Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rainy Day Fun?

A little I Love Lucy, some panini grill action, a couple of games of Chutes and Ladders...that's how we stumbled through our day today.  Because it rained.  And then it rained some more.  And then?  It poured

Everything is soggy.  The newspaper's limp.  Book covers are curling.  And yet, the precipitation continues.

I managed to escape the house this evening, which explains why  I'm sitting damply in Starbuck's, watching the barista make out with some guy at one of the tables.  Now THAT's service.

That's it for today, folks.  Water on the brain, and all that...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


 Glancing in the bathroom mirror this morning in a quixotic quest to espy some remnant of my erstwhile waistline, I sucked in my stomach and stretched my arms over my head.

This, my friends, was a mistake.  In that one instant, my entire lower back, from the non-existent waistline on down to the hips, caught fire.  Or felt like it.  I hobbled through the rest of my day, reminded not to bend by the searing pain I experienced if I even thought about reminding my spine that it should have movable parts.

The moral of this story being, Mirrors are dangerous.  Or, maybe, don't be such a vain middle-aged hag as to think you can make your waistline appear by sucking in your abs.  Ah, vanity, thy name is woman.

And, yes, I do appreciate the irony of this happening to me after I laughed at  my ailing spouse's similar infirmity not even 10 days ago.  No one needs to point it out to me.  Save yourselves the trouble.

[Image credit: Readers' Digest]

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Bugman

Oh, glorious day! Our pest control guy visited and listened to me as I poured out my woes to him - all about the stinkbugs, and the attic, and the mice, and the never-ending parade of sugar ants in my kitchen.  He even endured my litany of complaints about the centipedes. 

"Of course, he did," comments Larry.  "We're paying him to listen."

Do you think Larry is trying to make me feel cheap?  Is he implying that this gentleman is some type of Ortho-yielding gigolo, plying his trade among needy housewives whose husbands are fed up with their complaining?

Oh, I don't care, people! I don't care because my exterminator in shining armor did not turn on his heel and run from this particular needy housewife.  No!  He braved the attic and sprayed the soffets and even complimented my anti-ant efforts. And then...THEN!...he put out mouse bait in the furnace room.

"It's not those horrible sticky traps, is it?" I asked.

"No, Ma'am," he said.  "The mice eat it and it dries them right up; you won't have any dead critters stinking up your house."

Sigh.  Isn't he a dream?

[image credit:Dr.Paterno blog]

Monday, September 27, 2010

Carefree Motoring

I've waited almost 19 years for this moment.  More precisely, 18 years, 10 months, and, oh, a couple of days.  You see, our family has reached a special milestone...

No one needs help getting buckled into the car.

Ah, freedom!  No more must I stick my butt out in the rain as I struggle with a car seat strap; no longer am I pinching my fingers between 2 unforgiving car seats while feeling around for a concealed seatbelt.  Instead, like any dependent-free chick half my age, I can toss my purse in the car, climb into the driver's seat, and GO.  Like the wind, baby!

That is, if the wind has a row of self-buckled children sitting behind it, arguing over who gets to eat the loose Smarties someone scavenged off the floor of the car...

Thursday, September 23, 2010


At lunch today I caught Brian looking at me with a furrowed brow.  (Believe me, no one in the world has more expressive eyebrows than Brian - it's a gift.)  "What is it?" I said.

courtesy cafepress
"Did you used to be taller?" he asked me.

"No!  How could I have gotten shorter?"

"Don't old people shrink?"

Whaddaya know? 45 is the new 75.  Now pardon me while I set and knit a spell in my rocking chair...that is, if the ol' rheumatism lets me.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Stinkbugs Ate My Post Title

Yo!  Mahaffey!  You're starting to upset me.  My words may not be brilliant, but they are mine; and I don't need to worry that someone is stealing them and claiming them as their own.  Either comment or email me (email available on my Blogger profile page) to let me know that, far from being a plagiarist, you are just goofing off at work.  I promise, I won't tell your boss.

And, oh Internet-savvy readers, can anyone explain to me how to check the web to see if my posts are being taken?

And this?  Is an idea whose time has come.  In a century filled with the threat of biochemical warfare, nuclear plant meltdowns, and plain old high pollen counts,  it is essential that we women sport a brassiere that not only lifts and separates, but also functions as a filtering mask when air quality dips below an acceptable level.  The developer of this engineering marvel hopes, she says, that we can all "get a feel of the product."

courtesy Cornell News
I think that I shall never hug
A creature loathsome as you, Stinkbug;
Be it night or be it day,
You thrive on being in the way.
Underfoot or in my bed,
Buzzing madly 'round my head...
I beg you, please, have mercy fair
And buzz 'round people over there.


Thank you.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Varied And Sundry

Image credit: San Benito County Website

Yesterday, I took a walk on the wild side and deleted 3453 emails without even looking at them first.  Yup, just threw caution to the winds and emptied the ol' inbox.  I might regret it by next week, but it sure felt good at the time.


Now if only there were a "delete" button I could push to empty the old food out of the fridge...



Susie begged me to let her wash dishes today.   There's a sucker born every minute, eh?


Larry threw his back out rebuilding our front walk a couple of weeks ago and he is still limping around.  He tried to justify his premature decrepitude by telling me that one of our neighbors has a sore back, too.  Ever the supportive spouse, I didn't hesitate to point out to him that the gentleman in question is 15 years older than Larry is.  


Maybe I'll buy Larry an "Old Fart" baseball cap for his 43rd birthday.  Only, then he would wear the darn thing, just to annoy me.  Forget it.

[Image credit: Whatever I Think]

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dumbing Us Down

While wasting time on my computer yesterday, I came across a newspaper article titled "Getting Smart About Food Waste."  Hey! I thought.  That is something I need to read!

Check out this advice:

After 46 years of marriage, John and Willie Wright have hit upon a winning system: "We eat 'new' food on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights, then on Thursday we have 'smorgasbord' with the leftovers from those three nights." 

(Time-out for a triple forehead smack right here)

46 years?  Tell me, what is more disturbing - that it took these rocket scientists more than 4 decades to realize they could eat leftovers for dinner or that the writer of the Slate column regards this as a newsworthy way to avoid food waste?  I just can't decide.

Slate seems to be trying to give the Wall Street Journal a run for its money, as it were, in the doling-out-idiot-advice category.  Thanks to the hard-hitting journalism practiced by these 2 institutions, I know that not only can I save money by continuing to drive my "old" car, I can also join the frugal revolution by eating the still-edible food left in my fridge.  Wow.

[Image credit:]

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Emotional Intelligence

We arrived a few minutes early today when picking up David from his Biology course, so I got out of the car to talk to some of the other mothers.  Susie threw a fit because I left her in the car with her siblings.  I ignored her.  By the time David came out, she had unbuckled herself and was indulging in her own particular variety of histrionics. 

Think Tasmanian Devil, with pigtails.

"We've had a rough day," I told David, by way of explanation, as I tried to settle her down.

"You know," he said, politely, "I sort of sensed that."

Master of understatement, David is...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Come On In, The Water's Fine!

Mahaffey, Pennsylvania!  Come on down!  Out yourself!  Or, at the very least, have the decency to leave a teeny-tiny comment on one of the many pages you've been reading on my blog. 

You know, when I notice someone going methodically through my blog page by page, I automatically think one of 3 things:



"An influential TV producer is about to offer me a reality show!"


"Child Protective Services, having been anonymously alerted to my lack of fitness as a parent, is planning to use my blog as evidence thereof."

Since Mom has long since left these temporal shores, and I'm not really that brilliant a writer, I tend to go with #3.  So reassure me, Mahaffey, that I am not about to go to jail by giving us all a howdy!  It's a friendly crowd here, you know...

[image credit: sitcoms online]

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday Funnies

Some light-hearted fare for your Sunday - enjoy!


I don't know who is funnier here - the contestant or Mr. Cosby...

Saturday, September 11, 2010


My aviation-obsessed son David has his very first airplane ride today, courtesy of the Civil Air Patrol.  He's over-the-moon excited;  and I will watch with joy (and perhaps just a touch of trepidation) as my son soars up into those blue skies tomorrow - skies that 9 years ago seemed to reverberate with pain, skies whose deafening silence bore testimony to the tragic events of that day.

Perhaps it is fitting that my son on this very day flies joyfully into the wild blue yonder.  As each day passes, this world belongs more and more to our children and to their future - a future, eventually, without me and all the other adults who watched the towers fall.  I'm thinking that maybe - just maybe - that could be a good thing.

We honor the dead by remembering, of course.  I will always remember.  But we also honor the victims of 9/11 by refusing to perpetuate the sort of ignorance and hate which killed almost 3000 people 9 years ago today.  And by teaching our children to do the same.

Let them fly.

Friday, September 10, 2010

7 Quick Takes: Middle-Aged Marriage Advice

Fine!  Nobody volunteered to take my kids yesterday; so I ended up lying on the couch all day and throwing candy at them myself.  Actually, it wasn't too bad a day that way.  Maybe I should make it a monthly tradition.

I went out to dinner this evening with a friend, even though I still have the head cold from hell.  That way I avoided the Catch-22 rule of spousal sickness - husbands hate hearing their wives complain, but how else are they supposed to know when we're too sick to feed the over-sugared kids their dinner?  Should I have rolled over and played dead when Larry walked in the door?  


As a newly-engaged ingenue 20 years ago, I had the temerity to tell a long-married friend that Larry and I would never argue, because we got along together so well.  How she managed to not laugh in my face is beyond me.


Husbands!  When you walk in the door after a hard day's work, do bring your peri-menopausal, hot-flash-enduring wife a nice glass of ice water.  She'll love you for it.  And then you won't have to hear her whine, "Is it hot in here, or is it just me?"  Because, yes, we 40-something women really do say that.


Wives!  Your husband does not want to hear about the children's numerous misdeeds the minute he comes home  (especially the teen daughter stuff).  Save it for when he's trying to go to sleep at night instead.  Then you can both lie there in the dark for a couple of hours and wonder aloud why you thought you were cut out for this parenting gig in the first place.  Trust me, it's a bonding experience.


Husbands!  When your formerly camping-averse wife decides that what the family needs is a deluxe pop-up camper to go tooling around the country in, keep a close eye on your checking account.  You have no idea to what extremes a bug-phobic spouse (formerly known as frugal) will go in order to avoid the bedbug scourge currently enveloping our nation.  $8000 for a used camper that comes with its own toilet and shower?  Sounds like a bargain to me!


It's true - a veritable plague of flat, wingless, bloodsucking hemipterous insects  is descending upon us - coming soon to a hotel near you!

Check out for more 7 Quick Takes.  Her obsession is scorpions, not bedbugs...

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Sick Bay

3 doses of Sudafed within 12 hours?  Not a good idea, especially if those are the 12 hours preceding bedtime.  So now I'm up until 4 AM with a killer cold, too wired to sleep even if I could manage to stop sneezing. 

Any volunteers for taking the kids today?  They're pretty easy so long as you keep feeding them candy.

[photo credit:]

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Back To School

We've been easing into school here, slowly but surely, for the past 2 weeks.  David is full speed ahead on Algebra and English 8 and Biology.  Rachel happily does workbook pages, while Susie is assiduously learning to circle 3 of the ducks and 5 of the clowns in her little kindergarten book.  And Brian?  Well, I started him with just history reading the first week, a little grammar and geography added in the second.  So today, I rather trepidatiously brought out his math book, thinking that maybe - this year - he wouldn't find the arithmetic quite so onerous.

Reader, I was wrong.  The poor kid didn't even say anything - he just sat on the couch and wept big silent tears as I attempted to convince him that this year it would be FUN to do math.  EASY, also.  Just a little bit, OKAY?

A pox on all those how-to-homeschool books, I say - wouldn't you know they provide no guidance on how not to break your sweet 10-year-old's heart whilst teaching him basic arithmetic?

Friday, September 03, 2010

Present But Cranky

I haven't felt like writing.  So sue me. 

But I'll return one of these days - I've just got to get through this weekend without screaming at the children to stop saying "Mommy!" sixteen thousand times an hour.  It's beginning to get to me.  Also? I need to avoid gaining a zillion pounds during this weekend's barbecue-fest.

Get thee behind me, Harris Teeter! Must you put your pies on sale right now?

Our 90-something temperatures are returning next week, and the stinkbugs are all having babies which run much faster than their easy-to-catch adult counterparts.  Large dead cicadas keep falling out of the trees, while moths repeatedly invade our domicile in search of my  yarn stash.  Don't even talk to me about the darn ants...just don't.  Oh, and my fellow bug-neurotic sent  me this lovely website.  Click at your own risk.  I think I'm going to make Larry buy me some sort of trailer/camper this weekend - I'm certainly never staying in a hotel again.

[Pop-up camper image credit:]