Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Wrist-y Business

I got home from taking Rachel to Civil Air Patrol this evening and realized that I have no chocolate available. None. Nada. Zip. As I pawed desperately through the vitamin cabinet (my stash location) and Larry's coffee cabinet (his stash location), I found myself questioning just what sort of life I am living and what my priorities really are, if I could allow such a cacao-less situation to exist. An existential crisis, if you will, at 10 PM on a Tuesday night...

In the end, I had to steal some of Susie's birthday chocolate. I'm not proud of it, but there you are.

[Put witty segue here - I can't think of one right now]

The clip on my Fitbit Zip broke off over a month ago, so last week I ordered a special wristband thingie to fit my Zip into. That way I could be like all the cool kids who buy the expensive Fitbits that they wear on their wrists. Only MY wristband would be way prettier. So it arrived today, and wouldn't it have been nice to have been able to put my pink Fitbit Zip into it and model it for you?

EMPTY, like my dreams of fitness

Missing. That darn Zip went missing on Sunday morning. I've even offered the kids a $5 reward, but no one has been able to find it. Yet it is somewhere in this house, I know that much. In the meantime, I am completely demoralized by its absence. I mean, what is the point of running up and down the stairs to do laundry or fetch my glasses or WHATEVER if none of those steps count? And now, to add insult to injury, I have my empty flowered wristband to taunt me and my aspirations to fitness.

Is it any wonder, then, that I am stealing chocolate from my children?

Friday, May 27, 2016

Lazy, Hazy, Crazy

They only hire the best, you know
Brian, having reached the magic age of 16 and all, finally managed to land a "real" job (as opposed to all the yard work, pet sitting, and garbage-can hauling he's been doing over the past few years for the neighbors). And can I just say here that, hey, I'm against child labor as much as the next guy, but people? 15-year-olds are really old enough to work; what's more, they would be much happier and healthier working scheduled jobs than spending all their free time on their smartphones. So what is UP with all the extra laws about employing under-16's that keep employers from hiring them? 2 years of a part-time job is not long enough to save for college, you know.

Where was I? Oh, yes, so Brian was just hired, and can I just say here how impressed I am by the hiring people at Best Buy who realized what an awesome employee he would be? What a great store!

Dang, I'm proud.

Where am I going with this? I have no idea. Oh, well, moving on...

Summer hit us with a vengeance over the past 2 days - humidity and temps shot up, which meant that I was able to resume my hot-weather hobby of torturing the children. You see, everyone around here, homes and stores alike, seems to set the thermostat all the way down at 70 degrees, which I find incredibly excessive.

Helpful hint: if you have to put on a sweater, maybe you should raise the temp on your AC first?

Being somewhat of a cheapskate, I generally set the air at 78. But often, the air isn't on at all. I'm convinced that, if I just keep the blinds and windows on the sunny side of the house closed (we have an east-west orientation), we can manage our indoor temps the old-fashioned way. My children call this abuse, but I call it bringing them up right.

So yesterday Larry got home close to 7 PM,, glanced at the thermostat, and said heatedly (ha, ha, I SLAY me), "It's 85 degrees in here!" Which sort of surprised me - I mean, I'm not a monster; it's just that if you are sitting in the heat all day, you don't notice it as much. Sort of like that experiment where a frog is boiled in water but doesn't jump out because the water temp is raised so gradually?

Okay, maybe I am a monster. Still, it wasn't on purpose. And now the kids like Larry better. Is that fair? And is it a coincidence that Brian made "place with air conditioning" a priority on his job search list?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Missing: One Cute Squeezy Baby

My new baby
Susie turned 11 today. My BABY turned 11. She opened presents (2 stuffed puppies, one hair straightener, a scarf, a tote bag, and a bunch of candy). We went bowling with some friends, and we took her out to dinner. On the way out of the restaurant, Susie found a $20 bill in the parking lot. Because she leads a charmed life, that girl does.

Susie helped Anna make her cake. They added in sugared strawberries, powdered strawberry jello, and homemade strawberry jam. They covered it with cream cheese/strawberry/sugar frosting. I can't even LOOK at it without needing insulin.

After cake, we watched "Raiders of the Lost Ark." You see, in our family, you have to wait until you are 11 to watch that movie. Not quite as good as receiving a Hogwarts letter, I know, but it will have to do. [Fun fact: the actor who plays the African pirate ship captain also plays Kingsley Shacklebolt in the Harry Potter movies.]

So I think we can all agree it was a pretty good day, so far as 11th birthdays go. Nevertheless, I've been feeling gobsmacked all day. Only 11 years? That's all it took for Susie to go from a fat, round dumpling of a baby to someone who is taller than I am, someone who can walk and talk and straighten her own hair?

Time flies. Kids grow fast. Insert your own platitude here.

You know, all I've managed to do over the past 11 years is gain 10 pounds and a bunch of wrinkles. And get a LOT dumber. Seriously, do the kids suck brain cells from us as they grow? Is that how it works? And where has my cute squeezable baby gone? Can anyone tell me that?

Excuse me while I go hug her stuffed puppy again - it's all I've got.

Friday, May 20, 2016


Remember this, last summer? When I was in a lot of pain and thought it was my gall bladder, but it wasn't, and then I thought it was my pancreas, but it wasn't, and it turned out to be shingles? Well, in the middle of all that, I had a dental cleaning scheduled, which naturally I canceled.

That was 9 MONTHS AGO.

Somewhere, along about January, I thought, "Oh, hey, I missed that appointment, which means it's been a year since I've had my teeth cleaned. I need to call and make a new appointment." And, of course, I didn't. I was too busy, if "busy" is what you call sitting around and avoiding housework while whining about not having a job. So a few more months passed and I thought, "Oh, hey, now it's over a year and I really need to act like a grown-up and make an appointment." I even took the effort to install a new calendar app on my IPad at one point and carefully add to the to-do list "Make dental appointment."

Hides well among egg cartons...
Considering that I have the dentist's number memorized, it would have taken me less time to, you know, just call and MAKE THE APPOINTMENT. But no, that item sat on my shiny new to-do list, right under "Bring Zappo's box to UPS store," and nothing happened. (In my defense, the Zappo's box had disappeared into the junk heap that is the inside of my car, and I forgot about it. Because I never looked at that to-do list again.)

Note to self: To-do lists don't work.

I was NOT this happy yesterday.
Long story short, I finally dragged me and my mouth in there yesterday, where I had a different hygienist, not my usual one who knows that I normally am a very good dental patient, etc. So the new chick (who really was very good) was cleaning my teeth and kept saying things like, "These gums don't look good. Flossing is very important."

"I floss every night," I told her. "I missed an appointment [two appointments, I know, shut up], that's why they are bad."

"Also, you need to brush along the gum line. Angle your brush..."

"I do that," I interrupted. "My gums used to be great. Electric tooth brush, brush the gum line, floss every day - I'm just a little late for my appointment, is all."

Five minutes later, she said, "When you floss, you need to get up under the gums..."

"YES. I DO. I'm a moron, all right? I missed coming here for OVER A YEAR."

You know, I think she just wanted to hear me come right out and say it, confession being good for the soul, and all that. And how nice is it that I have a hygienist that is concerned about not only my gum health but also my eternal salvation, hmmm? I'm one lucky gal.

But I still hate being an adult.

[Zappos box image: Catalog Agency]
[Dentist image: Cliparts]

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Procrastination Is Healthy

Better than homemade, I swear...
Well! I woke up yesterday, feeling worse than ever, and read all your comments on the last post and thought, "Yup, I definitely should go to the doctor. But not today. Today I have to bake brownies for Susie's Girl Scout thing and go to Target for more hair products and go to the store for dinner ingredients. And then I have to cook dinner. But tomorrow! Tomorrow I will go to the doctor."

Wouldn't you know, by 9 PM last night, I felt perfectly fine? Apparently, just planning to go the doctor has a salubrious effect. Or else it was the brownies...

And now, here we are - it's raining again. May has been confused this year, thinking it's April, and we have been having cold rains all month - not even the summer thunderstorms that we tend to get in May. Just cold dreary rain. Oh, occasionally the sky clears and the sun peeks out and we all run out to our yards to dump standing water (Zika!) and maybe try to plant something in the garden; but then the clouds come back and it rains once more. I'm handling it okay, until someone says, "May showers bring May flowers!" which happens about 3 times a day, and then I feel sort of homicidal.

Apropos of nothing, Rachel's flip phone fell into the toilet the other night (before she used it, so somewhat clean water). After agonizing, she did reach in and pull it out. When I told Larry about it, he said, "Well, at least she didn't put it there on purpose." You know, old trauma dies hard.

That's all today, folks. I have to head to the commissary, because we are all out of toilet paper and half a dozen other items, and anyway, why not? It's not as if we can go outside and enjoy the spring weather right now. Besides, we've got the Harry Potter books on Audible now, so any excuse for a car ride, eh?

[Brownie box image: Duncan Hines]

Monday, May 16, 2016

Sick Of This

I rode bicycles with Susie today, and I went to Costco, and I walked to the drugstore for more cough lozenges, because I AM STILL SICK. I keep trying to pretend that I am not (see above re cycling and shopping and walking), but I am. A friend suggested that maybe some real medical advice is in order, but I can't imagine what they would say. This doesn't feel bad enough to be pneumonia (well, most of the time) and I've crossed diphtheria off my list, since I'm still alive. What else is there?

Can you tell I really hate going to the doctor? HATE.

So I'm sitting here, sucking on my Ricolas and pretending I will feel better tomorrow. If you don't hear from me again, you can safely assume I dropped dead of menthol overdose. Is that even a thing? Should I Google it?

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Subs Are A Food Group, Right?

In case you're wondering, I am STILL coughing. STILL popping Sudafed and Excedrin. STILL eating my weight in Ricola cough drops. I am trying to be brave, for the children's sakes, but I can only assume that I have undiagnosed tuberculosis.

Hey, it's not potato chips...
The aforementioned children don't seem to mind that Mommy's sick, since that means they get to fend for themselves, nutrition-wise. Naturally, it's been like junk-food heaven around here lately. Still, we're running out of comestibles, junk and otherwise, so I am going to drag myself to Harris Teeter tomorrow and buy some more provisions. Which might mean the foot-long subs, if those are on sale - hey, they got us through the blizzard, right?

Rachel is running her first 5K tomorrow, with a group of Civil Air Patrol friends. To get ready, she has been running almost a mile nearly every morning. And I've been thrilled that this has given her an incentive to get out of bed before 10 AM this past month or so. Really, I've almost given up on rousing teens in the morning. I mean, as soon as they go to college, they sleep until almost noon, anyway. It's so bad, some colleges don't even bother offering the early morning classes anymore.

When I went to school, we walked to 8 AM classes, uphill, both ways. And we were HAPPY.

I tried to get Larry to sign up for the same 5K, but he says it's more important for him to stand on the sidelines and cheer Rachel on. I swear, the man's not even 50, but he's acting like someone's grandfather lately. Case in point: we were all happy for him when he took the plunge last January and got himself an honest-to-goodness smartphone - here he was, acting all 21st-century! And then he negated the whole with-it effect by showing up a few days later with a...thing...attached to his belt.

Coolness factor = zero
"What the heck is that?" I asked.

"It holds my phone," Larry said, proudly.

"Didn't Grandpa have one of those?" asked Brian.

"It's VERY useful," insisted Larry.

"Daddy, that looks weird," said Susie, who had wandered into the room during this conversation. "No one has that."

Larry turned to me. "They're making fun of me," he said, looking for support.

"I'm sorry, hon, but you might as well strap on a fanny pack and be done with it," I told him.

So now Larry is determined to wear the phone case just to bug us. His plan is totally working.

Friday, May 13, 2016

I'm NOT A Hoarder, I Just Look Like One

Remember that Mother's Day promise? How Larry was going to get my 7-year-old minivan detailed inside and out for me? Maybe even have that door gasket fixed, the one that insists on falling on a person's head as he/she climbs into the car?

Still waiting. I even went ahead and cleaned the junk out of the car, to make it easier. That means my car no longer looks as if it is owned by a hoarder with a penchant for collecting empty egg cartons and assorted plastic produce containers. I had been meaning to drop those off at the local farm for months, you know, so they can use them for their CSA, and yesterday was the day that I finally made that happen. Until yesterday, they'd been rattling around my minivan, piled on top of the girls' supplies for their weekly art class, falling out every single time I opened the back hatch.

I'll admit, it was getting a bit embarrassing to carpool.

Shiny! New! Expensive!
So, I AM READY for my minivan makeover here. When I ask him, Larry keeps muttering some excuses about "work" and "putting food on the table," but we know the real reason here, don't we? He's probably annoyed about his turkey pot pie deprivation. Or maybe the fact that I am not very good about sharing the stash of Cadbury chocolate he bought me?

Maybe I should start leaving new car brochures around the house. That might do it.

Thursday, May 12, 2016


Impulse buy...
Over a year ago, in a fit of good intentions, I bought a 5-lb bag of frozen mixed veggies from Costco. 5 pounds! I was thinking I'd use them in my turkey pot pie recipe that I make from the leftover turkey at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Only, I hadn't made that recipe in ages, because my 2 older kids (who liked it) left home years ago, and 3 of the 4 remaining children are vegetarians. Larry likes it, though, I thought. No reason for him to be consigned to a life of mac-n-cheese and refried beans just because 3 of his offspring refuse to be omnivores, right?

Wrong. That bag has been sitting in my freezer for, I don't know, a year and a half? Every time I opened the freezer, I would see it and feel guilty. Or I did, until this week. THIS week, I received an automated call from Costco that told me this particular purchase is included in the frozen-veggies recall that has been in the news lately. You know, that bag was so old, I hadn't even bothered to check.

So I gleefully brought that white elephant of a food purchase to the store this week and received my money back. I won't lie - it felt wrong, dishonest even. Like I had passed the statute of limitations on recalls, yet no one had figured it out. Or maybe that was just my guilt talking, telling me that I didn't deserve to be rewarded for failing to make turkey pot pie for my spouse. Still, I pocketed my refund and walked away, feeling lighter somehow, absolved of my wasteful housekeeping ways. Best yet, no longer do I have to be reminded of my homemaking inadequacies each time I want to put some ice cubes in my drink.

I'm not even sure what the point of this story is. It pays to never clean out one's freezer? Probably that. Yeah, that.

[Veggies image: Fifi's Fine Foods]

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Gotta Get Me A Rocking Chair

Okay,  I had another nero day today (as commenter Harry so aptly described it yesterday). My voice is completely gone, I'm coughing up gunk from my lungs, and when I eat, my stomach hurts, which makes no sense at all. Every time I dropped off to sleep last night, I would immediately wake up feeling as though I were choking (hello, adult croup!), so I knew from the start that not a lot would get done today.

Homemade mac-n-cheese - cures what ails ya
Only, NO. We had 3 (count them, 3!) doctor's appointments (none of which concerned my current plague), plus I had promised dinner to another family (not to mention my own), which meant I actually had to cook a real meal  (mac-n-cheese, with a side of buttered broccoli pre-chopped from Costco, because let's be realistic here). And that's how my not-very-restful sick day went down.

Don't worry, I made sure not to breathe on the finished product. I think my neighbors already look at me as though I am Typhoid Mary - no need to make things worse.

Somewhere in there, though, the girls and I did manage to watch the last Harry Potter movie (the one I took David to all those years ago). Because, yes, it is still raining here.  15 days and counting...it feels as if someone up and canceled the entire month of May. You know, May is usually the best month in this area - no mosquitoes yet, reasonable temperatures, relatively low humidity. But it ain't happening this year. We'll go from an extended April to our hot, muggy summer and there's nothing we can do about it.

I just spent this whole post complaining about my health and the weather - what am I, 80 years old? Apparently, yes.

[Mac-n-cheese image: Food Hacks]

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Fevered Maunderings

Yesterday I had to throw my largest mixing bowl on top of the HUGE wasp that was wandering around Rachel's bedroom floor. Then I waited for Larry to come home and do something with the monster.

I swear, I don't know what single moms do about these sort of problems. That creature looked big enough to lift small cars. Where the heck is my bug boyfriend when I need him?

The cold from hell is STILL here. I managed to ignore it Sunday and not only go to yoga class but also bike 20 miles with my Fit Friend, because, yes, we signed up again for the Tour de Cure and we have not trained at all. In 4 weeks, we have to bike 56 miles, and the 20 we did on Sunday almost killed us. Last night I went to Bunco, which must have been the last straw for my frail, pseudo-elderly self, because I spent the rest of the night feeling as though I were getting the flu.

I'm so much fun.

In high demand around here...

So today has been officially designated a do-nothing day. I mean, except for the science class carpool and, oh yeah, we're out of Kleenex, so I have to pop into Target. And I wiped down the bathrooms just now because it isn't as if my kids are going to leap into the breach here. So let's be realistic and call it a do-almost-nothing day, I guess.

We're out of Sudafed again, too. Didn't pharmacies used to deliver? What happened to that?

[Kleenex image: Kleenex.com]

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Music To My Ears

I STILL have the head cold from hell. Or maybe it is a new head cold from hell. I have no idea, but what is certain is that if I have to buy one more box of Sudafed from the pharmacy here, I'm going to have the DEA busting down my front door, looking for the meth lab.

I had the nerve to go to bed early last evening (see above, re head cold). This rarely happens, and when I had to get up at 3 AM to give Susie some Motrin (because now she is sick again, too, and will this ever stop?), I remembered why this rarely happens. I walked into the kitchen and found dishes in the sink, crap all over the kitchen table, floor unswept, etc.

This coupon is NEVER valid.
If you will recall, this sort of thing has happened before, the last time I had the nerve to go to bed early. That was 8 years ago. And, yes, I AM still pissed off about it. All these years of training, and as soon as I close my eyes, what happens? NOTHING. It's as if these children never even heard me ranting all these years, "No one sits down until we ALL sit down!" and "What's your kitchen job? Do your kitchen job!"

A fine start to Mother's Day Weekend, I'll tell you that. I hightailed it out of here this morning to work at the yoga center, but not before bitching about the state of the kitchen to Larry. He was hurt. "You SAID you wanted everyone to be quiet," Larry said in his I was only trying to help voice. "You SAID you wanted to SLEEP."

Sigh. Yeah, I did say that. But I can sleep through the sounds of dishes being washed, you know. To me, that's just a lullaby.

[Dirty dishes image: Cliparts.co]

Monday, May 02, 2016

Beauty School Dropout

The performer's friend...
Well, my brief stint in showbiz is over - we did the LTYM DC show yesterday, which felt almost anti-climactic after all the time I spent worrying about it. You see, I had a cold all day Friday and Saturday and envisioned myself at Sunday's performance sneezing and coughing through my entire reading. As it turns out, I pre-gamed with a ton of Sudafed and Excedrin and managed not to gross anyone out.

However, being drugged up and also in a minor fugue state from stage fright, I have no idea how my reading went. I vaguely recall people laughing, so that's good, right? I guess I will have to wait for the YouTube video, just like the rest of you.

I still have the cold from hell, plus I have post-show letdown. Fun.

A former LTYM DC cast member did our makeup. My whole face is heading south faster than a heavy speeding bullet dropped from an airplane, and it is scary to look at, almost like when the Nazis faces are melting at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The makeup artist applied her products lightly, but it had the effect of making me look a little less frightening. I've got to learn how to do that. The nerve of my parents sending me to an Ivy League university instead of cosmetology school - at this point, I am thinking the latter would have been more useful.

Back in March I got back on the Weight Watchers counting-points bandwagon, plus I started walking 15,000 steps a day, in an attempt to feel better and yes, lose a few pounds, because I swear they are all in my bust and my face. So, after 6 weeks of this and feeling, truth to tell, quite marvelous about myself, I stepped on the scale at my ob-gyn's office last week and saw that I was one pound over the weight that I guessed I was in mid-March when I started my healthy-life regimen.

But, hey - healthy! 6 miles a day and all that...

[Sudafed image: Stop The Drug War]