to mention it. Those of you looking for tales about my love affair with Ektorp furniture from IKEA, just type "Ektorp" or "IKEA" into the search bar up there.]

I am accepting Barb's challenge to do a joy rush meme, seeing as how Barb is always so optimistic and loving and makes me feel like a grinch every single time I read her blog (but hey, her daughters are 10 and under). And I think she gets more traffic than me, so maybe there is something to be said for being a less cynical blogger. Therefore, I am going to try to think like Barb tonight. I hope my brain doesn't explode. Here goes...

10 Things That Give Me Joy

1. Fat, squeezy baby thighs (as opposed to my fat middle-age thighs, which do not give me a joy rush at all)
2. Yarn (the possibilities!)
3. Homeschooling …

How Not To Let Sleeping Teens Lie

I must say, I am impressed with the creativity demonstrated by my readers in the comments section of yesterday's post. Let's see....

How To Wake A Teenage Girl

1. Vacuum. Nice idea, Kathy, very kill 2 birds with one stone with that one. You wake her up and you remind her of some very basic household chores she could do. I like it.

2. Airhorn? I don't know, Heather; that's getting a tad drastic. But desperate times do call for desperate measures. I'll keep it in mind.

3. Water - ah, cheap yet effective. Kelli recommends pouring water on the sleeping teen in order to rouse her. Double bonus with this one, too, as the sleeper is forced to change her bed linens.

4. Dog - Melissa claims that you need to train the dog to go in and wake her. I don't know, I sort of like dogs...PETA may have a problem with this solution.

5. Cellphone call - brilliant move, Heidi! What teen girl would not instantly bolt awake to answer her cellphone? And she'd be way…

Good Morning, Sunshine

Whew! I went missing. I didn't run away from home with my gambling winnings, in case that is what you were thinking...but I did fall asleep early, directly after informing Anna that she wasn't going to her ensemble rehearsal in the evening as planned. Because, if she's gonna make me feel like crap all day, I'm gonna make her life miserable.

Then I went to bed and slept the sleep of the just.

It amazes me how teen daughters think that they can out-b*tch their mothers. Don't they realize that we've had way more practice than they have at acting that way?

For those of you with only cute, younger children - I apologize. 5 years ago, I would have been as shocked to read this as you are feeling right now. Obviously, I have done something wrong with raising my offspring.

Ha, ha, ha, ha! That was a joke! For mothers of teen daughters to share! We've done nothing wrong - it is merely a case of demonic possession amongst our young. Why don't you 20-somethin…

We've Got A Winner, Folks!

Hey! It's Bunko Night, and I won 15 dollars this evening. What with my Bunko winnings and the whopping 150 dollars I've earned through freelance writing this year, Larry should just retire early and stay home with the kids. Because, financially speaking, I've got us covered.

I can bring home the bacon...fry it up in a pan...

A Pox On Mother's Day Bake Sales

The title of yesterday's post should have been Friends Don't Let Friends E-Mail When They Are Totally Tired, Cranky, and Fed Up - but I thought that would be too lengthy. I regret if I may have inadvertently led some of you to believe that I was actually tipsy when I wrote that e-mail to my friend. I assumed that my typical reader (aka, another mom) would know that that sort of missive could be penned on almost any typical day by almost any mother without the aid of intoxicating beverages.

Truth to tell, I don't drink. Oh, occasionally I will sip some wine and try to enjoy it. But I do not like the taste of alcoholic beverages. MadMad can attest to this, having dined out with me while we were stalking the Yarn Harlot. While those around me were enjoying whatever those drinks are that have salt (or was it sugar?) on the rim of the glass, I was enjoying a nice refreshing glass of water. With lemon. I'm weird that way.

Larry took me out for a sandwich at our local ba…

Friends Don't Let Friends E-Mail Drunk

A friend of mine had the privilege of receiving this e-mail this evening from me, because it was that kind of day:

I'm sorry, first I meant to e-mail you and then to call you, and here it is almost 9 and I feel too stupid to talk to anyone because I fell asleep with the one who really isn't a baby anymore but we're gonna keep calling her that until she is 30, and I just woke up and my brain is fried but it is too early to go back to bed. Now Larry is trying to talk to me about something intelligent and I swear I'm going to lose it, because I know it's something complicated and I don't want to think about anything complicated right now.

Where was I? Oh, yes, sorry. My whole life is like that first paragraph right now and I have no idea why, as we don't even have a baby anymore and I'm not pregnant; but Lord knows, I am drowning in a sea of crap and no one listens to me anymore and what is the point anyway?

I keep getting off track, don't I?

So, gettin…


The following items were found in Rachel's nightstand drawer the other day: scissors, hair, and a bunny head ruthlessly severed from a cute hair scrunchy. Lab analysis has not yet confirmed whether the hair is human or Barbie. Numerous small stuffed animals on perpetrator's bed were, thankfully, unharmed, though quite shaken up by the beheading of their tiny compatriot. Needless to say, I have once more gathered up all the scissors in the house for safekeeping; not that this tactic has stopped Rachel before, of course, but at least it might slow her down.

So, apparently, it's true: if you don't let kids watch TV, they come up with creative ways to amuse themselves. Isn't it great?


Words cannot express how I feel about so many of you taking time out of your busy days to share synonyms of "vomit" with me. Who knew that the readers of this blog were such word aficionados? Your enthusiasm for the infinite variety of the English language could make William Safire look like an inarticulate slouch.

But don't y'all have anything better to do? You worry me.

Larry sneaked off to work despite the fact that I was feeling a tad under the weather today; nothing new there, right? But, being an experienced mom, I made sure to have a nice afternoon nap while the children played happily downstairs.

Ha, ha, ha, ha - I just crack myself up. My attempt at a nap was interrupted numerous times for various non-emergency requests. So I gave up and staggered downstairs to help the kids make pretzels. This activity is supposed to be fun, but - truthfully? - it wasn't. Children were crying over who got to "mix," we had to wait for the dough to rise, …


I'd be snoozing right now; but the sound of a toddler barfing right next to me hath murdered sleep. I'm fussy that way, not being able to relax while lying there and waiting for Round 2. We could have put Susie in her own bed after her vomiting incident, but that would have made sense. After all, why mess up a set of twin sheets when you can finish off yet another set of king-sized ones instead? And Larry had the nerve to make fun of me while I carefully remade our bed with the spare sheets. "Yeah, make sure that top sheet is on right-side-out," he remarked. "We wouldn't want her to puke on the wrong side tonight."

I'm a creature of habit, what can I say? I tucked in the corners just so, too.

Last week Mental Tesserae suggested (in the comments of this post) that mothers must have 100 words for vomit, just as Eskimos (supposedly) have a hundred words for snow. Well, I managed to use 3 of them in that first paragraph alone. Pretty good, huh? …

Free At Last!

That's how I feel, anyway, after spending 4 months trying to clear my account at my local diabolical library. Today I was able to walk in there with my head held high and check out books on my own - no need to be debriefed by the librarian about which items are still missing and how many overdue fines I still need to pay. My account wasn't "blocked," my fine was at an acceptable level (you didn't think I would have nothing to pay whatsoever, did you?), and no one looked at me as though they wanted fingerprints.

If our country ever turns into a police state, I swear, those librarians will be the first on board. Don't mess with 'em.

2 years ago, it seemed to me to be a good idea to rent an organic community garden plot down the road from our house. You can read about that here. Although we have had 2 relatively unsuccessful growing seasons (for which we pay 48 dollars each), hope springs eternal in my plant-killing breast; so I insisted that Larry cough …

The Hills Are Alive...

...with the whines of entitlement....

According to this news article, Americans have hit hard times. While I have no doubt that there are many Americans truly suffering from the recent rise in gas and food prices, I think that journalists are going to have to come up with better examples than one suburbanite's having to (gasp!) cut coupons and (awww!) buy food that isn't organic. This reminds me of an NPR piece a number of months ago (when gas prices first started to rise again), where a person with a huge SUV was complaining about how much it cost him to drive his daughter to a special soccer league an hour away.

Sort of hard to work up a lot of pity, isn't it?

Last I checked, "poor" meant not having enough to eat, or nowhere to live, or no transportation with which to get to a paying job. Not being able to clothe your kids belongs on that list, too. But poor does not mean living the way many of us have been living (happily!) (thriftily!) for many years - buyin…

No One Vomited Today

I know you are all just dying to hear another vomit story; thankfully, I do not have one for you. Larry and I are still waiting for the other shoe (other 6 shoes, actually) to drop, however. Stay tuned.

Is it just me, or does each day go by faster and faster? The hours today have melted away faster than an ice cream cone in hell.

It's not as if we're one of those over scheduled suburban families, either. Larry and I, being both cheap and lazy, have made a concerted effort not to sign up the kids for a zillion activities. That way, we figure, they can enjoy an old-fashioned childhood, complete with plenty of time to whine that they're bored and to get on each others' nerves.

Believe me, it is almost impossible to have a laidback lifestyle in today's suburban jungle. The peer pressure to be busy, busy, busy is incredible. Everyone around here is so busy, in fact, that if I want my 5-year-old daughter to have a play date, I need to schedule it a month in advance. N…

Why Bunkbeds Are A Bad Idea

I was going to be a good girl and go to bed at 10 this evening, but then I decided to stay up and wash puke off of the boys' bedroom wall instead. Because that activity is more enjoyable than a good night's sleep.

Naturally, what with vomit-cleanup being such an adrenaline-pumping experience, I am still up. And not feeling too well myself, I might add. Larry went back to sleep, however, after moving the bunkbeds and lifting the mattresses and removing the puked-on guardrails for me while I wrung my hands and wailed things like, "Aaagh! It's dripping on me!" and "Why does he always have to be in the top bunk when he throws up?!" To that last, Larry said, "I dunno. We're lucky, I guess."

You know, Larry may seem like he's totally out of it, standing there in his underwear and looking groggy; but he always manages to come up with a good one-liner at times like these.

The embarrassing part is that when I heard Brian coughing strangely in…