Friday, September 30, 2011

7 Quick Takes: Morbidity Edition

--- 1 ---

I threw caution to the wind 2 days ago and ate some canteloupe. "What the heck!" reasoned my normally cautious (read “phobic”) self. I mean, the fruit wasn’t from Colorado or anything. But, judging from how I felt yesterday evening, we should avoid the melons from California, also. Anyone want the one left in my fridge?

On the bright side, I can snap my jeans shut now. Who needs Weight Watchers when you can have listeria instead?

--- 2 ---

Actually, after gnawing on half a toasted bagel this morning, I still feel sick.  It occurs to me that, if I up and die, this blog will be the only extant record of my thoughts and feelings, the only indicator that I once walked through and communed via the Internet.  Maybe excerpts should be read at my funeral.  Feel free to suggest which posts would be most suitable.

--- 3 ---

My dad and brother are visiting from NJ and brought bagels from that hallowed place.  If a bagel did have to be my last meal, I'm glad it was a decent NY-type of comestible and not that Einstein Bros garbage we're forced to eat  in this godforsaken part of the country with its poison canteloupe.

--- 4 ---

Is death funny?  Discuss.

--- 5 ---
Whose 14-year-old technical assistant taught her how to use Microsoft Paint to make a slashy-sign thingie?  Who's not very good at it yet?  And who prides herself on knowing the all-important difference between whose and who's?

--- 6 ---

Hint: The answers to #5?  They are all the same.

--- 7 ---

Vote for me.  You have to, because it may be my dying wish.

Jennifer would never joke about death.  For morbidity-free Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

[cantaloupe image:]

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Simon Says

Wow!  I got 2 spam comments today!  That's never happened before.  I feel like a big-time blogger now.

I spent the day enjoying this tour d'esprit on workplace interactions -it gets funnier each time I read it (and yes, I know I am risking the Cheers syndrome here, but I don't care).  I'll even go out on a limb and say that, if you don't find it funny, you are simply dead inside.

Look, if you don't click, you won't know what I'm talking about.  It's worth it, I promise.  Skip voting for me, if you must; but  click on the link to read "10 Formal Complaints" and learn why it's important to have a sense of humor.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

You're Welcome

What's beautiful about blogging is realizing just how much we have to share with each other - sorrows, joys, life lessons learned.  And then, well, there is moi - I get to share vomit tips.   Anymommy was complaining about how much she dreaded the stomach flu, as she hated to have to puke into a pee-smelling toilet.  I informed her in the comment section that a much better option for the busy mother of several children is to remain standing and throw up into the kitchen sink (note: make sure said sink has a disposal to get rid of...well, you know...).

I mean, really, have you ever read that bit of advice in a parenting book?  I think not.  Believe me, that was a hard-won piece of knowledge. And - get this - Anymommy pronounced the idea "brilliant."  I am beyond flattered.  I'd no idea I had so much to offer the blogosphere.  Heloise, honey, move over - there's a new gal in town.


Well!  If that selection of barfing wisdom was worth anything to you, feel free to acknowledge your gratitude by voting for me over at Circle of Moms.  I'm still in it.  Sort of...

[Heloise image:]

Monday, September 26, 2011

Technical Difficulties

For those of you who haven't been able to comment (which seems to have been everyone), I fixed it.  Sarah tells me it is because of the new Blogger interface that I'm using, so I switched back to the old Blogger and updated the post.  That's about as far as my technical expertise will take me, however.  I mean, I didn't even have any idea that I was "interfacing."  So don't start sending emails full of words like "html" and "template" and such - I won't know what to do.  You're dealing with a typing chimp here, remember?

But if you feel like voting for a puzzled primate, go right ahead - I haven't managed to slip down to last place quite yet.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Not Yet Famous

I noticed that someone named "Sears" commented this morning on my post Appliance Mindgames  and for a moment I thought, "At last! I've been recognized as a leading opinion maker and am being offered free appliances from a major appliance manufacturer!"

Amazing what can flit through my mind in approximately half a second, isn't it?

Anyway, the comment in its entirety read thusly:

Your blog really very good and i voted to you. 

Sentiment appreciated, for sure; but apparently my ship has NOT yet come in.


But at least I have not yet fallen to the bottom of the Big Family blog rankings at Circle of Moms.  Vote for me to save me from certain ignominy and disgrace.  Thanks.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Camping Post Mortem

Larry and I have perfected the art of always, but always, having all maps but the ones we need in the car during a road trip.  Our camping trip this past week was no exception.  Thus, we were forced to get our bearings by consulting one of those very vague maps found in a state-specific travel guide. 
We need one of these.

Where are we, exactly?

Well, we are east of Big City A and west of Big City B.

I don't think it's good driving to bang your head on the steering wheel like that, do you?  And no, we do not have GPS.  Sometimes David will read the MapQuest directions aloud in a GPS-like voice, however, just to make us feel more modern.


I will NEVER trust a weather forecast again.  I mean, unless "scattered showers" really does mean "constant torrential downpour."  If so, then nailed it.

On the bright side, our brand-new used pop-up camper does not leak.  And I got to spend the entire camping trip reminding the kids not to get mud inside our canvas/aluminum abode.  I nagged them more in 2 days than I have the entire past 2 decades.  


This was a sign at a pizza place we stopped at.  It seemed funny at the time.  I must have been giddy from lack of sleep.  Something to do with rain pounding on the roof of the camper all the previous night...


Have I mentioned it rained?


My rain-induced fatigue apparently affected my judgment.  Otherwise, I wouldn't have marched into the campground bathroom and assumed that it was my 6-year-old daughter I heard washing her hands.  "I hope you didn't pee on your pants again!" I announced, loudly, as I rounded the entrance wall.  I must say, the grown woman standing by the sinks looked rather startled by my belligerent accusations of incontinence.


In my defense, Susie had managed to go through all her pairs of pants by the evening of our first day there.  The photos of our picturesque waterfall hike on the second day are diminished somewhat by the fact that she is wearing pajamas.  And crying, because she doesn't like to hike.  Guess who was born into the wrong family, eh?


Despite the fact that Larry and I packed almost everything we own for this camping trip, we still had to visit WalMart  to pick up things we needed.  These items included (but were not limited to) pants for Susie (see above),  rain ponchos for the kids, and a sweet little 1500-watt ceramic heater for the camper.  That's right, we now have both an air conditioner and a heater for our camper.  I never claimed to love roughing it, you know.

[Right/wrong sign:]
[GPS image:]

Monday, September 19, 2011

Recession Silver Lining

In case you need a good start-up business idea for these hard economic times, I've got one for you right here:

I'm still away camping, but I wanted you all to have first crack at this surefire moneymaker.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Camping Life For Me

But despite that, off we go tomorrow for 2 nights in the great outdoors.  Now that we've bought a pop-up camper, we have to feel as though we are getting our money's worth out of it.  Plus, I long ago extracted a promise from Larry that, if I went camping, he'd do all the cooking.  It pays to play hard to get, you know.

You know, I just realized I never announced that we are now the proud owners of a 2006 Quicksilver 10.0 (sleeps 6).  Here you all bothered to give your advice on whether we should buy a camper and, ingrate that I am, I never got back to you on that. As it turns out, we went to see the camper with the youngest 3 in tow.  We probably should have thought that through better, as having 3 kids climbing with delight all over a camper and asking, "Can we live in it?  Can we?  Let's sleep in it tonight!" does not exactly improve one's bargaining position.

Anywhoo, we made probably the ONLY impulsive decision of our entire married lives (remember, Larry is the man who creates spreadsheets when trying to buy some ceiling fans) and bought the thing.  We figured, hey, we're not getting any younger, soon we'll be too old/sick/tired to camp - and have I mentioned that this particular pop-up camper has an air conditioner?  Climate-controlled camping - even I, non-camper extraordinaire, can get on board with that.

Wow, air-conditioned camping AND a working dishwasher at home - I am living large these days, that's for sure... 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

7 Quick Takes: Procrastination Edition

I was listening to a movie review for "Contagion," which has Matt Damon in it so of course I am going to want to see it no matter what the reviewer says.  Anyway, as an example of the witty writing in the movie, the review served up this bit:

"Blogging?  That's not writing.  Blogging is just graffiti with punctuation."

Now where is my spray can, anyway?


We went from August to November here within the space of about 2 days.  I know I have complained before about it taking only 8.2 seconds to get from September 1 to December 31st; but, really, this is ridiculous.  We ended up having to turn the heat on in the house, something we wouldn't have had to do if I had had my accustomed amount of time (known to others as "autumn") to take care of my summer weight gain.  As it is, I still can't manage to squeeze my jeans over my long johns.   I need at least another month of counting Weight Watcher's points to be able to perform that particular magic trick.


Feel free to vote for me (again!) on the Circle of Moms Big Family Bloggers page - the ordeal continues until October 3, it seems.  I wish I knew whether there were valuable prizes or not.  Probably not. And there are 2 blogs at the top of the list with approximately 1100 votes a piece.  Show-offs...


Speaking of valuable prizes, I just found that gift card sitting on my computer desk.  Which means, uh, that I never mailed it.  Sorry, Emily!  It's coming!  See title of this post, re procrastination...

In a fit of desperation while Larry was away last month, I bought myself a pretty pink tool kit at Target.  No more was I going to nag my beleaguered spouse to hang things up on our walls - now I had my very own (pink-handled) electric screwdriver to do the job.  Also?  A dainty hammer, attractive tape measure, and a nifty pair of pink pliers.  Oh, happiness!

Isn't it pretty?
Yes, Larry already owns all of these items (albeit not pink).  But I haven't a clue as to where to find them in our jungle of a utility room; and he tends to look really stressed out when I ask him to find them for me.  So now I have my own.  This is how our marriage works, people.  Don't knock it.

Well!  I was put to the test a couple of days ago - our tub was draining hardly at all and leaving a nasty, slippery residue of hair conditioner and soap scum on the bottom when it did.  I procured my pink pliers (which took a while, because't find my tool kit at first) (don't tell Larry, okay?) and (wo)manfully wrested the drain cover thingie from it's hole.  (Let me know if this is getting too technical - we handywoman types do like to talk shop, you know.)  Ecstatic at my success, I didn't even mind sticking my hand in to retrieve what looked like an entire mouse's nest of human hair all globbed together with soap and shampoo.  People who own tool kits don't flinch from grossness, you know.

Come to think of it, I'm lucky I didn't pull a centipede out of there while I was at it.  That totally would have been the end of my Ms. Fix-It career.

Be sure to check out the original 7 Quick Takes over at Conversion Diary.  Jen is going on a family trip this weekend with 5 kids ages 7 and under (circumstances which definitely do not scream "vacation" to me); but she still found time to drop us a line (and on the right day, unlike moi).

And yes, I know that's only 6 - what's that saying?  A day late and a Quick Take short?

[thermometer image:]
[tool kit image: Cordless Screwdrivers]

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I Heart The Blogosphere

A resounding round of applause for RobinH is in order.  Because she used to work as a design engineer for a company that makes appliance seals (or so she says, hmmphs my unbelieving husband), RobinH was able to explain to me that it is indeed possible that my dishwasher has stopped leaking without any assistance from us.  Hard to believe, eh, that one of my readers possessed the exact expertise needed to explain this problem?  I was a little skeptical, too, until she started throwing around words such as "rotating seal" and "main shaft seal" and generously mixing them with layman's terms I could understand such as "crud." Thanks to RobinH, you may no longer have to hear me whine about this particular appliance.

Long-time readers may recall that this is not the first time RobinH has come to my rescue.  She generously donated time and pixels to me last year when I complained that I did not have the technological know-how to make a de-lurking button for my blog.  And she has recommended many books for my son David, who - like her - is a very creatively-minded techy.  He has enjoyed them all.

People like RobinH restore my faith in the blogosphere.  And even though Larry is still not entirely convinced of her existence, he is happy enough to have an excuse to screw the bottom panel back on the dishwasher and forget about it for a while.


You know what else raised my spirits today?  People actually took time to click on over and vote for me in this Circle of Moms contest for large-family blogs.  I've reached 29 votes (well, 2 of them are from me) which, if not a winning number, at least indicates that a few people like my blog.  That, or a few people feel sorry enough for me to make me feel less like a loser.  And Ann in NJ said (in yesterdays comments) that I happen to have the most succinct blog description of all the contestants/participants.  Brevity is the soul of wit, you least, that's what I tell myself...

Voting is allowed every day (I still don't get that) through October 3rd.  So if you have nothing better to do (or if you just feel like being nice), you can vote both early and often without getting into any trouble for it.  I don't think I've ever been in the top 25 of anything ever.  So this could turn out to be a life-changing experience for me.


Tomorrow?  I tell you about my new-found plumbing expertise.  I feel empowered.  Dare to Repair, baby!

[Dishwasher image: The Real Estate Sizzle]
[Book image: Marie Claire]

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Appliance Mindgames

Where have I been?  I don't know.  But while I was gone, someone sent me an email claiming that I was top 25 something-or-other at Circle of Moms.  That's nice.  Then I clicked over there and saw there was voting going on and 3 people had voted for me.  I felt that was really good, considering I'm not even sure what the voting is for.  It could have been voting on which of the 25 should be kicked out of the blogosphere first.

Oh, wait - now I see - we're supposed to be competing for Top 25 big family blogs, I think.  The last thing I was invited to compete for was the Imperfect Parent Award, which only netted me a very gaudy trophy.   So I'm not sure it's even worth asking anyone to go on over and vote for me .  On the other hand, it's embarrassing to be sitting there with 4 votes (I just voted) while everyone else has more.  Sort of screams LOSER, you know?  I mean, I don't mind being a loser; but I don't need that fact shoved in my face, as it were. 

So, if you feel like it, vote.  I guess you can vote each day until the 3rd of October.  Why do they let people vote more than once?  Weird.  So I could just vote for myself every day and that would bring me up to a more respectable 23.  At least that's double digits.  Not bad...


I had something else to tell y'all, but my new-found manufactured fame up there has driven it from my mind.  Something witty, I bet; or else a trenchant observation on current events.  Or maybe I just wanted to tell you I won at Bunko last Monday, which is only fair as I had spent the entire day ignoring my children while attempting to make my home presentable for the evening's gambling activities.  I stuffed them full of Bunko goodies to ensure their cooperation, which tactic also eliminated the need for me to prepare a real supper.  Clever, I am...clever and desperate...


Oh, I remember!  Our dripping dishwasher?  It doesn't drip anymore.  Go figure.  We didn't tighten anything.  How can something just stop leaking all on its own?  Answers anyone?  We're in a quandary - we had never put the bottom panel back on after we installed it because Larry was planning on having to pull the whole thing out to fix the leak.  So now we don't know if we can safely put the panel on (and cut way down on the noise) or if the thing is going to start dripping again and cause a flood that we won't be able to see.

It's a trust issue, really - can we trust this appliance not to turn on us?  What do you think?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What 9/11 Gave Us

I had the radio on during our late breakfast today, listening to the ceremony at 9/11.  "This is important," I told my 3 youngest as they slurped their sugary bowls of goodness and bickered over the Sunday comics.  "Shhh - listen."  Silence reigned for a full minute or so as they finished their breakfasts and then was shattered by the scraping of chairs and the clanging of spoons in the sink.  "Can we go out, Mommy?" Rachel and Susie asked.  "We want to go outside!"

I hesitated.  Shouldn't I keep them inside, get them to listen to some history, discuss the significance of the day with them?  Just for a few minutes before they went on with their normal activities?  The girls were standing there, waiting, the only two members of our family born since that fateful day 10 years ago - they wouldn't have been here if my husband had happened to be in the wrong place that morning.  Their standing there, alive, is significant, in that life for us has gone on uninterrupted; we were some of the lucky ones.  Shouldn't we celebrate that normalcy?

"Yes, go out and play," I told them, grateful beyond all measure for their existence.  9/11 has left us in the end, surprisingly, with a gift - a renewed appreciation for each other, for the fragility of our lives together.  When people speak wistfully of how Americans acted - how we "came together" - after the towers fell and the Pentagon burned and a plane full of brave yet desperate passengers smashed into a field in Pennsylvania - isn't that sense of mutual vulnerability what they are referring to?  How better to honor the memories of those who died than to remember - every day, but particularly this day - how much we need each other in this most temporal of worlds?

Heady stuff, and all before 10's that sort of a day, isn't it?

[Burning towers image:]

Monday, September 05, 2011

Sing it, Pete!  While it is true that unions have plenty of faults, I would hate to return to being a country without them.  Happy Labor Day, everyone!

[Labor image: Nation of Change]

Friday, September 02, 2011

7 Quick Takes: KoolAid Mom Edition

Please, learn more NOW about the Giant Internet Hand of Spanking.  You'll be glad you did.  Really.


My dishwasher continues its  dripping.  But I'm still happy with it.  Nothing like prolonged deprivation to make one appreciate even the rudiments of civilization.  Sort of like camping, actually...


The neighborhood children (including mine) are all outside playing a rousing game of kickball.  I have no idea how they teleported themselves back to the 1960's, but I am grateful for it.  Next thing you know, they'll come running in asking me for KoolAid.  Which I will dispense from a smiley-face pitcher, of course...


 Have I mentioned my dishwasher?  Oh, I have?  Do you understand how wonderful it is not to plan my meals around how few dishes it will require me to wash afterwards?  I might even start cooking for real again.  And now I don't have to yell at the children for using 10 knives to make 3 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Go ahead, kids!  Use all the knives you want!


For sandwich-making, I mean...


Speaking of which (knives, that is), 9-year-old Rachel wanted a Swiss Army knife for her birthday.  Yup.  Knowing Rachel, that gave us pause; but Larry decided to say yes anyway.  Granted, he didn't think how it would look exactly, Rachel hanging out at our neighborhood playground, diligently whittling twigs into sharp pointy sticks as a gaggle of little girls looked on and jostled each other for a chance to hold the knife.  I haven't gotten that many dirty looks since my oldest pooped on the slide, aeons ago.  So we've told Rachel she can only use her beloved knife in the house.  We're nothing if not strict.


If you have time, click on over to the host of 7 Quick Takes - being a Texan, she lets her kids play with scorpions instead of knives.

[KoolAid pitcher image: NewsRealBlog]
[Swiss Army knife image:]