Friday, November 28, 2014

Jean-ius Idea

I woke up this morning and realized that I had no clean jeans to wear, so I was forced to stay in my pajama pants all day and lie around reading a book (Leaving Church) while playing Words With Friends. Really, I couldn't have planned things better if I tried.

And don't begrudge me my laziness, people - I mean, not unless you too were woken up around midnight by a child informing you she had just thrown up. I don't know why we can't have a holiday without someone regurgitating all the holiday goodies, but there you are. Every family has its traditions, I guess.

It was Susie this time - she claims she WOKE UP to find herself standing in the bathroom, at which point she barfed into the sink. So, 3 cheers for sleepwalking, eh?

Useful, but a hazmat suit would've been helpful, too

Unfortunately, she didn't have great aim, which explains why I was on my hands and knees in the bathroom in the middle of the night, wiping vomit off the freshly painted walls and trying to floss the slats of the heating vent clean of any puke particles. Larry stood in the hallway and handed me paper towels and bleach spray like the pro he is. Neither of us looked terribly alert, which might explain why the bathroom still smelled of puke this morning.

Is anyone still reading this?

Anyway, my point is, I earned this pants-less day. Tomorrow I will resume shouldering my usual responsibilities; but for a while, at least, I was able to live out the desert island fantasies entertained by many a mother with 4 kids still at home. I mean, so long as the desert island has Internet access...

Thursday, November 27, 2014

I Will Survive

It's just not Thanksgiving without this singing turkey, folks.  Enjoy!  I'm off to figure out how to roast brussels sprouts and carrots while the turkey is in the oven.  I guess this is one of those things I forgot to do yesterday while I was busy patting myself on the back for making the stuffing ahead of time.  Pride goeth before a fall, and all that...

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Encroaching Darkness

I spent 3 hours in IKEA today and - quite remarkably - spent less than 50 dollars.  Most of that money went for a curtain and a curtain rod to conceal the upstairs linen closet, which has become Job One in our ongoing campaign to eradicate bi-fold closet doors. Soon, I will be able to retrieve a new roll of toilet paper without the closet door, which is propped up against one side of the frame for all the world like a drunk who can't hold his liquor, falling on my head.

It's the little things, folks.

I'm calling it my Sherlock pillow.
The rest of the money I spent on a throw pillow (removable cover!) to cushion the spot on our new-to-us leather recliner couch where a metal bar pokes into one's butt.  This problem makes it rather painful to be the one stuck in the middle seat, so I am counting on this pillow to not only redeem our impulsive used furniture purchase but also render my Benedict Cumberbatch ogling sessions more comfortable.

In the meantime, Larry has gone off to Home Depot in an effort to relieve the Great Lightbulb Shortage of 2014. You see, ever since incandescents were banned and fluorescent and LED bulbs took over the store shelves, I have been flummoxed - FLUMMOXED, I tell you - every time I have attempted to buy some light bulbs.  For the life of me, I cannot tell which bulbs are the ones that come on immediately and which are the ones that take forever to warm up to full brightness and which ones hurt my eyes if I look at them.

So now we are down to zero spare light bulbs in the house and even some empty sockets, as we have slowly cannibalized the lamps in order to have working bulbs in the overhead fixtures.  I informed my somewhat confused spouse yesterday that I am incapable of ever buying these things again and he would just have to do the thinking for both of us.

Which is why Larry is at Home Depot right now, undoubtedly staring at all the expensive light bulbs and thinking, "What the heck?"

Speaking of which, I thought these newfangled bulbs were supposed to last longer and that's why they are more expensive.  Why then am I still replacing light bulbs every minute? Can someone explain this to me?  Please?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fan Girl

Well, I've learned what it takes to keep my house presentable. All I have to do is have people over twice a week. Let's see, park day last Friday, Bunko on Monday, park day today...voila! Clean house!

I guess I had better invite someone over for Thanksgiving before this place turns into a junkyard again.

In other news, having run through all the Dr. Who episodes available on Netflix, we decided to try Sherlock (mostly because everyone I know has said, "Oh, you HAVE to see Sherlock!" Talk about peer pressure, huh?). I'm not really into detective/crime stuff, so I didn't have high hopes for this show. But I convinced Larry and the boys to try it with me, and we all snuggled down last week on our (new-to-us) awesome couch to see what all the fuss was about.

Apparently, THIS is what all the fuss was about:

Good Lord, people, I had never seen this man act before. How does he do that...that thing with his eyes that lets you know he's thinking? And that little jerk of the chin when something snags his attention?  And that voice?

Look, I just didn't think it was possible to swoon this much. And, lest you think I am swayed only by this man's preternaturally good looks, I'm equally impressed with this fellow here:

No movie-star looks, but still...perfection. Acting perfection. What is up with the British, anyway? Are they raised in special acting camps from the age of 5?  Are they genetically screened at birth for dramatic ability? Or maybe it's just something in their drinking water.  Whatever it is, even the actors in bit parts in British productions have it all over American actors.

You think these guys are busy for Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cold, No Snow

So I would be lying if I didn't admit that we've wasted a lot of time the past few days Googling pictures of the snow in the Buffalo, NY, area.  A LOT.  But it is irresistible to us deprived Southerners, I guess.

I've raised 6 Southerners.  This still bothers the Jersey girl in me, you know.

My kids don't recognize the beauty of this man.  I have failed.

Anywhoo, our favorite Buffalo-area photo is the one where the snow smashed the family room door in.  What do you do when snow invades your home?  Apparently, you call 911 and a bunch of hunk-y firemen come help you dig out.  Now that's my kind of snowstorm.  I'll make hot cocoa for shovel-wielding firefighters any day.

Where was I?  I don't know.  So, anyway, it finally got COLD here, but of course there is none of the white stuff to enjoy. I find myself having to re-educate the teens on how to dress to avoid frostbite, but certain children of mine (BRIAN) seem to find it easier to complain about the cold than to put on a coat when taking out the garbage.

Sing it, St. Francis!
Speaking of complaining, certain children of mine (BRIAN) also find it easier to kvetch that the overhead light in their room is not working than to strategically position a couple of lamps so as to continue building with Legos.  And my telling the affected offspring "Tis better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness" did not seem to do much toward resolving the situation.

But it sure made me happy.

So now Brian is cleaning up his room, because I told him the electrician couldn't fix anything until we removed the risk of a liability lawsuit being engendered by the Legos scattered EVERYWHERE in there (and I am kicking myself for not taking a before picture).  The vacuum cleaner is running as I type. I call this a win, don't you?  I mean, so long as you ignore the money I'll be spending on the electrician?

[Bruce photo: Rolling Stone]
[Candle image: Aligning With Truth]

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Crisis Clean

Last month, when the weather was still warm and winter was oh so far away, I somewhat rashly volunteered to hold cold weather homeschool park days at my house, not realizing that my regrettable impulse toward hospitality meant that I would have to excavate our basement playroom.  You see, normally, we manage to use that room as is - the neighborhood kids are used to the flotsam and jetsam that ends up down there, and they are all old enough not to get hurt by the shop vac, say, that somehow ended up next to the exercise bike or by the piles of construction materials that Larry pulled out of the basement (guest room) shower because his sister was coming to visit.

Look, I never said I liked living this way, okay?

But park day - that meant numerous kids, ages 3 and up, visiting our far-from-childproofed basement playroom.  Aside from the public humiliation I'd experience should I leave everything where it was, there was also the possibility of liability lawsuits to consider.  So Friday morning the kids and I got to work.

Quite frankly, it was a horrendous experience - I mean, who knew there could be that many shards of plastic Easter eggs embedded in any one carpet?  And the pencils! Apparently, the basement is where all the pencils go to hide the minute the kids sit down to do any schoolwork. But the girls worked hard, putting away stray game pieces (SO MANY GAME PIECES), fitting all the games into the cabinet so that it would actually close (this is a Tetris-like puzzle, actually, that is quite difficult to solve), and neatening the bookshelves so that they didn't look as if a tornado had just hit them.

Brian did himself proud, also, hauling the 2x4's and panels of extra insulation and drywall back into the basement shower (shut up), while David hustled around, moving all sorts of myriad painting supplies and the shop vac I didn't even know we owned back into the laundry room whence they came. In the meantime, I labored over piles (PILES) of Larry's books which had been displaced from a bookshelf I gave to Anna months ago; I thought I had already managed to find homes for all of them, but apparently I was living a lie.

People, my basement looks so good right now.  And no one got hurt last Friday, when everyone showed up to play.  And, because I had to clean up and childproof the main floor for any babies who might be at park day, my house is almost all ready for Bunko tomorrow night.  I call that a win-win-win scenario.

But this question lingers in my brain - do any of you have to work this hard just to have people over? Or are we just hopeless slobs, as I have theorized before?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Budgetary and Dromedary Almost Rhyme, Right?

I ended up buying some more yarn, because that stupid Michael's coupon went on for FOUR WHOLE DAYS, and have I mentioned that I can walk to that store from my house?  So, yeah, it's getting a little ridiculous here.  And then, because I am suffering from an extreme case of start-itis, I cast on for a hat for Susie.  Because I didn't have enough to knit already, with 5 other projects on the needles.

Tried to pose it with flowers, but flowers were too tall.

So now I have to explain to Larry that, what with the yarn and the winter clothes and my weekly trip to Costco, I seem to have gone way over budget and could we just pretend I didn't do that and start fresh this payday?  I mean, just get my regular amount of money and not subtract for the things that ended up on the credit card the past 2 weeks or so? You know, a sort of amnesty? Larry? Larry?

Incidentally, this seems to happen somewhere towards the end of every year, where I end up one whole payday behind.  In a perfect world, we would have one extra payday per year, conveniently situated in November; but I guess that simply isn't possible in this post-Eden existence of ours.

All this might explain, by the way, why Larry insists on our staying on a mostly cash basis around here.  Of course, he set up that system before Internet shopping even existed.  I can't even remember how I managed to spend too much money back then, when everything was bought in person and stores were fussy about how you paid them.  I mean, seriously, people, I remember being in a McDonalds with a friend and her kids in 1998 or so, and we were short on cash and THEY DIDN'T EVEN TAKE CREDIT CARDS.  Also? DEBIT CARDS DID NOT EXIST.  This boggles my mind. How did we pay for fries back then?  I think I had to watch the kids while my friend jumped into her horse and buggy and drove down the street to an ATM.

Dark times, people, dark times....

Oh, and while I was taking that amazing picture of Susie's hat-to-be up there, I noticed in the background (before I cropped them out) 2 MORE CAMELS that have sneaked into my house.

I think they are mugs. See? The neck is the handle.

I probably shouldn't keep talking about my camel problem here.  I mean, before you know it, my Sitemeter stats will show people Googling "camels" and landing on this blog.  I'll start getting emails from animal rights enthusiasts who will want me to plug "Save the Camel" campaigns in my posts.  My subheading might even have to change to "Kids! Vomit! Camels!" because my entire online identity will have undergone a seismic shift, due to my eldest's predilection for gifting me with the beast-of-burden-that-shall-not-be-named.

On the other hand, I just managed to use the future perfect tense in a blog post.  So maybe even being saddled with dromedaries (get it? Saddled - oh, I slay me) has a bright side.  I mean, if you care about stuff like that...

Monday, November 10, 2014

Did Someone Say Yarn?

Well, Auntie Kate has had enough of us and has departed for her peaceful home, where no one forces her into decorating projects for children's rooms.  But before she left, she accomplished this:

Color is off again, but I never claimed to be a good photographer, you know?

The girls are thrilled, I'm thrilled, and Larry is also happy, but that is because he hasn't seen the VISA bill from the fabric store yet.  Ignorance is bliss.

In the meantime, there's been this:

Which, combined with a yarn sale, turned into this:

Apparently, restraint is not my strong suit.  See that Charisma yarn?  $1.50 a skein, after the coupon. It's a bulky yarn that knits up quickly into great hats, cowls, scarves, you name it. And it comes in a dozen awesome colorways.  Have I mentioned it was only $1.50?  How could I not fill my basket with it?

There are a couple of Sugar 'n Cream cottons thrown in there, because I keep getting this itch to knit a few dishcloths.  And then the baby yarn is needed for a top-down baby sweater I plan to knit for a neighbor. These projects would be in addition to the 3 pairs of socks and 2 pairs of fingerless mitts that I have on the needles right now.

I blame the cold weather, folks.  It brings out my inner crafter, who apparently believes that we live somewhere on the prairie during the 19th century (i.e., Before Target) and need many winter woolens to survive.  Past life experience intruding on present time? Or just a simple yarn addiction triggered by dropping temperatures?  You be the judge.  I'm too busy casting on to figure it out.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014


Auntie Kate, my personal home decorator, is slaving away over my sewing machine, while I sit here and blog. I'll be lucky if she ever visits us again. The project this year involves curtains to cover the closets in the girls' room, plus coordinating window treatments, which is not something I ever could have accomplished on my own. But Auntie Kate not only helped me pick out the curtain rods (believe me, this was way harder than it sounds), she also managed to find fabric for the curtains that both girls - BOTH - gave a thumbs up to.

The Miracle of the Fabric Store, we call it....

The colors aren't quite right here - that top piece has more green in it.

The reason we have to make curtains for the closets is because Larry has developed, over the years, a deep and abiding hatred for bi-fold closet doors. So much so that he trashed both sets when he tore apart the girls' room in September to insulate it. He gets a little crazy sometimes.

I don't know if Larry thought we could save money by making curtains rather than buying new closet doors; but if he did, he has a nasty surprise coming to him when he looks at our Visa bill. As in, 250 dollars worth of nasty. And that was with a fistful of Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons ( for the curtain rods) and a bunch of sale fabric at Joanne's. Maybe seeing how much money I can spend will keep Larry from tearing out more walls in our home?

I can only hope.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Twizzlers And Snickers And Rolos, Oh My!

Time sure does fly when you're busy eating all your kids' candy...

Our Halloween went well, although it was almost derailed at the outset by the discovery that our camera's battery need charging and neither Larry nor I could manage to find the proper charging cord for it. We found a lot of other charging cords, though, and had a jolly old time discovering that none of them would do the trick.  Words would have been exchanged, but luckily my mouth was too full of candy for that to happen.  As it turns out, my IPad took a decent picture of the carved pumpkins, so the festivities were able to proceed as planned.

Saved by the IPad...

Costume-wise, this year we had a red Lego piece (Susie) and a Christmas present (Rachel), plus a hastily thrown together pirate (Brian decided at the last minute that he wasn't too old to go trick-or-treating, after all). I'd like to point out here that this was Larry's 19th year in a row of taking the kids trick-or-treating, and I really don't know how he is going to cope in a couple of years when the youngest two outgrow his Halloween chaperoning services. I picture him wandering around the neighborhood, showing up on neighbors' doorsteps anyway, from sheer force of habit.

Auntie Kate arrived on Halloween day, which added to the general buzz and excitement. I mean, if excitement is what you call waking up at 7 and running around like mad for 5 hours trying to make one's home look presentable for company...I was so tired by the time she got here, it's a wonder I had the energy to shove all that Halloween candy in my mouth all evening.

But I certainly did manage. In fact, we spent the weekend eating our leftovers (we gave out only 47 of the 60 treat bags we had prepared) and the kids' unwanted loot.  True, the candyfest was interspersed with a trip to the local yarn shop and 2 (count them, 2!) yoga classes; but, truth to tell, I was still eating Snickers (fun-sized) while driving to the yoga center.

I am efficient that way.

Larry's looking forward to taking all the Halloween loot to his office tomorrow (he forgot the bag today), because that is usually what he does (and his colleagues love him for it).  But this year they won't get quite as much candy as they usually do, since Halloween wasn't followed by a workday. You know, I had never thought about how having this holiday on a Friday would give me that much more time with my beloved sweets.

Oh, short fat strawberry Twizzlers, how I adore thee!