Wednesday, October 28, 2009

So Many Skittles, So Little Time

We went to our town's annual Halloween parade tonight and had a blast. The parade made me (finally!) realize that Halloween is just a few days away. I have not purchased a pumpkin to carve. I have not come up with a dog costume for Shadow, even though I promised Molly I would. Most importantly, I have not finished eating the kids Halloween candy from last year.

I tried, really I did.

But as the kids have gotten older, their ability to stay out later and hit more houses for trick or treating has meant a huge increase in candy. They weighed their bulging pillowcases last year, and Jake had 11 lbs and Molly had 5.

I thought eating 16 pounds of candy was in my realm of expertise, and I tackled it at a steady clip. Unfortunately, March-May I forgot about it completely, and I never really got my groove back. Valentine's Day and Easter also threw me for a loop. So here we are, less than a week away from the big day, and I'm not just not ready for the big re-supply.

If you are wondering if the kids know about my habit, which usually takes place when I sneak in their rooms late at night, I would have said no, but tonight on the way home from the parade I heard them talking to our neighbor in the back seat:

Jake: "I only eat about 2 pieces of Halloween candy a year. I leave the rest in my closet."
Neighbor: "Really?"
Molly: "Yeah, me too."
Neighbor: "Then what happens to it?"
Molly: "My mom eats it."
Jake: Head nod

So, with only four days remaining, I have an idea. I am seriously considering handing out last year's candy this year. Sure all the Kit Kats, Twizzlers and Snickers are gone, but there's still a decent variety.

Cheap and resourceful? Or just plain icky?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Seek And Ye Shall Find

I am sick of being “The Finder” in this house, and I am not convinced that other people even try to find something before they ask me. They know I’ll hop to it, or if I don’t, I’ll have to suffer through their ineffective, lame-ass excuses for searching before I go ahead and find it anyway.

Usually in plain sight.

This weekend Tom said he couldn’t find the mortgage statement. This is annoying for several reasons. First, I was the one who wrote the mortgage checks for 11 years. Then I forgot to mail one (or 2) measly payment/s, and Tom took over.

(Not that this approach is all bad, if you really want to get out of a job, but I didn’t mind the bill-paying so much. When we were engaged he asked if I’d iron a pair of his brand new pants. I quickly proceeded to burn a hole in them and haven’t ironed a thing of his since. That worked well. But back to the mortgage statement booklet thingy…)

I knew that I hadn’t done anything with it, so after looking in my bill and stamp basket, I said finding it was now up to Tom.

You should have seen his annoyingly wide bush-baby eyes as he gave me an incredulous look and said, “What do you mean you DON’T KNOW WHERE IT IS? Aren’t you even going to look?” I shrugged and went back to my magazine.

This guy was agitated.

“What are we going to do if you really lost it?!?” he continued, pacing around the kitchen in distress.

I ventured to guess that with all the advanced degrees in the house we could probably come up with a solution, but he wasn’t digging the calm, reasoned approach. Reluctantly, I put down my Diet Dr.Pepper and looked for a bit, making a point to say, “For the record. I think you took the payment booklet and put it somewhere.”

He did not like this either.

Later that night, Tom (who had been watching tv alone on the couch) asked me where the remote was, as if I had somehow snatched it from his grasp unnoticed. By this time I was good and cranky. I may have said, “If it was up your ass you’d know.” Not sure if I should have said that, or at least in that way. I think the proper grammar might have been, “If it WERE up your ass you’d know.”

Anyway, yesterday I saw our mortgage payment on the counter all sealed, stamped and ready to be mailed. Yep, it had been in his home office all along.

Tonight at 10 when I was dying to watch “The Amazing Race” on the DVR, our son came downstairs distraught because he couldn’t find the novel he needs for tomorrow. He assured me he already had looked for it. Tom stayed firmly planted on the couch with a shrug, saying, “I looked for it earlier.”

So, I hauled my bath-robed self up and down all 5 levels of our split level and even out to the car. As the third person on this quest, I figured the book must have been tucked somewhere pretty bizarre. I did a lot of huffing and puffing and not all of it was because I’m out of shape.

Finally I found the book. On my son's nightstand.

A quiet, “Sorry Mom,” and Jake padded back off to bed.

I turned to Tom in total exasperation. “Apple. Not far from the tree. Aargh!”

He said, “Oh please. What about all the quirks the kids have that come from you??”

Trust me, this is one pissing match he does not want to get into with me. At least not right now. Girl had a lot of soda today.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Social-Networking Butterfly? OR, If the Fleece Fits, Wear It

I know a lot of people have blogged about Facebook. In the months since I joined, Facebook has really cut into my blogging (and cooking, cleaning, paying attention to the kids) time but this is one of the first times I’ve felt like writing about it.

I recently realized that when I see my Facebook friends comment on dinner parties and other shindigs they’ve attended, I sort of feel left out. This is because I balance that lovely dichotomy of feeling like a complete nerdy misfit while also thinking that the entire world revolves around me .

So, if a neighbor puts pictures of a party on Facebook, or someone else writes about a Girls’ Night Out, I’m bummed about not being invited. I don’t think it’s at all tacky to put pictures like this up… I just have a wee bit of social envy. And it’s not as if I am dying to actually GO to these events—the fact that I’ve donned my fleece bathrobe by 6 pm four out of the last five nights might give you a clue that I’m a serious homebody. A homebody who wants to be asked.

I don’t know but this could stem from the fact that I was never invited to a boy/girl party in Junior High. I now consider that to have been divine providence, but at the time it felt downright cruel. New Year’s Eve 1985 didn’t help either. My mom drove me around looking for “THE party” at Tommy White’s. We just could not find the darn house! After several attempts, we had to give up. This is pre-pre-pre GPS and cell phone.

I lashed out at my mom, who just wanted to spend a quiet New Year’s at home in her bathrobe not carting her weeping daughter around the darkened suburbs. My best friend (and blog reader!) Lisa G. borrowed the phone to call periodically and update me on the rockin’est party of the year and to encourage me to keep trying. My pain was deep. I cried my 10th grade self to sleep right around midnight, bemoaning the misery that was my life. To this day I can't bear the idea of other people having fun while I'm not.

Sooooo, be it a bat mitzvah in Boise or a baptism in Bellingham, I want to be included.

When Tom surprised me on my 40th this month with dinner out with 8 friends, I didn’t put pictures up on Facebook. If any of them had been super-flattering of me I admit I would have reconsidered, but really I just didn’t want to leave someone out. Even if those some ones were people I hadn’t seen since 6th grade student government camp.

One option to rev up our social life would be to entertain more ourselves and be the instigators of fun social events. But that takes time, energy, and gumption, which seem to be in short supply at the See house these days.

And this weekend? We were kindly invited to an adults-only Halloween party for the first time EVER! We can’t make it for multiple reasons, one of which just might be the siren song of my blue fleece bathrobe, but I must admit it was awesome to be asked.

So I’m wondering… does Facebook make you feel more included or more left out?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bubble Boy

Am I the only one or is all this talk about The Balloon Boy also making you think about George Costanza and The Bubble Boy?

Or, reaching way back into the mid-70's archives, do you remember that fine example of film making, "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble?" I mean it was no "Ice Castles," but that stuff was G-O-O-D!

Bonus points if you can remember which big star with an even bigger cleft in his chin starred in it. No Googling.


Okay, okay. I'll tell you. Ever seen this looker before?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Not Ready for My Close Up

So I was watching “Trading Spouses” last night and I came across this high-strung Vegan mom. I didn’t get to watch the whole episode, but with the way it was edited, Vegan Mom came across as a nightmare.

Some gems:

1. She forces people at a dinner party to watch a video about cruelty to animals, then the producer cuts to a scene of her shoving a dog’s face in his own pee and giving him a swat. We had seen this earlier, but the producers wanted to make the connection for us in case we were, well, blind.

2. She extols the virtue of a tofu burger: “These help prevent cancer, meat burgers cause cancer.” Cutaway to her lighting up a cigarette.

3. They show one of her kids saying he isn’t looking forward to her coming home because he’ll probably get in a lot more trouble when she does. Ouch. This could have taken place right after he says he misses her, but we'll never know.

Anyway, although I did not care for Barbara in the least, it got me thinking about how someone would “edit” me for prime time. Scary.

During my 9 years as a stay at home mom with little kids and little help, I was often glad Dateline wasn’t there to catch me hiding in the bathroom with a Diet Pepsi and Little Debbie’s or needing to put myself in Mommy Time Out. Living in a 5 level split with no bathroom on the main level made potty training F-U-N. Let’s just leave it at that and say a lot would happen on any given 12+ hour day—definite highs and lows.

Now that the kids are 8 and 10 and my husband has a fantastic work schedule, I have a lot less stress, but I can see how I could still be edited in a not so flattering way.

Take yesterday. Jake and I were enjoying a lovely Friday afternoon. He finished a puzzle as I cooked tacos. We laughed, we joked, we bonded. As soon as Tom walked in the door and started breathing my air I became a total…crab.

I plunked the tacos on the table with a gruff “Let’s Eat NOW!” Anyone who knows what happens when mom is hungry will hop to it. But there was more to it than that: I had a cold, I was bored, I couldn’t seem to get anything done, I had ordered a $5,000 shed with vinyl siding and I don't even LIKE vinyl siding, and it won’t stop raining. Somehow this was all Tom’s fault.

It wasn’t a big moment, just one of many moments, big and small, that make up a day. And I was glad when it passed.

Of course if I were to go on one of those wife swapping shows, there is the possibility that I could stay nice for the duration because I'd be with strangers. Isn’t it a sad fact that we are uber polite to those we don’t know, but we turn like caged lions on those closest to us? Or is that just me?

Anyway, I’m glad I’m not on one of those shows. I certainly don’t think it will help prove the integrity of the whacked-out family of the Balloon Boy of earlier this week. Not only were they on Wife Swap, but you have the little gem of the parents basically ignoring the kid as he pukes repeatedly on national tv.

I guess the beauty of real life versus “reality show life” is that we get a chance to get better and to start over every day, for His mercies are “New every morning. Great is thy faithfulness.” I'm glad to choose a Divine Do-Over over being preserved in cable tv glory for all the world to see.

Plus, I have a really pointy nose. And no one needs to see that.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Put Through the Wringer

So in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and my recent milestone birthday, I had a mammogram today.

I thought it would be a great idea to get this done in my local doctor’s office rather than the massive radiology building downtown. Of course I planned this well before I discovered this office has become the apparent world epicenter of the swine flu.

Half the patients in the waiting area were wearing face masks and there was much sneezing and hacking. I tried to fill out the paperwork using only my elbows so my hand wouldn’t touch the communal pen, but that proved difficult.

The magazine rack? Empty. A sign said: “Due to the large number of cases of swine flu (H1N1) we will not be providing magazines at the present time.” Eww. Not the kind of thing someone like me needs to read. After years of inner turmoil and debate I had almost convinced myself that it was okay to read magazines in doctors’ offices, at least in the supposed “well waiting” areas. No more. One step forward, two steps back.

Anyway, when it was time for my mammogram, as I stood there in all my (8 years post-breastfeeding, marble in a tube-sock) glory, the technician asked, with a straight face, “Do you have implants?” Now I know she was just following policy, akin to 7-11’s “We Card Anyone Under 100 years Old,” but STILL. If what the technician saw today had ever been touched by a plastic surgeon’s knife, there’d be a lawsuit out there with my name as plaintiff.

The actual smooshing? Worse than I remembered—by the time she took the pics my boobs were somewhere between the thickness of a toaster strudel and a frozen waffle-- but I’m glad I got it done.

I hope you’ll remember to make an appointment, too.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

30 Days and 30 Nights

No, not since I last updated this blog with any meaningful content.

That's the time that elapsed between when I realized Molly's hermit crab LuLu was dead and when she finally noticed.

In my defense, I discovered the dead crab the night before the first day of school. Not the best timing for weeping and gnashing of teeth. Remember the new school? The huge class size? The weeping blogger Mom in the cafeteria? The switch from plaid uniforms to go-go boots? The riding the bus for the first time? Yeah.

And it wasn't just Molly's reaction I was worried about. Jake hasn't turned on his ceiling fan in over a year, even though his room is down the hall from the crabs, because he read once that hermit crabs need a warm environment to survive. We've assured him that under no circumstances will his fan kill the crabs, but he's not buying it.

So, yeah, I tucked LuLu's leggy little self back into the shell, clamped my mouth shut really fast, and prayed the kids wouldn't notice her demise for a day or two. I had the utter pigsty of Molly's room going for me on this one.

The good news? The dead crab wasn't Smiley (the beloved crab we almost buried alive over a year ago ) and who appears to thrive on benign neglect. LuLu, the newer (and now departed) crab, apparently needed things like food, water, and attention. Diva.

Best line when Molly finally discovered LuLu's shriveled up body: "Mom, I think LuLu's dead. But it's okay, I didn't have that much time to get to know her anyway."

Yeah, like 30 days and 30 nights?

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Rootin' Tootin' Good Time

I like to encourage Molly's creative spirit and spunk, but I may have taken a teeny weeny bit of offense when, during family movie night, she ran upstairs and returned with 3 face masks for Jake, Tom, and her cute little self.

Just because Mom might have had a little too much chili....sheesh!

p.s. This photo features her latest invention called "Comfiness on the Go." It has her blanket, pillow, tissue, snacks, and favorite pets right at her fingertips. For Christmas I think this girl needs a Snuggie.

Flashback Friday-- TMI

For Flashback Friday, we're digging into the archives for a post about one of my favorite subjects-- The Gyno. Originally posted 10-13-08.

With school in session, I can take care of a lot of things I put off during the summer, things I don't want to have the kids around for. I'm thinking haircuts, doctors' appointments, the dentist. This has not always been the case. If you are an at-home mom with little ones, you have probably taken your kids lots of places you wish you hadn't. Even a trip to the grocery store can be a major pain.

I remember taking both kids to the gyno with me when they were little. This, of course, would not have been my first choice, but circumstances prevented my getting a sitter that day and off we went. Now a pregnancy visit is one thing-- pee in a cup, the weigh-in, a little feeling of the tummy. This was an annual exam.

The waiting room wasn't bad, although I wonder if a few of the pregnant women were self-righteously thinking, "MY kids will never act like that!"
Does this happen to you? When the waiting room time is over, you think you're close to seeing a doctor, but instead you are tucked into a tiny examining room, told to strip, and then you wait for a seemingly interminable length of time. Maybe it just seems long because of the lack of pants.

When you are on your own, you can artfully fold your little pile of clothes on a chair, pull the paper robe around you and read old copies of Good Housekeeping. With an 18 month and a three year old in tow, you are simply on germ and damage patrol.

Keeping order in such a small space was nearly impossible for me. Within seconds, my neat pile of clothes hit the floor and Molly started caressing the Sharps container. When I got her away from that, she tried to lick the stirrups. Ugh. Three year old Jake was easier to restrain. Sure, at one point he opened the door to expose me in my paper-gowned glory to folks in the hallway, but I actually think that helped get the doctor in sooner.

During my exam, Jake asked, "Mommy, why does that man have his hand in your bottom?" Yikes. I quickly thrust an old National Geographic at him. "Here, read about the pretty zebras." My exam was brief, to say the least, and after the doctor's hasty retreat, I retrieved my clothes from the floor and began to dress.

Jake soon had another question, "Mommy, why are these people all bloody?" Yep, zebras may have been on the cover, but the magazine was documenting a massacre, in full color.

For those of you in the throes of toddlerhood and preschool, I wish for you unencumbered visits to the gyno, the dentist, and maybe even to get a pedicure. The day will come when you can do all these things on your own again. I know we aren't to wish away our kids' childhoods, but I think in certain circumstances it's okay.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Am I Projecting Loudly Enough For You?

So I woke up this morning pissed at the president. In my dream Barack Obama had dumped Michelle for a much younger and far inferior model. Instead of beating around the bush, “I did not have sex with that woman,” he immediately gave Michelle her walking papers and installed the young hussy in the White House.

I felt betrayed. What about all those “date nights?” The flirtatious dancing at the Inauguration? The fist bump that rocked a nation? Was it all a fa├žade?

I love reading about history, but a lot I’ve read about presidential marriages upsets me. I liked the ideals of the Kennedy’s’ Camelot, and I LOVED the clothes. But the pill popping and sex swapping? Not my cup of tea!

I was hoping the Obamas would be different. Until last night.

Now you might wonder how Sasha and Malia figured into the dream. They didn’t even have a cameo. I think that MIGHT have been because a certain someone who had a milestone birthday this week, and who also likes to bare her arms in a fun sheath dress now and then, may have been relating solely with Michelle in this particular dream.

I mean that little hussy he brought in? Do I even need to describe her to you? A reality star wannabe? A celebrity in her own mind? So skinny and young she’d probably slip down the drain when she took a shower? A vapid vixen raised in the era of MySpace and “friends with benefits.” What was Barack thinking? Trading in Michelle, Princeton graduate, trailblazer, true partner and great mom for such a substandard replacement? Ugh.

I know Mr. Obama got a lot of female validation after those shirtless Hawaii photos came out. I know I certainly appreciated them. But no need to get so high on oneself you start to look elsewhere for a good time. Mr. President, we know Michelle’s been your rock in every way during the past 20 years. You need to get a grip.

I fully expect you to wise up and see the error of your ways. And to help, I’m turning in early tonight so you can start digging yourself out of this one.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Potential Pitfalls of Shopping Curbside?

I don't have any new projects to show you right now, but I thought this comic strip captured the not so lovely underbelly of my favorite way to shop. I'll be sharing it with other dumpster divers and thrifters at A Soft Place to Land.

I'm sure garages are overrated anyway.

And for those of you who like before and afters, here are some of my curbside and thrift shop finds from elsewhere on this blog:


suede chair

dresser turned console

assorted dumpster dives

dining room table and chairs

dining room table and chairs

black bedside tables

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Getting Older I Am

I had been trying to figure out what my lips, complete with vertical wrinkes, looked like. Smoker's mouth? Marian the Librarian who had pursed one too many times?

Not quite.

Then my son and I spent a little quality screen time together last night:

It is all so clear now.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

You've Got A Lot of 'Splaining to Do

Tom’s and my all-time favorite show is “The Amazing Race.” Ever since the kids were little, Tom and I have watched it on Sunday nights and given them the play by play on Monday morning. By the end of the season, the kids have all sorts of opinions of who should win and why, but it’s sort of like old timey radio, since they aren’t actually watching with us.

Now that they are 10 and 8, we hoped we could watch as a family. Tom and I dvr-d the premiere to preview it. This show is modest by reality show standards--none of The Bachelor’s making out, bikinis, and “let’s take it to the next level” stuff --but there is cursing. Lots of frickin’ and freaking and crap and ass and even a bitch thrown in here and there. That was enough for us to veto the kids watching last season.

I know I would curse too if Tom and I were trying to race around the world for a million bucks-- we argue when we try to go downtown for dinner. Put me on a bus in India? I don’t even want to think of my reaction, but that doesn’t mean I want my kids to hear foul language.

Then there are the couples they choose. One year there was a controlling husband who seemed borderline abusive to his former Playmate wife. And each year, it seems, there’s a gay couple. Now before you go and call us haters, let me just say please don’t. We just don’t feel like having to do a lot of ‘splaining during our reality show escape. I didn’t feel like explaining the gravity defying, enormous boobs of several contestants last year, but that doesn’t mean I’m anti-implant.

If you’ve noticed with these reality shows, whichever way a couple has been labeled at the beginning comes back time and again throughout the competition. Last year we had a mother/son team in which the son was deaf. They’d show a competition and then cutaway to the mini-interview: “As a deaf person, how did today’s challenge effect you?”

I think it will be the same this year with an interracial couple, a team who has a member with Asperger’s, and the dating born again Christians. This painfully pretty couple, on one of their mini-interviews said, “We are committed to being chaste so we aren’t going to have sex before marriage.” I imagined sitting there with Jake and Molly. “Well, duh. Of COURSE they aren’t having sex, and none of these other people are either.” I mean, how many times this season will their sex life, or lack thereof, be mentioned?

So, even though the language in the first 5 minutes meant that we probably wouldn’t be watching this season as a family, we were wondering if we’d have more gay contestants. We’ve had the lesbian ministers (boring!), the stereotypical middle-aged gay couple who made a strategic mistake by choosing to stay in a quaint little resort celebrating how far ahead they were but ended up last. Last year we had the gay father/son. They were our faves and we hated to see them eliminated.

As they introduced the couples this season, “Inter-racial couple!” “Best Friends Since Childhood, one of whom has Aspergers!” “Married Yoginis” “Dating On and Off for Years—Will he Commit? (NO.), Professional Poker Players!”… we saw one more couple coming down the pike. They were male. They were young. They were hot and well groomed. Could it be? “Brothers!” Tom and I high-fived.

Cutaway to the mini interview: “So how did it feel to come out to each other as Gay Brothers?”

Oh well.