Showing posts from July, 2013

Life Goes On

Nothing fun here, folks - move right along...I'm recovering from another 10 hours of driving this past weekend to see my dad.  He managed to fall and break his hip a few weeks ago; but he was sent home from the hospital without surgery because the surgeon thought it might kill him.  So now he is stuck in a hospital bed at home and pretty much what was left of his mind has gone bye-bye.  I brought the 3 oldest with me to see him, hating myself for not getting them up there a month ago when he could understand who they were and could hold a reasonable facsimile of a conversation. 

Too late, too late, too late....

I reserved rooms for us in a decent hotel, knowing that I would need a good night's sleep to drive home.  Especially since I had been up since 3:30 AM the morning we left, because Susie was still sick and tossing and turning at night.  Unfortunately, the other guests on our hotel wing were holding a multi-room bachelor party, complete with running up and down the halls,…

Why I Hate Craigslist

Some of you may recall that, last December (while Larry was busy wrecking our house), I indulged in a teeny bit of revenge shopping that involved my finally buying the IKEA bedframe I had been coveting for at least 3 years.  You know, the one Larry didn't like much, averse as he is to all things IKEA and most modern furniture.  Oh, we had tried to compromise for a while - he kept scouring Craig's list for what he thought were similar bedframes that he liked, leaving pictures up on my browser of heavy pieces of furniture, old-fashioned monstrosities of the type that someone's grandparents most likely drew their last breaths in.

Seriously, people, these pieces of furniture all but screamed COFFIN.  If you want to be depressed by the knowledge of just how much ugly furniture exists in this world, just browse Craigslist for an hour or so.  Make sure you have Prozac handy - you'll need it.

The upshot being that, despite having been married for over 20 years, we were sleepi…

I Want A New Drug

My children are busy trying to push me over the edge with their various summer ailments. I've been up 2 nights in a row with a suffering Susie, who's been running high fevers and complaining of earache and headache and sore throat. Aside from overdosing her with antibiotic ear drops for her swimmer's ear and Advil for her aches and pains, I hadn't done much. Until this morning, when -- having spent several hours last night listening to her cry and expecting her eardrum to burst any moment (all while thinking But it's only swimmer's ear, dammit, what the heck is going on here?) -- I dragged myself out of bed, showered, dressed, and made an appointment at our doctor's office.

Grabbing my purse, I said, "Susie! Let's go! We're seeing the doctor in half an hour!"

 "What about me?" asked Brian, who was sitting at the dining room table and reading the comics.

 "What ABOUT you?" I asked back, rushing around looking for my…

Editor's Lament

Well, when I can spare time from my busy schedule of blogging and avoiding housework, I have been perusing and for gainful employment.  What I have discovered is, despite having had a real job requiring real skills for the past 4 years, I am still not remotely qualified for any of the positions in my field that are posted on those sites.  You see, a typical job announcement reads as follows:
Requirements: the ability to produce an entire magazine (including but not limited to brainstorming innovative, Pulitzer-worthy article topics; producing fresh content daily for magazine website and its Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest/Vine accounts; overseeing production of print layouts and web graphics), while directing a team of people to help you do same.  Minimum 100 years experience doing similar work needed.  Working familiarity with every single computer program known to man required. 
Someone tell me - where are the jobs for moderately skilled people with a f…


Well! Our summer fun has come to a CRASHING halt, what with Susie's case of swimmer's ear and Brian's sprained ankle.  What really bugs me is that I PAID GOOD MONEY for swimming lessons for Susie this year, just so she could swim in the deep end with everyone else without my having to worry (much).  That great idea really came back to bite me, didn't it?

What's that?  How did Brian sprain his ankle?  Gosh, wouldn't it be nice to know?  Unfortunately, that will always remain a mystery.  Apparently,  he woke up in his sleeping bag at the Boy Scout camp-out this past Sunday morning and couldn't put any weight on his foot.  We don't know if he was sleepwalking (he's done that a few times over the years, and let's just not think about the scenario of his wandering into the woods at night in the mountains of West Virginia) or if he slept on it funny, or what.  The upshot is, he gets to hobble around on David's old crutches whilst enjoying just a l…

Boogie Lessons

The girls and I bought boogie boards for the beach yesterday (only $5 at 5 Below!).   I can't remember how many years ago it was that we first discovered boogie boards cheap enough that we could afford to get them for all the kids, but I do remember Theo and Anna's joy (I think they were 9 and 8 at the time) as they grabbed the boards and ran pell-mell into the surf. Even with their limited experience of the ocean, my distinctly non-athletic kids grasped instinctively how to throw themselves and their boards in the path of an incoming wave and ride that baby onto the beach.

Best. Toy. Ever.

Anyway, yesterday we discovered, once we got the new boards home and unwrapped them, that they now come with a full set of instructions.

Illustrated instructions.

And, to add insult to injury (at least for this particular grammarian), the instructions are titled "How To Lay On Your Bodyboard."

Lay!  How about "How To Properly Conjugate Verbs"?  Or, "How To Distin…

Above And Beyond

You'll have to excuse me today - due to an unfortunate confluence of events, I was required to sit through 5 youth orchestra concerts and 5 youth band concerts over a span of 6 hours.   Despite my intense physical training efforts of this past month, this trial nearly broke me.  By the time I got home at 4:30, all I could do was lie on the couch with a pillow pressed over my head to drown out the entreaties of young children who still wanted to go to the pool after this ordeal.

True, it was 98 degrees out.  But my answer was still no.  There is only so much one woman can take in a single day.

[Band image: Walnut Street School]

Desperately Seeking....

I spend half my day looking for where I left my IPod Touch.  I'm not proud of that fact, but there it is.

I managed to do a lot with the 50% of my time today that was not spent seeking my IPod Touch, however.  I rode my bicycle.  I showered (hey, that counts).  I weeded (before the shower, of course).  I finally bought Brian some new swim goggles, rather than making him borrow a pair from the pool's Lost-and-Found yet again.  I made peach jam (still can't quite believe that one, myself) and salsa.  I even allowed myself to sit down and read for a bit. 

Can you tell the girls are still in band camp

[IPod Touch image: TechnoBuffalo]

Teen Dependence Syndrome

The great thing about having a larger-than-average family is that you are never lonely.  Also?  The bad thing about having a larger-than-average family is that you are never lonely.  I just sent everyone (including Larry) to the pool, because if I don't get 2 seconds of privacy/quiet around here, I will go stark raving mad.

Only, I just realized that a teenager managed to stay behind by hiding in my basement.  Luckily, he doesn't seem inclined to talk to me much, anyway.  And it happens to be David, so maybe I can get him to fix a few of the things that went wrong while he selfishly went away for a week to learn how to fly gliders. 

It's sad, really - Larry brings him home from the airport last night and the kid has barely put down his bag before we're all "Oh, hey, can you get the desktop computer to stop making this loud buzzing sound so we can watch all these YouTube videos that have been piling up all week?" and "The clock on the kitchen radio keeps …

Record East Coast Rainfall In August

That's my prediction, folks, because the vacation die is now cast.  We've decided on a Cape Cod campground - and I'll admit that, due to my perennial quixotic quest for sanitary plumbing facilities, 6 separate raves about "cleanest bathrooms ever" on TripAdvisor definitely swayed me.  Add in laundry facilities and a mid-Cape location (plus the fact that the campground actually had a spot open for the dates we were planning to visit), and this particular reluctant camper was convinced to put some money down for August.

Watch it rain.  In fact, I bet it rains.  Lord help me.  I'd better start compiling a list of indoor activities right now.  Let's see, a visit to the Cape Cod Potato Chip factory is, of course, essential.  9 or 10 years ago (when we were living in Rhode Island), Larry took the 4 oldest there.  They still talk about that field trip, which was obviously a watershed moment in their young lives.  It may have been the little plastic beach buckets…

Information Glut

Larry has just informed me that we are going away for a week in August.  After complicated negotiations, wherein he learned that we are NOT driving all the way to Maine and wherein I learned that he considers a week in the deep woods far from a laundromat to be a fun idea, we settled on Cape Cod as a camping destination - a little wilderness for him, civilization for me, and hopefully his relatives will decide to join us there for a few days.

And now here is where I curse that formerly beloved creation known as the Internet.  Used to be, you'd find a campground (somehow) and make reservations.  Then you'd show up and you'd either like it or hate it.  End of story.  Now, however, I have wasted countless hours of my life reading reviews (which contradict each other) on Trip Advisor, squinting at photo galleries on the campground websites, and trying to familiarize myself with Cape geography well enough to make a good decision about our camping destination.

Did you know that,…

Prodigal Knitter

This past Saturday, I was facing a 3-hour train ride with no new reading material.  Desperate, I rummaged through my Ravelry queue and came up with a fingerless mitt pattern that would use some sock yarn I had handy.  No harm in trying it, I figured.  But really, it was a leap of faith.

You see, there's something been happening lately that I haven't admitted to you folks.  In fact, I've had a hard time admitting it to myself.  Recently I had to face up to a disturbing fact: I'd lost interest in knitting.

Remember, I have numerous bags of knitting stashed around the house.  There is an entire dresser devoted to storing yarn and knitting/crochet sundries in my bedroom.  Many hours of my life over the past 6 years have been spent deciphering patterns, searching for missing needles, and perusing websites like WEBS and Knitpicks.  So this sudden discovery that I felt no urge to pick up the needles, no urge whatsoever to cast on a new project, was unsettling, to say the l…

Dementia Diaries 2

Just back from another super-quick weekend at my dad's, and there is not one bit of funny left in me.  Dementia is simply a monster, folks - especially when the person suffering from it is semi-aware that he's losing his marbles.  "I can't...think," my dad says, frustrated, clutching his head.

And, yes, the voodoo priestess is still there.  To be fair, I've observed that she really does understand how to handle a person with dementia - she keeps my dad on a schedule for sleeping and eating; she allows him to do some things for himself - tying his own shoes, combing his own hair - even if it takes longer; she makes sure that he is clean and well-fed.  But, still, the kindness in her is of a very rough sort; and - control freak that she is - when things don't go totally her way, she gets noticeably angry and impatient.  It's a mixed bag: just when I am thinking that no, this caregiver needs to be dismissed RIGHT NOW, she does something caring and compas…

Picture Imperfect

My new driver's license arrived in the mail today.

Please note - in my home state, you are not allowed to smile for your driver's license photo.  If there are any teeth showing, they make you take it over.  Last time this requirement caught me by surprise, and I ended up with a picture wherein I looked like a sour old hag.  You know how they say the camera adds 10 pounds?  Well, in my case, it adds 10 years. 

Seriously - you know those mug shots of apprehended women criminals that are published in the paper sometimes?  With the stringy hair and the dour expression and the haggard face?  Those photos look downright attractive compared to what I have been carrying around on my license the past few years.

This time, I was determined to beat the system.  For several days beforehand, I worked on attaining what I thought was a pleasant, smiling look without moving my lips.   It's all in the eyebrows and the eyes, I decided.  I've GOT this.

So, as I've already said, my n…

Mr. State Trooper

Sitting up late with a weird-feeling stomach,  I'm busy (when not running to the bathroom) enumerating all the horrible things that could be wrong with me.  Let's see, I went swimming this week - can cholera survive chlorine?  Or maybe it's e coli from the bagged lettuce, like last time.  Or...I don't know...a dreadful stomach virus that is going to move through the family and effectively ruin our 4-day weekend.  So many choices!

In the meantime, the past few days have resembled nothing so much as living at the bottom of a swamp - drizzly, high 70's, and humid beyond belief.  Going outside and taking a deep breath feels as though someone is sticking a plastic bag over your head.  What's more, the wet weather has brought out masses of mosquitoes, all lying in wait for us to walk out our front door.

So yes, I AM having a good time this summer.  And you?

Oh, and have I mentioned that, on my birthday last month, I glanced at my driver's license and realized it …