Saturday, January 31, 2009

Brave New World

There's a lot of talk these days about how difficult it is for us parents of teens to manage this brave new world of IPods, text messages, and Facebook. But I'm here to tell you, technology can also be our friend.

Anna needed me to take her somewhere yesterday morning. She stood in the front hall, anxiety exuding from her every pore because she didn't want to be late. So I sent her to start the car while I found my purse, my coat, etc.

I reached the car 5 minutes later, where she was sitting in the passenger seat, waiting impatiently. I got in and closed the door and buckled in. Then I said,

"You know, we can't go anywhere right now."
"Huh?" (accompanied by annoyed, confused look endemic to foggy-brained teens)
"We can't go anywhere. The windshield is covered with ice. I can't see to drive."
"Oh?" (another confused, "why is she talking to me?" look)
"Hey! I have an idea! Why don't you take the scraper and clear the windshield?"
(Glare)
"No, really, it might work!"


So Anna went outside and, with one hand in her pocket and the other aimlessly flailing the ice scraper, did her very best imitation of a floppy-wristed, one-armed imbecile attempting to clean off a windshield. It was pathetic. She was apparently hoping I'd get impatient and do it for her, but hey - I was sitting in a warm car listening to NPR. No rush...


When she finally got back into the car, I told her, "Next time you make yourself look that stupid, I'm videotaping it and putting it on YouTube."

And that, my friends, is what is so great about this brave new technological world we're living in...

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Nobody Knows The Clutter I've Seen...

Because we were hosting clubs this afternoon, I spent yet another day stowing all sorts of household junk in my bedroom in order to make the main floor of my house presentable. One would think that, after 17 years, I could come up with a better method of housekeeping. But no - Larry and I have resorted to dumping things into boxes. The box that holds all the odds and ends he cleaned off the computer desk before our New Year's party? Sits right here in the den - I just keep tossing more stuff into it. The top of my dresser was covered with I-don't-know-what-all; so I grabbed an empty box, swept everything into it, and shoved the box into my closet. The clutter is utterly defeating us.

Don't tell me to throw things out. I throw zillions of things out every single day. I've read all the books. I do the Flylady thing. But we are still overwhelmed. The enemy is winning.

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

On the bright side, Girl Scout cookies are arriving soon! When in trouble, eat Trefoils.

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

The kids and I have had a fun couple of days. Our little bit of snow almost immediately froze to ice. So we went sledding again. Sledding is fun, even if you are middle-aged and out-of-shape and terrified of careening down an icy hill at breathtaking speed...it's fun, because it makes you feel like a kid again. So go! Right now! Just remember that second pair of socks, okay?


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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Kids? What Kids?

Time for a knitting update. I don't know why it is time, but it is. I even took pictures. Although, now that I look at them, I think I'll have to find a background less glaringly red than the slipcover on my beloved Ektorp ottoman (with removable top, so you can shove all sorts of junk in there before company comes).

I've been working on this top-down baby raglan sweater. If there is anything I hate, it is knitting something in separate pieces and then having to sew them together. If I wanted to sew, I wouldn't be knitting. Duh. This sweater is knitted in one piece from the top, leaving the sleeve stitches on holders to come back to at the end (like knitting a mitten with 2 thumbs) (sort of).

I am thrilled, thrilled, thrilled with the pattern; although I don't understand why I can never knit small enough for gauge. The pattern already calls for small needles (sizes 2 and 4), and I wanted to weep at the thought of knitting a sweater on needles even tinier than that. So I decided to use sock yarn instead of sport weight for the sweater. We'll see how that works out. Probably not very well...

I know it is hard to believe for the uninitiated among you, but the info in the above paragraph interests knitters. You non-knitting readers out there, just be glad I didn't start discussing the buttonholes. (Oh, but those are exciting, too! I've never done them before!)

I am almost done with the first sock of a pair (if I would ever get off this computer) (darn you, Facebook and Twitter!). I was surprised to find that the yarn I chose for the socks is self-striping (I am easily surprised, okay?). I am finding it to be a lot of fun, waiting for a new color stripe to come around again (also, easily amused).

I actually managed to finish (shocking, I know) a pink Cascades superwash wool hat for my friend's baby. I don't know if my friend really liked it, but she at least pretended she did; and that's good enough for me (thanks!). I forgot to take a picture of it, though.

There are other assorted projects lying around here, but I am trying not to think about them right now. Most of them are stalled out because I made some mistake (alas, my first lace project!) and am dreading the work it will take to fix it. Or because I was almost finished with something and realized I didn't like the way it was turning out. So I am ignoring them.

You can do that with knitting. Not with kids, though. So maybe I should go see who is screaming upstairs and why my teen daughter is sulking in the kitchen...

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Three Cheers...

Three cheers for Larry! He fixed the dishwasher while I was doing the orchestra carpool last night. I think working appliances are so sexy, don't you?

And yes, that picture to the right shows exactly how we all feel today...

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Three cheers for Mother Nature, who finally delivered us some snow this morning. Although, I must say it is rather pathetic to see my poor deprived children dancing around chanting, "There's tons of snow!" when the grass is still showing. Then again, it takes some skill to go sledding in less than 2 inches of snow, doesn't it?

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Three cheers for Susie, who decided she would like to go sledding this year. That is, until her mother managed to dump her face-first in the snow. Whoops.

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

Three cheers for my aging brain, which has forgotten everything else I wished to post today. Off to bake cinnamon rolls and make some hot cocoa - it's snowing!




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Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday? Again?

For all of you who mentioned that you wouldn't be foolish enough to try to collaborate on things like FAFSA or taxes with your spouse, I agree - it is foolish. Our system has always been that I do the taxes - it has worked well for us for almost 20 years. Larry volunteered to do the FAFSA because, well, I'm doing the taxes. Unfortunately, there are points at which the 2 intersect. I could volunteer to do both, but we would still have to collaborate, as Larry has the non-tax financial numbers required by this fiendish form.

Any social scientists out there wondering why many marriages tend to fall apart at the 20-year mark? I think I've got your answer.

Speaking of which, a very pleasant-looking gentleman in his mid- to late-sixties came to the register the other evening to buy a book: How To Get A Divorce Without Ruining Your Life.

Hello? How about the other person's life? Did his wife know already what he was planning? I felt complicit in wrongdoing just by ringing up the purchase. I would have felt better if he had looked distraught and/or wracked by anguish as he placed the book on the counter, but this guy looked pretty darn pleased with himself, actually. Creep.

Maybe I shouldn't take these purchases so personally...

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

Theo has been procrastinating on his last few college applications (and, oh, have I mentioned how much I hate these things? No? Don't worry, I will). Larry and I, not wanting to have to set aside next Sunday to proofread essays for an annoyed teen who doesn't understand why we are interfering with his life and checking his applications, decided to set deadlines for each application to be handed to us for proofreading. This news, of course, was not well received by the teen formerly known as easygoing and compliant.

Yesterday was the first deadline, and we were relieved to see Theo hard at work at the computer. Late in the afternoon, however, we found him wandering around the kitchen. "Where's the application?" I demanded.

"Which application?" he asked.

"The one that was due today. We need to proofread it."

"Oh, I sent it in already."

Well, he showed us who's in charge, didn't he? I can't wait until he's sitting around here all next year going to community college - every time he complains, I will remind him of the importance of having an editor.

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

Those of you who think parents should not be involved at all in the college application process? I thought the same thing a few months ago. Believe me, I wish that were true. My parents never even saw mine.

But it's a different world today. Check out some of these websites, hey? Letting your kids send off those applications while every other kid's apps are being proofread by their parents or even professionals is tantamount to idiocy. It's also tantamount to throwing your 60-dollar application fee in the toilet.

When in Rome...

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

I think I'm done complaining now. Really. And it's time to go wash some more dishes...

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Title Expired

That dishwasher part that was supposed to be winging its way to my domicile with all possible speed? Still isn't here. Yeah. And I absolutely, positively did need it overnight; FedEx, I am so disappointed in you.

Oh, and thanks to fawndear for making me look like a whiner. Apparently her dishwasher has been broken for over 2 months. And she has 6 kids also.

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

All of you who are thinking I feed my kids on 150 dollars a week can stop beating yourselves up over not being frugal enough. That is just my commissary bill. I pick up soy milk and bread locally; eggs, too, and some produce each week. So it is more like 200 dollars (sometimes more) a week. And that's only because the commissary tends to be a lot cheaper than a regular grocery store, too.

If you want to see a real grocery-shopping-maven, check out this chick. She totally puts me to shame. Incredible.

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Today was one of those days when I try to remember exactly what was in those wedding vows. Let's see...love...honor...for better or worse....hmmm...

No, I don't recall anything being said about doing taxes together. Nothing about cooperating on filling out college financial aid forms either. No wonder Larry and I were having a teeny bit of trouble getting along today. Of course, it doesn't help that Larry thought it perfectly reasonable to be using last year's FAFSA worksheet instead of the current one, even though it has been completely revamped. Our discussion sounded like this:

It's just the worksheet
!
It's the wrong info
!

Repeat several times, and you've got a good sense of what our children (our poor, frightened children) (oh, and the neighbor's kid) had to listen to this afternoon...

It didn't help that the incident reminded me of the car trip when Larry insisted on using out-of-date maps. I think I am detecting a pattern here.




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Friday, January 23, 2009

Let's Dish

Gosh, I wish I had time to blog, but instead? I'm doing dishes. Yup. Seems that fixing the broken latch on the dishwasher door wasn't as high on Larry's list as it was on mine, at least not until last night when he came home to a wife who would not stop talking about all the dishes she washed that day. Inspired by this scintillating conversation, he went online and ordered (nay, had FedExed) the broken part. Which he may or may not be able to install himself...

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

For all of you who are thinking that I am being a bit too strict with Anna (no IPod!), let me clarify things a bit. She is more than welcome to buy herself an IPod. She would prefer, however, to be given one. Cellphone? Same deal.

But we do let her share one of ours.

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

We did our commissary trip today (which, um, made me fall behind on those danged dishes, but that's another story) and, as usual, I ran up quite a bill. I don't know about you, but I always feel as though I've spent too much, could have been more frugal, shouldn't have bought that one bag of cookies, etc. The entire commissary trip turns into an exercise of second-guessing and self-recrimination. In other words, not fun. So I wasn't surprised when the cashier, after ringing up my total (466 dollars), said, "That's amazing!" "

"It is a lot," I said. "But it's 6 kids, and 3 weeks of groceries..."

"No," he said. "Usually, an order this size will come to 700 dollars. You are one smart shopper."

Thank you, oh wonderful stranger. I really needed to hear that today. And I'll make sure to pass it on.



And now, back to the dishes...



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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

As The Food Turns: We Are One

Refrigerator? What refrigerator?

Oh. Oh, yeah...that refrigerator...

In answer to President Obama's call for unity of purpose, I have chosen to photograph the glass and the plastic containers together this week. No more false divisions here, folks; all my spoiled leftovers must forge ahead together on the way to their destiny (which, um, happens to be disposal into my stainless steel trashcan).

Let's see:

  1. turkey pot pie
  2. red beans and rice (mostly rice)
  3. gravy from I-know-not-when
  4. Chinese beef and green beans
  5. leftover oatmeal
  6. old carrot sticks

Next week you will probably see applesauce gone moldy because once again my children have opened 2 jars at once. Ditto for the Vidalia onion salad dressing...I swear, there is no stopping the waste.

Do I sound a little fed up (no pun intended)? Because that's the way that I am feeling. Just what are 2 and a half bunches of celery doing in my icebox, anyway? I mean, aside from turning brown...

Oh, and I asked Larry to pick up a little something to bring to our neighbor's Inaugural party yesterday. You guessed it - he came home with a bag of pretzels and 3 bags of potato chips. It's sort of cute, isn't it?

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hail To The Chief

I don't know about you all, but I'm pretty disappointed. I mean, here it is, 7 hours after Obama is sworn in as President, and nothing has changed. Nothing. We continue to be at war in Iraq, Osama bin Laden is still on the loose, and the economy continues in its downward spiral. You just can't trust those politicians and their promises, now can you?

And, is there anyone out there who didn't think of Mr. Potter upon seeing Vice President Cheney in that wheelchair? Just wondering...

Our day here was given over to Inaugural festivities - neighborhood party, celebratory cupcakes, watching way too much computer and TV. Also, some very good champagne punch. I'll probably wake up tomorrow with a major political hangover.

Celebratory cupcakes? Well, yes. I attempted to decorate 2 dozen cupcakes so that they looked like the American flag (I'm patriotic that way). This would have been a fairly simple, non-traumatic endeavor if it had not involved the help of 4 children. As it was, the experience just about brought me to my knees, what with David's disappointment that I wasn't using the thicker icing that would have enabled us to make authentic-looking stars and stripes, Susie's crying because she couldn't spread the icing on her cupcakes the way she wanted to, and Brian's concerns over red icing that looked too pink. It seems that these many years of child rearing have eaten away at my stamina and forbearance; decorating these cupcakes was almost the tip of the iceberg that broke the camel's back.

Or something like that...

In the end, we had a representation of a flag that looked as though it came from the Primitive school of American art. And I was fine with that. Grandma Moses couldn't have done better. Of course, she had 10 kids.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Betrayal

We've been having a family UNO tournament of sorts. We've even got Larry playing. Mean mother that I am, this afternoon I caught Rachel out for not saying "UNO" and made her cry. A lot. Her cute braided pigtails made it seem even more pathetic. But, hey, she looked cute the whole time she was stuffing toilets and decapitating stuffed animals, too.

Larry felt sorry for her, but that's because he doesn't know how to compete.

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We bought a dishwasher back in August 2007, after summarily finishing off the old one we inherited with this house. This new appliance was my favorite dishwasher ever. It held everything, and didn't have lots of silly little compartments to get in the way of the large dishes and pans. I was, quite frankly, head over heels crazy in love with it. And I thought it felt the same about me, the way it faithfully scrubbed all our eating and cooking implements clean twice a day, every day, week in and week out.

Well, the love affair is over. It ended the way these things do, with blatant betrayal. Today we attempted to run it and discovered that the latch inside the door is broken. A cheap part, but an expensive problem. KitchenAid, you have broken my heart. And my wallet...

Silver lining (there had to be one, right?) - Anna gets to wash dishes by hand. Since she already thinks we are raising her Amish (no IPod, no cellphone), this situation should suit her just fine.

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Oh, Lordy, I can't believe it - Dustin Hoffman is back. I love Dustin Hoffman, with a devotion fierce and unchanging. Unlike that trampish Mrs G over at Derfwad Manor, I'm a one-secret-boyfriend type of gal (oh, hush about that Matt Damon thing - it meant nothing to me); and, really, how can a woman even think about making a guy like Dustin share his space in her heart?


Look at that, will you? Emma must be melting inside, with Dustin gazing at her that way. Look at those sexy eyes, that short stocky build...

Would someone open a window in here? It's so hot...

And, hey - do you think he does dishes?


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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Where There's Smoke, There's Dinner

Sue mentioned the other day that she was so inspired by Top Chef that she attempted a new recipe for her family's dinner, with disappointing results (hilarious, but disappointing). This made me think about how unrealistic and misleading cooking shows can be. I, for one, would be glad to star in a cooking show that demonstrates what it is really like when a mother of 4 or more kids tries to cook dinner.

Picture it - I could appear before the audience in a real kitchen: old phone numbers and miscellaneous magnets hanging all over the refrigerator door; a counter cluttered with the candy canes we're saving for hot cocoa and a bowl full of almond shells that a certain teen family member was too darn lazy to throw out; and the requisite sinkful of dirty dishes in the background. The featured recipes would, of course, require no more than 2 steps, maximum. In the process of preparing them for the TV audience, I would also demonstrate how to search for the right-size bowl in a cabinet filled with mismatched Gladware and how to locate the proper ingredients (or some reasonable facsimile thereof) in a refrigerator replete with bottles of salsa and leftover egg sandwiches.

Best of all, the whole world could watch how my stove smokes every time I turn it on because I don't get around to cleaning the burners.

I wrote this idea in Sue's comments, where Jillybean saw it and ran with it. Totally. Hop on over to her place to see her put the "real" back into reality. You'll be glad you did...

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Breaking News

I may just have to start a new series here, to go along with my Parenting for Dummies there in the sidebar. I could name it Wealth Makes You Stupid. Exhibit A would be this post from last summer; Exhibit B could be this article I found in the Wall Street Journal just this week. It has the intriguing title The Hot New Car Is Your Old Car.

It seems that people in the upper echelons (economically speaking) of our society are rediscovering the joys of driving cars with more than 50,000 miles on them (or, in WSJ parlance, "old" cars). Apparently, it is all the rage in these penny-pinching times to hang on to your vehicle for more than 3 years. Here's my favorite line from this piece of informative, hard-hitting journalism:

An extended warranty...along with the cost of more-frequent oil changes and replacement parts, still usually costs less than the monthly expense of financing or leasing a new car.

Imagine that! Really? Costs less, did you say? You mean, I can save money by maintaining my old car properly rather than trading it in for a brand-new model? Gee! Is that what one learns in business school? I've got to go get me an MBA.

The article goes on to report that some of these frugal masters of commerce are going so far as to hold onto their cars until that old speedometer hits 100,000 miles. You read that right, 100K. In other words, 30,000 miles less than what is currently on my 12-year-old minivan....

And the other van, the one we call "new"? It's at the 50,000-mile mark now. We consider it just about broken in. And now, thanks to WSJ, Larry and I feel like rich folk simply by virtue of not driving it down to the nearest dealership and trading it in for a newer model. We're trendy, that's what we are.

Stay tuned for more breaking news from this country's leading financial newspaper. I'm sure there will be future articles with titles such as Eating In - The New Way To Lower Food Bills and Public School Costs Considerably Less Than Private School.

As part of our ongoing No Executive Left Behind initiative, are there any other subjects we can suggest to the WSJ editors?

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gone Missing

Excuse my disappearance (what do you mean, you didn't notice? Hmmph...), but we just endured 2 days without the beloved Internet.

I know, I know...it was hard. Last night we were all sitting around looking at each other and saying, "Now what?" I mean, it was like Little House on the Prairie or something. Unfortunately, Larry doesn't know how to play the fiddle; so instead the kids all went downstairs and watched a 3 Stooges DVD.

I don't know why the Ingalls family never thought of that.

So now I have approximately a zillion blog posts to catch up on. I mean, look at what happens when I'm out of the loop - Bia (!) jets off to Las Vegas (without her husband!). You know, I would have voted her the mommy blogger the least likely to do something like that. (And remember, Bia, what happens in Vegas....)

Anyway, the Verizon man just left and he's my hero. Does anyone out there realize how hard it is to live without Internet access these days? Seriously, even without a blogging addiction - every 2 minutes we needed to look up a phone number, or a time, or order some knitting supplies - and we couldn't. I got an earful from Larry for having tidily recycled the humongous phonebook the phone company insists on leaving on our doorstep every December - so I'm afraid that, once again, his packrat tendencies have been justified.

Where am I going with this? Nowhere, really; just wanted everyone to know I'm not dead yet. I seem to have missed the fridge post this week; but that just means it will be bigger and better next Wednesday, right? And now the little girls are whining because I am back on the computer - it looks as though I'll have to re-acclimate them to maternal neglect again. Or maybe just bribe them with chocolate.

Speaking of which, Larry recently switched jobs (because he's shiftless that way) and he had to empty last year's Halloween candy out of his old desk. Naturally, I pounced on it when he brought it home (um, so the children wouldn't eat it, of course). Just for the record, Halloween candy? In January? Doesn't taste too good. Especially the Almond Joys.

Yes, Larry, I know - you're not shiftless. It's a joke, because really - that is the last word that would describe you. It would be like calling Santa stingy, or...or...our President-elect inarticulate. Got that, everyone? Larry is not shiftless. He is, however, a tad touchy.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Into The Abyss

Well! Thank you to all who delurked yesterday; it was fun to "meet" some more of the people who stop by this humble blog. Many people asked how to find out how many Google Reader subscribers a particular blog has. It's simple - subscribe to the blog (be it your own or someone else's). When you go to its Google Reader "page," click on "show details" at the upper right.

I was very pleased with myself when I discovered this little trick. My self-congratulatory joy was tempered somewhat by my discovery that most blogs I admire have way more subscribers than I do. (That would be my more competitive side coming out.)

Others asked me how I knew someone from Littleton, CO, was hanging out on my blog. Sitemeter (it's free!) supplies all the info you could ever want to know about your readers. Warning: it's addicting. Not recommended for people who have more important things to do with their lives.

And the philosophical award goes to Lynn, who wondered in yesterday's comments if there were Bloglines in Heaven. I don't know, Lynn; but I sure hope so. Otherwise, why go?

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Anna went with her youth group on a skiing day trip last Saturday. I decided to inventory her clothes (as, according to her, she never has enough to wear). I did this without the aid of alcohol. Things I learned:

  1. Apparently, I have never showed her how to properly use a clothes hanger.
  2. "Nothing to wear" is a relative term. Compared to Zsa Zsa Gabor, maybe?
  3. There is a reason my socks keep disappearing.
  4. Rachel isn't the only scissor-happy offspring around here. Looks like Anna wasn't pleased with the modest-length shorts we bought her last year...
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Good-night, all, and thanks again for taking the time to delurk.


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Monday, January 12, 2009

Delurkers, Unite!

Okay, Littleton, Colorado! Now you're teasing me! Just how many times can you check out this blog in one day? Or maybe I have an entire fan club in that city. Don't y'all know it's Delurking Day today? Don't you think reading 15 pages of my blog demands a little hello?


Here is where I would place the cute Delurker Day Button if only I knew how...

And what about the rest of you? I've got 251 subscribers through Google Reader alone - about 30 of you comment. Wouldn't you like to drop a line today so I know who I've been communing with this past year? Show Littleton how it's done, won't you?

We had a hot competition at Bunko this evening to see who could lose the most games, and I won! I mean, I lost! So I got my 5 dollars back for the evening. Plus all the hors d'oeuvres I could eat.

I had a routine obgyn checkup today (and yes, I do want applause for going - I've put it off for at least 2 years), and the nurse who checked me in mentioned that she has 6 grown kids.

"Any girls?" I queried, still smarting from my totally lousy day with Anna yesterday.

"Yes, 4," she said, and she didn't even startle when I sort of grabbed her arm and begged, "Help me. Please. Mine's fifteen."

"Teen girls?" she said. "It's...it's awful. You just get through it. You survive. But it's awful. I'm sorry."

I tell you, she had tears in her eyes as she said this. She's on great terms with all of them now, she swears. And they gave her grandkids. As one commenter yesterday pointed out, grandchildren are your reward for not strangling your teenagers.

This post is going nowhere. Just delurk, will ya? I need to get to bed.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Guide For The Perplexed

Recently Kalynne posted a sentence from an e-mail someone sent her. It was "The proof of good parenting is in the lives of our children..."

Oh, Lord, that still cracks me up. Gets me every single time...

I mean, if only, right? If only we could rest assured that by doing everything "right" (whatever that means) when raising our children, we would be rewarded with responsible, loving, hard-working teens and adults. But, um, no. Doesn't work that way. I've seen kids raised on TV and junk food and general neglect turn into the most wonderful people, and I've witnessed children nurtured and read to and lovingly disciplined develop into the most nightmarish teens you would wish to see.

There are no guarantees, folks! Parenting is a crap shoot! Isn't that great? So let me supply some of you unsuspecting innocents with a little guidance, gleaned painfully from personal experience. You're welcome.


How To Know Your Formerly-Precious Daughter Has Been Possessed By The Devil
(A Guide For The Perplexed)

  1. She thinks it's okay to sleep on a bare mattress rather than exert herself to put her sheets on the bed.
  2. You give her a gift card to Target for Christmas, and she lets you know (in a particularly non-endearing fashion) that it isn't for nearly enough money [and you bet I took it back].
  3. She expresses anger toward pants hangers. She hates them! Because you suggested she use some in her closet to save space.
  4. Being required to eat a quarter cup of oatmeal in the morning becomes an intolerable affront to her free will, equivalent to a violation of the Geneva Conventions
  5. The confusion and discomfort in her facial expression, when spoken to by a parental unit, would be more appropriate for an encounter with an (unshowered) crazy homeless person on a city street. Who is this woman? her expression clearly indicates. Why is she babbling? Do I know her?
  6. Teachers and other parents praise her comportment and behavior, as her satanic possession is only in effect around the people who have loved and cared for her her entire life. (Bothers me much? You bet!) Please do not comment that that is because she feels "safe" around us. Is it okay for a man to be verbally abusive to his wife because he feels "safe" around her? That was a rhetorical question. The answer is no. Go peddle your pop psychology elsewhere. Thanks. [Lord, I'm touchy tonight. Must be because of the hanger incident (see #3)].
What to do if you suspect your daughter is indeed possessed? Take heart. Apparently, these demonic takeovers, although they feel eternal, are only temporary. In the meantime, here are some


Coping Tactics

  1. Do not attempt to reason with victim. The possession disables most cognitive processes.
  2. When accused of Nazi-like behavior, salute and yell, "Heil, Hitler!"
  3. Be aware that any semblance of pre-possession behavior heralds a request for cash or favors.
  4. When others compliment your daughter's behavior, refrain from emitting the hysterical laughter that wells up from within. No one understands. No one.
  5. If possession is prolonged (lasting longer than 2 years), boarding school, while expensive, might be a reasonable recourse. Or, if she is old enough by then, hand her off to a military recruiter. And right before she heads off to basic training at Parris Island, tell her that drill sergeants love when recruits roll their eyes.


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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Slob Central


I just had the privilege of rummaging through the box into which Larry swept all the junk off our computer desk (I was looking for my scrapbooking tape runner - David needed it for a paper biplane he's creating). I never found the tape; but here's a partial list (and I can't emphasize the word "partial" enough here) of what I did find, in case any of you doubted my description of Larry and I as a couple of disorganized slobs.

  1. My missing knitting book (and yes, I know I said last week it wasn't in there; apparently, it was hiding)
  2. Assorted sticky notes with phone numbers scribbled on them
  3. One (large) electric stove burner drip pan (really)
  4. 4 (yes, 4) expired and/or broken cellphones
  5. One 10-dollar LLBean gift card (cool!)
  6. New-in-box computer speakers (?)
  7. 6 pens
  8. 1 paintbrush (new)
  9. 1 MP3 player that we are still trying to figure out how to use
  10. Half a bag of cough drops (Ricola)
  11. 30 dollars (finders, keepers!)
  12. An 8-month-old local newspaper
  13. Stray playing cards
  14. One golf ball
  15. Various and sundry CD-roms
  16. And much, much more!

You know, I'm tempted to turn this into a giveaway...

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

As The Food Turns: One Day Late Edition

Before I get started on our regular feature, I need to say that my writing skills (particularly at 2 AM) were not up to the task of conveying my neighbor's customary joie de vivre as he expounded on the meaning of life. He proclaimed in the most jovial of tones that life was all about not getting what you want. I still think his wife may have felt a tad annoyed at him, though. I mean, it would be hard not to take that sort of statement personally, wouldn't it?


Back to the refrigerator, however:

Glass on the left, plastic on the right, lone representative from the produce category in the middle. That's an old grapefruit, which somehow got overlooked in the deluge of holiday sweets. Too late now...

Glass, from top to bottom:

  1. potroast drippings
  2. enchilala duff, circa 2008
  3. potroast fat and some cooked carrots
  4. tortellini in spaghetti sauce, which I prepared as an extra special treat for my dairy deprived children while Theo was away and which they unanimously disliked....

Plastic, bottom to top (I'm tricky that way):

  1. ranch dip from the New Year's party
  2. tostada sauce a neighbor brought to above-mentioned festivities
  3. leftover guacamole (I left it covered, as it is too disgusting to view otherwise)(not that that has stopped me before)
  4. egg salad (also from party) (what? you don't serve egg salad at parties?)


See the flowers? Nice touch, eh? They aren't ready to be thrown out, which puzzles me. I think Larry bought them 2 weeks ago. What's up with that? Do carnations ever die?

Find out next week in "As The Food Turns"....

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Quick Thought

Tried posting about my refrigerator earlier, but Blogger wouldn't take my photos...then I fell asleep early, due to having been up half the night with a coughing child...so I'll leave you with a quick thought that was spoken by an only-slightly-soused neighbor at our New Year's Party:

Life is what happens while you're not getting what you want.


This was spoken in response to his wife's saying (about teens): Well, it's good for them to learn that sometimes you don't get what you want. And he said: Sometimes?!...

I don't know whether she is currently talking to him or not.

Discuss. I'll be back tomorrow.

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Yarn Cure

Octamom is demanding pictures of Fridge #2. Let's make a deal - the day I go over 10,000 readers a day, I'll post those photos. Which makes me pretty safe, as my current average hovers around 200...

My parenting today was less than stellar. I seem to have picked up the cold I thought I had ducked (which is what happens when your 3-year-old sneezes in your face), so I spent half the afternoon lying on the couch; the rest of the day I spent being spectacularly unproductive - jigsaw puzzles, cards, whining...

No, wait, it was the kids who were whining. Whatever...


Rachel has a special talent for injuring herself in bizarre ways. Today she screamed for half an hour because she had shoved a playing card under her fingernail - repeatedly.

[Are you wincing? I'm wincing.]

She says that was the only way she could pick the card up from the floor. I say she was inflicting Karmic payback on herself for a former life spent as a torturer of political prisoners.


It refuses to snow here, which makes me grouchy. How about you all point me to something funny, heh? I could use a laugh, if only to distract me from the ennui that seems to currently be my life.

Yes, I am aware that a good cure for ennui is to start some new knitting project. And order some yarn. Believe me, I'm on it.

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Monday, January 05, 2009

Nothing Of Importance

Larry and the 2 oldest have once again left me to fend for myself while they join other homeschoolers on a ski trip. So, the remaining 4 kids and I continued eating party leftovers all day until dinner, when we ordered pizza. It is hard to believe there was ever a time I enjoyed cooking.

Now I have to finish the dishes and I don't want to do that either. I have been utterly deserted by any domesticity that I may have once possessed. 18 years of housewifery will do that to ya, you know...

That's right - 18 years...Saturday was Larry's and my anniversary. What with all the party and plumbing excitement around here, we both forgot about it until late Friday night. I remembered first, though. I do regret telling Larry right away. I could have earned lots of marriage points if I had waited until Saturday to let him in on the secret.

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I can't find a knitting book of mine (The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns, for those of you out there dying to know) (although, I must say, it isn't very handy at this moment); and of course it is the book that I need right now. Larry put it in a box along with all the other detritus he had removed from our computer desk before the New Year's party; and I have gone through this box umpteen times today, hoping against hope that the lost tome would turn up. It never surfaced, but I did find a large burner pan.

That's right - for an indeterminate length of time, there has been a drip pan for my kitchen stove sitting on my computer desk. In the living room. I had no idea.

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My laundry room is still gorgeous, thank you. I blew it a kiss just now, when I sashayed in to put some clothes in the remarkably accessible washer. I think I'll sponge mop its newly uncovered floor tomorrow, just because I can. Ah, bliss!

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kcinnova was audacious enough to ask me the following question in the comments yesterday:

So...this 2nd refrigerator you speak of...does it get cleaned out at the same time as the first refrigerator, for your "as the food turns" postings? Just wondering...

Sigh. You know, we all have to draw the line somewhere. It's just too embarrassing, even for me. But I will admit, there is salsa down there.






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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Mr. Clean

Well, now that last week's craziness is over...

We had our neighborhood New Year's Day party, a casual affair which nevertheless required Larry and I to work like dogs for approximately 5 hours that morning cleaning up the house (not counting the hours I spent on Wednesday cleaning up the basement family room). Larry went above and beyond by cleaning out all the crap in our computer desk (thus ensuring that we wouldn't have to spend the afternoon praying that no one would open the cabinet doors and discover what disorganized slobs we really are). I almost cried with gratitude, it looked so good.

Then he moved all our files upstairs (to our bedroom), along with the box full of aforementioned computer desk crap, the basket full of unsorted mail, and a box of Christmas goodies I never got around to mailing (hey, I'm not proud of it, okay?). Oh, yes, and there was a tub for Christmas decorations, also. So what if we had to crawl over piles of junk to get into our bed that night? Our main floor was company-ready!

We spent the rest of the day socializing with our neighbors, eating and drinking and feeding the kids tons of junk to keep them quiet. It was fun, but tiring. It would have been great, after our day's exertions, to sleep in a bit the next morning, in our cluttered yet comfortable bedroom, but...

Larry had scheduled a plumber to visit us bright and early on January the second, in an innovative attempt to solve our shower drain problems. This attempt involved routing the garbage disposal pipe away from the shower and through our laundry room instead. If it worked, this ingenious solution would save us the thousands of dollars it would cost to rip apart the basement bathroom and part of the foundation, replace the shower drain pipe, and put in an all new shower, etc. (although, I must admit, I wouldn't have minded that "all-new" part).

But let us review - through our laundry room...

Because we live in a garage-less townhouse, our laundry room serves as home not only to our washer and dryer and second refrigerator, but also to all the items that one would normally find crammed into a suburban garage. Why don't you pause one second and mentally review everything you store in your garage? You know, tools, lawn furniture, gardening supplies, paint cans, painting equipment, all the assorted flotsam and jetsam of suburban living (with 6 kids).

Got a good picture? Great! Now move all that stuff indoors into a 10x10 room, while making sure to leave a path to the washer/dryer barely wide enough to accommodate a laundry basket. I know, it sounds tricky; but let me assure you, it can be done.

(I would have taken a before photo, but Larry wouldn't let me. Party pooper, isn't he?)

Anyhoo, Larry roused both Brian and David early Friday morning to help him move all the junk out of the laundry room so that the plumber could do his work. I helped by not looking at the mess they were making of my (freshly vacuumed and tidied) family room. In Brian's words, "Mommy, you don't want to look down there."

If an 8-year-old boy is saying that, you know you're in trouble.

Today? Larry spent cleaning lint out of the dryer duct (now that he could reach it) and doing I know-not-what to the pile of junk he had removed from the laundry room. Because, folks, it ain't going back in there. My laundry room is now a thing of beauty and a joy forever. I danced around its empty floor this evening and told Larry that just seeing it like that made me hot with desire for him.

And I meant it.

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

Medical News You Can Use

Sometimes science can be our friend. Get a load of this!

Dieting at this time of year could impair your body's ability to fight the flu virus...

Were sweeter findings ever reported? I mean, can you believe it? Now it makes absolute sense that the Girl Scouts start their cookie sales in January - they're doing it as a service to the general welfare. Maybe the Surgeon General should post a little advisory label on those cookie boxes, stating that consumption of the contents thereof can contribute to one's wellbeing (something many of us already knew, right?). Maybe we should be able to use the money in our flexible healthcare spending accounts to purchase said cookies.

Still not convinced? Another quote from the article:

...now is not the time to be thinking about diets...


So skip the flu shots and pass those Trefoils, will ya?

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Fail Safe

All right! Stop right now! Raise your hands above your head and back slowly away from your keyboard....

Every blogger and her uncle, it seems, is posting New Year's Resolutions today. Lose weight, be more organized, pay more attention to your kids? Ah, you foolish, foolish souls...why would you set yourselves up for failure like that?

For the coming year, I firmly resolve to...

  1. Maintain my current (over)weight.
  2. Studiously ignore my children at least 2 hours every day
  3. Make sure to have a minimum of 10 knitting projects started at all times, with fully half of them not findable at any given moment. Finish projects only when absolutely necessary.
  4. Take thousands more pictures, but only edit a minimal number (say, when a small child asks, "What does Grandma look like again?")
  1. Breathe loudly near my teen daughter. She likes that.
  2. Refuse to number lists properly. If Blogger wants me to count to 4 and then start over again, who am I to argue?
  3. Oversleep.
  4. Waste time blogging.

My motto this year: Success is mine in 2009.

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