Saturday, January 20, 2007

More of the Same

I knew I shouldn't have gloated about that toilet. I knew it. $170 later, I'm feeling a bit less cocky about our progress on our toilet-stuffing problem. Seems man (or, rather, little girl) has triumphed over technology yet again. On the bright side, Larry made sure to be home when the plumber got here and learned the finer points of toilet removal and replacement. If we're going to do this twice a month, we'd better become do-it-yourselfers.

Rachel has a bad cold now, which is good - she's spending a lot of time napping. Less time for mischief, you know. Maybe we should get Anna to nap more. She broke our exercise bike by punching the control panel. She showed me, huh? That's okay - we'll get her back by dragging her on long family walks. She really hates us, with a loathing so complete it's almost admirable. I'm beginning to think we need an exorcist.

It occurs to me that I should have something else to write to you folks about other than how badly my children have been behaving. But I don't. Even the ones that have been being good I don't trust anymore. I figure they could turn on us at any moment. Oh, well, only 16 years to go. And no matter how crazy the kids drive us, at least we still get that child tax credit for each of them. Doesn't quite make up for all the trouble we're going through, but I do think it takes the sting out of the situation. Larry made me finish the taxes today (he bribed me with M&M's), just so we could pretend to be solvent for a few weeks or so. We spent the latter part of the afternoon high-fiving each other over our fat refund (yes, I know it is really our money and the government shouldn't have had it all year in the first place, but we're financial idiots, okay?) and trying to research how much a new exercise bike will cost. I'm not quite sure why Larry is wanting to buy a new one, unless he feels the need to keep something expensive around that the children can break. At least it doesn't fit down the toilet...

Or maybe Larry just needs an excuse to treat himself. He had the week from hell this past week. Every evening he'd walk in the door, hoping for a few minutes to sit down, drink a beer, relax a bit (he's a hopeless optimist); and every evening he was greeted with a crisis in one form or another. One evening it was the toilet (but, of course); the next, the shower drain in our basement bathroom "threw up" a bunch of chopped-up food from the kitchen garbage disposal (the plumbing's a little weird in this house, even without a 4-year-old messing with it). The shower scenario wouldn't have been so bad if we had discovered it right away. But, seeing as how we have the basement bathroom padlocked in order to keep Rachel from breaking the potty, we weren't aware of a problem until the food lying all over the shower floor began to decompose. So Larry spent 3 hours down there cleaning up and unclogging the drain and trying to remove the stench. To say this put him in a foul mood would be a drastic understatement. But our basement smells a lot better, I must say. The next three evenings and mornings Larry spent setting mouse traps in the kitchen and disposing of the rodent victims (total body count - 5). At least he feels needed, is how I look at it.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Brand New Year, Thank Goodness

We're sort of resigned to the status quo here - Anna angry, sullen, alienated; Rachel incarcerated (cheerfully) in her room; Theo counting the days until he's out of this madhouse....

That's right - Theo, rightfully realizing that things are going to heck in a handbasket here, got himself a summer job (or, as he refers to it, a paid vacation) at the Boy Scout camp he attended a couple of summers back. Apparently he prefers sleeping in a tent for 7 weeks to dealing with the craziness here. David and Brian are joyfully planning dairy-laden menus to have while he is away. They were only slightly let down to hear that there are going to be a lot of chores being reassigned during his absence. The directors of the camp were willing to take Anna on staff too (well, they didn't meet her); but she became irate when I suggested it to her. She's only spent the last 4 months telling me how much she hates me and how she can't wait to get away and now I give her her chance and she yells at me. I guess the idea of sleeping in a tent teed her off. I'm thinking of paying her to go.

Susie, thankfully, more than makes up for the, um, personality deficiencies around here. She is very talented and knows how to blow kisses and wave bye-bye and pout prettily when she doesn't get her way. And yes, I just eat that stuff up. As does Larry. We're both suckers.

Oh, I know - you all want to hear about the toilets, don't you? Well, you'll be surprised to hear that there's been nary a visit from our friend John the Plumber since the last newsletter. Seems that supersonic, jet-propelled-flush toilet is doing the job. It even swallowed Theo's military ID without a hitch. So Rachel has chosen to focus on expensive musical instruments this month instead. She managed to get hold of a grapefruit and impale it on the piano lamp (please, please don't ask me why), but none of the keys seem to be sticking, thankfully. Then she got hold of Anna's flute. Apparently, when we warned Anna never to leave her flute anywhere except on the highest shelf in her locked closet, we weren't specific enough. Now she wants to know why she's paying for the repair. Because we are unreasonable, that's why.

Larry and I actually went out to the movies a couple of weeks ago. His supervisor gave him a gift card to the local cinema and we thought, "What the heck - we haven't seen a real movie together in, oh, 14 years, maybe it's time, you know?" Larry wanted to see The Good Shepherd and I thought "Total guy movie," but I agreed to martyr myself by seeing it (Larry promised me popcorn). You know, it was actually a good film. That Matt Damon is hot. I'm so out of it, I didn't even know who he was until Larry told me. Wow. Larry enjoyed the movie also, though his enjoyment was somewhat diminished by my drooling over the main character.

Anna says we're always trying to control her (we had told her to get some exercise and stop glaring at us all the time). Apparently she woke up one day and said to herself, "Who put them in charge?" and it's been unpleasant here ever since. She's really getting on our nerves (which are, admittedly, a tad frayed at this point).

But, no matter - our ship has come in. As anyone who checks out the coupon section of their Sunday paper may already know, Scott Paper Company (of toilet-tissue fame) is sponsoring a contest wherein one is invited to tell the story of their "worst clogging incident." (There's a euphemism, if I ever heard one.) First prize - $25,000. Yes! That money is mine!