Monday, July 30, 2012

Call Me Lochte

My absolutely favorite Call Me Maybe parody:

The water wings just kill me.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sunday Shorts with even more abbreviated prose!


Still's been a month.  I can only assume this is the beginning of the end.


I'm not giving up my ChikFilA waffle fries OR my gay friends.  So there.  Get off the barricades, people, and get to know each other.  Who knows?  That might even lead to more mutual understanding.  I can dream, can't I?


Don't comment on that last item UNLESS you read the Atlantic piece I linked to first.


Anna decided to move out and get her own place (with a friend).  It's tiny, but at least it doesn't have orange shag carpeting like mine and Larry's first apartment, 22 years ago.  I remember inviting a friend over for dinner our first week there and lounging around on big floor pillows because we didn't have any furniture.  The friend complimented us on the decor.  "Nouvelle Bordello," I believe he called it.


Anyway, Anna's apartment is much nicer than that.  I'm actually jealous of her stackable washer/dryer set.


Brian is threatening to throw up (as is his wont).  I know!  The excitement!  Gotta go.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Silver Lining

Have I mentioned I'm sick?   Oh, yes, I guess I have...several times.  Well, today I discovered my silver lining.  Stepping on the scale for my monthly weigh-in at Weight Watchers, I saw a number pop up that was way lower than I expected.

WW Lady:  Hey! How did you do THAT?

Me: I've been sick.

WW Lady: That's AWESOME!

I love the Weight Watchers people - they totally get it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Julia Child Would Be Jealous

Now, I may have given readers the erroneous impression that Larry and I do not get along AT ALL.  I mean, when you consider the toothpaste scenario, the paint-color-choosing imbroglios, and the general male-versus-female differences endemic to our relationship, you might think that all we are good at doing together is making babies.

Not so!  Why, just yesterday, Larry and I prepared dinner together, as lovebirds like us are wont to do:

My hero
Me (on phone): Hi, honey?  When you leave work, can you give me a call?

Larry:  Sure. Why?

Me: Well, that gives me just enough time to order pizza for you to pick up on the way home.

Larry:  Oh, okay!  Should I get anything else?

Me: Yes, some vanilla ice cream for the peach cobbler.  Thanks!

Larry: No problem!

Who says we can't work as a team?

[Delivery guy image: Mt. Vernon]

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cutting Edge

By my calculations, over the past 20 years I have bought approximately 16,573 pairs of scissors for the kids to use.  Guess how many of those pairs we can find right now in our home?

I'll give the mathematicians among you a hint: the answer is < 1.

That's right - our home is a veritable Bermuda Triangle for scissors (and mates for socks, but that's another story).  No matter what I do or where I look, there are never any children's scissors available when we need them.  Often, my scissors go missing also (because I haven't wised up enough yet to hide them from the kleptomaniacs I am raising). 

So today I was in Target.  Shocking, I know.  And school supplies are on sale, because, hey, it's not even August but let's torture the children a bit, just for fun.  Anyway, I went a little crazy:

Still life with flowers and doomed scissors

10 pairs.  (It only cost me 5 dollars.)  The question is, how long will they last?

Each one of these pairs of scissors will be marked with a number.  Each week, I will conduct an inventory.  How long will it take for all 6 pairs to disappear?  Feel free to place your bets in the comments.  I'll think of a prize for the winner, but you can be pretty sure it won't be a pair of scissors.  Because I won't be able to find any...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday Shorts

Still coughing spasmodically...but it doesn't really get too bad, so long as I don't move around or talk...

I'm thinking Larry considers that last a win-win.  The house is slowly falling apart, however, from my lack of activity.  I've come to realize that all that stuff I run around doing all day that I can't even recall later?  It matters


If you missed it, Click and Clack offered up an informative piece this weekend on what happens when your husband says, "I'll grill dinner tonight, honey."  Don't miss it.


And, last but not least, Smartypants introduced me to this awesome version of The Star-Spangled Banner, as sung by Marvin Gaye in 1983.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Feeling a little bleary-eyed after spending several nights on the couch (so as not to wake Larry with my coughing and nose-blowing), I stumbled across this little tidbit of health news on Facebook today.

Yup, you read that right: US Whooping Cough Outbreak Could Be Worst in Half Century.  Right here, CDC!  I think we finally have a diagnosis.

Lately, synonymous with "dinner"
Meanwhile, short on sleep (see "couch" and "cough", above) and staggering through my days, keeping everyone on track and moving along - band camp, art camp, Paint Camp - whilst planning meals, foraging for pizza coupons, and making sure to take advantage of this hot summer by spending afternoons at the pool with the kids...

in short, being the MOM around here...

I hadn't realized how close I was to the edge until round about 1:15 today, when Larry called from his cellphone, running late, suggesting he just meet me at Rachel's band camp concert instead of driving us all there.

Poor man - guess who got an earful of crazy, spewed by a sleep-deprived, sick (have I mentioned the whooping cough?), keeping-it-all-together wife who suddenly realized that she could not do ONE MORE THING (other than go upstairs and lie down for several hours, that is).

I feel sort of bad about missing that concert, though. 

[Pizza image: The Recycle Times]

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Speed Racer

That cold/cough Brian gifted to me 4 weeks ago?  Still here.  And, apparently, there's no relief in sight - he's had it for over 8 weeks.  I'm needing to upgrade to the softer Kleenex, at this point.  And I'm subsisting on the Ricola cough drop diet.  Not bad for weight loss, but it is making me a wee bit cranky. 

Or maybe that's just the 100-degree heat.  You know it's bad when  outdoor pools are no longer cool enough to be refreshing.

Let's think about something else, shall we?

Last November, as I watched my fingernails grow while waiting for a word doc to open on my almost-4-year-old laptop, David (my teen tech-geek) said, "You know, there's a better one on sale at Best Buy this week for 270 dollars."


After David had spent a couple of days laboriously transferring my ITunes purchases, etc., onto the new computer (the old one had Vista, which makes all things ITunes complicated), I rewarded him with the old laptop, a gift he accepted with alacrity.  "Good luck with that," I told him.  "It's about to kick the bucket."

You'd think I'd given him a pony.  He's been busy over the last 6 months or so installing new operating systems, experimenting with different computer languages, taking it apart to figure out what was wrong with the power supply.  I have to hand it to him - the thing functions; and I know it wouldn't for anyone else.

I'd often wondered what David would have done if he had had the misfortune to have been born in 1947, say, instead of 1997.  What would he (and all the teens like him) have used their brains for, brains obviously suited to the intricacies of computers and programming?

This wouldn't fit in a shower stall.
But, watching him these past few months, I've had an epiphany - that old laptop I gave him?  Is the equivalent of a 1950's jalopy.  He's souped it up and made it run faster; and if he could find the computer equivalent of a drag race, I'm sure he would be taking part.

So maybe I should stop complaining about the fact that my guest room shower stall is filled with spare monitors, keyboards, and hard drives David has acquired from my well-meaning friends.  Aesthetically speaking, it sure beats a couple of cars up on blocks in the yard.

[Jalopy image: Backstreet Wheels]

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Who Needs Ipecac?

Brian informed me today that tomatoes make him throw up.  Thanks for sharing, buddy.

Ketchup's okay, though.

This lovely dish would make Brian barf.
I lost my head and bought 1/2 a bushel of peaches at the Farmers' Market this morning.  And, uh, 1/2 a bushel of tomatoes (which, as it turns out, make Brian throw up).  After coming to my senses and foisting half the tomatoes off on a neighbor,  I made a delicious uncooked tomato sauce for dinner tonight, consisting of chopped fresh tomatoes, olive oil, fresh basil leaves, and minced garlic.  I served it on a bed of child-friendly spaghetti, but I couldn't entice Brian to eat it (because...well, you know already).

Kids really can take the fun out of cooking.

Anyone need some tomatoes?

[Tomato sauce picture: theKitchn]

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Christmas in July

By the way, the other day - you know, when I had to clean the house because the exterminator was coming by -- was a milestone of sorts - I managed to vacuum up the last of the Christmas tree needles. 

I hope they were the last ones, anyway.  Seems there are always more lying in wait for me somewhere...

Several commenters jumped at the concept of Paint Camp the other day and even offered some other useful variations, such as laundry camp and housework camp and (my favorite) pooper-scooper camp.  I admire your enthusiasm, ladies.  I'm thinking we need to start a franchise.

Brian and I painted the kitchen cabinet frames and doors today in Paint Camp.  Green Girl in Wisconsin pointed out in the comments that the problem with painting is that it never ends -- there's ALWAYS something else to paint.  I'm here to affirm that she is correct.  Today was supposed to be kitchen cabinets.  But then I realized that we needed to do the baseboards and shoe-molding, too.  AND I finally had a chance to paint the bare wood parts of the pantry that no one could see until the pantry door fell off a few years ago.

We have a problem with doors, by the way.

Don't be fooled - this door refuses to remain upright.
Oh, and now that I have gone back and read that post (go ahead, read it - I used to be much more amusing), I realize that the 2 closet doors referenced therein STILL need to be painted, 4 years later

Oh, well, I'll just add them to the list. 

Although, really, the one in the front hall has taken after its predecessor and insists on falling out whenever it feels like it.  So maybe I won't bother.  Maybe I'll just get rid of it.   I don't need no stinkin' door.  How about a storage bench at the bottom of the open closet for shoes and umbrellas and all the other stuff instead?  And I could tear out the closet rod and mount several hooks on the back wall for coats and such.  Because heaven forbid ANYONE in this house learn how to use a hanger...

Hanging up clothes?  Is that an activity for Laundry Camp?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cain't Say No

I've mentioned this before (although I cannot find the post), but I'll say it again: as a family with 6 kids, we find that people tend to give us stuff.  Extra onions, say, or kids' books long outgrown in the house of the giver, or even (well, especially) used clothes.  "Here," they say. "If you can't use it, I'm sure you know someone who does!"  I'm not sure if this is a commendatory reference to my networking abilities or an allusion to the giver's belief that big families know other big families.

So I am used to processing donations through my house.  But lately, what with 2 long-time neighbors moving, it's gotten a little extreme.  3 huge boxes of clothes sit next to my desk in the den, waiting to go to the neighborhood thrift store; next to them are 2 very large bags of books - old college books belonging to another neighbor's son.  She thought Theo might want them.  And in the kitchen?  My elderly neighbor who had to downsize essentially gave me the contents of her pantry.  As we all know, I already have a problem with condiment overload.  Well, that condiment problem just went nuclear.

This is the current overflow.  And who knew Chock Full o'Nuts still existed?

 And, yeah, there are all the ties.  We've got those, too.  Oh, and my friend's collection of plastic storage containers:

These are very useful.  I just haven't managed to use them yet.

They seem to have found a home on my dining room chair.  Martha Stewart would be proud.

All in all, what with the myriad boxes and donations lying around, the masking tape on the walls (for Paint Camp), the missing cabinet doors in the kitchen (again, Paint Camp), and the normal, everyday level of upheaval in the house, it looks as though we just moved in.  Which fact is a tad discouraging, considering that Larry and I have spent every spare minute over the past 5 years working to avoid exactly that scenario...

We're living the Myth of Sisyphus, people.  Right here in suburbia...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Paint Camp

This game has ridiculously tiny pieces.
Whew! I just spent the entire morning cleaning up for the bug man -- moving furniture away from walls, vacuuming, picking up the small toys and game pieces (I'm looking at you, RISK) that insist on making their home where the floor meets the wall. And then I managed to make the pile in the utility room even higher -- I threw on top of it all the junk Larry had piled up by the walls in there.  It looks a tad precarious right now, but things should be okay if we don't make any sudden movements.  Or until the washer starts its spin cycle...

Please tell me other people have to do this before the exterminator shows up.

Or, maybe not.  Maybe I should just accept that we live like pigs.  Self-acceptance can be a beautiful thing.

In other news, Brian is attending painting camp this summer, right here at home.  Back when we moved in -- oh, 5 years ago -- Larry slapped some paint on the walls that really needed it (for some reason, he didn't WANT a bright pink bedroom) and even painted the entire living room-dining room-front hall area that Christmas (it took us the 6 months between move-in and December to agree on a paint color).  He assumed, you see, that he would, sometime in the near future, find time for the details -- the baseboards and doors and window trim and the metal railings along the stairs, all of which were supposed to be bright white but looked rather dingy.

5 years....

Granted, we've been busy.  Children will do that to you, you know.  But, really, things had gotten to the point where something just had to be done.  So I ventured to the paint store earlier this month (43 dollars for a gallon of paint - really?) to pick up the requisite supplies, gave Brian a painter's cap, masked the proper areas, and let him have at it.  Really, it doesn't look too bad.  I'm eyeing the kitchen cabinets for next.  And look at all the money I'm saving on a real camp!  Not to mention a professional painter...

So what do you think Larry owes me?  Aside from his undying love and devotion, of course...

[Risk image: ScreenRant]

Monday, July 09, 2012

Did Someone Say Bacon?

Don't you hate when people post about a blogger get-together and rave about how much fun it was and make you feel as though you missed something special?

Yes? Then you'd better go read another post.  Because, really, bacon candy...and lemon cheesecake tarts...and good company...all overseen by a bigger-than-life-sized Johnny Depp...made for a very enjoyable evening indeed.

Scary, right?
Patience Crabstick was responsible for the bacon candy.  You should all go over to her place and cajole her into posting the recipe.  Jen on the Edge, our gracious host, has posted the lemon cheesecake tart recipe.  And, of course, it was Mrs. G who brought along Johnny.  And Kitty Gigantica - which famous picture I was honored to carry to Mrs. G's car for her when she was preparing to leave.  Jen and I agreed it IS the most frightening picture of a cat one can possibly imagine.  Mrs. G claims that we just don't understand folk art.  I might not know about folk art; but I am willing to wager that that picture would make Grandma Moses herself hide under the bed.

I spent the evening traumatizing Patience with tales of the meat-allergy-inducing tick endemic to her geographical area - that is, when I wasn't busy coughing and sneezing all over the other attendees, in a diabolical attempt to pass on this killer head cold that Brian gave to me.

The Typhoid Mary of blogging - that's what I am.

Despite my being a one-woman Hot Zone, Jen allowed me to stay in her house overnight and even treated me to a tour of the University of Virginia campus the next morning.  The tour was replete with all kinds of insider UVA info which I am having trouble recalling, probably because the 103-degree heat made my brain melt.  Also, she drove me all over downtown Charlottesville and even pointed out Patience's house - so now I can stalk that lovely blogger for more delicious bacon candy.

Thank you, Jen!  If you're ever in my area, feel free to stop by or even stay over.  No frightening cat pictures here, I promise.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Hot? Really? Hadn't Noticed...

I would like to post something, but all my mind keeps thinking is "It's hot.  HOT.  It's hot here."  Over and over, like a broken record.

Have I mentioned it is hot?

The prediction for Saturday is 104 degrees, people.  So I'm heading on down to Charlottesville, VA, where it will be a much cooler 103.  Yeah, I know.  I'm tempted to head the car north instead, but Mrs. G of Derfwad Manor will be at JenontheEdge's house; and I just cannot miss the party.

Also, this is payback for Larry's being away on my birthday.  He's supposed to be taking tomorrow off from work, so I can go.  But he's already trying to renege on the deal:

Larry: I'm taking the boys to the airport at 5; so I figured I would just swing by work.  I'll be home by 8.

Me: No.

Larry: I'll be home in plenty of time for you to leave!

Me: It's my BIRTHDAY.

Larry: (Confused look)

Me: Remember?  I don't want to be in charge of the morning stuff.  And you have to drive the band camp carpool.  It's my day off.

Larry: Oh. (Still confused)

Me: It's my BIRTHDAY.

It's unbelievable what I have to go through for some me-time around here.

[Thermometer image: Sun Sentinel]

Tuesday, July 03, 2012


I don't get this Instagram thing - it makes our photos look like crappy Polaroids from the 60's and 70's?  And everyone wants that?  Why?

local reporting at its best
Most people around here have their power back.  But not before the seniors in the independent living apartments up the road from me were literally abandoned by their management to sit in the dark and the 95-degree heat for almost 48 hours before anyone found out and sounded the alarm.  The local Patch correspondent put out a notice on Facebook and within an hour the residents were deluged with food and batteries and ice and lemonade. 

Let's hear it once again for social networking, all right?

For the record, the management defended its decision by saying that the building is for "independent" living.  Hello?  A senior citizen who is independent when the lights are on and the AC is going is not necessarily independent in more adverse circumstances.  Heck, I'm barely independent without AC and electric.   Apparently, the people in charge of a building full of senior citizens are unaware that many people over the age of 60 have middle ear problems that impair their sense of balance.  They can't walk in the dark without falling down. 

Of course, those abandoned could have called 911 for help.  But it turns out our 911 service was malfunctioning for over 72 hours.  I just found this out today.  You see, unlike the power companies - which at least put out continuously updated outage reports and repair schedules - Verizon didn't really tell anybody.  Nice.

But maybe that didn't matter so much, since - for some reason - people who had Verizon landline phones couldn't have made a phone call anyway, those first couple of days.  Again, no public explanations/warning from Verizon.

Trust me, these guys are schvitzing.
Anyone who thinks our country is prepared for emergency situations is seriously deluding him/herself.  This was, essentially, a thunderstorm with high winds.  A lot of trees fell down.  One power company's spokeswoman insisted that they "really can't plan for this type of unexpected situation."  Really?  Trees falling on power lines during a storm are unexpected?  Unusual?  Extraordinary?  What about setting aside a certain amount of money each year to bury some of the lines underground?  That's not rocket science, people.  It's just common sense.

Too expensive, the power companies insist.  But, as one Tweeter pointed out, does it really cost that much more than pulling in utility crews from other states every time there is an ice storm or high winds?  And how do you put a price on the suffering and fear my neighbor's dying mother experienced when her oxygen delivery system didn't work?

I'll be back tomorrow with my sense of humor.  But I still want someone to explain in the comments what's up with the Instagram craze.

[Patch logo: Fit To Print
[Utility crew photo: Vos Iz Neias]