Monday, October 31, 2005

Score one for the health nut!

Well, OK. I’m not really a health nut. But shockingly, I have joined the ranks of parents who, for the last hundred years, have been appalled by sending children who haven’t eaten anything reasonable for dinner into the mean, sugar-coated streets on Halloween.

I remember my own mother’s futile attempts to get us to eat something – anything! – before we went out on our annual rampage. She’d make hamburgers, she’d make macaroni and cheese, she’d make all kinds of things in a vain attempt to get us to eat something that wasn’t chocolate coated or candy shelled.

No dice.

We’d push the food around on our plates watching anxiously as darkness gathered, whining about the loss of good trick or treating time, about how all our friends would have gone on without us, wincing and muttering and shooting her dark glances every time other kids rang the bell and shouted out the gladsome ‘TRICK OR TREAT!!’.

Eventually, she’d give up and let us go. Growling and scowling over our untouched plates, and threatening us with Dire Consequences if we ate so much as a single candy bar before we came home and had some peas or something.

Yeah, right. Not even invoking all the starving children in Africa or China could induce us to eat food on Halloween. Talk to us on All Saint’s, then we were starving. But on the Hallowed E’en? Fuhgettaboutit. Food? Food? Who needs food, when there’s all that candy out there!

I don’t know why I expect my kids to be any different. But still, I try. I try to get them to eat dinner, which three nights out of seven they turn their adorable little noses up at anyway – let alone on such a night, such a grand and glorious night of Promised Gluttony.

But I thought I’d give it a try, anyway.

So I made mini meatloaves, using a cupcake pan.

Then, I made mashed potatoes, which I dyed green, yellow and blue and put into bags tipped with my Wilton goodies (which, after all, I paid good money for and ought to use now and again).

And I made meatloaf cupcakes. With mashed potato frosting. And ketchup spritzes.

I didn’t expect much. I really didn’t. Apart from a little shrieking and giggling, I did not expect my kids to actually, you know, eat the things. I expected they might scrape the mashed potatoes off and play with them, but eat them? Naw, not really.

And I really did not expect to be confronted with not one, not two, but three clean plates (well, five – but Daddy and me, we’re sort of a given when it comes to meatloaf and mashed potatoes!) (and one tray – Captain Adventure also approves of meatloaf) (mashed potatoes, however, are best used to decorate one’s chest and face).

Even Boo Bug, our little ‘vegetarian’ who turns her nose up at most forms of meat, ate her meatloaf with great relish.

Well, I’ll be. Without firing a single ‘there are children starving in Ethiopia, you know!’, I won the battle.

Woo hoo! With protein and starch on board, they have gone off with daddy to see just how much candy three little girls can acquire in the limited time before no really I mean it, bedtime, while mommy puts her feet up between door bell rings and ponders why it is that colored mashed potatoes simply taste better than plain-old ones…

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Always good to have help…


This morning, I broke one of my favorite bowls. I have had this set of nested glass bowls for at least ten years now, and they’ve been one of those “what a great purchase!” purchases. Used daily and so forth and so on.

I broke one a while back, and have mourned the loss ever since. It was, naturally, one of the most useful bowls in the set, the one that was just right for rising bread or mixing things that were “sloppy” – enough room to prevent sloppage but not so huge that it was hard to handle. Then, this morning, the stars aligned themselves juuuuuuuuust right and…as I was just beginning to lift them out to get at the ‘just right’ one for scrambling half a dozen eggs…

Captain Adventure let out a shriek that sounded as though someone was driving an ice pick into his ear
AND
Eldest came skidding into the kitchen babbling in Shriek Voice about something to do with Boo Bug not having buttons on her sweater
AND
I jumped (I did not hear her coming before suddenly she was upon me!)
WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY
My wrists, which have been a bit annoyed with me about all the knitting, holding Captain Adventure (have I mentioned he weighs 24 pounds now? have I? have I? HAVE I?!) and writing longhand last weekend, chose that precise moment to give me a stab of honest-to-goodness pain
AAAAAAAAAAAAAND
{SMASH!!!!!}

I am proud to say that, in the presence of the ever-attentive Eldest, what I said was literally, “Gosh DARN it all to HECK!!!”

Followed by the barked command of, “Out! OUT!” as I surveyed the swatch of destruction across my kitchen floor. Not one, but TWO of my remaining glass bowls lay in varying degrees of flesh-slashing shards from one end of the kitchen to the other.

WAH!!

But that’s not what I’m writing about this morning.

I’m writing about having help.

Inspired by the loss of the three most useful bowls in the set, I decided I needed to replace the set. I sat down for a moment and began noting down the things that need replacing around here, so that if and when I get around to it, I can get/order everything at once.

Then I got up, leaving it lying there while I raced around making lunches and snacks and finding “lost” shoes and jackets and nagging children into putting same onto their bodies. (WHY will they go through their closet, shivering the whole time, and pick out the one (1) sleeveless dress that is still in there?! WHY?! Crazy little creatures…)

Having now completed the first school circuit of the day, and the younger two kids being settled with toys and music, I stuck my coffee in the microwave and picked up my half-begun list to find that I had had a little help.

In case I had forgotten, this is a Shopping List.



Thank you, Eldest.

Now, be a dear, won't you, run to the store and find them for mommy? Preferably on sale, decent brands, pick up your siblings from school and bring me back a mocha while you're at it...?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Peace and Quiet


I just got back from a weekend retreat at (now, don’t you laugh!) Shinneyboo Creek.

I had two and a half days of {gasp!} Peace and Quiet. I almost didn’t know what to do about it. It took me most of Friday to get used to the idea that nobody was going to leap out from under the bed shrieking, “MOMMY!!!!”

I left Friday morning, and got Sunday afternoon. I spent the entire time alternating hiking along the river with reading Joseph Campbell and, of course, knitting. I’m making the Irish Diamond Shawl (this is not me modeling it, I only wish, but I am about, oh, nowhere near done) (related note: this sucker starts out at 79 stitches and then increases 40 stitches per pattern repeat until it ends up at a whopping 672+) (but it is oh-so-fun to knit…and I’ve wanted to for about three years now…and I’ve had the yarn and everything for all that time…and it’s just ever-so-delightful to be actually {gasp} doing it!).

But I digress.

Usually, when I take these little breaks from duty and dedication, that’s all it is. I take the break. I’m gone for a day, two days, a weekend, and then I come home and I feel better and less “prickly” and I pick it all up and off we go.

This, however, was something…completely different.

I would say I spent the vast majority of this time knitting, and thinking. They go hand in hand, knitting and thinking. The act of knitting is physical and linear: purl 2, knit 2, yarn over, repeat 4 times, end knit 6 [flip] repeat…repeat…repeat…

It busies that part of the mind that is concerned with lists, with order, with ‘next’. You know – that part that always crops up while you’re trying to do your yoga exercise, while you’re trying to envision your third chakra blossoming or trying to have a sincere talk with Jesus or what-have-you, interjecting something inane and off-topic like, “I must remember to have Jimbo clear the leaves from the gutter” or “…and eggs, I think we’re about out of eggs, and maybe some nice asparagus to go with the trout and…”

That part that will never shut up, in other words.

Knitting shuts it up. It is absorbed in the counting, the careful guarding against split yarn, the watching of the pattern to ensure no mistakes are made (which will show in the lace!).

Meanwhile, the rest of the mind, the part that talks freely with God, the part that knows but cannot express what one really hopes and dreams, is able to finally get a word in edgewise.

You know…it’s been a long time since that part of my mind has had a chance to say anything.

It was pretty chatty, too. Had a lot of comments about all sorts of things, but I think the one thing I came away with was a refocusing of my energy toward a dream my husband and I share, but have always sort of downplayed and “yeah, right, and then I shall fly to Mars! Because I am their Queen!” sort of way.

I’ll share all about it, in a little bit. I’m still processing, and honestly it’s a little weird and ‘out there’, even for me. It scares the spit out of me to even think about actually going for it, and at the same time it is so exciting to me, so cool and It Could Not Be Better Than This that it’s worth dreaming about and fighting for.

But – I’ve got one kid hollering for his nap right when it’s time to go and get another kid from school. And then a one hour break, and then we pick up Kid #2. Swell. At what point does Mr. Man get his nap…?

**sigh**

Welcome back to the Den of Chaos, Mommy. Hope you had a good rest, because babe – you’re gonna need it!!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Tendering my resignation


I am herewith tendering my resignation from modern life, because of something I just read in Real Simple magazine. YES! The same people who brought me the ‘wash the lampshades every six months or so’ directives just shared this little gem with me, which I am misquoting shamelessly due to being too damned lazy to go look at the magazine again: Dryer sheets and fabric softener remnants can cause “invisible sludge” to form on your dryer’s lint screen – so you ought to wash it with hot soapy water and a nylon brush every so often.

First I thought, Oh crap. I’ve owned that dryer for seven years now, and I have never once cleaned the lint screen that way – only peeled the lint off it and dumped it in the trash! And I trotted right over and pulled it out, and scrubbed the damned thing with soapy warm water and my trusty nylon brush. And, I guess I must confess, a lot of dirty water came off that lint screen.

But then, as I was setting it on the windowsill to dry and thinking, Hmm, that reminds me, I need to wash the Dyson filter, too… it suddenly struck me.

I just washed the dryer lint screen.

My mom was pretty Old Dutch in her cleaning style, yet I don’t remember her ever scrubbing the lint screen on our antiquated old dryer. Nor did she ever instruct me to do so, and I think at some point in my teenage years I was instructed to do just about every single household chore that could be dreamed up by a mother – even one or two that were probably just gags.

Let’s just take a look at some of the other little gems that pop up in my task list, shall we?

We have washing / drying the Dyson filter: every 3 months
And the lampshades, dusted weekly and washed semi-annually
The monthly running of the empty dishwasher with a quart of vinegar; the monthly running of the empty washing machine with a healthy dose of bleach; and the cleaning of the inside of the dryer while we’re at it
Let us not forget to spray the entire perimeter of the house with pest-repellant, monthly
The yearly cleansing of the carpets by professionals
The semi-annual scrubbing of the stove filter
Fridge coils…Re-sealing the tile grout in the hall and kitchen counters…Emptying and cleaning out the cupboards, and laying down new contact paper…Disinfecting the fridge / freezers…Disinfecting the microwave…Cleaning the window tracks…Washing the blinds…Vacuum and flip the mattresses…

AND NOW, we have ‘wash the dryer lint screen’?

Wait just a doggone minute, here.

At some point, we have just got to draw the line.

That’s it. The apron, my friends, is off.

I am going to shut this thing down, wash the Dyson filter only because if I don’t I will be thinking about it all freakin’ weekend, make myself a cup of tea (or something) and sit with my knitting watching my children frolic (OK, attempt to kill each other – but ‘frolic’ just sounds so much nicer, doesn’t it?) until my husband gets home.

And then, I’m going to paint my toenails. Yes. Yes, I am. While any number of essential household tasks go unperformed, I am going to put a mauve-ish paint on my tired old dogs and pretend it makes them look “perky.”

So there.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Oh my Dog…


My former job is on the block again. Well, not MY job literally, but that’s what I did for a very long time for ‘a major financial institution.’

*sniff, sniff*

I miss it. I miss it so bad.

Of course, this isn’t really MY job. MINE was in small business cash management at a Major Financial Institution. This is for Online Banking for Major Financial Institution…hmm…I’m going to guess it will be Wells Fargo, Bank of America, or Citibank. Just a guess. An idle, ‘gee I wish I could call and find out, only except I can’t because I have no intention of taking job or interview and really, why would I want to torture myself by finding out it IS for the one I’d like to work for and maybe even working for one of my old buddies at said Major Financial Institution’ guess.

First of all, by the time I could scramble together childcare for my kids, the position would be filled. And secondly…that’s a two hour each way minimum commute for me. So we’re looking at a twelve hour minimum day. Plus the fact that an eight hour day almost never happens in this gig – more like a ten to twelve hour, so hey! There I am! Back up to a sixteen hour day!

**groan**

Why can’t this gig be here in town?!

Oh well. Suck it up and walk it off, girl, suck it up and walk it off. Some other jackass, who isn’t nearly as good as I am or as in love with the whole industry as I am or even a quarter as desperate as I am to get out of the damned house, not to mention as greedily hungry for the paycheck, will take the job. S/he will probably hack around at it for two or three months until they crap out, either from exhaustion or because they can’t handle the work itself.

And then, I will see it in the listings again. And I will close my eyes and I will say, fervently, “…but it is so wonderful that I am able to stay at home with my kids and watch them (and the back lawn) grow…”

Monday, October 17, 2005

OCD


One of these days, when I can find motivation enough, I swear I am going to have myself tested for OCD. I may not be at the level of Monk, but by golly I’m getting there.

What has brought this to my attention is a bag of M&Ms, which I’ve been eating while working on the Great American Novel™. I just now caught myself doing something that is so bizarre it really gives me pause to wonder about myself. Again.

I have been sorting the M&Ms. Not in a conscious sort of way, but in an absent-yet-obsessive-minded sort of way.

What made me realize I was doing so was when I got down to the last two M&Ms…and they were different colors! One orange, one green.

This development caused me to freeze in my eating as though I were presented with something like, “Do I want to eat raw trout, or suck down an uncooked egg?”

I have now discovered that I like to eat M&Ms in a very specific way: two at a time, and they must be the same color. Honest to God, I have been sitting here sorting the damned M&Ms by color and lining them up, two by two, for devouring, and never noticed I was doing so until the Great Orange and Green Fiasco.

I still haven’t eaten them. They are sitting on my computer desk. Mocking me. Refusing to conform and be the same color. Probably have micro-cameras hidden in them, which are recording my refusal to eat them for the amusements of the masses, too.

Uhhhhhhhhh-huh.

Hokay.

Right.

In other news, I must also now acknowledge that I have been washing my hands so frequently that I am developing cracks in my fingers (because when I use moisturizer, my hands immediately feel “dirty” again and I must rewash them) and have begun using Clorox on everything I suspect might possibly have a (gasp! horror!) germ on it. This is because I have suffered through more bouts of gastrointestinal distress in the last three months than in my entire life beforehand. Even during pregnancy, I have not spent so much time inspecting the rings around my toilets.

So now, I’m paranoid about germs. I’m convinced that the Cruise Ship Flu has entered my house, probably on the doorknobs, and must be eradicated via the prodigious use of bleach! HA HA! TAKE THAT, you nasty GERM, you!!

So. With that, I am going to eat the green and orange M&Ms at the same time, just to prove that I can. Then, I’m going to rotate the laundry.

Then, I’m going to wash my hands because I’ve just put dirty laundry into the washing machine and God Alone Knows what manner of germs might have been on those little shirts and underwear…

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Time the Heck OUT!!!!


All four of my children are currently in their bedrooms. One is napping. The other three…

Wow.

This is a truly rare occurrence, but all three of the older kids are in Major Big Trouble right now.

Eldest, after having been told five times to go upstairs and get dressed until finally she was physically pushed by her mother onto the stairs shortly after I got Captain Adventure down for a nap and told to Get Dressed, and Get Back Down Here Quietly, went upstairs and started goofing off in the bathroom. More mess was made, pipes were rattling, and Captain Adventure woke up and began crying.

And, when I went up there to tell her to knock off the playing, she was still in her nightdress. ARGH! So I yelled (quietly) and got her to get dressed.

Coming back down the stairs, I found that Danger Mouse had gone into the downstairs bathroom, taken the baby shampoo and poured it into a cup which she was ferrying into the playroom to pour onto Boo Bug, who was stark nekkid behind the sofa. What the hell?!

So after boxing Danger Mouse a good one on the butt, I took away the shampoo and put them into Time Out.

Eldest came downstairs and asked if she could watch cartoons. Which she did for all of five minutes before snarling, “SHUT UP, YOU IDIOTS!” at her sisters.

Upstairs to her room she went, with mother scolding all the way and then giving her a brief lecture on Watching Her Tone of Voice and We Don’t Speak To Each Other That Way, YOU IDIOT!, followed by the injunction to “stay in this room until you have thought things over and see them my way”.

Then I come back downstairs and find the middle two have, in less than two minutes time:

Found a baby bottle, taken the lid off it and poured rancid milk all over the floor and played in it;

Swiped the sugar dish off the counter and gotten most of the sugar on the floor;

Upended a box of mega-blocks and scattered them all over the playroom, making it worse than a minefield to get across.

Also, there is now baby shampoo all over the sofa from Boo Bug’s dousing and the entire downstairs smells strongly of sour apples and sour milk, combined.

So I marched them upstairs and put them to bed. Where they proceeded to jump on the beds and wake their brother, who has not gotten a decent nap in four days due to assorted stupidities ranging from Costco to the pumpkin patch.

And Yet! I have it on the best of legal authority that murdering them outright is against the law.

A quick check of the almanac confirms my suspicions: the moon is full tomorrow at 7:14 EST.

Until then, wish me and my offspring luck.

Well, actually, they don’t really need it. My wrists are too sore for prolonged beatings right now anyway…

Saturday, October 15, 2005

GOOD NIGHT!


We went to a local pumpkin patch today. I didn’t want to go. When we made the arrangements to go, my husband was going to be with us and all was groovy. But then something came up, as something always seems to do, and suddenly he couldn’t go and I was on my own with the four of them.

Interesting fact: Captain Adventure weighs 24 pounds. Which isn’t that heavy if you’re just picking him up to put him in his high chair, but which becomes downright onerous if you put him into a backpack and tote him around a pumpkin patch for four hours straight. Kicking you all the way. And chewing on your hair. Eeeeeeeeeeeyuck!!!

The knots I have acquired in my back and shoulders will be with me to the grave.

Also, I have about three-quarters lost my voice from all the shouting. The pumpkin patch is very noisy, especially when there is a DJ on site. Very, very noisy. And three little girls all dashing off in different directions gets kind of hard to manage. And three little girls who are dashing off around a petting zoo is enough to give you gray hairs in spite of the fact that you just dyed it.

As an interesting aside, however, I cracked myself up by shouting, “Get OFF that chicken, NOW!!” at one of my kids. Of all the phrases I just never thought I’d be yelling at the top of my lungs in public…that’s a big one.

And, from the Annals of Na├»ve Insensitivity, I produce the following gem: Danger Mouse and Eldest were making alphabet shapes with their fingers. “Oh look, I’m a ‘z’!” “I can make an ‘h’!”

And then Eldest comes up with this one: “Lookit, I’m a big fat A! Boy, I sure am fat, I must be eating WAY too much, I’m so fat-fat-fat, eat-eat-eat, fat-fat-fat…”

Sitting right next to us, watching the girls play, was a lady who was morbidly obese. Three hundred pounds if she was an ounce.

{rubs forehead}

So I nixed the game and tried to discreetly point out to Eldest that she was being a bit insensitive – it wasn’t nice to say things like ‘I’m so fat because I eat too much’ when there was a lady sitting there who obviously had a problem with her weight, because it might hurt her feelings.

And Eldest looked up at me and said, in a voice that was probably heard all the way in Arizona, “But MOMMY! The letter ‘A’ is fat, and my teacher says that you get FAT when you eat too much of the wrong foods and don’t EXERCISE!!” (Here she jogged in place and did a few frantic jumping jacks to show what she meant by ‘exercise’)

**groan**

Memo to me: in safer venue, try to get Eldest to understand that regardless of the basic truth that most of us who are overweight are overweight because we tend to eat more calories than we need while leading lives of all but total inactivity, shouting this in the face of a very, very fat woman is hurtful and unnecessary. And if she can’t grasp that, resort to the timeless classic of, “It embarrassed me, don’t ever do it again!”

So eventually the ordeal was over and I threw all the children into the van. The shrieks of “I’m hungry” began almost immediately, so I pulled us through a drive-thru.

They were very fast handing the bags out the window, because they utterly ignored the ‘ketchup only’ part of the cheeseburger order. So I got to listen to the wails and cries of the oppressed as my poor, abused, starving and otherwise put-upon children had to {gasp!} take the pickles off their cheeseburgers and {ack!} deal with having a smidgen of mustard on them.

Ooooooh, the sheer unmitigated horror!!

(My French fries were cold, but I mostly fed them to Captain Adventure anyway so it didn’t matter – see, see how easy I am?!)

Then, we got home. Now, Danger Mouse and Boo Bug are still in the lock-up (a.k.a., the playroom/kitchen area) until further notice because every damned time they get out of my sight, they instantly rush off to sin. As much as it irks me to have them climbing the walls in the playroom with me all stinkin’ day (just try to, say, read a newspaper, with them around), they have got to learn how to play with their toys in their rooms without sallying forth to attack my closet, my jewelry (such as it is) or tearing apart the bathroom.

So after a few hours bouncing children, we had dinner and while I cuddled an exhausted baby to sleep, the older kids were sent upstairs to get ready for bed. This should involve changing into night clothes, brushing teeth, going potty, and getting into bed.

But no.

It involved brushing teeth and apparently the mirror as well, since it was covered with toothpaste. It involved dumping the entire frickin’ bottle of kid’s shampoo into the sink and then filling the sink with water to make bubbles. It involved getting yet more water on the floor. It involved using the potty, but never flushing the potty, which resulted in a potty which is full of both pee and toilet paper.

Lovely. I just cleaned that bathroom, too. It was shiny and spotless this morning when I helped them brush their teeth. In fifteen minutes, those kids took a sparkling clean bathroom and reduced it to rubble. Impressive, aren’t they?

THEN, Danger Mouse decided that instead of the more survival-oriented response of, “Sorry, mommy” about the toilet paper + not flushing + toothpaste on the mirror + not having nightclothes on yet issues, it would be a good idea to sass me, loudly enough to wake the baby I had just spent half an hour coercing to sleep.

Bad idea.

Bad, very bad, supremely bad idea.

My hand is still a little tingly-sore from beating her on the behind. She’s just lucky the lizard in my head woke up and said, “Whoa, hang on there, no killing the offspring – we need them! For…something…” because I have not wanted to backhand one of my children right out the second story window quite so much in a long time.

Another thing to discuss with Eldest at a better time is whether or not it is wise to try to jump into the fray when mommy is administering a scolding. Even if you are agreeing with mommy, it is simply a Very Bad Plan to get in the middle of something you could just as easily take yourself entirely out of by, say, going into your room and closing the door.

The toilet, when tentatively flushed, promptly backed up. I am getting way handier with the stupid plunger than I ever wanted to get, thanks all the same. But at least the pee-tinged water did not flow all over my floors this time. Unlike That Last Time…wait…let’s not go there, OK? I’m almost out of vodka around here as it is…

But now…two hours later…everybody is in bed. The dishes are being washed by the dishwasher, which I learned today many immigrants don’t use, for reasons I really just can’t grasp. Because I love my dishwasher. I love being able to throw my dirty dishes into the damned thing, turn it on, and end up with (mostly) clean dishes, suitable for putting food upon so that I can put them back into the dishwasher.

And I, too, am going to bed. Because tomorrow is another day and because tomorrow, I will still be the mommy and required to provide three squares, clean clothes, reasonably clean living space, decisions on everything from what colors may be used to whether or not it’s OK to use glue sticks…which it is not, because the last time glue sticks were used in this house, Boo Bug ate one and Danger Mouse used the other to glue paper all over my fridge and by the way, little known fact, by ‘washable’, they mean ‘might probably come out of clothes in the washing machine’, not ‘can be easily removed, along with attendant paper, from the side of a refrigerator’.

Because it was not easy. It was not easy at all.

No glue sticks in the Den. Ever again.

And with that, good night, and may your God go with you…

SSSSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!


“Sssssshhhh!” {scrape, scrape, scape}

{stage whisper} “Ok, ssssssh! Get this! Ssssh! OK! Quiet! Sssh! Don’t laugh! Sssssh! OK”

{thump} pause {rustle, rustle, rustle}

{thump, thump, scurry scurry} {scrape rustle scrape} “SH!”

The parents reading this are already laughing and saying something like, “Hope she got in there pronto, ‘cause those kids are up to something!”

For the rest of you, who are blithely unaware of what these sounds may mean…it means that two little girls are in Time Out until 2030. Possibly 2031, if they don’t stop screaming and crying about it.

So I’m in the office trying (again) to set up the online bill payments for my new checking account (see, this is why I’ve stayed with the same bank for years and years, because I understand their online banking and already have all my payees set up in it).

Upon hearing the above noises emanating from the kitchen, I sprang over the gate to see what they were up to in there. I found Boo Bug and Danger Mouse huddled under the kitchen table, a birthday grab bag I had completely forgotten about having been swiped out of a kitchen cupboard and the contents dumped out on the floor. Danger Mouse was shoving gum into her mouth as fast as her little hands could manage, because she knew it was only a matter of moments before I descended in wrath and judgment upon them.

I made her spit it out. And I took it all away, marched it into the laundry room, and chucked it into the trash, put them on the couch, told them how disappointed I am and that if they got off that couch it would be Real Trouble, Missy!

Children have the most amazing ability to not understand that I can hear them, even if I’m not in the room. They’re always shocked and amazed when I hear things like, oh, say, a chair being dragged over to the cupboards. Or the sound of a cupboard being opened. The sound of a bag of treats being torn open, the clatter of the sweets on the floor, the constant ‘sh! sh! sh!’ of the older child to the younger as they shove chairs aside to get under the kitchen table, a spot they apparently believe has the ancient church concept of Sanctuary attached to it, because invariably this is where they go when being nefarious.

They also can’t fathom how I could hear them from all the way downstairs when they were playing with the water upstairs (we’ve got noisy pipes) or how I knew they were getting into my bedroom (baby monitors – they’re not just for nap time, anymore) or how I knew just by looking at them that they’d gotten into something they weren’t supposed to get into (well, when you jump and shriek then put your hands quickly behind yourself, shake your head and blurt out, “NOTHING!” before I can even ask what you’ve got there…that’s kind of a dead giveaway).

Someday, they’ll figure this all out.

Until then, I’m going to enjoy the ease with which I can bust them when they sin and the fact that if they decide they’re going to fight me about it, I can pick them up bodily and toss them onto the couch like a sack of potatoes.

Oh yeah. WHO da mommy?!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

And another thing...


OK, here's another mystery of life to ponder in your idle moments.

Why is it that if I make two boxes of Mac-n-Chez for the kids (because they've been eating like little horses all day and must be going through a growth spurt or something), they will each eat approximately 1/4 tablespoon of same and then declare themselves full, leaving approximately a box and a half worth in the pan?

But, if I say, "Ha ha! Fool me once blah blah blah!" and only make one box (because they've been eating like little horses all day and are therefore obviously not all that hungry at this point)...they will each eat one full and one half-full bowl and then go into hysterics when informed that it is all gone and demand to see the scraped sides of the pot as proof?

And why must little girls be so cotton-pickin' dramatic all the time? Boo Bug and Danger Mouse fell sobbing into each other's arms over the {gasp! swoon!} End of All Macaroni and Cheese That Ever Was Or Will Be Ooooooooh However Shall We Survive?

Oh, for pity's sake. We have a bowl overflowing with fruit. We have Ritz crackers. We have cheese slices. We have graham crackers. We have raisins and we have peanuts. We even have microwave popcorn, for cripes' sake.

And, even if we didn't, everybody had waffles for breakfast, and apple (with cinnamon) for snack, followed by a corndog and applesauce lunch AND a cheese and cracker afternoon snack THEN a bag of popcorn AND a handful of M&Ms each PLUS you guys ate most of my popcorn, thank-you-very-much...

The chances of starvation are slim to nil, at this particular time.

Yet, there they are. The Drama Queens. Sobbing, crying, comforting each other with cries of, "It's OK, honey, it's OK, I'm sure mommy will find us something to eat..." {boo hoo, boo hoo}

Oh, ack. Have a cracker.

Geesh.

The Continuing Comedy of Inconvenience


In other news, the comedy of inconvenience that is the school’s schedule deepens. In today’s installment, our hapless clown (me) discovered that on minimum days, yet again, everything is different. October, from this point forward, is all but entirely made up of minimum days.

See, here’s what I thought the schedule would be, from my reading of the approximately six thousand flyers handed out to assorted children in recent days:

Eldest: 8:20 – 12:40 (but I can drop her off at 8:00 to play on the playground with supervision) (can, will, and do)
Danger Mouse: 8:00 – 11:40
Boo Bug: 8:00 – 11:00

Now, on the one hand, yes. That’s a lot of trucking back and forth for pickups on minimum days. But I was actually pretty happy about it, because I’d have three full hours with only Captain Adventure, and those three hours are three of his best. He’s cheerful and content to be dragged all over the place from 8:00 to about noon. Then he starts needing his nap, which means he starts being harder and harder to keep happy, until eventually he turns into a little ball of can’t-be-pleased exhaustion. And of course, after his nap he may be OK, but everybody else (including mommy) isn’t exactly the freshest rose on the bush.

So. We could, say, go to Costco. Or the bank. Or any number of open-early things. Plus, it was three full hours, instead of the two, two and a half I get ordinarily.

But no. That might have been translated to mean “convenient”.

So.

Instead…

…we have…

Eldest: 8:20 – 12:40
Danger Mouse: 8:00 – 11:37
Boo Bug: 12:00 – 3:00

Just like every other day. Boo Bug is in from 12:00 to 3:00, except on her track-off day…which I don’t understand, because I was told that there was no track-off for her class, and that her class is not on the year-round schedule but would instead be on the regular traditional schedule which doesn’t “track off” but rather takes summers off, only it seems her teachers think they follow red track in terms of being on/off school and see, the problem here is that my older kids are on green track, and…{sob, sob} I’m just so confused!!!!

**sigh**

I mean…just…honestly.

I must have enemies in high places in the school district. Seriously. There can be no other explanation.

This has irked me to the point where even my pretty Pollyanna-like ability to find something good about the situation is strained.

I told myself, “At least I’m not running around to three different schools…”

To which I replied, “Hey, genius. For a little tiny bit more than you are currently paying for the State Sponsored Yet Not Really Much Less Expensive Than Private Daycare, you could pay for two full days (or five half days) at a school for Boo Bug, drop her off as early as 6:30 and not have to deal with her again until 6:30 at night, no matter what the older kids’ schedules are doing.”

“Well,” I then snapped at myself, somewhat testy because I resent the implications of the phrase ‘not have to deal with her again’, which implies that I am a Bad Mother who wishes to be free of her cherished and precious and otherwise adored offspring (who has just been told, for the SIXTH time tonight, not to hit her baby brother on the head with a wooden spoon). “If I just wanted to ditch her in daycare, I could take her to I’m A Mom Who Needs The Money Bad Daycare right across the street to play in their mosh-pit! We’re talking about getting her that preschool stuff the Omnipotent They say is so important for her future success as a Yale-educated lawyer!”

To which I said, “**snort!** Yeah right, look me in the eye and tell me 99% of your grousing isn’t because you want that ‘fewer or no kids’ free time bad!”

To which I said, “You’re on!” And I looked me in the eye, and I noticed that it has been way too long since I plucked my eyebrows. While I dug around in my drawer looking for the tweezers, I informed me that if I wanted to really go whole-hog, I could pay for two full days for both Danger Mouse and Boo Bug, and let the school do the transporting for Danger Mouse on those two days. See, this way, I wouldn’t even have to worry about the whole afternoon-kindergarten thing. Drop her and Boo Bug off after I drop off Eldest at school, then all I’ve got to worry about on those two days is Eldest’s schedule.

And even that, I told myself reasonably, I wouldn’t have to deal with…if I cared to pony up the measly little sum requested by the after school program so that my Eldest, who begs and pleads with me almost daily to be permitted to do so, could stay in the damned library reading and reading and reading with her Best Friend and Platonic Soulmate, the school librarian.

See, then? I would have two days when I dropped everybody off at 8, 8:30 at the latest and didn’t have to deal with them again until 5:30 (or so) at night. And it would only cost, uh, well, let’s see, at this point we’re up to about, uh, well, ahem. {mumbles} four-hunnerd-and-thirty-a-month.

**sigh**

Can you tell that it has been a long, long week? Oh yes. It has been. A very long week indeed - and the damned calendar informs me that it is only Wednesday. The husband hasn’t been home for bedtime the last two days, and while the kids (mostly) go to bed for me, they protest vigorously the whole time and then push the envelope as hard as they can without actually getting their little butts reddened. Also, they’ve been acting out more than usual – in point of fact, the middle two are currently ‘grounded’ due to having pulled all their clothes out of the closet and scattered them around the hallway upstairs, poured water all over the floor and counters in the upstairs bathroom, and taken away all the baby’s toys and tried to hide them upstairs in their room.

And now…this. I mean…I just…it’s only that…I…how can I put this delicately?

WHADDYA MEAN, I’VE GOT TO INTERACT WITH THEM…UH…MORE?!?!

And to you, the asshat in charge of the scheduling for {name withheld to protect the innocent} Elementary, I must say this: I will find out who you are, and where you live.

And you shall pay for doing this to me.

Oh yes. You shall pay…I shall sneak into your house in the dead of the afternoon, unplug all your appliances and then plug them in again. HAHAHAHA! You will be a "twelve o'clock flasher" forever (or at least until you can find a school-aged kid to reprogram them all for you!) (which you won't be able to, because their schedules are so impossibly whacky! Bwa-HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!).

Meanwhile. I am telling myself, firmly, that I have four of the most adorable children in the world and should count myself incredibly lucky that I, and I alone, have the blessing of watching over their every belch and giggle all day, every day except for those few, lonely hours in which one, two or even (dare I say it) three of them are in school. Lookit these adorable little faces, shown here on Halloween 2004!



Wouldn’t you just kill to be in my shoes, watching over these three impossibly adorable little…darlings?

Well, you’re in luck! Coming soon to an eBay auction near you! Bid early, bid often!!

By the way – those costumes? Those costumes from last Halloween? Guess what they want to wear this year? Oh yeah. That's right. The Exact Same Thing.

See? They’re even cheap to have around! Just keep using the same Halloween costume, year after year after year after year after year after…

Phrases I Can’t Believe I Must Say More Than Once


“Do not hit your baby brother on the head!”

IMHO, I should not have to say that even once.

Let alone, uh, {counts on fingers} five times in the last thirty minutes…

$650 per week


That’s the lowest cost I can possibly get to have all four of my children in (mostly) decent care while I pack up my laptop and trot back to work.

If I want to remove the (mostly) part, we’re looking at $750. Just because this is how my brain is currently acting, let me say that again.

Seven hundred fifty and no/100’s, per week. That’s $150 per working day. Or $18.75 per working hour.

I mean, Good God!!

Fortunately, this pretty much gets me out of having to even think about the possibility of going back to work “for real” until Captain Adventure is in college. Or at the very least, 1st grade.

However, on the other hand…it does mean that the kids are stuck with me for the foreseeable future. Which might constitute child abuse, I’m serious. I’m such a neglectful mother that Captain Adventure managed to topple over today and whack the back of his head on the edge of a drawer in such a fashion that he received a goose egg the size of, well, a goose egg right at the base of his little skull. I have no idea how he did it, because I was not staring at him at the time, waiting for such an event. No. I wasn’t. I was staring at the Wall Street Journal online, which wasn’t half as interesting as he is, but still. That’s what I was doing…until I heard the ‘whack!’ followed by the dreadful silence that usually precedes high-pitched and long-lived shrieking.

**sigh**

Oh well. Guess they’ll just have to put up with me, like, forever.

They’re so silly, they seem to think this is a good thing.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

From the ‘Laugh or Cry?’ files…


I say something like this at least four hundred thousand times per day:

“Do not leave your {juice, water, milk, soda} on the edge of the table like that – Captain Adventure will grab it and pull it right over!”

So.

What did I, the Great Proclaimer of Don’t Leave Beverages On The Edge of the Table, just do?

Yup. Poured myself a nice big soda, in the frosty mug (with handle) no less, then left it too close to the edge of the table while I went to retrieve my laptop from the office, where it was charging.

{CRA-SPLASH!!}

Captain Adventure is very pleased with himself, because not only did he pull a beverage onto himself, it was a sticky beverage AND, for bonus points, he only just had a bath this morning.

**sigh**

Laugh or cry, I’ve gotta choose one…

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Chocolate: More Reliable than a Blood Test


DNA? Feh! I scoff at your DNA! My son has just proven that he is, indeed, the child of my loins, grandson to my mother, great-grandson of my grandmother.

Apple-oatmeal cereal? Eh.
Graham crackers? Whatever.
Egg noodles? To the floor with you, tasteless vermin!
Milk? Pfffffft!

Individually wrapped Cote d’Or dark chocolate?

GimmieItGimmieItGimmieIt {chomp chomp chomp}

My undisputed son, child of my very own womb, unconditionally approves of dark chocolate of the 56% cocoa variety. He has thus far consumed two (2) entire little bars of them.

The first one he approached with a touch of caution. He picked up the broken off piece and sniffed it, then cautiously placed it in his mouth, ready to spit it out if it offended.

Then, he stuffed the rest of the pieces into his mouth at a pace that might someday win him titles in hot dog eating contests. When they were gone, he hung over the edge of his highchair hooting anxiously until another bar was proffered.

Which he also stuffed rapid-fire into his mouth. Which resulted in him looking like this:
Yup. Definitely my child. Noooooooo question.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I myself have a 100 gram bar of ‘INTENSE 70% CACAO’ Cote d’Or, and a bathtub full of hot water, and some bubble bath, and a serving of fruit with my name on it.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Finding the groove


The problem with having three kids in school with three different pickup times is mostly in finding a good ‘groove’ to go with.

Yesterday, I tried the “park and wait” method. In this method, you find a parking spot (usually approximately six miles away from the school), and then walk everybody back and forth. So Captain Adventure and I parked, walked over and got Eldest, then walked back to the van and camped for half an hour, then walked back and got Boo Bug, and walked back to the van (mostly because otherwise we’re in the middle of a LARGE stream of hyperactive 3-5th graders), waited another ten minutes, then walked back and got Danger Mouse.

Then, we walked back YET AGAIN to decamp and head for home.

It…kind of sucked. Captain Adventure doesn’t like getting in and out of the stroller so many times, and got very, very vocal about it. Eldest did nothing but whine and be told to shaddup already, and Boo Bug is about to be renamed “Dawdle Bug”, because she is the slowest walking child in the Universe!!

So today, I tried the “continual pickup line” route. I intentionally hung back until the stream of cars had gone from a flood to a trickle before zipping into it. Pulled around to the front and got Eldest, then simply and (mostly) calmly, got back into the floodwaters of the people arriving for the 3:00 preschool and the 3:05 “big kids” pickups.

THEN, when I got Boo Bug safely into the van, I pulled forward and parked right there at the very front of the line for the ten minute wait until Danger Mouse got out. At which point, I still had to make the full circuit one final time because the preschoolers are brought out to the very front of the driveway, while the kindergarteners are corralled at the very back of it.

**sigh**

It sucked less than the back-n-forth hiking method of child-retrieval, but it still sucked. At least, I could put on a Baby Einstein tape for Captain Adventure to stare at while we waited, which minimized his overall pissiness – which is excessive right now because he is a) sick and b) teething and c) getting too big to just sit there and stare in wonder at the back of my seat.

**sigh**

See, these are the moments when paying for the local Montessori starts to sound really, really good. Drop all the girls off at 7:30, pick them all up at 4:30, done deal. Same daily schedule, same vacation schedule, no minimum days, no early release days, no National Squirrel Appreciation Schedule to keep track of. Just, drop them off at 7:30, be back at 4:30 to get them.

Let’s see. It would only cost me…$1840 a month. Heh. That’s all. Just a measly $1840 per month to get a synchronized schedule, plus music and art as curriculum. Cultural studies. Language studies. “Tea time”! Oh yeah! I am so incredibly down with afternoon tea!

Hmm. $1840 per month, huh? Oh, and this just in: I could actually drop them off as early as 6:00, and the pickup time ends at 6:30! Which is great, because in order to pay for this, I’d have to go back to work ASAP! In which case, I’ll probably have my husband take them to school because I will have been on the road for hours by 6:00 in the morning, and he’d likely have to pick them up once in a while…or maybe every night…because I’ll be stuck in traffic somewhere or in a meeting or something and unable to make it on time…no big, because they’d be enjoying their Inside Time with Day Care Materials and Art and probably not thinking about me and my pathetic box of broken crayons and cries of, “Glitter glue, are you NUTS?! The last time you guys had glitter glue it took me six weeks to (blah blah BLAH BLAH blah glue blah mess blah sticky blah and another thing blah)” one little bit…

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

*blink, blink*


I took the car for a minor service Saturday morning. Two hours of sitting in the waiting room while things were tweaked, arranged, drained, refilled, blah blah blah. Naturally…I brought my knitting.

The waiting room was positively stuffed with people. Not one, not two, but THREE of them said something like this to me:

“Wow, that’s really cool. Do you knit, too?”

*blink, blink*

Now, the problem here is, how do I say, “This is knitting” without the unspoken “…ya idiot!” coming through?

Honestly – I don’t think that people who don’t know the difference between crochet, quilting, sewing, knitting and playing the harpsichord are stupid. It isn’t exactly taught in school any more, and your mother probably didn’t knit, and in my case even my grandmothers didn’t knit, thanks.

It’s when people think they know the difference and don’t that I start getting that wee little headache in the temple. One of the three actually told me at some length all about how her very own three daughters had taken up knitting after being taught by their grandmother, and how she used to crochet herself when she was young, then ended the tale with, “…so, do you ever knit, too, or just crochet?”

*blink, blink*

Hokay. If you used to DO crochet...how is that you can't tell that I'm using two (2) needles, as opposed to one (1) hook? Hel-LO.

This reminds me of the time that somebody walked up to my while I was playing the harp at a Renaissance fair and said, "Wow. That's the biggest autoharp I've ever seen!"

This is my harp.

This is an autoharp.

Yet, because my harp doesn't look like this one...it would be easier to convince this guy that we actually lived in Bolivia than that the name of my instrument is 'a harp.'

Not an autoharp. Not a harpsichord. Not a dulcimer.

Just...a harp.

And this...is just knitting. Not tatting, crochet, weaving or spinning. Just...knitting.

And with that, I’m getting back to the next 5 hour baby sweater, which I’m making in the ‘smaller but not quite preemie’ size. I’m on a rampage with these things for two reasons. One, it’s getting cold out there, yet there are still a lot of babies going home in just the free hospital t-shirt because their parents either didn’t bring anything else or, worse, don’t have anything else. I literally cannot imagine that. I can readily imagine not having many things for Baby, but none at all? But, then again…baby clothes are the hands-down hardest things to find at the thrift stores. Captain Adventure doesn’t wear Brand New Fancy-Dancy clothing because I’m the kind of mommy who dotes more on the babies than the older kids; it’s because I can’t find a darned thing for him at the thrift stores until he gets to about age 2. Then, I can find anything and everything he needs there. I’m told by my inside sources that anything for babies under 2 is generally sold within seconds of hitting the floor, and I believe it.

And two…I need to clear out my craft closet. Stitches West is coming in only four months, people! Tama + Checkbook + Large Yarn Market = “…and isn’t this just the most gorgeous blue you ever did see, and isn’t this is the softest merino you’ve ever felt, and isn’t this the wildest self-striping sock yarn you ever did witness, and then I thought I could make a little scarf out of this and maybe a pair of hand warmers with that and it was on sale so [say it with me, you know this one!] I saved ever-so much money…”

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The which-what-where-when?


I had no Internet access yesterday. All day. Dawn to about nine o’clock last night – nothing.

I thought I handled it pretty well. I only threw things twice and didn’t actually hit anybody either time. Plus, I resisted the urge to call my husband six hundred times at work to wail, “It still isn’t working, I want you to come home right now and fix this damned thing!!!”

In fact, I learned that I can indeed find other things to do all day. I finished one of those five-hour baby sweaters. And got Danger Mouse’s sweater seamed, and should be finishing the neck this morning. If I can decide what the neck should look like, since both Plan A and Plan B didn’t work out that well.

But that’s not what I’m writing about today.

I’m writing about school schedules. Which make about as much sense as my blog, which is to say: none whatsoever.

Yesterday was the first day back for Eldest and Danger Mouse. Eldest started as per usual at 8:15 in the blessed morn – as per usual, I threw her out of the moving van and accelerated away cackling wildly to myself, “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” (OK, in reality, I pulled through the drop off line and did actually come to almost a complete stop before I shoved her out of the van.)

That was where ‘normal’ ended.

See, now, normally our school days go like this: Eldest from 8:15 to 2:30, Danger Mouse from 11:40 to 3:15, and Boo Bug from 12:00 to 3:00 three days a week (not Monday, thankfully). Captain Adventure naps from 12:10 up to 2:15, and we’re golden.

But no. This, the first effin’ day back to school, was an early release day. All Mondays from September through the end of the year are ‘ER’ days. On ER days, Danger Mouse and Eldest get out at 1:30.

I remembered that it was an ER day while we were walking to school…at 11:20. Dagda-Mor as my witness, I realized it because we weren’t nearly run over at each and every street crossing – I thought to myself, “Hmm, where IS everybody today, there’s like, NO traffic…”

And then…the horrible truth hit me…it was an ER day.

AAAAARGH!!!!!!!

Even at my fastest child-pushing waddle, we still didn’t get there until 11:30. If it were a normal day, that would have been a perfect ten minutes early – time enough to say goodbye, get backpacks put away, all that. Instead, we arrived forty minutes late and had to endure the baleful glares of the office staff as we signed in, confessing my shocking indifference to the Future Of My Children™ by walking in to get the BRIGHT RED “my child was late because I am a terrible parent” slip.

I think there ought to be a law against having the first day back to school be ‘weird.’ Seriously. Why did the first day back have to be an ER day? Why?!

And why, pray tell, do they refuse to put the hours for kindergarten on the stupid little calendar thing they send home with us to alert us to these assorted half days, ER days, and minimum days? They put the other grades’ times on there, what’s wrong with adding kindergarten?

Or do they leave it off on purpose to give the school secretaries the ability to talk to a bunch of parents as though said parents were a group of retarded eight year olds? “Well, we recommend that you use a calendar…cal-IN-dur…to keep track of school days.”

Yes, thank you for that stunningly brilliant suggestion. Never would have thought of that on my own…

While I’m on the rampage, why does the entire week before Halloween have to be minimum days? On minimum days, Danger Mouse goes to kindergarten from 8:00 in the morning to 11:37. And Eldest goes from 8:15 to 12:40. And Boo Bug? 12:00 to 3:00.

I just don’t get it.

I seriously envision some childless bastard sitting in his upholstered high-ranking-government-employee chair twiddling a pencil and saying, “Hmm. How else can I make the lives of Breeders a living hell?”

And every so often, something like Afternoon Kindergarten or Traditional Preschool Held At A Year Round Campus occurs to him, and he laughs like a snake: essss-hss-hss-hss-hss.

This is the same guy who decided that in order to assist in your child’s classroom, you must:

1. Provide 3 references
2. Submit to a criminal background check
3. Submit to a DMV screen for tickets and other moving violations
4. Get a TB test

Item 1, no problem. Plenty of people are willing to say they know me well enough to say I shouldn’t ever be allowed around children.

Item 2, no problem. My Mob connections have been very thorough about rubbing out any evidence connecting me to anything.

Item 3, no problem. See Mob connections, above.

Item 4…OK, see, now, we’ve got a problem. In the first place, my insurance doesn’t cover such tests and I have much better uses for $75 - $150 right now (and much better uses for my time than sitting around the $10 clinic for up to two hours like one of the nobler mothers I spoke to, who did so and is now blessed with having to sort folders and homework for her kid’s first grade class) (she did that wait TWICE – once to get the test, and then two days later she did it AGAIN until a nurse wandered out and looked at it!). Well, I’ve always got a better use for money than having a needle shoved under my skin to test for a disease I have no risk factors for, thanks all the same.

In the second place, I…uh…I’m allergic to stainless steel. Yup. Causes me to break out in extreme wussiness, all over my body. I’m actually squirming around just thinking about getting a needle shoved under my skin. You know how I always get my shots and/or blood tests? By having them done in the doctor’s office the moment they’re needed. If they tell me, “Just take this form down to the lab at your convenience…”, it is going to be convenient for me on February 30, 2039.

So. I’m never going to be an aide while my kids are in this district under these rules.

Instead, I’m just going to stand around whining about the bizarre pickup and dropoff rules, the parents who seem to think that it’s perfectly OK to break all traffic laws as long as it means they can pick up their kids faster, and secretaries who can’t seem to understand that I went to college, dammit! I know what a cal-IN-dur is!!!!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Such a view

Ahem. There is a young man sitting at the table in front of the window at the Starbucks from which I am working right now.

He likes to wear those pants that hang down to roughly the knee area. He also has on oversized striped boxers, which seem to prefer the company of his jeans to that of his hips.

Every time he stands up (which he has done at least four hundred times now), his entire…uh...bottom region…falls right on out in front of the window.

There is a young lady sitting near me, and every time he stands up and gives us the show, we can’t help it. We exchange glances.

Then, we laugh.

Hard.

OK, now that I’ve stopped laughing with my new friend, he just got up to walk away.

First, he gave us the show – again. Then, he started walking, and he has to walk like a geisha due to the jeans grabbing him around the thighs in a loving embrace. Little tiny mincing steps, one foot right in front of the other.

Oh my dog.

He looks like a total dufus. I mean, he is reinventing the notion of the dufus. He is the incarnation of Dufa, Lord High God of the Dufus Philosophy.

I almost want to run after him and shove a fiver down his pants…you know, as an appropriate offering to the Great God Dufa…

(And now my new friend has shrieked, “OHMYGAWD, are you going to PUBLISH that?!” Yes. Yes I am. I am going to tell the entire Internet – or at least the two people who are actually reading my blog. Because I am Evil. Not merely evil. Eeeeeeeevil. BWA-HAHAHAHAHA!)

All Hail Lord Dufa, patron of Idiots and Exhibitor of Private Parts…!

Such pretty colors...

When last I had a color printer, quoth the Aged Gray Head, if you printed something like this, with a teeny-tiny little color picture on top of page one and the rest in black and white, it would take approximately three days.

OK, not really.

But it was slow. Very, very slow indeed. I used to print color graphs every so often, and it would literally take about four minutes per page to print out a simple, two column, red and yellow chart.

I printed that page on my spiffy new HP 2700, and it shot out of there as fast (or faster) than my laser printer would have done.

But…with…color.

Oooooooh, aaaaaaaaaaah.

See, this is one of the unsung benefits of not rushing out to buy every tech-toy that your little heart desires the instant you want it. Because I am not surrounded by the latest and greatest all the time, I am ridiculously impressed by something as simple as my printer being able to spit out a knitting pattern with a color picture on it in less time than it will take to knit the pictured garment.

Oooooooh, aaaaaaaaaaah.

Danger Mouse’s sweater is currently on the blocking pad; I think it will be adorable. And I’ll just have to find all the necessary cords and stuff to post a picture of it, because it is the first sweater I’ve actually designed my own self, patterns and all. I’m very proud. Only took twenty years of knitting for me to finally attempt to design something…never let it be said that I’m a slow learner…