Friday, May 30, 2008

You Saw Me In Jurassic Park

So, if you happened to go into a T-Mobile store today and heard the 2 young salespeople snickering about the middle-aged woman who had just left? That would have been me. Because I just couldn't take it anymore. I had bought one of their cellphones a couple of months ago, and I couldn't figure out how to work it for the life of me. It was one of the most basic models, too. No camera, no anything....

Feeling desperate, I marched in there today and demanded a tutorial on the basics. Like how to turn it on on my first try. How to adjust the volume on the ringer. How to figure out where to get a ringtone. How to find out how many minutes I had left (we use a prepaid plan). The girl took it from me and started punching buttons. "Whoa, missy!" I yelled. (Okay, I didn't say "missy.") "I can't tell what you're doing! How did you get that?"

"Well," she said, "you just sort of mess around with it and you figure it out."

"I've been messing around with it for 2 months and I've figured out nothing," I told her. "Start with the phonebook. How do I find it? And how do I delete stuff?" So, with me badgering her the entire time, she managed to show me a few basic functions. Then, while she rang up my purchase of a second phone (yes, I'm stupid), I bothered the salesguy at the other counter with some more questions.

"Look," he said, "you just have to mess around with it when you're bored, and you'll figure it out."


"Listen," I told him, "I have 6 kids. I'm never bored. And I don't use this phone often enough to remember what I did from one time to the next."

"Really?" he asked, staring at me as if I had just emerged from the jungles of New Guinea.

I decided to hit him with all I've got. "Really. These one thousand minutes I'm buying for the year? I won't run out."

Upon hearing this, he looked stunned. Confused. Completely out of his element. I could tell he wanted me to just go away.

So I did.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

To-Do List

Google Search of the Day: "teenage girl in poopy diapers"

Maybe I won't complain about my teen daughter Anna anymore. At least she's potty trained, right?

In case you wonder what I do all day:

1. Get up (very important, but much harder than it looks)

2. Shower and dress

3. Check blogs (also very important, though I don't know why)

4. Feed children breakfast so they'll stop whining

5. Remember that we have to do our yearly standardized tests.

6. Look for standardized tests, always a time-consuming activity.

7. Inflict said tests on 2 little boys.

8. Check blogs again (why not?)

9. Cast on for the first of a pair of socks (3rd try, due to needle size and gauge issues). Completing these socks has become a point of honor. I will finish them or die trying.

10. Feed children lunch early, as my dental appointment is at 12:45 on June 4th.

11. Realize that today is not June 4th. I've spent the entire morning dreading a root canal that is not happening for another week.

12. Check blogs (because I can).

13. Go to garden with kids. Water things. Dig up some humongo weeds. Wonder just how much our garden plot neighbors hate us.

14. Reward the kids with McDonald's sundaes (they finished this year's math). Susie gets one, too. She says, "Now I don't have to poop in the potty to have ice cream!" Back to square one on toilet training, apparently.

15. Prep dinner.

16. Check blogs (don't want to miss anything).

17. Take all 3 girls to Payless Shoes so Anna can find appropriate footwear for her Easter/recital dress. Shoes are found, thanks be to God. Anna smiles and laughs on the way home. Will miracles never cease?

16. Take little girls to playground. Try to knit while there. Yeah, right.

17. Drive Theo to bus. Realize for the first time that he has started shaving. The world suddenly reverses its direction of rotation. Concentrate on breathing. In. Out. In. Out.

18. Cook dinner. I hate dinner.

19. Feed family. Minor crisis because Larry mistakenly bought watermelon with seeds in it. Gaaah! Much wailing and gnashing of teeth ensues.

20. Clean pots, bathe children, quickly, quickly. Must. Go. To. Knit. Night.

Pretty impressive, right? Now you know why I get paid the big bucks...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mona Lisa Smile

To the person who found my blog after googling "my sister and her friends like to dress me up in diapers," I would like to say that I most emphatically cannot help you. Please - go away. Thank you.

Is he gone? Good. Back to our regularly scheduled programming...

I've been spending my evening trying to figure out Kindle. Luddite though I am, I am determined to stay abreast of whatever technological wave is cresting, all the while mixing my metaphors madly as I go. So far, all that I've figured out is that it costs one heck of a lot of money, and then I still have to pay for the books to download to it. I could pay a lot of library fines with that sort of dough.

[Whaddaya mean, Luddites don't have blogs? This one does. I can't work the DVD player, I can't work my cellphone, I can't work my microwave, for heaven's sake - but I do blog. I'm a little leery of electric toothbrushes, also; but that is another story.]

This evening Anna asked if we could look for different shoes for the dress we bought her for Easter that she refused to wear (even though she picked it out). Bummer - I was just about to E-bay it. So I took her to Target and we didn't find shoes that were satisfactory and I could feel her hot, angry breath on my neck all the way out of the store. The silence in the car on the way home was deafening. I spent the ride recalling how fun it used to be to have Anna in the car with me, chatting away about whatever it was she was looking forward to at that particular moment. She was the type of person who would get up and treat each day like a present to be opened. Does growing up require a girl to lose a perfectly pleasant temperament? I can't remember. Maybe I should ask my mother. Odds are, though, she would refuse to answer me, all the while smiling like the lovely lady to the right.

That's okay - she'll have waited 30 years for that moment; I'll let her enjoy it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Seasons, They Go 'Round and 'Round

First pool visit of 2008 today! If my kids ever express doubt that I love them and would do anything for them, I will point out that - against my better judgment - I don a swimsuit and venture out in public for their sakes each and every summer. Yes, I am willing to undergo public humiliation just so that they can have some good childhood memories. Our pool, by the way, is super-fantastic - the baby pool is a splash pool that goes all the way to 3 feet deep, so all the non-swimmers are happy; there's a sandpit for the little ones to dig in when they are sick of the water; and there is lots of shade and trees. I love our pool! I just hate the public humiliation part.

That said, sitting there today reminded me how much time has gone by since I first became a mother (16 and a half years, but who's counting?). Obviously, this pool is a magnet for the younger-kids crowd; and "younger kids" usually means younger (read, less jaded) mothers. All I could think as I sat there eavesdropping on their conversations was "Did I used to sound like that?"

Language Development in Mothers

Young and sweet mothers: "Would you like the lemon ice or the strawberry ice, sweetie?"
Old and tired mothers: "If you're going to fuss about getting lemon again, I'll eat that Italian ice myself."

Young and sweet: "Use your walking feet!"
Old and tired: "Stop running or the lifeguard will kick you out for the rest of the summer."

Young and sweet: "Tell that boy you don't want to share your shovel."
Old and tired: "Stop crying over a one-dollar toy, for heaven's sake, or I'll give you something to cry about!"

Young and sweet: "Use your words!"
Old and tired: "Please, for the love of God, stop talking!"

Young and sweet: "Do you want me to play with you in the pool?"
Old and tired: "Did they fill this thing with ice cubes this morning? Go play - I have a magazine to read."

Young and sweet: "I'm glad I wore my bikini - it's a great tanning day."

Old and tired: "God bless the person who invented the super-spandex tankini with the skirted bottom. Once I get that leg-vein surgery, I'll be all set."

Enjoy! It all goes by too fast!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Of Books and Birthdays and BBQ's

Neva4getme has won my first (and maybe last) ever giveaway! Please contact me with your address so that my friend/secret agent can mail you Jen Singer's book You're a Good Mom from a location that is not here. The winner is due with her second baby any minute, so this can double as a new baby gift. Yes, I am cheap.

Things have finally quieted down here at the old blogstead, now that all the people Dawn and Sue sent over have finished checking me out (and, um, didn't come back). I'll admit it - it was exciting to feel so popular for a couple of days. Sort of like when the cool girls in high school let you sit at their lunch table for a bit, you know? For a few glorious days, you felt as if you were cool and beautiful and interesting to talk to... I mean, so what if they pretended you didn't exist the week after that?

Or was that just me that that sort of thing happened to?

Never mind. If you look at the sidebar to the left there, you'll see that yet another number has turned over. Yes, Susie is now 3 years old. I don't know how I am going to manage without a 2-year-old in the house. I mean, I'll no longer have an excuse for my sloppy housekeeping and half-hearted attempts at meal preparation. I might even be expected to keep up on laundry. The pressure! The pressure!

I got creative with Susie's birthday cake and added some mashed strawberries to the batter in lieu of some of the liquid. My friends, do not try this at home. I thought the strawberries would turn the cake pink; but instead it came out sort of brown, as if I had used whole wheat flour. The kids, of course, wolfed it down anyway, as it was covered in totally-bad-for-you lard-and-sugar frosting; but it wasn't one of my finest culinary moments.

We then made the kids walk a mile to David's Boy Scout troop's BBQ. They were having a pig roast. Rachel was rather disturbingly fascinated by the fact that she could see the pig's head. I expect to see our neighbors' pet rabbits lying on our grill doused in barbecue sauce any day now.

Larry and I figured out that we saved approximately 40 cents on gasoline by making the kids walk to the BBQ and back. Add to that the 40 cents I saved on Thursday by walking with the kids to their dental appointments, and...well...we've got 80 cents to put in the fund for the new shoes the kids are going to need if we keep making them walk everywhere.

Take that, global warming!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

We Been Jammin'

Strawberries! We're all about strawberries today! 40 pounds of strawberries, to be exact. That's approximately 25 quarts, Mir, you rookie! I laugh at your paltry 2 gallons! The excursion with just the 4 younger kids was pleasant and fun (yes! it was!) until we got in the car for the hour-long drive home. Rachel decided that she didn't like the CD I was playing and screamed in fury for, oh, 25 minutes or so. It felt like longer. Her screaming was punctuated by periodic wails from Brian: "Rachel! Don't hit me!" and "She's trying to undo my seatbelt!" That's one strange little girl.

Not having any duct tape handy, Larry and I decided to endure the aural onslaught silently rather than add to the noise by issuing idle threats. When we got home, we took Rachel out of the car and gave her a cookie to thank her for finally quieting down.

Ha, ha, ha - no, we didn't. We put her in her room for the entire afternoon. A gorgeous afternoon really - we opened her window so that she could hear the sounds of Brian and Susie playing with the neighbor kids outside. I half expected to look outside and see a bunch of sheets tied into a rope trailing out of Rachel's bedroom window; but, luckily, she fell asleep rather than planning an escape. Yelling like that can be exhausting, you know. At least, both Larry and I wanted a nap by the time we got home.

But that wasn't a possibility, as we had 40 pounds of strawberries rapidly aging in our kitchen. We swung into action. David decided that he was going to make chocolate-dipped confections with them, so he proceeded to melt chocolate chips in the double boiler and spread out wax paper, etc. Is he gonna be one great boyfriend, or what? Chocolate-covered strawberries - he's gonna have to beat those girls off with a stick.

Um, that's a figure of speech. This blog is in no way advocating girlfriend-beating.

While he dipped strawberries, I started up the jam process. David looked apprehensive as I turned on the big front burner on the stove to cook the mashed strawberries and sugar. "Are you sure that won't catch fire?" he worried. Poor kid - he's been traumatized by too many kitchen conflagrations, I'm afraid. So I took him by the shoulders, looked in his eyes, and said, "David. If you can't take the heat, you need to get out of the kitchen."

Tough love. It's the way to go.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Parental Guidance Required

I was in Target with Anna the other day (no, I don't know why I repeatedly subject myself to this sort of torture), waiting while she tried on assorted garments in the dressing room. I was wandering around the juniors section in a sort of existential state of despair over the porn star look for teens when - miracle of miracles - I spotted it! A skirt, a full skirt, that went below the knees! Complete with an attractive smocked waistband and ruffled hem! I rushed over to check out the price, and there on the tag were the disappointing words - tube dress. As in, most emphatically not a mid-length skirt. (I would like to note here that, in the store, this garment appears much shorter than it does in the picture in that link. I think they had a midget model it.)

Crushed, I returned to the dressing room, where I held a scintillating conversation with my teen daughter (formerly known as "Beloved") that went like this:

"Why can't I buy this shirt?"
"Because it makes you look slutty. You want to look slutty?" (note: do not ask your teen daughter a rhetorical question)
"Yes." Only she said it "Ye-eh-es", the extra syllables subbing in for what she really wanted to say, which was "Yes, of course I do, anything not to dress like you. Duh."

She tries again:
"Well, how about this shirt?"
"How about we go home and I make you some clothes out of our curtains?"

Oh, poor Anna. Don't worry, honey - in a few short years you will be away at college and free to prance around in your underwear, if that is what your heart desires. In the meantime, your loving parents will make sure you at least give a good impression of being a young girl who respects herself enough not to be shoving her boobs and upper thighs in people's faces. We're sort of old-fashioned that way.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Near Death Experiences and A Giveaway!

Hi! I cleaned my toilet 4 times last night! Another 6 times this morning! I am a toilet-cleaning goddess!

That's what happens, you know, when you have the stomach virus from hell that keeps coming back. Friday, Sunday, and again today! New and improved! In between toilet cleanings, I lay curled up on the couch in a fetal position. And decided that I was suffering from nothing less than end stage colon cancer. Isn't that fun? My only hope was to get well enough to go to the endodontist for my root canal appointment at 12:30. Why I was bothering to take care of my teeth when I was obviously not long for this world is beyond me.

So it wasn't shaping up to be a great day.

But now it is almost dinner time, my stomach seems to have jelled back into one solid mass, and the root canal didn't hurt! I am the world's biggest dental wimp, so that is saying a lot. Of course, the novocaine hasn't totally worn off yet. But have no fear - I have some prescription codeine tablets just in case. Because I cannot afford to lose another night's sleep.

Larry hasn't even called to ask how I am. He's in such trouble.

Since I was spending so much time in the bathroom, I grabbed a book from the stack on my nightstand to read in there. It just so happened that it was Jen Singer's You're A Good Mom. Jen is the blogger behind, where, if you will recall, I won the (ahem) prestigious Housewife of the Week award last December. So, naturally, I like Jen. And when she sent me her new book (complete with a very cute promo package) over a month ago, I had every intention of reading it right away and telling people about it (because I'm easy like that).

Well, here we are, many weeks later, and the only reason I didn't finish the book sooner was because I was too busy blogging. Also, I couldn't find the book for a while. And...and...the dog ate it. Anyway, I finished it last night; and, um, Jen? I don't really know how to review a book. I'll just give it the old college try, all right?

Essentially, it is a humorous book about "14 Secrets to Finding Happiness Between Super Mom and Slacker Mom." (I stole that from the cover.) Jen writes about what I and many other moms have discovered - good enough is good enough. Don't center your whole life on the kids. Don't overload them with activities. You don't have to amuse them all the time.

Only, she says it way funnier.

I particularly enjoyed her diatribe against specialized kid soccer leagues and extended soccer schedules. You see, I think soccer should be played in a local league for 8 weeks and no more, fall and maybe spring. Because I am sort of lazy about getting my kids to these things and I don't like kids' activities taking over our lives. But, where I live (and, apparently, where Jen lives, too) the season can stretch into overtime (I had a friend whose son was playing on Thanksgiving Day) and parents travel all over the place to allow their kids to play in a "better" league. I hate that. But, then, I know nothing about sports. Jen, however, lends credibility to my anti-elite-soccer stance; she actually played college soccer and coaches in her local kid leagues. And she feels the same way I do! So there! You can read all about it in her chapter titled, "Don't Let the Youth Sports Cartel Run Your Life."

Thank you, Jen. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

This is a good book for moms with kids no older than 12. Because, if you haven't figured out this stuff by then, you probably are the Super Mom type she warns us about. I'm thinking I would like to give this book away to one lucky commenter; I just have to figure out how to mail it without y'all figuring out where I live. (Wow! I'm doing a giveaway! Just like the real bloggers!)

So comment on this post and let me know if you would like to be entered in the contest. I don't know how to do those random number generator thingies, so I will probably have one of the kids pick a name out of a hat. We'll try to be fair, I promise.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

We're All Patient, So Shut Up Already...

The comments are flying fast and furious for this post over at Derfwad Manor, and no wonder. Mrs. G has written an eloquent piece on why she ended up homeschooling her 2 children, and people are falling all over themselves telling her either

A) thanks for putting that better than I could (that would be all her homeschooling readers)


B) you must be so patient to homeschool your kids (that would be the, um, uninitiated saying that, of course).

Last I checked, none of us has to pass an exam measuring how much patience we have with our children before we file that homeschooling paperwork. And it's a good thing, too.

Tell me, how many of you with children would have had the patience, BK (before kids), to put up with even a small percentage of what you tolerate on a daily basis now: the whining, the fighting, the mess, the poop? Almost none of you, I'm willing to bet. Yet here you are, doing it, and you haven't killed any of your offspring yet. Congratulations! We're all incredibly patient!

Of course, people think home schoolers need more patience than the average parent because they picture us sitting with the kids for hours and hours, going over worksheets and assignments. But most of us don't do that. Instead, we create an environment that encourages kids to read and to think (less screen time, more books); and we give them time to play and create (craft sticks, legos, you name it), mostly on their own or with each other. We make lots of homeschooling friends, too, and meet up with them at parks in the afternoon, or we arrange homeschooling drama clubs or tennis lessons. Believe me, you don't need a lot of extra patience to sit around and chat with other homeschooling moms while your kids are playing with their kids.

Oh, yeah, and we do make the kids do their math pages. Around here, that doesn't take patience; it takes chocolate. My children are easy to bribe.

People also think we need an extraordinary amount of patience because we are around our kids for more hours each day. It's true, there is only so much kid-parent interaction that any mere mortal needs/can take, no matter how much available time there is. So the homeschooling parent solves this problem of too much togetherness by saying "Go play" or "Go read" to his/her child when he/she has had enough; or the child sequesters himself behind a couch with a good book, because his mother has threatened to inflict household chores upon him if she hears his voice one more time before dinner. And you know what? We don't feel bad about that. We have no quality time worries, because the sheer quantity of time we have with our kids ensures that there will be a few minutes of quality per day in there.

Well, most days. The other days are simply hopeless.

Last but not least, outsiders think we need extra patience in order to settle sibling disagreements all day long. But I have a theory, based on observation of both my family and the families of schooled children. Siblings need to fight a certain amount of time each day. No matter what. So, if they've been at school all day, they will make up for lost time by starting in on each other as soon as they get home. In our family, we try to get all the sibling fights out of the way in the morning, so that we can have a peaceful afternoon. We're efficient, that way. Either way, though, the parent (homeschooling or not) suffers for approximately the same amount of time each day. I think that this is what is meant in Genesis by the words " pain you will bring forth children..." Believe me, I would rather go through labor than listen to my kids bicker on a rainy afternoon.

Homeschooling isn't perfect; but neither are any of the other educational choices for our children. So if you are going to spout nonsense about how I must be so patient with my children in order to home school (and, really, if you read this blog, you must know that's ridiculous), then I am going to praise you for how patient you are in dealing with the various people in the school bureaucracies, and with the PTA, and with all the gift wrap/chocolate/citrus sales you have to participate in.

Pick your poison, is what I say. Sometimes it's six of one, half a dozen of the other...

Monday, May 19, 2008


Well, I am a big girl and I can admit when I've made a mistake. I've realized that I left a very important item off the joy rush list I made for Barb. Forget the stupid mountains, all right? They're probably full of deer ticks anyway. What should have been on the list instead, what give me a supreme feeling of joy and elation every single time I see them, are the items you see pictured to the left and to the right. (If I were mrs. g, I would draw some arrows here, but I don't know how yet.)

That's right, those are simple wooden bifold doors. And isn't it always the simplest things that give us the most happiness? A child's smile, say, or a sunny day, or closet doors that actually conceal the ungodly mess behind them....

You see, once upon a time about a year ago, we bought this nice townhouse. A townhouse that was fairly functional, with all its closet doors working the way they should. They opened, they closed, they didn't fall on anyone. It was a beautiful sight to see.

Being experienced home wreckers, we went to work fixing all that. Soon enough, not only did we have a torn up floor in the kitchen and variegated paint striping all over the living room walls, but we also had two (not one, but two) closet doors that could no longer hide the cluttered insides of our closets from prying eyes. The hall closet door gave up the ghost and fell out altogether, while the linen closet door's hinges broke so that it hung limply open, displaying my mismatched collection of towels, washcloths, and various toiletries for all to see.

We tried to adjust. If we were having guests, we would prop the door in front of the hall closet and pray no one tried to use it. One time I failed to secure the door properly and it fell on top of a friend's 6-year-old daughter. I hastened to her aid, but not before retrieving the door from her fallen body and jamming it back into place before anyone could see the motley collection of junk that fills the closet. I figured, hey, if she were already unconscious, an extra minute wouldn't hurt. But public humiliation lasts forever.

The linen closet, though not as much of an eyesore, presented its own particular challenges. The way it hung open, it half-blocked the doorway to one of the bedrooms; so we developed a sort of sidewise, crab-like movement to enter and exit that particular room. It got so that I sort of forgot that we hadn't always lived in this fashion, with sanitary pads falling out into the hallway and Swiffer mops dropping out and hitting me on the head as I walked by.

Things went on like this, until one special day my husband uttered the three little words that wives love to hear: "Call the handyman." Be still, my heart! I mean, is that romantic, or what? I was on the phone in a thrice (whatever the heck that means) and secured the handyman's promise to show up at our house before Larry could change his mind.

So now I rejoice inwardly every time I walk into the house and see our beautiful (though as yet unpainted) hall closet door doing its job of making our foyer look neat and clean. And whenever I go upstairs, my heart leaps up as I behold the clean (though as yet unpainted) wooden facade of my linen closet, keeping our toilet paper and towels and cleaning supplies safely hidden from public view.

It's the little things that mean the most in life, folks. Don't you forget it.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

In Which I Chastise Ungrateful Grown Children

Today, I must confess, I'm mad at Sue. And not just because she's funnier than me. I'm over that. Really. But, geez, Sue, you're a mom, right? And yet, you're inviting all your readers to make fun of the food their mothers fed them? Maybe you haven't been a mother long enough. Maybe you still entertain the notion that as long as you make healthy, fun meals, your kids will not have any complaints about how you feed them. Right? Am I right? After all, if a kid's unhappy, it's got to be his mother's fault.
Ha, ha, ha, ha! Oh, I slay me.

Well, let me tell you, Sue, just wait. Yeah, that's right...just you wait. There will come a day when you realize that no matter what you feed those darling children, someone will whine and complain. There will come a day when, every single time you put a plate of food in front of one of your children, your stomach will clench up in a knot of anticipatory dread; because you know that within 3.4 seconds, someone is going to be voicing their unhappiness with the menu du jour.

You see, Sue, it's not us (the moms); it's the kids. You can make everyone's favorite breakfast, and someone will be sitting there crying because she didn't get her favorite spoon. You can get them the junkiest cereals known to man, all those cereals both you and I pined for as kids; and they'll complain because it isn't the boring healthy cereals we hated. Do you know why your mom handed you the bag of brown sugar with your Wheaties? Because she wanted y'all to just shut up and eat. That's right. And if giving you early-onset diabetes was the only way she could get you to ingest some fiber, then that's what she was going to do.

And those peanut-butter snacks she made for you? Those sounded pretty good to me! Hey, peanut butter has protein in it, so double points for her! In fact, tell her to send me the recipe, okay?

Seeing as how your mother had nine children, I'm not surprised she locked the refrigerator. Especially since one of those kids (not naming names here, or anything) had a propensity to eat raw hot dogs...I mean, what else could she do? And I'm sure locking the fridge cut down on the between-meals mess in the kitchen. This idea is sounding better and better to me.

As an aside, that raw hot dog incident hit uncomfortably close to home for me. Back when Rachel was going through her toilet-stuffing, stuffed-animal-decapitating phase, Theo went into her room one day and said, "It smells like hot dogs in here."

And I said, "No, it doesn't. Don't be ridiculous. I've had my eye on that child all day." Because I was trafficking pretty heavily in denial at that particular stage of our lives.

But he insisted, "It smells like hot dogs in here." After a brief search, he discovered the half-eaten pack of frankfurters in her desk drawer. But she wasn't the type to just cram a few raw hot dogs in her mouth in a hurry - no sirree! We weren't dealing with just any amateur food thief here. The remaining hot dogs were ensconced on a pretty plastic plate, with a dollop of mustard on the side. With them in the drawer were a knife and a fork and a cloth napkin.

Say what you like, that kid has style.

So I say, if locking the fridge works for you, all you moms out there, then go for it. And if your grown kids later try to accuse you of traumatizing them and giving them bad eating habits, just laugh that sort of hollow laugh all we older moms develop and ignore the ungrateful wretches. Because we all know who traumatized whom.

And, Sue, go apologize to your mother. I don't blame her one bit for waking you up singing "Good Morning To You" when you were a teen. Not one bit.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Joy Rush

[Edited to add: Once more Dawn has linked to me without warning me, which is akin to the people at NOAA seeing an F5 hurricane bearing down on some unsuspecting coastal town and not bothering to mention it. Those of you looking for tales about my love affair with Ektorp furniture from IKEA, just type "Ektorp" or "IKEA" into the search bar up there.]

I am accepting Barb's challenge to do a joy rush meme, seeing as how Barb is always so optimistic and loving and makes me feel like a grinch every single time I read her blog (but hey, her daughters are 10 and under). And I think she gets more traffic than me, so maybe there is something to be said for being a less cynical blogger. Therefore, I am going to try to think like Barb tonight. I hope my brain doesn't explode. Here goes...

10 Things That Give Me Joy

1. Fat, squeezy baby thighs (as opposed to my fat middle-age thighs, which do not give me a joy rush at all)
2. Yarn (the possibilities!)
3. Homeschooling catalogs (again, the possibilities!)
4. Birds singing in the morning (but not too early, like some of the crazy carolers who have been starting up before 4 o'clock) (for heaven's sake, that's not even morning yet; knock it off, guys, will ya?)
5. Coca-Cola, on ice (I'm a simple person, what can I say?)
6. The way 2-year-olds talk and walk and giggle and blow kisses (okay, everything about 2-year-olds except the part where they poop on my family room rug like a puppy) (not that that happened today or anything)
7. Listening to A Prairie Home Companion (notwithstanding how I have to scream at the kids to pipe down so that I can hear my boyfriend Garrison Keillor speaking)
8. Watching my kids playing together (happily, quietly, not bothering Mommy)
9. Two more, huh? This is getting difficult for hardbitten old me. How I love seeing mountains. Not climbing them, or anything, though. I'm scared of heights.

[It is just now occurring to me that the more I talk, the less sense that I make.]

10. Anything that makes me laugh. (Is that begging the question? The thing that gives me joy is anything that gives me joy?) Life without laughter is not worth living. (Oooh, I could start writing stuff for fortune cookies now, couldn't I?)

Okay, Barb, I did it. I'm trying to be more like you. Lord knows why I've become more cynical over the years [teens], but I will certainly attempt to overcome any and all obstacles [teens] to my greeting each day with joy and anticipation, the way I used to [before my kids became teens] just a couple of years ago.

Especially if it makes my sitemeter stats go up.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

How Not To Let Sleeping Teens Lie

I must say, I am impressed with the creativity demonstrated by my readers in the comments section of yesterday's post. Let's see....

How To Wake A Teenage Girl

1. Vacuum. Nice idea, Kathy, very kill 2 birds with one stone with that one. You wake her up and you remind her of some very basic household chores she could do. I like it.

2. Airhorn? I don't know, Heather; that's getting a tad drastic. But desperate times do call for desperate measures. I'll keep it in mind.

3. Water - ah, cheap yet effective. Kelli recommends pouring water on the sleeping teen in order to rouse her. Double bonus with this one, too, as the sleeper is forced to change her bed linens.

4. Dog - Melissa claims that you need to train the dog to go in and wake her. I don't know, I sort of like dogs...PETA may have a problem with this solution.

5. Cellphone call - brilliant move, Heidi! What teen girl would not instantly bolt awake to answer her cellphone? And she'd be way too sleepy to notice her parents' number on the Caller ID. I may get Anna a cellphone just so I can do this to her.

In other news, I survived my dental appointment. Because they didn't do anything to me. Yet. I need a root canal, unfortunately; so I trotted on over to the endodontist I used 5 years ago and asked for an appointment. I really like this particular endodontist, but I had forgotten that there was something wacko about the receptionists in his office. As in, once they had given me an appointment for an evaluation, I asked if they could line up the next appointment for me also. That way I wouldn't have to wait as long for the next available time slot. You would have thought that I had screamed obscenities at the poor woman; her lip started to quiver as she looked nervously at her computer screen and her voice quavered as she informed me that I was very lucky to get in to see Dr. B in just a week, and I would have to wait until then to schedule the next appointment. She seemed shocked and embarrassed at my request. I'm thinking, "There is no way this woman is understanding me correctly. What the hell?"

"Look," I said, as gently as I could, "next week Dr. B is going to send me out here to set up a series of appointments for this major root canal. I would like to get started on them as soon as possible, before this tooth goes toxic and I end up as a dental emergency. Could you please set up just one of them now?"

Well, that just pushed her right over the edge. She called the other receptionist over to handle me, because she just didn't know what to do with the sort of person who would make such a request. For an appointment! 2 weeks from now! Why did she have to get all the nutcases?!

The other receptionist looked just as shocked. She reminded me again how lucky I was, and what did I want from them, anyway? Couldn't I see how busy they were?

At this point I recalled that these people had always been wacko and left. But if you read some dental receptionist's blog today where she talks about how impossibly rude and demanding those root canal patients are and don't they realize how hard her job is?...

It ain't true. She's a wacko.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Good Morning, Sunshine

Whew! I went missing. I didn't run away from home with my gambling winnings, in case that is what you were thinking...but I did fall asleep early, directly after informing Anna that she wasn't going to her ensemble rehearsal in the evening as planned. Because, if she's gonna make me feel like crap all day, I'm gonna make her life miserable.

Then I went to bed and slept the sleep of the just.

It amazes me how teen daughters think that they can out-b*tch their mothers. Don't they realize that we've had way more practice than they have at acting that way?

For those of you with only cute, younger children - I apologize. 5 years ago, I would have been as shocked to read this as you are feeling right now. Obviously, I have done something wrong with raising my offspring.

Ha, ha, ha, ha! That was a joke! For mothers of teen daughters to share! We've done nothing wrong - it is merely a case of demonic possession amongst our young. Why don't you 20-somethings go off and make some more playdough for your darling tots, all right? You can leave us old witches here to discuss how to torture the ungrateful teens that we cherished and nurtured all through their early years, just like you are doing with your small children now.

I don't know what's wrong with me this morning. Maybe 10 and a half hours of sleep isn't good for my psyche. It felt good, though. That is, until I staggered downstairs to find the dishwasher unrun, and the kitchen smelly, and the "left over" dishes scattered, willy-nilly, here and there. (My kids, as I have mentioned before, are union workers; they only wash the dishes that are in the sink - any left on the counter, no matter how dirty, are outside the terms of their contract)

Did you click on that link? Why not? Trying to rush off to some other blog? Don't be rude, click on it! It's funny, dammit.

Anyone want to go upstairs and wake Anna? The younger kids won't do it for me anymore. Even little Susie says it's "scary." I could save myself the trouble of dealing with her and let her sleep in, but she might like that. So forget it.

I have a dentist appointment today. Did I mention that? It's at one o'clock. Because I was smart this time and didn't let Larry make the appointment for me. If I had let Larry make the appointment, I would be there already.

Which may not have been such a bad idea, actually - because then he would have been stuck with the job of waking Anna...

Monday, May 12, 2008

We've Got A Winner, Folks!

Hey! It's Bunko Night, and I won 15 dollars this evening. What with my Bunko winnings and the whopping 150 dollars I've earned through freelance writing this year, Larry should just retire early and stay home with the kids. Because, financially speaking, I've got us covered.

I can bring home the bacon...fry it up in a pan...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Pox On Mother's Day Bake Sales

The title of yesterday's post should have been Friends Don't Let Friends E-Mail When They Are Totally Tired, Cranky, and Fed Up - but I thought that would be too lengthy. I regret if I may have inadvertently led some of you to believe that I was actually tipsy when I wrote that e-mail to my friend. I assumed that my typical reader (aka, another mom) would know that that sort of missive could be penned on almost any typical day by almost any mother without the aid of intoxicating beverages.

Truth to tell, I don't drink. Oh, occasionally I will sip some wine and try to enjoy it. But I do not like the taste of alcoholic beverages. MadMad can attest to this, having dined out with me while we were stalking the Yarn Harlot. While those around me were enjoying whatever those drinks are that have salt (or was it sugar?) on the rim of the glass, I was enjoying a nice refreshing glass of water. With lemon. I'm weird that way.

Larry took me out for a sandwich at our local bagel shop this morning (I know, I know, all you moms are jealous), where we were able to hash out in peace (i.e., without a zillion interruptions and without teens listening in and promising themselves to never, ever make the mistake of getting married) how to balance Larry's desire to attend his niece's wedding on Labor Day weekend and my desire to not have our August vacation plans completely ruined. Once I was able to vent for 5 minutes - all about how if his family really wanted us to be there, maybe they should have asked when we could make it and maybe they should have realized that traveling on Labor Day weekend involves a colossal amount of traffic, which I guess they couldn't even imagine, since a traffic jam to them is anything more than 3 cars on the road at once (okay, so maybe I vented for more than 5 minutes) - anyway, after I had said my piece, we actually had a constructive discussion where we both agreed the situation sucked but, come hell or high water, we were going to make it to the nuptials with all the kids anyway.

Come to think of it, perhaps I am not giving his family enough credit. Maybe they purposely scheduled the wedding on Labor Day weekend, in hopes that we wouldn't be descending on their celebration with our kid-heavy clan. I wouldn't blame them, really.

After this thoroughly fun and romantic conversation, Larry treated me to a kid-sized hot cocoa at Starbucks. Then I picked out a new booklight at Barnes and Noble and he paid for it and handed me the bag and then I opened it and pretended to be surprised.

Yes, Larry does know how to show a girl a good time. Why do you ask?

Later today, I spent over an hour at the bookstore (all by myself), reading knitting books. And Larry watched the kids all by himself. Everyone was still alive and unharmed when I came home. Which means that they fared better than if I had been the one stuck in the house with them on a rainy Sunday.

I informed Anna (before I went out) that her gift to me would be making the potatoes for dinner while I was out. She accepted this task with her usual grace and good humor. It was a touching moment. And to think I gave birth to that child without the benefit of painkilling drugs. And that I spent all of last Friday in the kitchen baking multiple loaves of banana bread for the teen workcamp fundraiser - the Mother's Day bake sale.

I do hope that you all are seeing the irony of holding a bake sale on Mother's Day. The teens' mothers slave away Friday and Saturday baking breads and cookies (Happy Mother's Day!), then all the dads and kids buy these baked goods after Sunday Mass to bring home and give to Mom, who of course oohs and aahs over their gift and then feeds it to them. That is, if she hasn't already run away from home, due to a surfeit of baking duties.

Frankly, if a mother is going to consume those sort of calories on Mother's Day, they'll be from some good quality chocolate, not from some crappy baked goods that some other poor mom had to bake under duress. Not that I am bitter or anything...


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Friends Don't Let Friends E-Mail Drunk

A friend of mine had the privilege of receiving this e-mail this evening from me, because it was that kind of day:

I'm sorry, first I meant to e-mail you and then to call you, and here it is almost 9 and I feel too stupid to talk to anyone because I fell asleep with the one who really isn't a baby anymore but we're gonna keep calling her that until she is 30, and I just woke up and my brain is fried but it is too early to go back to bed. Now Larry is trying to talk to me about something intelligent and I swear I'm going to lose it, because I know it's something complicated and I don't want to think about anything complicated right now.

Where was I? Oh, yes, sorry. My whole life is like that first paragraph right now and I have no idea why, as we don't even have a baby anymore and I'm not pregnant; but Lord knows, I am drowning in a sea of crap and no one listens to me anymore and what is the point anyway?

I keep getting off track, don't I?

So, getting together next Saturday! Is it too late? I guess I hesitated to commit because your plans would cost us real money and what if someone threw up the night before and I had to stay home and wash 16,000 sets of bed linens, because that is what I always have to do whenever anyone throws up around here, which is way too often, and do you even remember throwing up more than once or twice in your entire childhood? I don't. So why is it like a flippin' hobby with my kids, huh?

Now Larry is mad at me because I just said that I don't
care what he is talking about and I don't want to build our long-awaited summer vacation around his niece's wedding in Portland, Maine, which she had the gall to schedule on Labor Day weekend, because doesn't that make it really easy to travel up and down the East Coast? Us and every single other human being who owns a car east of the Mississippi?

So, I was going to say I'll just skip the whole thing, but the more I type, the more I realize that I really need to get out of the house, and screw the fact that Larry needs to spend that Saturday making our backyard into even more of a pit than it actually is, when I know he won't even
bother moving the woodpile away from the side of the house, even though it is filled with ants (and termites, too, probably), which are infiltrating our house in record numbers...

Anyway, is this invite still open? If not, I certainly understand. Or maybe we can just meet at
IKEA instead, where I need to pick up sheets, because, even though we have a zillion pieces of bed linens, no one ever has both a top sheet and a bottom sheet at the same time to make their beds with. I know other places sell sheets, but IKEA has the cheapest ones, and it's a good excuse to go buy some more frozen meatballs, since that is absolutely the only thing I cook that makes them all happy (except the vegetarian of course). Frozen meatballs, heated up in the oven and covered with sauce from a can, are apparently the nectar and ambrosia of the gods...I don't know why I ever even try to cook anything else.

So, IKEA, Saturday, you and me...right? Don't bring your kids, or I'll pretend not to know you. Thanks.

Ever have a day like that?

Friday, May 09, 2008


The following items were found in Rachel's nightstand drawer the other day: scissors, hair, and a bunny head ruthlessly severed from a cute hair scrunchy. Lab analysis has not yet confirmed whether the hair is human or Barbie. Numerous small stuffed animals on perpetrator's bed were, thankfully, unharmed, though quite shaken up by the beheading of their tiny compatriot. Needless to say, I have once more gathered up all the scissors in the house for safekeeping; not that this tactic has stopped Rachel before, of course, but at least it might slow her down.

So, apparently, it's true: if you don't let kids watch TV, they come up with creative ways to amuse themselves. Isn't it great?

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Words cannot express how I feel about so many of you taking time out of your busy days to share synonyms of "vomit" with me. Who knew that the readers of this blog were such word aficionados? Your enthusiasm for the infinite variety of the English language could make William Safire look like an inarticulate slouch.

But don't y'all have anything better to do? You worry me.

Larry sneaked off to work despite the fact that I was feeling a tad under the weather today; nothing new there, right? But, being an experienced mom, I made sure to have a nice afternoon nap while the children played happily downstairs.

Ha, ha, ha, ha - I just crack myself up. My attempt at a nap was interrupted numerous times for various non-emergency requests. So I gave up and staggered downstairs to help the kids make pretzels. This activity is supposed to be fun, but - truthfully? - it wasn't. Children were crying over who got to "mix," we had to wait for the dough to rise, more children cried over how many pretzels they got to roll and what shapes they could make (the neighbor kids were here by that time to help with the crying..I mean, baking); then I decided to actually follow the instructions and boil the pretzels for a minute before baking them (warning: DO NOT try this at home), whereupon half of them fell apart and had to be re-formed before being put in the oven. Before they were done, one of the neighbor's twins threw up in my front hall (it's just Vomit Headquarters here).

I don't know why their parents let them play here. They should know better.


I'd be snoozing right now; but the sound of a toddler barfing right next to me hath murdered sleep. I'm fussy that way, not being able to relax while lying there and waiting for Round 2. We could have put Susie in her own bed after her vomiting incident, but that would have made sense. After all, why mess up a set of twin sheets when you can finish off yet another set of king-sized ones instead? And Larry had the nerve to make fun of me while I carefully remade our bed with the spare sheets. "Yeah, make sure that top sheet is on right-side-out," he remarked. "We wouldn't want her to puke on the wrong side tonight."

I'm a creature of habit, what can I say? I tucked in the corners just so, too.

Last week Mental Tesserae suggested (in the comments of this post) that mothers must have 100 words for vomit, just as Eskimos (supposedly) have a hundred words for snow. Well, I managed to use 3 of them in that first paragraph alone. Pretty good, huh? It strikes me that I may have a special talent for writing about regurgitation (4!). I've certainly had enough practice, anyway.

Why can't I ever write about anything interesting, like global warming or the food shortage or the presidential campaign? Noooo, it's always vomit this and barf that and puke all over the bed linens around here. I wonder whether the people who invented the Internet envisioned someone like me using it to liveblog the slow, relentless march of a stomach virus through our family of 8.

Ain't technology great? Maybe I could embed a video next time. I mean, what's a vomit story without the sound effects?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Free At Last!

That's how I feel, anyway, after spending 4 months trying to clear my account at my local diabolical library. Today I was able to walk in there with my head held high and check out books on my own - no need to be debriefed by the librarian about which items are still missing and how many overdue fines I still need to pay. My account wasn't "blocked," my fine was at an acceptable level (you didn't think I would have nothing to pay whatsoever, did you?), and no one looked at me as though they wanted fingerprints.

If our country ever turns into a police state, I swear, those librarians will be the first on board. Don't mess with 'em.

2 years ago, it seemed to me to be a good idea to rent an organic community garden plot down the road from our house. You can read about that here. Although we have had 2 relatively unsuccessful growing seasons (for which we pay 48 dollars each), hope springs eternal in my plant-killing breast; so I insisted that Larry cough up the cash yet again this year for our rather unproductive piece of earth. Being a wise man, he complied; he knows better than to try to confront me with reality.

I didn't manage to get out there in February, as I had planned, and clear out all the dead weeds before they sprang to life again; after all, it is an entire half mile down the road. So, when the children and I arrived at the plot in late April, we were greeted by a scene reminiscent, say, of an Amazonian jungle. I'm surprised there weren't monkeys swinging from weedtop to weedtop. After some effort, we were able to locate the approximate locations of the 6 planting boxes my husband had so lovingly installed for me back in 2006; and we proceeded to hack our way through the undergrowth (where is a machete when you need one, anyway?) in order to clear some space for planting. No poison allowed, remember - these are organic plots.

So now, after several sessions of weed pulling and soil-turning, we have 2 (count them, 2) 4x4 boxes cleared of weeds, surrounded by a sea of unwanted (but organic) vegetation (including a couple of small trees). The compost pile is in there somewhere. I had a picture to show you, but now Blogger isn't letting me upload any more images. I'll try to add it later.

This is not our plot. It is one of the gardens near ours. They are all, apparently, green-thumb overachievers. And we are the white trash of the community garden plot world.

I wish I could show you the other pictures. One garden has a grape arbor in it. Another has a small pond and cute little figurines. Ours has a trash bag, some old windows I dreamed of making into a cold frame, and a forgotten bag of topsoil. And the weeds, of course. Our gardening neighbors must hate us. In an eco-friendly way, of course...

Monday, May 05, 2008

The Hills Are Alive...

...with the whines of entitlement....

According to this news article, Americans have hit hard times. While I have no doubt that there are many Americans truly suffering from the recent rise in gas and food prices, I think that journalists are going to have to come up with better examples than one suburbanite's having to (gasp!) cut coupons and (awww!) buy food that isn't organic. This reminds me of an NPR piece a number of months ago (when gas prices first started to rise again), where a person with a huge SUV was complaining about how much it cost him to drive his daughter to a special soccer league an hour away.

Sort of hard to work up a lot of pity, isn't it?

Last I checked, "poor" meant not having enough to eat, or nowhere to live, or no transportation with which to get to a paying job. Not being able to clothe your kids belongs on that list, too. But poor does not mean living the way many of us have been living (happily!) (thriftily!) for many years - buying the cereal that's on sale; knowing that used clothes are best for kids, because they'll wreck them up anyway; trying to live close to work; choosing schools and activities that do not require you to drive an hour each way.

It's called "living within your means," folks - and it looks as though it may just be the next big trend. Now, if all these trendmongers could just stop whining about it...

How To Live Within Your Means

1. Learn to cook. Any time you eat out, it costs way more than when you eat in.
2. Don't clip coupons. These coupons are for name-brand items that cost way more than the generics, which are what you should be buying. Except generic salsa. Trust me, don't go there.
3. Little kids don't need lessons in anything. If the money is really burning a hole in your pocket, put it in their college funds. Or send it to me. There are some knitting books I have my eye on.
4. Stop buying bottled water. It's stupid.
5. Don't go out and splurge on an expensive SUV for your 2 or 3 kids because you're concerned for their safety. Reasonably priced minivans are more maneuverable; therefore, they are less likely to get into an accident in the first place than is an Expedition. They get better gas mileage, too. (Guys, I know minivans are emasculating; but you can't argue with the numbers. I'm sorry.)
6. Expensive prepared food items are not essential to anyone's diet. No one has died yet of an Amy's organic frozen burrito deficiency. Amazing, but true.
7. Get some inspiration. This woman's advice and can-do attitude saw us through the lean years (well, the first set of lean years - now that the kids are heading for college, we're enjoying The Lean Years, Act II).
8. If you are really hard up for food money, don't waste it hoarding white rice. White rice has very little nutritional value. Buy beans instead. And oatmeal. You won't starve with beans and oatmeal in your pantry. You may contract scurvy, however. Eat an orange every once in a while, too.
9. Keep your head when shopping for little kid clothes. Yes, that 30-dollar Baby Gap dress is adorable; but it attracts ketchup and poop as well as the 10-dollar Target one. (Actually, the more expensive the piece of clothing, the faster it gets ruined. Extensive research has borne me out on this one.) Best yet, buy used and cheap (meaning, don't go to one of those cutesy consignment stores and pay 10 dollars for a used pair of shorts when you can get a new pair for 5 dollars at Target). (Lord, I hate overpriced consignment stores.)
10. And please stop complaining that you can't have everything you want. No one can. And you are probably better off than at least 90 percent of the world's population. Running water? Check. Something to eat? Check. Roof over your head? Check. Congratulations, you've got it made!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

No One Vomited Today

I know you are all just dying to hear another vomit story; thankfully, I do not have one for you. Larry and I are still waiting for the other shoe (other 6 shoes, actually) to drop, however. Stay tuned.

Is it just me, or does each day go by faster and faster? The hours today have melted away faster than an ice cream cone in hell.

It's not as if we're one of those over scheduled suburban families, either. Larry and I, being both cheap and lazy, have made a concerted effort not to sign up the kids for a zillion activities. That way, we figure, they can enjoy an old-fashioned childhood, complete with plenty of time to whine that they're bored and to get on each others' nerves.

Believe me, it is almost impossible to have a laidback lifestyle in today's suburban jungle. The peer pressure to be busy, busy, busy is incredible. Everyone around here is so busy, in fact, that if I want my 5-year-old daughter to have a play date, I need to schedule it a month in advance. Not that that bothers me, or anything...

So, what's our reward for our determination to run our lives in super slo-mo? We still have way too much to get done over the weekends; plus, we have a teen girl who resents the fact that we have neither the time nor the money to sign her up for everything she would like to do. And to take her clothes shopping when no other activity is available. Apparently, she was meant to be born into a wealthier and more type-A family.

The younger kids seem okay with our lifestyle, however. They spent the past few mornings taking turns watching the bird feeder and using a water pistol to shoot at the grackles which land there (grackles happen to be the schoolyard bullies of the bird world). The kids' aim is getting pretty good, too. Who says boredom can't be educational?

And, just in case this target practice gets old, Larry splurged and bought another Looney Tunes DVD set. We were a bit puzzled by the warning label on the cover, though:

LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTION VOLUME 3 Is Intended for the Adult Collector and May Not Be Suitable for Children

What's up with that? Had our parents watched these cartoons after we went to sleep? Did Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd have some sort of relationship we had never suspected? Naturally, Larry and I couldn't wait to check these out. Turns out they were just warning us about the insidious racial stereotypes present in this old-time entertainment. Like we didn't know that Bugs Bunny's imitation of a WWII-era Japanese soldier was not funny. Not one bit.

We only laughed to be polite. Really. And because we are incredibly immature.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Why Bunkbeds Are A Bad Idea

I was going to be a good girl and go to bed at 10 this evening, but then I decided to stay up and wash puke off of the boys' bedroom wall instead. Because that activity is more enjoyable than a good night's sleep.

Naturally, what with vomit-cleanup being such an adrenaline-pumping experience, I am still up. And not feeling too well myself, I might add. Larry went back to sleep, however, after moving the bunkbeds and lifting the mattresses and removing the puked-on guardrails for me while I wrung my hands and wailed things like, "Aaagh! It's dripping on me!" and "Why does he always have to be in the top bunk when he throws up?!" To that last, Larry said, "I dunno. We're lucky, I guess."

You know, Larry may seem like he's totally out of it, standing there in his underwear and looking groggy; but he always manages to come up with a good one-liner at times like these.

The embarrassing part is that when I heard Brian coughing strangely in his bed and I went in and didn't see any vomit (because it was dark and he had puked on the wall next to the bed and because I didn't really want to find any vomit, if you must know the truth), I had to debate whether there was a new puke smell in the room, or if that was just the old puke smell from October. I mean, how can you tell? Is that a question I could send in to Hints from Heloise, you think?

I'm just so glad Brian didn't want the tuna at dinner. I don't think I could have cleaned that up.

Hello? Anyone still here?

Before my evening was ruined, I went to Knit Night and let everyone touch the book that the Yarn Harlot had signed for me. Then I ate a delicious chicken caesar salad and half a brownie sundae, and I fervently hope that I will not be seeing those 2 items again tonight. Things are not looking good, though. Can anyone tell me: do you stop catching stomach viruses once the kids are grown and gone? Because this vomit scene is getting really old.