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.

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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...


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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?]

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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.

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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!



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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.


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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.

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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...








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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.


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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 said that because she wants 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...

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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!

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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?


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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?




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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.

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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...

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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.

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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...

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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.




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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?

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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)

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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...

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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.

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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?






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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.

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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!

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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.

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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?




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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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Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Morning After

Barricading myself in the bathroom this afternoon in order to eat a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in peace (while my 3-year-old whined and cried outside the door) was not, I will admit, my finest mothering hour. I would have felt bad about my nurturing deficiencies, but then my friend (of the Fridge of Shame fame) admitted to me that her son couldn't come play with David today because he had no clean clothes left to wear.

I love my friend.

It's just a post-Election, post-Halloween, post-Houseguest breakdown, really. My sister-in-law left early this morning and I woke up to a house strewn with used craft items and leftover candy. I also woke up to the realization that all the fun campaign news is over. It seems that reading about Obama's transition team isn't nearly as entertaining as hearing the fun stories from the campaign trail. However, my day was a bit redeemed when I found the following news report on all those Obama volunteers:


Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are


This nasty chest cold that I've picked up isn't helping my malaise much. The funny thing is, I feel fine - except for the shortness of breath and the hacking, phlegm-y cough. But I was probably breathing too much anyway. Can oxygen make me fat?

No? I guess it was the Peanut Butter Cup, then. Imagine that.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

As The Food Turns: Freedom Edition

Well, let's put all that election stuff behind us, shall we? Enough of politics absorbing all my time and attention, enough of blue/red distinctions dividing us. Instead, we need to focus on the common ground that is our refrigerators. We all have items begging to be released from the depths of our iceboxes, deep dark menu secrets that we try to hide not only from those who know us best, but even from ourselves. Well, this is the weekly feature where Suburban Correspondent bares all, as it were, and exposes the truth about her housekeeping habits.

We have surprisingly few eligible candidates right now. Wait! Did I say candidates? I meant, containers. We have only 4 containers to photograph this week, and....




Hey! How did that newspaper get there?! Sheesh. Let's try that again.




Okay, that's better. Where was I? Oh, yes...I don't know what is in the bottom container. They may be cooked pinto beans that I put in the freezer to use at some later point. (Stop laughing at me. I can dream, can't I?) The problem with Gladware (or at least its cheap imitations) is that, once frozen, it becomes very brittle. Then, when it comes falling out of the freezer (which happens all the time around here), it shatters. So this container (and its contents) have to go.

Next up - some sausage patties. No one liked them. I don't want to talk about it, really.

Second from the top are leftover refried beans which no one noticed until it was too late. And on top of that are some canned baked beans from Lord knows when.

So, as I do every Wednesday, I will release all these items, as it were, from their prolonged bondage. I can almost hear them chanting as I remove them from the storage container shapes that have defined them for so long, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Coming up tomorrow: kids, and vomit, and mice. I promise.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Free The Hostages!

[Edited to add: Yay! I fixed the comments! My apologies to all of you who have tried unsuccessfully to comment since last night. Please try again.]


I am prolife.
I am a veteran.
I am a homeschooler.

And I am voting for Barack Obama.

In other words, hardly any of my friends are talking to me right now, save for last-ditch attempts to make me see reason. But I'm listening to other people right now. General Colin Powell, for instance; and The Economist. So, if you want to know why I am voting for a babykilling alleged socialist, please click on those 2 links. They say it much better than I can. (If you are too busy to click on both, read the second one.)

I am also listening to my heart, a heart sick of politicians capitalizing on the blue/red divide in this great country of ours. I'm purple, folks; solid purple. There are many others out there like me, and it is time that we make our voices heard. We want someone who, after winning a close presidential race, will not stand up there and say that he has a mandate (I'm looking at you, President George W. Bush). We want someone who will acknowledge that almost half the people didn't vote for him and who will pledge to seek compromise on the issues near and dear to all of us. Our country has been held hostage by extremists on either end for long enough.

In addition, our military is being held hostage in Iraq, while it is needed elsewhere. Pinned down between warring factions of a society rent by civil disorder, it is being drained of its ability to defend us from new threats which are emerging worldwide. The surge has "worked" not by reconciling these divisions, but by capitalizing on them. It was a wise strategy on General Petraeus' part, good for a short-term solution to escalating violence; but it brings us no closer to the stable pan-Iraqi government we claim as our ultimate goal. Senator Obama is not afraid to state this distasteful truth.

I voted for Senator McCain back in the 2000 primaries. I believe that if he had won that election, our country would be far better off than it is today. But my faith in him is shaken, because Senator McCain's campaign is being held hostage by the far right wing of the Republican party; and we have no assurances that the same would not happen to a McCain presidency. And should something, heaven forbid, happen to him while he is in office, we would be left with a president who is fairly identical to President George W. Bush. The neoconservatives would move right back in to advise Ms. Palin, putting our country at risk once again of a reckless foreign policy and a disregard for important domestic issues.

We prolife centrists have been held hostage by the prolife movement's insistence on a legislative solution to the abortion problem for the last 35 years or so. Women deserve better than abortion, and they deserve a prolife movement that will spend its resources (time, money, talent) on providing them with an alternative rather than on protracted legal wranglings and abortion clinic prayer vigils. A legislative solution to the abortion problem is a chimera - I don't believe abortion will ever be illegal again in the U.S., and (unfortunately) the hard-liners on the left are dead set against any reasonable legal restrictions. Prayer vigils are counterproductive - being raised outside the pro-life community, I am more aware than most in the movement how they do nothing but alienate the people we most want to help.

We need to give these women real help - medical care, a living wage, affordable housing - so that they are not scared to bring children into this world. Some of this help can be brought about by the stated domestic policies of the Democratic candidate. We also need to open even more crisis pregnancy clinics and pour our money and efforts into those. What we don't need is to pin all our hopes (and the future of our country) on voting for a candidate simply because he/she is pro-life.

No candidate is perfect. I am choosing the candidate who is most willing to look for that common ground which unites us as Americans and to build from that. I am choosing the candidate who, while left of center, is still closer to the center than his opponent. I am choosing the candidate who wants to be President of all of the US, not half of it.

Hello? Anyone still here?

Sigh. It's lonely at the center...

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Brought To You By The Color Brown...

Sigh. It's almost Election Day, and I'm already feeling let down. What will I do for excitement once it's all over? How can I bond with my teens without funny SNL campaign skits to watch? And how will I be able to push people's buttons without being able to say something like, "I'm voting for the babykilling socialist?"

Dark days ahead, people. Dark, dark days, I tell you. Thank goodness I've got a sizeable stash of Snickers to see me through.

Auntie Kate is still here. She's having a good time, though I can tell she is thanking her lucky stars that she never had children. My having to retrieve the toilet-paper spindle from a poop-filled potty this evening certainly didn't help.

Does this sort of thing happen to anyone else?

The results from my trick-or-treat survey yesterday are inconclusive. I need more responses. What's wrong with you all, anyway? Have you no interest in the sociological implications of a decline in trick-or-treating? Do we really want to live through a cocoa futures crash of inestimable dimensions? The ensuing chaos would make the Crash of '08 look insignificant by comparison (well, to me, anyway).

Let's keep our priorities straight in these turbulent times with an easy-to-remember slogan:


Chocolate First

See how clever I was? I made the slogan brown, like chocolate. Or like the water in your toilet, really, while you are swishing poop around in a gag-inducing attempt to find a lost toilet-paper spindle...


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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Hello, November!

November's not a bad month. That is, if you don't mind cold and rain and Christmas carols playing in every single store you step into. Right?

We usually get about 65 trick-or-treaters on Halloween. Plus or minus 10, say. Last year, I think we had close to 80. This year? 27. I've talked to friends around here and they experienced the same drop in the numbers of candy-begging urchins. I'm wondering whether this phenomenon is confined to my little corner of the world, or if it is more widespread. Did the number of trick-or-treaters at your door drop considerably this year?

And do you think the drop in numbers was caused by the election? Maybe the McCain campaign, with all its talk of "spreading the wealth" being the same as socialism, discouraged people from participating in spreading the candy around. Or perhaps the Obama campaign's emphasis on change confused people and made them think that it was time to change our Halloween customs.

And for those of you who are thinking, "Hey, Suburban Correspondent, election campaigns have nothing whatsoever to do with Halloween!" - well, I urge you to check out this article, sent to me by the Hotfessional. The sentence about the "crying children" cracks me up every single time.

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