Monday, December 31, 2007

Learning All The Time

Okay, so I finally convinced Larry that the USB ports on the monitor aren't working and he was nice enough to find another port to plug the MP3 player into... and it worked! I figured out how to get into ITunes and find my podcast (Garrison Keillor, natch) and download it to my computer; and then I even moved it to the player (I think I did, anyway - Theo didn't actually listen to the player to make sure, mostly because we don't know how to use it yet and now I have to locate the missing earbuds).

I'm thinking there might be a way to download podcasts directly from ITunes to my player(?), but I can't figure it out. (That was a not-very-cleverly disguised plea for technical assistance.)

Some people have e-mailed me and asked why the fact that I am homeschooling 6 children does not figure prominently on this blog. I don't know. Mostly because this started out as a family newsletter; and, believe me, the less I brought up the homeschooling thing, the better. Plus, there's not that much to write about home education for "outsiders." We goof off a lot. We go to the library frequently. I bribe the kids with food to do their math pages. (I know David is going to be very disappointed at engineering school when no one offers him candy for a finished problem set.)

And the high schoolers? Well, the dirty little secret of the homeschooling community is that homeschooling ceases to be tons of fun once you hit those upper grades. There's stuff you have to do, whether it's inspiring or not, just so the kids don't end up with careers driving those Port-A-Potty trucks, you know? (Not that there's anything wrong with that...) My older ones do an online accredited curriculum so that I don't lie awake nights worrying that I am ruining their lives. Instead, I lie awake worrying that all the other home-schooled teens are having more fun with high school than we are.

Any homeschooling moms with high schoolers having fun out there? I'd love to hear from you - drop me a line (or a comment). Thanks!

And a very Happy New Year to all! I'm looking forward to this coming year, simply because I know that we won't be moving anywhere. Low expectations, folks, that's what it is all about....especially at

Sunday, December 30, 2007

And The Croup Goes On...

Anna has the disease we've all been passing around. Anna can be very dramatic when she is ill, clutching her throat, moaning, languishing all over my new, flowery, overstuffed armchair. We should have thought to buy her one of those Ektorp fainting couches while we were at IKEA.

That leaves only Larry and Brian untouched by this plague. We assume Larry will get it while he is chaperoning the homeschoolers' ski trip later this week. At which point he will understand just how much I suffered. Not that I am wishing it on him, or anything.

Meanwhile, as long as he is healthy, Larry has been painting like one possessed. It may be because today I handed out invitations to our 45 neighbors for a little party at our house on New Year's Day. He works well when properly motivated.

Unfortunately, I don't know how to throw a party that doesn't involve birthday candles and goody bags. I'm not quite sure how I am going to pull this off. It was challenging enough to print out the invitations.

This place is trashed, in a Christmas-y sort of way. Gaudy crap everywhere, opened presents strewn all over the floor, broken bits of candy cane wherever you turn....and it doesn't help that half our furniture is displaced by the painting-in-progress. Oh, and the hall closet door that we fixed last month? The kids managed to rip it off its track again. Why bother replacing it? I'll just prop a piece of plywood in front of our incredibly messy closet and paint it white.

You know, if there were a reality show that had families of kids competing to see who could wreck a house fastest, I think we'd have a good chance of making it to the finals.

I hear Anna moaning again. I better go check.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Paint Fume Musings

Larry's painting! Boy, do I owe him big. And don't think he doesn't know it.

Did I announce that we caught Mickey? No? We did. No more poop in the silverware drawer, which makes me very happy. That, and I still have chocolate left. Not Raisinets, though - I've lost my taste for any candy resembling little turds.

I sat at the ice rink and knitted while Anna skated with some friends this evening. I just want that fact on record, for when Anna accuses me of never letting her do anything fun. The rink itself was dark with strobe lights going and loud, discordant music playing. I sat out in the lobby and observed all the girls dressed like sluts flirting with all the boys dressed like bums. I came home feeling about 80 years old. Was I ever that young?

Monthly trip to the commissary today. I managed to keep it under 500 dollars. I'm going to spend the rest of my money at Barnes and Noble tomorrow, while Theo's employee discount is still valid. 30 percent - I'm the envy of all my homeschooling friends. When I told them about the discount, they oohed and aahed as if I were flashing a brand new diamond ring. You've got to love friends like that. Well, I do, anyway.

Larry's still painting. He likes spending his vacation days this way. I mean, if he can't spend them tearing up flooring or insulating the attic. Or re-installing the front railings. Or any of the other tasks he's had to undertake as a result of thinking, last spring, "Wouldn't it be a good idea to move into another fixer-upper?"

Maybe he should have listened to me when I said, "No, it wouldn't." But at least he can't blame me for getting him into this situation. My conscience is clear.

I'm about to pass out from paint fumes. Gotta go.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Easy Does It

There's a movement afoot to have people trying to blog every single day in 2008. I'm begging those of you I have on a reader - don't do it. I almost went nuts trying to keep up with everyone's postings in November. The pace was killing me. Just say no to Blog 365. Thank you.

We've all been in the position of our children not taking care of their little critters as they had promised. Check out this article on guinea pig cuisine for ideas on what to do when your kids get tired of their caged animals. The article uses the phrase "alternative food." Is that a euphemism, or what? Doesn't sound quite as harsh as "Hey, kids, we're eating your pets!"

Can you tell that nothing exciting happened in our household today? Essentially, I goofed off all day (though I did get a little knitting done). No one misbehaved. No one did anything cute (though we did have quite a ticklefest with Susie, whose giggling and screeching were exceedingly delightful). Larry and I went out to Chipotle's and split a burrito for dinner. We're big spenders, let me tell you. Then we went to the bookstore so that I could use the gift card he gave me.

That was my whole day. And I liked it. No preparing for guests, no shopping for presents. Whew. Christmas took its toll this year. I guess I am still in recovery mode. That should only take until, say, next September. And I am busy trying to eat all the chocolate Larry gave me. I need to polish it off before I head back to Weight Watcher's on the 6th. It may be fun this time, though, as there is some sort of weight loss ticker I can post on the blog. Nothing like showing the world how little self-control I possess.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to get back to that chocolate.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Wonderful Life, Indeed

Larry didn't paint the living room today. He spent the morning catching up on his charity disbursals for the year. He started having trouble with his credit card after a bit, so he had to call the company. Seems they had put a stop on it because of suspicious activity - i.e., someone using it for several online "purchases" within the space of a couple of hours. They deemed the activity suspicious, even though the money was going to places like the Red Cross and Children's Hospital. "Okay," Larry asked, "who the heck do you think is using it - Robin Hood?"

I thought that was sort of funny.

Then we spent the afternoon watching It's A Wonderful Life. Larry noted that Donna Reed (in the movie) managed to have 4 little children, wallpaper her fixer-upper of a house, and still find time to run the local USO. I told him that if he could only stammer in that cute way that Jimmy Stewart had, I would be inspired to run a household as efficiently as Donna Reed did. In a skirt, too. So he's working on it.

Maybe he wants me to paint the living room? Do you think that was a hint?

Time to sign off - I promised to watch my friend's children tomorrow morning (because that's what friends do), which means that I need to roll out of bed earlier than 8 o'clock, for once. I don't really understand what's happened to me, but I did use to be a morning person. I blame the children for my newly formed slug-a-bed habit. Because they'll probably blame me for anything amiss in their lives when they're older. I might as well beat them to it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Are We Done Yet?

Yesterday we had our annual gingerbread house party, otherwise known as the "Sugar Extravaganza." By mid-afternoon, I could no longer see straight and was thinking of calling some EMT's to bring me a dose of insulin. The kids, of course, were fine. They had a blast creating all sorts of graham cracker structures and plastering them with Skittles and gumdrops and marshmallows the headache is coming back. Oy.

I was preparing to take snapshots of the finished houses when I realized I needed to take a closer look. You see, I could tell that David had added a little "garage" onto his edifice, but what was that mess in the driveway? A dramatic scene unveiled itself: a graham cracker car with a green gummy bear caught halfway underneath it and (get this) a yellow gummy bear (apparently the driver) standing next to the victim, looking as puzzled as a gelatinous piece of candy can look.

It's always the quiet kids you have to watch, you know?

I've been married to Larry for 17 years now. And I have been Christmas shopping all month. So it is a tad surprising that I found myself at a quarter to closing time in an upscale supermarket on Christmas Eve, searching frantically for a couple of Christmas presents for my husband. He is now the proud owner of a Christmas mug (4 for 3 dollars!) and a rechargeable flashlight that you have to crank. Lord knows what I would get for someone I didn't know.

A pack of batteries, maybe; those are useful.

At least Larry doesn't feel any pressure, gift-giving-wise. It would be hard for him not to top a 75-cent mug. And I did almost buy him one of those digital keychains that shows off pictures of your kids; but I didn't think he wanted the stress of figuring out how to make it work, as it involved USB cables.

Am I the only one who is glad that Christmas is almost over? We had 2 families over today for dinner, and we're exhausted. Theo has the bronchitis/cold/whatever now, so I was down one major helper in the kitchen. I still feel like hell. I hope we didn't infect all our guests. Merry Christmas! Have some Kleenex! Ricola cough drops, anyone?

Santa left little stuffed puppies for Rachel and Susie, and some rubber-band-propelled airplanes for David and Brian. Also some oranges and candy canes. And glitter glue pens. Santa is a real cheapskate around our house. But price doesn't matter, because these items were from the North Pole and were therefore very special. Now if I could just convince Larry that his mug came from the North Pole also, I'd have it made.

The children's Aunt Mary sent a Christmas card that sings "Deck the Halls" whenever you open it. Which is quite frequently, if there are little kids in the house. As in, I'm beginning to hate that song.

We meant to watch It's a Wonderful Life today, but we ran out of time. So that (and nothing else) is on the agenda for tomorrow. I can't wait.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


I've officially given up. Nothing else is going to get done before Christmas. Nothing. Tomorrow we have to make our gingerbread houses (nothing difficult, we "glue" graham crackers to little orange juice cartons and then cover them with candy), so that will take up most of the day. Tomorrow night I will stay up late and rearrange the den. That's it. I had planned a lot more, but when you have to keep lying down and taking naps, things just don't go as planned.

Next year, though....that's different.

Someday I may be over this bronchitis. Someday I may be able get through the night without being jerked out of a sound sleep by a silly coughing fit. Someday I may be able to do three things in a row without lying down in between. But not now.

We watched A Charlie Brown Christmas tonight. I am happy to report that Charlie Brown remains a neurotic loser, Lucy is still a bossy know-it-all, and Snoopy's antics can yet make little kids laugh. It's nice to know that in this unpredictable world of terrorist attacks and melting icebergs, some things can be counted on to remain the same.

Larry's sealing our kitchen-floor grout as I type. And drinking beer. As long as he doesn't spill it on the grout, I don't care. It's not very exciting to watch, though, so I think I'll go to bed.

Cocktails and Witchcraft

I just saw a promo photo for Charlie Wilson's War and all I can say is, what happened to Tom Hanks? Does he really look that way now, or is it just make-up? Granted, I'm a bit behind on movies and my reference point for Tom is about 20 years ago (I'm thinking Volunteers or Big); but still.....

This evening Larry and I actually got to act the way I thought all grown-ups acted, back when I was a kid - we went out to a cocktail party. I got dressed up and everything. There were lots of other grown-ups there, so I did my best to sound intelligent and talk about something other than housework or laundry; but once I ended up in a room with a bunch of other home school moms, our conversation veered to comparing math programs and chemistry textbooks more quickly than you can say "curricula obsession." It's an occupational hazard.

We also spent a disproportionate amount of time talking about Santa. Don't ask me why. I got bored at that point and decided to hang out by the dessert table.

We left the kids watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. It was Susie's first time, but apparently she wasn't traumatized by the Abominable Snow Monster. When I was a kid, I was terrified of that thing. I was very impressionable, I guess. Or stupid.

Theo had a brush with the occult today at work. A woman came up to the register with a stack of books, all bearing titles such as Wicca and Witchcraft for Dummies and Mind Control: The Ancient Art of Psychological Warfare and Necromancy Made Easy. When Theo inquired after the nature of her reading material, she claimed that her husband never listens to her and she was going to fix that. Because the books were cheaper than a divorce.

Hell indeed hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Well, it is almost midnight. God rest ye, merry gentlemen and ladies all!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Status Report Updates

News Flash: Larry returned the chair to IKEA this evening. I convinced him that he deserves a better recliner than the one we foolishly brought home. Those of you readers who are hitched know that this whole episode has cost me an untold number of marriage points. Fun note: the woman at the returns desk wanted to charge him 20 percent because the item wasn't in the packaging. He pointed out that the receipt says only to return item with original packaging and then dumped a pile of mangled cardboard and plastic wrap on her desk. A supervisor got involved. Larry won. Life is sweet.

Mice Caught: Zero. And they're well-fed.

Health Report: Poor. I was up with my own croup in the middle of the night. Now I am coughing like a TB patient. In fact, Larry may be bargaining on my imminent demise and simply hiding the chair in the back of his car until such time as he can bring it back in here unimpeded.

Friendships: Shaky. One friend tried to steal my daughter's babysitting services for tomorrow night, the night that Larry and I have been invited out to our first grown-up party in years. And don't tell me she doesn't mean anything sneaky, because she knows she's invited to the same party as us. Another friend is mad that I won't speak to her on the phone due to my painfully swollen vocal cords (although I can do a great Lauren Bacall imitation right now). Apparently, she has something really interesting to share; nevertheless, she refuses to e-mail me. She's retro that way.

On the up side, a third friend gave me some Christmas fudge today. It was delicious. That's right, it's all gone. Considering that I have to return to Weight Watcher's in less than 2 weeks, there's no point in saving it, now is there?

Rachel Mischief Status: Moderate. Larry took the younger 4 kids to a small aviation museum yesterday, where there was some sort of flight simulator that they could try. Rachel was the only one who managed to "fly" the plane, beating out both her older brothers and her father. We are once again making sure to hide our car keys.

Guest Readiness: Near zero. Nothing that a coat of paint in the living room, curtains (same room), a nice piece of art over the couch, and some glassware that actually matches couldn't solve, though. Larry has his work cut out for him. Imagine - if he were single, he'd be idling away his weekend skiing or some such nonsense. Good thing he has a wife to keep him busy.

Interior Decorating Progress: 2 steps forward, one step back. I now have 2 chairs that I like in the den (oh, beloved flowered Ektorp, how I've yearned for thee!), but I need to spend tomorrow moving them to all possible corners to see where they look best. Because I have nothing better to do. Frankly, I'm just so excited to finally have a den, that I cannot help obsessing like this. Larry does not understand.

Good-night, fellow bloggers! Be good, for goodness sake!

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Better Mousetrap

Many thanks to Leah for sharing her, um, traumatic mouse-catching experience in the comments of yesterday's post. You don't have to go read it; just make sure you use the good old-fashioned kind of traps, that kill the creature quickly. Or you may be sorry....

And we do use those old-fashioned kind of traps; but apparently we have smart mice, mice who know how to lick all the peanut butter off the trap without springing it (and who then go take another dump in my silverware drawer - thanks). I hate being outsmarted by rodents. This situation is going to give a whole lot more meaning to "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," won't it? I mean, "not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse"......we should be so lucky.

And what about those goodies we leave out for Santa? I can just hear the kids on Christmas morning: "Oooh, look, Mommy, Santa ate some of the cookie! See? You can see where he nibbled it. Hey! What are those little brown things on the plate?" I can't wait.

I have to give Larry credit - he noticed I moved his chair. He even put 2 and 2 together and deduced that I do not like the chair. We're making progress, folks; stay tuned.

We've been having fun telling Susie about Santa Claus and she seemed to be pretty excited about it. Or maybe not. Today she said, "Santa not get me." With apparent relief. Maybe we sang, "You'd better watch out..." a little too much.

I'm trying to figure out how people find time to get divorced; Larry and I are too busy arguing about every stupid little thing in our lives to involve any lawyers. Let's see, the chair, the living room paint, our unsealed grout, and now....Theo's MP3 player. I'm still trying to figure out how to make it work; I'm thinking that the USB ports on our monitor aren't working properly, but Larry refuses to concede that this may be a possibility and says that it is a faulty player. The dumbest aspect of this argument is that neither of us has the faintest idea what we are talking about.

Forget about building a better mousetrap (though, actually, we could use one of those); someone needs to build a more user-friendly (as in idiot-proof) MP3 player.

Oh, dear, someone's coughing. Duty calls.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Of Mice and Men

All over the blogosphere people are discovering that we've gotten away from the true meaning of Christmas by going hog wild on buying presents. Try not to be too shocked.

I'm sounding a tad cranky, aren't I? You know why? That chair is still here. I went to the trouble last night of moving a different chair from the living room into the den, a chair that coordinates beautifully with my new flowery bower of an armchair; and I put the ugly navy thing into the center of the room, in order to emphasize the fact that there really is no place for it in our home. So I come back from Knit Night tonight to find Larry sitting in it, in the middle of the room. Happy. Apparently, subtlety is lost on him.

Plus, I officially have bronchitis. And the house is a mess. And I have people coming over for Christmas dinner.

No mouse poop in my silverware drawers this morning, though. That's a good sign, isn't it? Although now I'm wondering whether I'm suffering from a hanta virus due to ingesting traces of rodent feces from my eating utensils.

And am I obligated to disclose the mouse problem to prospective dinner guests? Doing that would certainly give us a nice, quiet Christmas, now wouldn't it? Or it would at least give me a good excuse to have us eating off of conveniently disposable (and sanitary) paper and plastic. That may just be the silver lining to this rodent infestation.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

We Can Run, But We Can't Hide

So, people who have been following this blog know that in our old house (the one 2 doors down from here), we tended to have a little mouse problem (like, um, the Israelis have a little Palestinian problem). And the woman who owned this house never got mice. That fact alone made it worth the extra 110,000 dollars to buy it, in my opinion.

Maybe it's us - maybe we are just rodent-attracting folks. All I know is I'm late posting tonight because I've been cleaning mouse poop out of silverware drawers and cabinets and trying not to think about the fact that we used silverware from those drawers today and, um, put them in our mouths, as a matter of fact......excuse me a moment while I go throw up.

Okay, let's change the subject, shall we? I think that would be a healthy idea. Larry took me to IKEA today. I didn't feel well enough to go (this cold seems to have a hankering to turn into pneumonia), but if I had refused a trip to IKEA on terms of ill health, Larry would surely have called 911 in a panic. So I went. We ended up bringing home 2 chairs for our unfurnished den - the beautiful Ektorp armchair with the flowery slipcovers that I had been lusting after for months (and at 40 percent off, as is!) and the depressing dark navy mini-recliner that Larry chose. Because he likes ugly furniture, apparently.

May I add that our den is painted dark grey (sets off the white brick fireplace and wood trim very nicely)? Dark, as in it needs bright furniture to keep it from feeling like the inside of a mausoleum?

So, now that we have the chairs home, it is obvious to anyone who isn't color-blind (or male) that Larry's chair doesn't belong in that room. Or any room, really. I'm trying to think how to break this to him gently. Not being pregnant, I can't use the hormonal-craziness method of getting my way. (Although, maybe menopause qualifies? Am I the only person who still remembers Edith Bunker having a fit because the suitcases were black?) Anna suggests that I just take it back to IKEA on my own, and when Larry asks, I can say, "Chair? What chair?" (I'd like to point out that Anna and I are actually bonding a little over our shared dislike of this piece of furniture.) Another option I've considered is to leave a note on it tonight that says, "The chair goes....or I go."

I don't know if I should risk that last one. He might call my bluff.

Isn't the woman supposed to choose the decor, anyway? I mean, Larry has the back deck and the front and back yards to mess with. I happen to think this is yet another instance where traditional gender roles are important. Perhaps our society's wholesale abandonment of them in the 70's precipitated this whole 50-percent divorce rate thing. I can just picture it: men and women, all over the country, calling their lawyers over irreconcilable interior decorating differences.

Or maybe I'm just rationalizing my determination to get rid of this chair. This dark, depressing, makes-Larry-look-like-his-Dad-when-he's-sitting-in-it chair.....

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Coughing in a Winter Wonderland....

Well, I solved the grout problem - I went out and bought plastic shower curtain liners and spread them all over the eating area and some throw rugs and threw them (that's what you're supposed to do, right?) over the work area; so now I can stop carping at my kids about their food-dropping habits. And the shower curtain liners are transparent, so you can still see the pretty new tile. Maybe I'll use the liners even after the grout is sealed, and just throw them out and replace them when they get dirty - I've always wanted a disposable kitchen floor.

Let's update....Susie all better, Rachel better except that she starts coughing and cannot stop, and now Brian is coming down with whatever lovely virus this is that we've been passing around. Good Lord, I'm tired. The problem with head colds is that you need to sleep to get better, but you can't breathe if you lie down. I really like to breathe. So I sit up and surf the blogosphere, or I try to learn Spanish with the free Rosetta Stone program from the local library. I can now say, "The man has blue hair" in Spanish - pretty good, huh? Of course, I'm not sure how useful that sentence would be if I were lost, say, in Colombia. Maybe it would be better if I said, "The horse is jumping!"

Maybe not.

Perhaps my time would be better spent figuring out how to get Theo's MP3 player to work. Frankly, it's hard to believe that this little red plastic doo-hickey that is the length of my thumb and only twice as wide is truly a "skip-free MP3/WMA player, FM radio with 32 preset stations, voice recorder, stopwatch, clock." It looks like something my kids would get out of a gumball machine (if I let them have the quarter) (which I don't). I think I've been had.

Anna is pitching a fit as I type. Don't ask.

We are full-swing into the sugar-overdose segment of the holidays. Let's see - there was the church Christmas party last Friday, and the boys' CCD classes had a party this evening (because that is just what kids need on a school night at 8 PM - lots of candy and cookies), and tomorrow is our annual gingerbread house decorating extravaganza. It's embarrassing how much money I spend on the candy for that. But the kids need the Twizzlers so they can cut them into realistic-looking shingles for the roofs, and they need the gumdrops and skittles to decorate the walls; and of course the mini-marshmallows are required to build "snowmen" in the "yards"; and then there are the gummi bears which have no apparent purpose, but I bought them one year and now they are tradition. And don't forget the 6 pounds of confectioner's sugar to make the "glue" and the fake snow.

It makes Halloween look like a nutritionists' convention.

Well, to sleep, perchance to dream, before someone wakes up coughing.

Monday, December 17, 2007

O Tannenbaum

He's done! The Tile Guy is done! Everything except sealing the grout, that is. "I'll come back in 2 weeks and seal it for you, so it doesn't get stained," he said. Can you tell this guy doesn't have kids? What we need is pre-sealed grout. I give this stuff about 5 minutes before someone spills half a quart of grape juice on it. Larry convinced him to come back in a few days instead; but why bother? It will still be too late. For now it looks gorgeous, though; I need to remember to take some pictures before those little monsters ruin it.

Still sick here. I made it to Anna's flute choir concert anyway (I call it preemptive attendance - she could have cared less whether or not I showed up, but I don't need her throwing my absence in my face 10 years from now, thanks), which was bearable. I am missing the Mom gene that makes it possible for me to go gaga over these concerts - her friend's mom was gushing, "Weren't they wonderful?!" while I was thanking the good Lord that I had brought my knitting to keep me busy.

Granted, I have the head cold from hell, which makes me a tad grouchy anyway. As in, I almost took Larry's head off later for I-don't-know-what (and in front of the kids - not my finest moment). Then I went upstairs and slammed doors and sulked a bit while I put away laundry. (See? Even when I'm sulking, I'm doing the damn housework.) I thought about how single parents have it easy, because they don't have to get along with anyone, and how I am going to be old and grey before these kids are old enough for me to run away from home without feeling guilty about it. And I thought about how much I hate having teenagers in the house, because they make me feel short and old and naggy. And I wondered why everyone else is enjoying living with their teens (or so it seems, from the blogs I read) while I am hating every minute of the experience.

And then I went down and apologized. And I actually meant it. But I think Larry is still pissed off.

Yesterday we decorated our tree. Let me explain here that I am proud of the fact that I have always let my kids decorate it how they like (well, I insist on white lights - no colored lights for me). It always ends up being somewhat of a mess, with homemade ornaments that we've saved through the years that the kids are proud of, and ornaments that Larry has brought home from his travels that he and I like, and big, unbreakable (!) shiny balls from IKEA. I've always felt good that the kids were happy and that the tree looked beautiful to them, even though it looks like some weird sort of rummage sale to anyone else. Okay? So, this year, Anna says, "I wish we could have a tree that has the lights, and the balls, and some tinsel, and that's it." She said it nicely; but, with that one sentence, she uncovered that yearning for a tidy Christmas tree that I had repressed all these years. And ruined my day.

I sound crazy, but this time of year does that to people. And the head cold - I did mention the head cold, didn't I? And I was up again last night with a barking child? And my kitchen appliances are in my living room? So cut me some slack, okay?

I need to try to sleep. I need all my energy tomorrow to go searching for some real Sudafed, not that PE crap that doesn't work.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sick, Sick, Sick

I'm baaaack! Can't get rid of me that easily, you know. I seem to have picked up whatever bug my kids have (without the sore throat, fortunately). I refused to come downstairs this morning and left Larry to deal with everything - the hungry kids, the tile guy, the toddler who pooped for the first time in 3 days (sorry, no pictures). Larry solved the hungry-kid dilemma handily, by letting them eat the candy canes they got from Santa last night. Way to go for a healthy breakfast!

Yes, we saw Santa himself yesterday evening. Our church had its annual Christmas pageant and party, and Anna plays in the ensemble, so we all went, even though half of us were sick and looked pathetic. Of course, if I had been a really good mother, I would have remembered to sign up the little kids to be angels and shepherds; but I guess that will have to wait until next year. The little disease-vectors would have coughed through the whole thing, anyway.

I dragged everyone to the library yesterday - I needed to return our way-overdue books before they put out a warrant for my arrest. I did my best to ensure a local croup epidemic by letting the little girls cough and sneeze all over the kids' section of the library. Then, because the tile guy was here (amazing, but true!), we headed out to Pizza Hut for lunch; they coughed and sneezed all over that place, too. I'm nothing if not thorough.

I fell apart sometime mid-afternoon, but pulled myself together enough to dress everyone for the party. I was hoping to be able to stay home with a sick child or two, but they all insisted on going. So I went, too, and had a pretty good time, while the kids scarfed down quantities of cookies and cake. You know, good nutrition doesn't seem to be job one around here lately.

Tile Guy is still here, working on the kitchen. Tomorrow, too. Which presents a problem in terms of food preparation and consumption. I guess we'll just have to get some more candy canes.

And I'm feeling like crap again - I'm going back to bed.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Knitting, The Best Medicine

The kids are still barking like seals here. I should put it on YouTube - "This is your kid on croup."

I managed to get some medicine from the doctor yesterday without having to go in to the office. Would you believe the receptionist tried to transfer my phone call to the advice nurse? I hung up and called the receptionist again and told her, "Honey, I don't need any advice. I have 6 kids, the youngest has croup, and she needs steroids. Tell the doctor." And she did. And he called in the prescription. Now that's power. (You need to have at least 4 kids in order to pull that off, though.)

And Larry did sneak off to work today. I overslept (that happens if you go to bed at 2 in the morning, you know) and earned the Bad Mother of the Year award by not getting up in time to wake Theo for his job (yes, I know he needs an alarm clock - we've bought gazillion alarm clocks and they all end up breaking). So he was late, but they didn't fire him - yet.

Now Larry is pulling apart my kitchen again (it's almost becoming a hobby for him, now isn't it?), because - get this - the tile guy is coming tomorrow. I'll believe that when I see it. The refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher are sitting in my dining room/living room, and the kitchen table and chairs are in the den. It's not really the decorating look that I like.

We're buying our Christmas tree this weekend. I had always had a hankering to do it the Norman Rockwell way, going out into the snowy woods of a tree farm and cutting down our own; but the one year we did that we froze our butts off, the tree sucked (as in, it was round and lopsided), and we paid a ridiculous amount for the privilege. So, this year, we're going to do the traditional thing: pile all the kids in the car, drive to Home Depot, tramp around in the slushy area next to the parking lot, and pick out a twenty-dollar, pre-cut tree.

Well, that's our tradition, anyway. And a darn good one it is, too.

I attended the local Stitch 'n' B*tch last night. We meet at a small restaurant and there were people getting up and coming over to stare at us, as though we were in some sort of knitting zoo. Or maybe they were just trying to see what we were drinking. We were getting a bit raucous.

But I'm telling you, nice as these knitters are, they scare me. The 2 women next to me were having a serious discussion about their spinning wheels and how to card wool, and a 3rd woman chimed in from further down the table. I was tempted to ask if they raise their own sheep, too; but I restrained myself. I'm still sort of new there.

No Anna stories tonight, folks - I'm doing my best to ignore her completely. Life's better that way. G'night!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Who Needs Sleep?

All my kids get croup. I blame Larry, who had it himself as a kid. (When all else fails, pin it on your husband.) Rachel is ensconced in the armchair under the open window now, breathing in the cold air and trying not to freeze to death. Susie is upstairs with the window open and what Larry calls the eucalyptus stink-bomb nightlight going full-blast in our room. Larry thinks he is going to sneak off to work tomorrow. Won't he be surprised to see those slashed tires on his van? (insert evil laugh here - I can't spell it) Not so fast, Mr. Croup Genes - your wife needs some sleep.

I feel as if I am in one of those sleep deprivation experiments. My brain feels foggy. This morning, at the Christmas party (which we made it to, amazingly enough), a woman I had just met asked me what Susie's middle name was, and I couldn't remember. I can't remember the woman's name either; but that doesn't matter, because I don't think she is going to talk to me again.

Of course, I could be doing something useful, like housework. Or knitting. But it's hard to settle down to doing something productive when you know you are supposed to be sleeping. So, I'm sitting here, mindlessly surfing mindless blogs ("I went to the dentist today. It hurt." "My 3-year-old drew a picture today. I hung it on the frig."). C'mon, people! Make something up if you have to. Just make sure it's amusing. I need a laugh. Don't you care?

What if famous people from history had had blogs? FDR, say?

Told Congress today that we weren't selling or giving away any war materials to the British, we're just leasing

(next day): Congress passed LendLease today. Suckers!

(one month later): Churchill wants to know why he isn't on my blogroll. Because he's not funny, that's why. I don't care if you're the king, for heaven's sakes; you have to be funny.

(one week later): Eleanor made me delete the entry where I said that she couldn't cook. What's the use of being the President of the United States if you can't blog what you want?

You know, I think I am going crazy. And now I've messed up the font for this post. Maybe I'll just go do that housecleaning after all. It sure isn't going to get done tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sick and Tired

So, I missed posting yesterday. Sue me. Susie developed croup yesterday evening and blew all my finely laid plans to heck. Now I'm sitting here after a lousy night's sleep with a non-functioning brain, wondering how to pick up the pieces. Of my day, that is, not my brain - the brain's a total loss.

Let's see - it might help if I'd get dressed. And there was the Christmas party for our home school group that I am supposed to bring some food to. And I was supposed to bake cranberry bread for my husband's office party (you know, the party that spouses aren't invited to, but we are free to contribute baked goods and other yummy comestibles) (the hell with them).....

I could just blow everything off and lie on the couch all day (my favorite option), but Brian and Rachel are supposed to be in some little skit about St. Francis at the party (the home school party, not the office one). I think. The skit wasn't my idea. One of the other, more ambitious, moms dreamed it up. I'm hating her right now. If it weren't for the stupid skit, I could blow the whole thing off.

I hope I don't catch whatever Susie has. I am not a patient sufferer. I tend to languish - loudly. As in whine and complain. While the house falls apart around my ears. I can't wait until I am older (and, more to the point, the kids are older) and I can be sick for a day without utter chaos taking over my life. I'll be able to sit in an armchair by the fire, sipping hot tea and catching up on my reading (I mean, People comes out every single week, I can't keep up), rather than trying to referee sibling disagreements from the couch in the trashed living room and praying that no one shows up at our front door to witness just how bad our home life can become.

Speaking of which, I'd really better shower and dress. I'm just asking for trouble sitting at the computer in my pajamas at 8 in the morning. Then, I'll go back to bed. If you make your bed first, it doesn't count as being lazy, right?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Blog Business

I'm feeling bad for the poor unfortunate from Maryland who was googling "stomach flu large family" today and landed on my blog - apparently they went through all 33 pages, hoping to find some useful information. Not here, honey. All I've got are horror stories. And someone at a high-priced NYC law firm has been googling for a tornado costume. I find this puzzling. But that's okay - I'm sure they find me puzzling, too. And not at all helpful.

I don't know when I find time to analyze my sitemeter referrals so closely - probably when I'm neglecting the children and the laundry.

Like my tag cloud? Pretty, isn't it? I'm rather proud of myself. For those of you who asked, you need to log in to Technorati and look for the tag cloud widget. If I can figure it out, anyone can.

So, where's the funny? I don't know - I thought one of you took it. None of my children acted outrageous today. Or, if they did, I didn't notice. Anna was pleasant and helpful because she wanted to go to the mall with her friend this evening, Susie avoided mischief because she was a little under the weather and lay around all day looking cute and cuddly, the middle kids kept themselves busy with various sand art projects (and yes, there is colored sand everywhere now; but, frankly, I don't give a damn), and Theo was out working at B&N all day. He thought it was boring. Larry and I explained to him that that's why he has to go to college - so he can get a job that isn't boring. Or a job that is boring but pays way better than 8 dollars an hour. That advice represents the extent of our career counseling abilities.

Bunco tonight, and I lost. It's a stupid game anyway. And I spent 140 dollars (as in, way more than the 80 dollars I thought I was going to spend) having someone come to my house and explain the gas fireplaces to me. I think Larry's going to start taking the checkbook to work with him.

I called my father this morning and apologized profusely for forgetting to call him yesterday, on my parents' 51st anniversary. He was very upset with me - you know why? Because he forgot, too, and he was counting on me to remind him.

I avoided walking all last week, but now my neighbor is banging on my door again at 6:30 in the morning. Which is ridiculous, considering it is dark outside at that hour. I'm thinking of getting a restraining order. But until then, it's somewhat-early to bed and way-too-early to rise for this blogging mama - g'night all!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Everyone Else Has One (Tag Cloud, That Is)

I'm trying to figure out that neat Technorati tag cloud thing that all the other kids are getting on their blogs, but it isn't working...yet. Ignore any weirdness in the left-hand column until I figure it out. Except the weirdness, of course. That's permanent.

I'm sure all 10 of my faithful readers remember my crowing with triumph over ordering my Christmas photo cards way back in November. As soon as the cards arrived, I efficiently addressed the envelopes and then put them aside (readers, please note - don't try this at home) until I could get around to buying Christmas-y stamps. I'll be lucky if those darn cards ever turn up again. But the stamps I got are nice. I guess I could just use them next year, if the postal rates don't rise again.

Larry and I attempted to sneak away for a date this evening, but Susie woke up and screamed until we agreed to come back. I hate cellphones.

And is any evening complete without a child coming up to me (after bedtime) and saying his stomach hurts? It was Brian's turn tonight, so I gave him a dishpan and sent him back to bed. At least he's in the bottom bunk this week.

They just do this to me to keep me on edge, I know it.

How do you know when blogging is taking over your life? That's easy - it's when you start calling the kids by their blog pseudonyms instead of their true names. Not that I've ever done that....

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Cannot Think Of Title To Save My Life

Never did get those packages mailed. But they're not eaten either. So that's good. I think I'll send Larry to the post office with them tomorrow. He'll enjoy the relative peace and quiet there.

Today we were expecting dinner guests for Chanukah, which meant it was time for Larry to start yet another home improvement project. He decided today was as good a time as ever to climb up to the roof and nail the gutters back into the side of the house. The job took a while, since Larry decided that, as long as he was up there, he should clean the leaves out of the gutters also. He stopped short of reshingling the roof, but I know he thought about it. Meanwhile I spent the day cleaning the house by hiding all our extra crap (including those unmailed packages of cookies and fudge) in our bedroom and trying to cook a decent dinner.

Theo escaped the chaos we call home to go to his training session at the bookstore. He watched many scintillating videos instructing him on the finer points of customer service. He also learned how to subtly thwart shoplifters (i.e., without punching them in the gut and sitting on them until security arrives). Even though he was paid for the ordeal, Theo was not very inspired by the experience of sitting through badly-acted, corporate training films. I can't really blame him, as I still remember the films shown to me when I started working the Christmas rush at a department store 20 years ago: "World War II, and JCPenneys was there," the voiceover solemnly intoned. Now that's a company that takes itself pretty seriously.

We found some more stolen money on Rachel's dresser. Granted, she's only 5; but this proclivity towards larceny worries me. I don't know whether we should even bother to look at colleges for her, or just shop for the best prison instead. At least we won't have to worry about her SAT scores.

Susie likes Skittles. She ate many of them this evening, while the other kids gambled theirs in a game of dreidel. In fact, she ate so many, I'll betcha she's going to have colored poop in the morning. Who says nothing exciting ever happens around here?

Anna, that's who.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Betty Crocker 911

I dedicated today to baking all the goodies we need to send in our Christmas care packages to Larry's relatives. What? Where are all the goodies we baked last week? Oh, yeah, those....well, we weren't quite prepared last the time we procured all the cute little tins and boxes to pack the sweets in, well.....they were all gone, okay? The lemon bars, the peanut butter cookies, most of the fudge was no more. I am one person who takes my holiday weight gain quotas seriously.

So this time I planned it right. Boxes at the ready, I decided to just whip right through all the baking in one day and get those babies out of here. By the time I was done, I was seeing double from sugar overload. I'm not trying a baking marathon like that again without a medic standing by to administer insulin as needed. And a pox on outdated cookbooks. The lemon bars recipe called for "granulated sugar," as in what everyone else in this day and age calls just "sugar." As in, not confectioner's sugar, which really didn't work well at all.

The fudge did its part by refusing to set properly. As I couldn't cut it into discrete squares, I settled for packing it in one big lump per recipient. I nestled the lumps in white tissue to give them a more festive look, but....honestly? They resemble nothing so much as wads of poop wrapped in toilet paper (in decorative tins). Theo suggested that instead we put each lump in one of those plastic pooper-scooper bags (provided free at the local dog park) and tie the bags with ribbon. You know, to make a good gag gift. Get it? Gag? We laughed ourselves silly. (Hey, even Anna smiled at that one.)

I am sick of sweets, but I still have to bake the #%$&* (sp?) cranberry bread for the party tomorrow night. And mail off those wads of poop, I mean fudge. Before someone around here eats them. Yum.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Sleep Deprivation and Spousal Alienation

Well, I was going to take a day off today; but I've become addicted to watching the numbers on my sitemeter creep up after I post, and I just can't stop.

Today went fairly well, considering I had 3 hours of sleep last night (and not consecutive, either). David kept waking up barking, so I put on 2 coats and wrapped him in 3 blankets and opened the living room window and let him breathe in the blessedly cold, dry air. Larry came down at one point (no doubt motivated by my hissing at him, "How come I'm always the one getting up?") and, thinking that David needed a hat, placed his own rabbit-fur hat on David's cold head. This maneuver upset our little vegetarian very much, even though no flesh-eating was involved (on our parts, anyway). So we went with wool instead, the shearing of which (we assured David) in no way hurt the sheep, aside from perhaps leaving it a tad chilly in the evenings for a week or two. This conversation seemed a bit surreal at 2 in the morning, but we're used to things being rather weird around here.

So now I'm waiting for the rest of us to come down with the sore throat from hell just in time for our annual Chanukah party. Theo has cooked us up about 75 latkes, which better be enough, because I am sick of cleaning up the greasy post-frying mess. We've got the life-or-death homemade applesauce from last fall, the dreidels (an important detail - the year we spent in Rhode Island, I had to crash a Chanukah party at a local synagogue and beg for a dreidel), the pennies to gamble with, the candles, and the Chanukah napkins. Gotta have the Chanukah napkins. I would have splurged and gotten the plates also, but the stores were sold out. Hot item, those plates.

Maybe I should clean up the house, too. And paint some more gray stripes on the living room wall, just to confuse people. Larry went out and bought a non-returnable 5-gallon pail of the paint color we had tentatively (and I cannot stress tentatively enough here) agreed upon for the living room. And now the color (or at least the stripes of color) look not quite right to me. More blue than grey. Maybe a bit too light. I tried to express my misgivings to him, but all he could do was to shake his head and mutter something about 200 dollars.

So....I am going to shut my mouth and let him paint the whole stupid room with the wrong color and when he is not looking I am going to smear the color I want, the right color, the color that doesn't look blue, on top of it. Because trying to talk about this problem would not be good for our marriage. I am confident that Larry will eventually come around to the point of view that my happiness is worth a heck of a lot more than 200 lousy bucks.

I don't know how many years of marriage it takes to make 2 immature people grow up, but it is definitely more than 17.

Good night!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Shovel This, Kids!

Epiphany of the day - when you get too old for the holidays to be magical, it's time to make them magical for someone else. My teens were unimpressed with this news, but I can't wait to make them put this thought into action (more on that another time). And tonight I forced them off their bored butts to shovel all the common-area sidewalks in our townhouse neighborhood. (It had snowed a few inches today, and it was all starting to ice over.) That was fun. I hope it snows a lot here this winter. Community service is good for the teenage soul.

I swear they are sucking all the enjoyment out of my life. Like dementors. I need to fight back. Must...not...lose...strength....

I'm sitting up with David tonight, who is barking like a seal. I explained to him that 10-year-olds don't get croup, but he didn't listen. Stubborn, that kid.

Larry went to bed early this evening, because I was ranting and raving about our two eldest and he didn't know what to do (this was before I threw them out into the snow). I bet he goes to work at the crack of dawn tomorrow. Larry is the kind of person who is not afraid to avoid problems head-on.

It's been a rough day - one of those days when I feel like a hamster on one of those Habitrail wheels, running, running, running, and getting absolutely nowhere. It doesn't help that when I say, "Whew! I'm glad this day is over!", Larry feels the need to comment (faux cheerfully), "Yup - another day closer to death!" I ask you, is that helpful? I don't think so.

But it did snow, which is amazing around here in early December. And we had hot cocoa and played outside and Susie managed not to knock any of her teeth out when she fell headfirst out the door onto the front stoop. So today wasn't all bad. And now it's over and everyone's in bed, thank goodness.

I know - another day closer....

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Cookies and Dreidels and Chores, Oh My!

We made fudge today. Peanut butter-chocolate chip cookies yesterday. Lemon bars tomorrow. Maybe we'll throw some steaming cups of cocoa in there for good measure. I'm glad I was smart enough to put off returning to Weight Watchers until January. I don't care how much I have to starve myself for 10 months a year, as long as I can have my holiday goodies.

Because it's holiday time - time for the children to fight over which color candles to put in the menorah, which wooden tree ornament to decorate with markers and glitter glue, which bowl they get to lick. Next week, they'll fight over who wraps which present. Yes, indeed, it's a magical time of the year - magical in that, somehow, I manage not to kill them. Now they're throwing dreidels at each other and screaming. I don't know why. And I don't care.

Larry (with great trepidation) informed me that the tile guy (for the kitchen floor, remember?) isn't showing up this Sunday, after all; but he will definitely be here the 14th. Yeah, I believe that one. I think I have more of a chance of Santa actually showing up here than that guy.

Hey, do you think Santa does floors? Or maybe one of his elves? That would be so cool, wouldn't it? I believe in you, Santa, I believe! I'm not like that cold-hearted chick in Miracle on 34th Street. And, hey, we left you some very nice beer last year, to wash down those cookies with. Yeah, the John Adams Christmas Ale....nice stuff, wasn't it? Well, there's more where that came from, if you know what I mean (wink, wink). And I've been a really good girl all year. Though, if you prefer naughty, I can do that too....

I can't believe I typed that. Coal in my stocking this year, for sure....

Larry is out this evening with David at Cub Scouts. David doesn't like Cub Scouts, but he looks cute in the shirt. That's good enough for me. So, anyway, I get to put everyone to bed tonight and do all the dishes and as soon as I'm done goofing off here I'm going to clean the stove. Yup, just another exciting Tuesday evening here in our household. And Anna is mad at me because I just told her that I'm not going to Target this evening. If she had done those dishes for me, I might have considered taking her, you know. Maybe I should offer to let her scrub the stovetop. I bet she'd like that.

My Brain Is Empty

Today I got more visitors to this site than I ever have before. Which means, I'm more popular when I don't post....I think. Oh, well.

Nothing of note happened today. Anna was pleasant (well, that is somewhat remarkable, now isn't it?), Theo made latkes, Rachel fell asleep before dinner, Susie wet my bed (as usual) because I forgot to put her diaper on her (as usual), and David had fun flying a kite he made out of fishing line and a plastic grocery bag (it was a tad windy here today). He looked rather pathetic, like a poster child for a Toys for Tots campaign.

I'm starting on my annual schizo December breakdown - what with Chanukah, St. Nicholas Day, Chanukah, Christmas pageants and parties, flute recitals, Chanukah (some holidays overstay their welcome), Christmas tree decorating, and gingerbread house construction, I turn into a snarling, Grinch-type creature by the morning of the 25th. It ain't pretty. When did the holidays turn into an endurance test, anyway?

No funnies here tonight, folks. Too tired. Go on over to for some laughs instead. Tell 'em I sent ya.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

'Tis The Season

Bia over at La Dolce Vita has tagged me with a meme, and I'm actually in the mood to play along. Maybe because it's easy. Plus, Anna has been working on an essay for A Christmas Carol for her ninth-grade English course; so the meme theme (hey! did I coin that phrase?) fits right into the Christmas Past, Present, and Future motif. Bia would like me to name 3 favorite gifts - my favorite one from Christmas past (as a child), one I enjoyed receiving now as an adult, and one I would like to receive in the future. No problem!

Christmas Past - I grew up Jewish, but I always went to my friend's house for Christmas Day when I was little. I'm sure I received many lovely, thoughtful, even price-y presents from my friend's parents throughout the years; but the one present I remember, the present that my friend and I jumped up and down in ecstasy over, was a little cardboard box full to the brim with Bazooka bubble gum. And it had a little handle to carry it around with. That's all it takes to make a child happy, folks. Sugar. Portable sugar.

Christmas Present - I always get chocolate with almonds. Always. Because, despite living with me for 17 years now, my husband has no idea what else to tell the kids to get me. When I mention this to him, he mutters, "Well, you don't like jewelry," as if that exhausts the list of gift alternatives to chocolate.

One year, my oldest, in a burst of gift-giving creativity, gave me a little doo-hickey that blows dust off my keyboard. So maybe chocolate isn't such a bad idea, after all.

Christmas Future - A baby. Yup, I love babies. Nothing better than a Christmas baby. I'm crazy.

And I'm dying to see what Barb and Sue and MadMad have to share on this topic.

Working For A Living

Some of you may have noticed (and wondered at) my 7-year-old doing the laundry. Makes it look as though I'm teaching them the value of teamwork and responsibility, right? But appearances are deceptive. First of all, it ain't quality work. If you ever eat here, make sure to rinse your silverware first. Second, the children aren't exactly running around singing, "Whistle While You Work." Instead, my kids all sound as though they work in a union shop -

"It's Tuesday, it's not my day to empty the dishwasher - I set the table."
"Rachel empties the silverware - I do the dishes."
"I watched Susie yesterday for 20 minutes. It's Theo's turn."

Sheesh - do those seem like the sounds of teamwork and responsibility to you? I doubt it.

Occasionally Larry or I will do all the dishes, and each time we're amazed at how easy the job is. What with all the whining and groaning that goes on around here, you'd think we were asking the kids to move 2 tons of rubble from the sink to the dishwasher each evening. But we persist in assigning them the chores, because otherwise they'd be sitting around fighting with each other while Larry and I did all the work.

Theo went out and got himself a seasonal job at Barnes and Noble. I wanted to call the person who hired Theo and say, "He is handsome, isn't he? And so responsible! You won't be sorry you hired him, I promise you." But I restrained myself.

I have no idea why I am so excited - must be a first-born thing.

I told Anna she had to finish her schoolwork from the past week before she could go out this weekend, and she didn't even break anything. We consider that progress. She did mope around in her bathrobe until past noon, however. Now she's out babysitting and acting like a normal human being. None of my friends believe a word I say about her. Maybe she should consider a career on the stage.

David is still trying to construct a functioning space station out of duct tape and craft sticks. I can't tell if he is really, really smart or really, really stupid. And he just informed me that the amount of paint on a jumbo jet adds almost 600 pounds to its weight. Like me and Christmas cookies...

Larry spent today painting the kitchen, in an attempt to atone for the fact that he ripped out my kitchen floor over 2 weeks ago even though the tile guy isn't coming until December 14. The job went fairly quickly, as he didn't have to worry about getting paint on the floor. Because it isn't there. Or have I mentioned that already?

Time to stop goofing off and start cleaning up around here. Though it is hard to tidy things when all the kitchen furniture is in the living room and there are boxes of kitchen floor tile distributed throughout the main floor of the house. Not exactly the relaxed, uncluttered look I strive for...

She Said, He Said

So, I had to do our monthly commissary shopping trip today (that's the military version of a grocery store) and I sent the boys to do some chores before we left. A few minutes later, forgetting they were still working, I said, "Okay, everyone, shoes on, let's go!" Whereupon Rachel (5) marched to the top of the basement stairs and yelled, in her very best boss-the-boys-around style,

"Brian! David! Get your shoes on! We're going!"

And Brian (7) bellowed back, "Rachel! I'm doin' the laundry!" in an exasperated, male, give-me-a-break voice.

Gee, I wonder where they picked up those methods of communication?

It was funnier if you could hear it. Larry and I laughed until our stomachs hurt.

In other news, I spent 560 dollars on food today. Did you?

And, we have more gray stripes on our living room wall. We needed to argue for a couple of hours over whether Larry had inadvertently switched the sample-paint-can lids, an argument which necessitated painting Misty and Gray Screen (or what we think were Misty and Gray Screen) directly next to what we know were Misty and Gray Screen (are you following me here?) to see if they matched. This is not a healthy exercise for any marriage.

We have yet to decide which color to paint the kitchen; it's hard to pick the right color without the tile floor in place yet (not that there is anything wrong with not having a floor in one's kitchen) (ahem). Let it be known here that I was perfectly happy with the kitchen we had originally; it was painted a cheerful apple green, with an ugly yet serviceable linoleum floor. But Larry suffered the childhood trauma of growing up with a kitchen decorated in a 1970's-style avocado color, which rendered him allergic to any shades of green in a food preparation area. We all have our issues, I guess. His are just weirder than most.

In short, it's hard for me to imagine that there are people who enjoy the process of painting and renovating their homes. To me, it's more agonizing than...than...well, than knitting. And way more expensive.

My time is running out here - at midnight my blog turns into a pumpkin and NaBloPoMo is over. Thanks for listening to me every day for an entire month - I think it's taken some of the pressure off my husband to actually pay attention to what I'm saying. So he thanks you, too.