Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Lust and Loathing

First of all, this is hysterical. Because people? Guess what color I just dyed my hair (again)?

Your Hair Should Be Red

Passionate, fiery, and sassy.

You're a total smart aleck who's got the biggest personality around.

Oh yeah. It’s copper. {wild cackle}

Anyway. About the lust: We went and looked at a new house today (no particular reason, other than the fact that our current Den is having Issues and this always gives us the delusion that someplace else would be better).

It was palatial. The problem, of course, is that when you go and look at a palatial house…you come home and suddenly the house you own? Turd. Big, fat, smelly old turd. With moldy carpet, ill-conceived design and DAMN IT, how come this old box didn’t come with a BUILT IN WINE CELLAR?!

Being that the housing market out here is crashing like a wingless jet adjusting {ahem}, they are offering incentives on these new homes, which they built and now cannot unload.

They have dropped the price on this monster by $75,000. They are throwing in everything from the awesome stainless steel kitchen appliances (the kitchen is my throne room, people – upgrade my appliances and you have my attention) (say ‘no extra charge for the granite’ and you will have our royal favor forever) to inlaid bathroom tiles.

They will get down on their knees and plead with you to buy these houses.

I am upset. Because I want that house. I want that house oh so ever-loving much.

It is 1,500 square feet bigger than this house, in all the right places. It isn’t just “big for big’s sake”. It is “big and well-thought out by people who said to themselves, ‘Hey, you know what would be cool if you were, say, a family of six with four small children who are daily growing?’”

We walked around that house in a state of shock, because it was as if they had gone into our brains, extracted every single thing that is uncomfortable or ‘not quite right’ or ‘@*^&@!!!’ about our current house, and corrected it, right down to a perfect interior wall for the piano.

And yes. It comes with an actual wine cellar, not huge but large enough for about two hundred bottles of good old California red, white and pink. It has what they call a ‘library’ in a little rotunda – which we looked at and said, in unison, “Music room.” There’s a nook right at the top of the stairs which would be ideal for the harp, ‘on display’ yet out of the traffic zone. There are four bedrooms upstairs, all of them huge by comparison to what we’ve got here. There are two more downstairs, one perfectly positioned for a home office nearly double the size of the one we’re currently sharing.

The master bathroom…well. I may have licked the walk-in closet door handle to mark my ownership. I couldn’t help myself.


As evidenced by the utter chaos in my office right now, my inner organization freak is still hanging out in that closet, people. She is not here. She is there. In the closet, with the California Closet accessories.


I want it. We loved everything about it, from the little courtyard in front to the ‘just right’ backyard – not as huge as the one we currently have (which is a tad unmanageable, actually) (Jimmy Hoffa might be hiding in the grasslands back there, he really just might), not so small that you couldn’t have a decent little garden back there.

The neighborhood is fantastic. There are lots and lots and lots of children. They ride their bicycles outside, with their parents laughing and chatting on the street. Brand new schools, both K-8 and high schools.

It’s like…well. It’s one of those things where, when sitting around with a nice glass of Shiraz pondering the imponderables, I’d propose this kind of house in that kind of place as an ‘if money were no object, I’d like to…’ dream.

This, people, is the lust.

As for the loathing…I really, really loathe the fact that I cannot escape the cruel bonds of reality long enough to write a check for $15,000 to hold that house.

I have the money. Well. I sort of do, anyway. I mean. It would be stealing from other things and would cause something of an, erm, ‘issue’, in a couple months when the property and income taxes come due, but that is beside the point! The point is: I could come up with it.

And for normal people, that would be enough. “Oh look, something I want really, really bad! Hey! I have money in the savings account! Quick, let’s transfer it out of there and put the cash down on this sexy house!”

But oooooooh no. Me, I’m sitting here going, “…but, I need that for the income taxes in April, and also the property taxes…”

And we could qualify for the loan. Shoot, yeah, we could – and not one of those scary-a$$ed ‘exotic’ ones, but a good old fashioned 30 year fixed like your momma had. 360 equal payments of $X, thank you, and then it’s yours.

But! The housing costs would still be nearly 50% more than we’re paying now. And I can’t do like Everybody Else and just say, “Hey, it’s less than one of our salaries – LET’S BUY IT!”

I just can’t. I can’t shake that really old fashioned notion that your housing costs should not ever be more than 30% of your income.


It makes me wish I could…well…just unbend a little. Scream, “WHOOPIE!” and throw money around madly. Worry about tomorrow, tomorrow, and live for right now.

It makes me wish I had never heard of Excel, had no idea you could figure out a monthly house payment, and that the words ‘worst case scenario’ were as foreign to me as they apparently are to the vast majority of California homeowners.

I hate being a grownup.

Loathe. And. Despise. It.

I really, really do.





Can we remember, please, for two flippin’ seconds, that our back molar is broken, and refrain from crunching raw carrots on it?!

Thank you for your immediate attention to the above.

(p.s.: IDIOT!!!!)

The Rapini Report

Rapini is an interesting vegetable. From Wikipedia, Rapini has many spiked leaves that surround a green bud which looks very similar to a small head of broccoli. The flavor of rapini has been described as nutty, bitter, pungent, and 'an acquired taste'.

Yeah, that about sums it up. Actually, I rather liked it – but I can see why others (read as, Denizens) might spit it clear across the room, fall to the floor clutching their throats screaming, “It burns! It BUURRRRRRRNS!!!”

(Actually, I think they did that because it was green. They do this for spinach, broccoli, green beans, peas – if it is green, they act as though it is made of pure acid.)

Last night, I made the Spicy Stir-Fried Rapini with Lemon-Basil Tofu. I made one major adjustment to the recipe, which was to leave out the red pepper flakes – hence, it was actually Spicy-Not-So-Much stir fried blah blah blah.

It was fabulous. For those who aren’t going to read the recipe, extra firm tofu was baked in a marinade of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil and basil, and then added to a stir-fry of garlic and rapini. The rapini itself was a lot like a cross between spinach and broccoli, and like spinach what looked like ‘way too much’ upon entering the pan quickly wilted down to ‘oh, ok’. I also made some brown rice, putting a little garlic powder and sea salt into the cooking water:


It was awesome. I could have just stood over the pan eating the tofu – and I’m not generally all that excited about tofu.

I also did a pricing experiment. I went online and attempted to replicate my order from Planet Organics at Safeway – which is the only store in town which carries organic anything. The cost was approximately 20% less at Safeway…but only half of the order could be filled with organics. The actual price difference organic-to-organic was about 5% higher for Planet Organics; it was when I filled the rest of the order with “whatever you’ve got” that the price difference accelerated – dramatically.

The shipping charge I pay for Planet Organics is $4 less than Safeway – while it’s kind of dirty pool to count that (since I could, in theory, haul my lazy carcass down to the supermarket and avoid that charge at Safeway), it all but eliminated the price difference.

There was one other thing brought to my attention by the nice lady who runs Planet Organics: The prices spike in the winter and then begin spiraling down in the spring. The boxes in winter are fairly sparse, but at the peak of the reaping season they’re so heavy the delivery guys risk hernias wrestling them out of the trucks.

Well, duh. It’s another interesting facet to the experiment: This is old-school market economics at work, and the perishable nature of the goods make it even more aggressive than things like shoelaces. When you’ve got fresh vegetables going to market, you can’t sit back and wait for supply to falter so price can go up – you’ll be left sitting on a pile of fresh compost.

By the same token, those of us who are fed up with flavorless food picked well before its prime so it can survive a thousand-mile journey from whatever point on the planet is currently enjoying spring are going to be arm-wrestling (wallet wrestling?) with other like-minded individuals over a pretty small supply of same.

It’s funny what a role food has suddenly taken in my life in this last year. I mean, obviously, I ate food a lot before this year. And I have always (well, in my adult life – my Denizen’s theatrics have nothing on mine as a child – I believe I actually did subsist on grilled cheese sandwiches and cheeseburgers for about eight straight years…) appreciated fine dining, and appreciated no, really, it’s fresh produce and so forth.

But in this last year, as I’ve been forced to pay attention to the fat and sodium and what-all-else is in my food, I have really started noticing just how…well, frankly, in a word, bad, our supermarket fare really is. I’ve been smothering the veggies in sauces and butter and salt, adding flavor and even texture to them because the poor little things, they needed help.

I have to say, every single thing in that box from Planet Organics has been delicious. It’s the way I remember things tasting, from the oranges to the carrots (oh lord…I still cannot keep my face out of that carrot bag, and it really is getting embarrassing – I think my skin is actually starting to turn a little orange, people…). Even the Denizens noticed the apples tasted better…Eldest said it tasted ‘brighter’, which tickled me no end.

Still not paying $12 a pound for asparagus, though. It just came into season, and peaks in April – I suspect that’s when I’ll start enjoying it!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Giving up Everything for Lent

I am honestly starting to wonder if there’s a hex on me. I unloaded my laptop case and started getting back to work this morning, and couldn’t find my authentication token (the doohickey that provides me with a constantly changing password for the secure systems on which I work – it’s kinda important).

Although it is quite simply not possible for it to have fallen out and equally not possible that I left it in the hotel…it is gone.

Oh, fraggle.

So I have to call up the IT desk and fess up and eventually I get to work using a temporary method involving a temporary user name of approximately sixteen thousand letters and numbers, which took five careful repetitions by the nice help desk guy before I got it right. Yeesh.

Headache: Right where it’s been for the last two weeks now, solidly placed between my eyeballs.

Hip: Very sore.

Back: Would rather be in bed.

Intelligence: AWOL.

Attitude: Crappy, thanks for asking.

I promptly begin spinning my wheels, having circular conversations with myself. If A is true, and B is true, then C…unless Bsub1 is also true, in which case C is actually D. Wait. If C is D, what is A? Hang on, wait. IF I have a B which is true and a C which is true, but D is not true…wait. I know this…start over. If A is going on a date with B…and C knows about it…wait. What was the question again?

I did that on my Most Important Task right up until the moment my boss called to tell me to work on something else, which is now my Most Important Task only except so is this other thing, which also needs to be done before Thursday.

Could he help me out here, because I really don’t understand what C has to do with A, and anyway – do we really care who B is dating?

Wellllllllll…let’s have you work on Thing #2 first and get it out of the way.

OK. You know what? Great. Because Thing #1 is driving me right up a tree. So I’m just going to sit back here and work on Thing #2 and have a nice atomic fireball.

People, I am going to give you some unsolicited advice around atomic fireballs. Ready? Here it is: Do not bite down on an atomic fireball. Even if it has been reduced to the size of an aspirin, do not bite down on it.

One odd noise later, I was spitting out a few slivers of Substance Which Used To Be A Porcelain Crown.


Yeah. Broke a tooth. Well. Not a ‘real’ tooth, thank Dog. Because that would have hurt, a lot. It is a mere crown. A mere…$800…crown…


And now I’ve got a sore jaw and a jagged edge on the broken crown that I suspect I could use to saw drywall and honestly the idea of going to the dentist so they can rip the broken crown out and replace it sounds about as much fun as having holes punched through my toenails AND YET REALLY…there isn’t a whole lot of ‘ignore it’ available on this.

I’ve got to just suck it up and walk myself into the dentist’s office and say, “Hello. I broke a crown chomping down on an atomic fireball AND I REALLY DO NOT CARE TO DISCUSS THAT ANY FURTHER.”

Because you know the entire staff is going to feel compelled to explain to me, with charts and graphs, what a really stupid thing that was to do. (Like I’m not already painfully aware of this.) My goodness, I shouldn’t be eating atomic fireballs in the first place, the sugar will chew holes in my teeth! Also, biting down on hard candies blah blah yadda yadda lecture lecture so forth and so on.

To hear a dentist talk, atomic fireballs should be on the banned substance list, right beneath ‘meth’. Yessir, the only thing that does more harm to teeth? Methamphetamine.

By the way…I can understand a lot of things. I can understand drunks and smokers and pot-heads and acid-droppers and, well, all kinds of silly things we do to ourselves. But meth is something I just can’t get. Have you ever seen what-all goes into that stuff?! I saw a show on it the other day and I was absolutely floored. I just can’t fathom how in the world someone who doesn’t have an active death wish, who isn’t actually attempting suicide, would put that into their body.

“Here, have some of this! I just made it last week, it’s great!”

“Wow, you’re right! This is great! Do I detect a hint of lemon beneath the piquant essence of Duralast battery acid?”

“Why yes, I used imported lemon-scented acetone. So glad you like it!”


But I digress. (And also, I have now officially made myself queasy.)

All of this being duly considered, I firmly believe that what I ought to do is go back to bed and stay there until…Easter.

That's right.

I wanna give up EVERYTHING for Lent. Including the atomic fireballs, the dentist, the working...all of it.

Until the chocolate family arrives for Easter, anyway...

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Pleasure and The Pain

So Friday, I took most of the day off sick. Unfortunately – I really mean that. I wasn’t “sick”, I wasn’t “oh, *cough-cough*, yeah, it’s horrible”, and then off to Stitches.

I was sick. I spent most of the day in my hotel room wishing I felt better. My head was pounding! My back hurt! My sinuses felt…weird. Stuffed, yet, not-stuffed. My stomach was roiling. Fever-n-ague, people.

Then my nose started bleeding. I think what happened was this: aliens came in the night and laid eggs in my nose. The eggs hatched, and the alien larva made their way to my brains to continue growing. They ate my brains and pooped out this alien-snot stuff. And now? What was left of my brains, the alien snot and all the blood that was formerly feeding my brain was pouring out my nose.

That’s what happened, I’m pretty sure. It went on for about fifteen minutes – just long enough for the infamous hypochondriac over here to start nervously fretting about whether or not there was a cousin to the flesh-eating disease that ate brain matter and whether I should take myself to the nearest clinic to check for brain eating viruses.

And then it stopped. I felt tremendously better! So much better, in fact, that I began to feel hungry. So I went out, got some fast food, stopped at Fry’s to search for a power supply for my laptop (HA! Nine million assorted power-supply whatnots, but nothing for MY specific laptop…ooooh, if it had been a ‘D’ 627682 then yes, but the ‘C’ 627682? Nope.), went to Rite-Aid and got some medications.

Then, since I was in the neighborhood, I thought I’d swing by the Stitches market for some coffee.

What? Why are you looking at me like that? I’ll have you know that the coffee in the marketplace is pretty darned good. Much better than any of the sixteen places I passed between Rite-Aid and the convention center…

However, I had an unfortunate accident on my way to the coffee both. See, The Yarn Lady has these HUGE bins, right in the middle of Things, loaded with bags of yarn at 75% off. Well, I came bolting down the aisle, looking neither to the left nor the right, heading for the coffee, and WHAM!

Fell into the bin, came up with four bags of superwash baby yarn clinging to me like Velcro. I tried to scrape it off, but it just wouldn’t come off. It was horribly embarrassing, like some kind of wool-boil outbreak all over my hands. I had to use my credit card to scrape it off me, and was too embarrassed to explain to the cashier that I hadn’t meant for her to grab it and charge all this wool, that I was merely trying to get it off me. (It’s perfect for my charity knitting – it’s warm, soft, machine wash/dry and in great, coordinating colors. I can make stuff for everybody from teens to preemies with this stuff. SCORE!!!!)

Then I made the mistake of wandering past Lisa Souza’s booth. I’m not sure how it happened exactly, but I think it went something like this: I was walking past the booth, on my way to the coffee (as I’ve mentioned before, I was only there for the coffee), when SUDDENLY and WITHOUT WARNING, fifteen heavily armed ninjas leapt from behind the stacks of wool at Webs and, nun chucks whirling, hurled me into Lisa’s booth.

Somehow, three skeins of Printemps ended up in my bag (how exactly is a great mystery), and then another of What-a-Melon joined them. While bravely fending off the vicious ninja attack using my KIPer bag as a weapon, my wallet flew open and my Mastercard fell right on her machine; and then a ninja landed on top of the whole mess and somehow the right buttons were all pushed and the precise amount for the yarn (plus appropriate sales tax) was charged.

Amazing, huh? Yeah, I thought so too. A tale to tell my grandchildren, let me tell you.

But the strangest episode of all went like this. I was walking to the coffee when I came to a very crowded stretch of road. I stepped aside to allow an older lady to pass, because that is how I was brought up. And I ended up in Cheryl Oberle’s booth – She of the Fabulous Shawl Book, which is the one knitting book I would take with me to a desert island if I knew I was going to be stranded there for decades.

And I discovered that she has a ‘not a bit new’ book out, Folk Vests. Not to digress (she said, promptly doing so), but Google hath failed me. Yeah verily, it hath. Because I Googled Cheryl recently (along with Elsbeth Lavold) to see if there was anything new out from her. The only hit I got at that time was the shawls book – but no! The vest book has been out for four years…yet somehow, I missed it.

Not this time. I picked it up. And she signed it for me (I attempted not to be too simpering a dolt). And I wanted to make one of the vests (immediately, actually). It’s the one on the cover, the Celtic Lattice vest.

Now usually what happens when I open a knitting book and get the itchin’ and scritchin’ to make something therein is this: I get the book and then I start digging through my stash looking for a suitable yarn. When I realize I don’t have a suitable yarn (yet another great mystery of life, seeing as how I have enough yarn to put my local yarn store to shame not only in quantity, but quality and variety), I go shopping for the yarn used in the pattern. Then, when I realize that it will set me back $100-200-500-$nosebleed for that exact yarn, I substitute something cheaper.

Much. Cheaper.

And also usually a different weight entirely (it said ‘DK’ which rhymes with ‘bulk-ay’, right?), and the color is weird and I’m matching it with another substitution yarn of even weirder color.

And then, I am shocked when the final product doesn’t look much like the one in the pattern.

This time…I bought the yarn from Cheryl Oberle. Right then, right there, BAM! Slapped down a hundred bucks for the book, the hand-dyed yarn (which, by the way, she dyed herself – I didn’t know she did that, too!) and walked away feeling as though I had done exactly the right thing.

I think the brain-eating-aliens took control of my body. There can be no other explanation for this kind of behavior from me. I am usually way too…well, I over-think. I start examining the costs v. the benefits and then I hesitate and then? I end up with not what I wanted but it will have to do.

This time, I’ve got exactly what I need to make exactly what I want. I’m not only happy about it – I’m smug.

Also, Cheryl Oberle is a lovely, lovely lady. It was a great pleasure fawning all over speaking with her. She has a new book coming out around Fall-ish, which will be just perfect because Stephanie’s new book comes out at the end of March. Six months between knitting-book-purchases simply cannot be considered excessive, even by frugal standards.

The rest of the weekend? Kind of a bust. I went to the mall Saturday and got lots of clothes for my eternally-outgrowing-clothing children; but still felt kind of ‘eh’ so I went back to my room and ‘rested’, a word which should be pronounced, ‘collapsed on the sofa like a slug and only roused herself long enough to go downstairs for the manager’s reception, a bowl of onion soup and a turkey sandwich’.

And today my @*^&@ing arthritis reared up in a major way, the first real life-adjusting episode in a long time. I went to the market, oh yes I did, because it is ONLY ONCE A YEAR, and I was DETERMINED.

But…well. It wasn’t even a little bit fun for me today. My hip hurt so much I honestly wished I had a cane. Or possibly a wheelchair. Or the ability to simply float myself from place to place, using my brain. Or what was left of it, after the aliens ate it. I sat around hoping it would feel better ‘in a minute’ (oddly, a lot of times just getting up and out and about will help make it feel better), but it never did.

So I hobbled back out to my car and drove on home. A little disgruntled because things not only didn’t go according to plan, but kind of went anti-plan on me.

But then I got home and was swept up into the beautiful madness of the Den. Little piping voices, excited little girls trying on their own (and each other’s) clothes.

They tried to claim the yarn, too (make a shawl for me, mommy, a yellow one to match my yellow skirt!), but allowed that probably the babies needed it more because after all – they did have their new jackets.

Captain Adventure snuggled with his Number One Slave momma, and his hair smells so good. We watched Harry Potter and discussed report cards and I thought about how good I have things, really.

My Denizens drive me crazy because I’m so crazy about them. And they’re crazy about me. Which is crazy of them, really, because I’m not anywhere close to a perfect parent or spouse or anything else.

And that’s it. Stitches is over, and won’t be back for another year.

And now, I really mean it, I’m not buying any more yarn for, like, the next eighteen years

Friday, February 23, 2007

The best laid plans

First, right up front, at the VERY TOP, I have to say: My husband rocks. Because a lesser man would have been calling me at the hotel at 1:20 in the morning, when Boo Bug began vomiting.


Again with the flu in the Den.

And people laugh at me and my antibacterial scrubbing of every surface I can reach. Yes, the child was vomiting at 1:20. And 1:50. And…well, you get the idea.

Not only did he not call me about it then, he didn’t call me about it now. It was only when I neurotically checked up on the Denizens because of my inflated sense of self-importance which insists that if I am away from the Den for even TWO SECONDS it will spontaneously combust touched base this morning that he told me about the renewed flu symptoms.

My very first thought was, “How fast can I gather my @*^&@ and hie my patookis back home?”

My second thought was, “WAH!”

By the time my husband and I had finished discussing symptoms, I finally decided I would just…ask. Ask the man. Does he want me to come home?

And I told myself, FIRMLY, that I would TRUST HIS ANSWER. In other words, when he said, “No! Don’t be silly! I can handle it!”, instead of deciding that what he meant was “Dear God YES! Please-please-please come home I’M BEGGING YOU I can’t handle this Waaaaaaaah!”, I’d just go with what he said.

And what he said was, “Of course not. In fact, I’m glad you’re already there so you can’t cancel the trip!”

There are many men who could not be this stalwart under these circumstances. Consider people, he is not only dealing with a vomiting five year old, he is dealing with a vomiting five year old and a two year old and a six year old and an eight year old, with running to and from daycare and everything.

A lesser man would have jumped on the chance to have me come home.

Meanwhile, in other news, I woke up with a terrible, throbbing, pounding, nasty, rotten, no-good headache.

And backache.

And hipache.

And I have apparently swallowed a rather large and pissed off cat, which is trying to claw its way out of my throat.

@*^&@!!!! This is the Cold That Would Not Die, people! And it likes to magically reappear whenever I’m on the verge of relaxation. I am severely irked.

Also, I forgot the power supply for my laptop, which is going to FORCE me to actually take the weekend AND much of today off (unless I run to a computer supply place and pick up another power supply, which I might just do because of that over-inflated sense of self-importance I do have quite a few things I was hoping to work on this weekend.

When not working on this:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting.

Wow. Is that not one of the WORST pictures, ever? Well, see, the main light in the room burned out so I’ve got these little side-table lamps, but really…their light is not so very good. And also I didn’t bring the camera, so I’m taking pictures with my Treo. Whiiiiich really isn’t the best digital picture-taker in the universe, but oh well, there it is.

Another example of bad photography:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Doesn’t that look like a disgusting place to sit? Does that not make you feel like you’d have to go bathe your butt after using it? It isn’t. It’s actually quite comfy and nice. But between poor camera quality and worse lighting, it looks like I’m staying in the Dark Hole of Calcutta rather than a pretty darned nice suite. (Yeah. Suite. I feel so richy-rich.)

Hokay. And with that, I’m off. In search of a Starbucks, a Frye’s Electronics (power trip supply), and if I happen to stumble into, say, the Stitches marketplace, wellllll, c’est la vie, non?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

What’s for Dinner: A New Experiment

I signed up for weekly delivery from Planet Organics.

I will give you a moment to get over your shock.

Yeah, I know. This is a huge departure for me, not only in terms of ranting and raving about saving money on groceries, but I think my skepticism around ‘organic’ produce is pretty well documented.

But there’s a couple things that have been bothering me lately. First of all, the produce I’ve been getting this year? Yuck. I mean, nasty. I mean, gross. Apples rotting literally overnight in the fruit bowl. Bananas that weren’t even suitable for making bread. Broccoli with no flavor. The list, believe me, goes on.

It got me thinking about what was actually in season around here…and right now? The answer is precious little.

We shouldn’t be having plums right now – and they certainly shouldn’t be on sale! They’re being flown in from Gosh Knows Where and it is scant wonder they’re turning to mush before I can even get them home from the supermarket!!

One of the selling points of Planet Organics for me, therefore, was their emphasis on local things.

They ain’t got no plums right now, which is as it should be.

Also, we have not been eating enough fresh fruits and vegetables around here. I haven’t been buying them, I haven’t been cooking them, and I feel we could all benefit from it. I figure having them just sort of turn up on the doorstep each week will be a huge step forward in the fruit-and-vegetative-process around here.

Another thing is that I’ve never really given organics a real chance to prove themselves to me. I’ve had ‘an’ organic apple and said, “Nope! Doesn’t taste any different to me!” and gone on my way.

But I haven’t deliberately sought them out again and again, in a variety of forms, and eaten them for any period of time.

I’ve heard they taste better. The Organic Faithful insist they do. They will fight to the death over this.

So, OK. I’ll give them a real try. For a few weeks at least, I’ll have regular deliveries of organic produce, try it out, and see if I note a real difference.

And finally…I figure it will be something of an “Iron Chef Light” for me.

For perfect example, our first box arrived today. (The apples are, in fact, delicious; and the carrots? Holy Carp, people, I can’t stay out of them – there will be no carrots for the vegetable soup if I don’t get a little @*^&@ self control, here!) (The bananas are good, too, which is a bit miraculous because the bananas I’ve gotten at the supermarkets around here this year have been UCKY EXTREME.)

In this box, other than the apples, bananas and carrots I have been pigging out on (ahem), were the following gems: Black Spanish radishes, and Rapini

Uuuuuuuuuh, hmm.

Being the 'sharing' type, I thought I'd share the trials and tribulations as they came along.

So. Here it is, my dinner plans through next Thursday (which is ludicrously sparse seeing as how I’m about ONE HOUR from leaving until Sunday night WOO HOO WOO HOO!!!!!):

Tonight: Pork Roast with Brussel ‘I don’t wanna hear anything more outta you about it’ Sprouts (easy-peasy recipe: Take the a lean pork roast, rub it with celery salt, pepper, and ground cumin and put it in the crock pot; drape with bacon; dump in the sprouts and dot with butter if you want, let cook while you do other things and then eat it)

Friday: Pizza (just a guess, as I’m not here)

Saturday: Pizza (see comment for Friday)

Sunday: Piz-Oh, hi, honey, you’re home, heh heh, I was just whumping up a nice healthy dinner for the kids!

Monday: Spicy Stir-Fried Rapini with Lemon-Basil Tofu. Blast from my own (top secret) vegetarian past right here, people. I love this kind of food. (My children will undoubtedly be calling CPS after I’ve gone to bed, however…)

Tuesday: Yet More Torture in the Form of Vegetable Soup. I’ve got some chicken stock I made from chicken bits the other day, and some beautiful broccoli, black Spanish radishes, carrots, onion, garlic and even some beautiful fresh tomatoes which, if they don’t get eaten by my greedy-for-tomatoes husband over the weekend, will need to go into something like a soup to still be edible. It won’t need a whole lot of time to cook, and I’ll probably top it with some fresh chive dumplings.

Wednesday: Thank God For Roast Chicken, Canned Corn and Mashed Potatoes At Last, We Were Afraid We Would Never Get Real Food Again

I'm picking up four gallons of milk, a thing of tofu, some garlic, chose to add some mushrooms for the soup to make ABSOLUTELY SURE the children won't eat any of it, some lunch meats, tortillas and some frozen pizzas because I know full darned well that my husband is going to order it in if I don't, bringing our total outlay for groceries this week to $108.

I already had the pork and chicken on hand, and will be baking all the bread from scratch.

And, I may have to run out for an emergency bunch of carrots if I don't quit freakin' eating these right out of the bag...oooooh, but they are gooooooood...

@*^&@-headed Behavior

Sugar Mommy posted a few words for the parents in front of Candyland Elementary School. The eternal open warfare that is the pickup / dropoff lines for elementary schools far and wide are well-documented. I believe I, too, have said a few choice words to my fellow parents about their @*^&@-headed behavior.

But I have been avoiding that particular purgatory for many moons now, thanks to dropping the Denizens off an hour or so before school actually starts. All praise be unto onsite daycare, hallelujah, amen.

TODAY, however, I had to drop them off during {dramatic music} Regular Dropoff.

Yeah. It’s still a major beep-honkin’ mess.

Things that still amaze me. I got there well before crunch time. The attendants are there from about half an hour before school, and I got there with 29 minutes to go until the bell rang. In other words, crowds? Nope. No crowds. Smooth sailing, right up to the carefully painted on the asphalt dropoff slots.

In other words: There is absolutely no excuse for being a @*^&@-head right now. You cannot tell me you saved even two seconds by being a @*^&@-head. Even if you were a brain-surgeon on your way to save some poor motorcyclist from a lifetime of vegetative state after his tragic encounter with an anchovy-delivery truck (which, somehow, I rather doubt), you didn’t save enough time to make any difference.

There are four (4) dropoff slots. The idea is simple: You pull into the parking lot, enter the dropoff line and continue forward until you reach the first available painted slot. At this point (where, by the way, you are not blocking traffic), you can stop your vehicle, let Poopsie finish telling you the long, involved story about what-all s/he volunteered you to bring that day but forgot to tell you about until RIGHT IMMEDIATELY NOW OOPS SORRY MOMMY (not that this has ever happened to me) (ahem), and then shove Poopsie unceremoniously out the car door to get on with the hallowed learning experience.


Can anybody explain the following to me.

Why were there several cars illegally parked in the bus pullout on the parkway so they could eject Poopsie into 40(60) MPH traffic? This is something I particularly want to know in light of the fact that there was a nasty accident there a couple weeks ago that could easily have killed anybody walking up the sidewalk, caused by people doing what? What was it they were doing again? OH YEAH! PARKING ILLEGALLY IN THE BUS PULLOUT TO LET POOPSIE OUT!!

And this in the rain, no less. The accident a couple weeks ago was in dry, clear weather and took out the fence and a fair bit of the lawn…and now? It’s raining. Pouring, in fact. And you, you dolt, are not only parking in that same illegal-on-account-of-because-your-butt-is-poking-out-into-traffic-you-DOLT spot, but you’re having your kid hop out on the left side of your vehicle, right into the parkway?!

Go ahead. Tell me Darwinism isn’t still at work in the world…

On a related note, let us revisit the concept of stopping for the crossing guard. When the crossing guard walks into the crosswalk with his sign held proudly aloft, this means…STOP. It does not mean, “Stop unless you don’t see any children” or “Stop if you feel like stopping” or “Stop but continually inch forward toward him until you are practically rolling over his toes” or even “Stop until you see the children he was helping across the street are fully across at which point FLOOR IT, even if the nice man is still standing IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET with his sign held on high.”

It means STOP, and STAY THAT WAY, until his sign is lowered AND he himself is safely on the other side of the street. Oh, you doubt me on that? Here, allow me to quote from the California Driver Handbook: Near schools, look for: …School safety patrols or school crossing guards and obey their directions. For the crossing guard’s safety, allow him or her to safely get to the side of the road before driving ahead. [emphasis ADDED GOL DANG IT!!!!]

Seriously, girl. What is your problem?! And also, can I please point out that the 8 seconds you gained by being a @*^&@-head were immediately lost at the next stop sign, thereby rendering them un-gained? Just sayin’…

Why did nobody in the parking lot pull forward to an actual dropoff slot? They were all free! All four of them! So why, why, why, did everyone feel compelled to stop in the middle of the line to let Poopsie out?!

And this…this is the one I really need an answer to right now.

Why did the daycare van driver choose to stop in the middle of the parking lot to let her charges out? In the middle of the parking lot! (See, this is why I am so grateful for the onsite daycare that, even though they piss me off with strange ‘miscellaneous’ charges and ‘oh yeah, we’re closed but you can drive Poopsie to one of our other centers a few miles away’ issues, I will not consider a daycare that involves transportation. They’re crazy, each and every one of them!)

I also need to know if she was really all that surprised when they immediately began fooling around in the parking lot, playing keep-away with the littlest kid’s backpack and running here and there in the traffic instead of marching in orderly fashion to their classrooms. The distracted traffic, because all of us parents were busy going, “Wait, you told Mrs. X I’d bring how many cookies? Today? You said I’d bring these TODAY?! When were you going to tell ME about this?!?!” (Not to mention ‘where’s your jacket’, ‘get your backpack / what do you mean you forgot it’, and ‘I just gave you lunch money how can you be out already?’)

So she stopped the 15-passenger van right in the middle of the driveway (with tiny children still in their carseats inside), blocked all traffic in or out, got out, and had to herd the cats children in the general direction of the yard duty.



However, I cannot stay angry at the world when I am about to leave the Den for THREE WHOLE DAYS to immerse myself in a world of fiber at Stitches. And a hotel room. Which I am not sharing with anybody.

With a television set in it.

And also a big, comfy chair for knitting. (Yes. I checked.)

And also, nobody asking me for juice, water, milk, help with homework, ‘what’s for dinner’, or any other thing.

For three whole days.

There will be sleeping in, watching of ‘parental supervision is suggested’ shows (ooooh goodies, they’re going to do an autopsy! Kewl!!), knitting-knitting-knitting AND OH YEAH, MAYBE SOME KNITTING.

I might even get enough knitting in this weekend that I'll get sick of knitting and take up embroidery instead.

Ha. Yeah. Right...


Wimbledon to Pay Men and Women Equally

After years of holding out against equal prize money, Wimbledon yielded to public pressure Thursday and agreed to pay female players as much as male players at the world's most prestigious tennis tournament.

About @*^&@ing time, people. About @*^&@ing time.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

And also, I am apparently knitting an American flag

I swear I am not lying, it did not occur to me that this project was 4th-of-July-ish until a very nice old lady wandered up to me at the doctor’s office and said, “Oh my, isn’t that sweet – for a July baby, I assume?”


I looked at it.

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And I thought, Oh my dog. Red. White. Blue. Stripes.

Instantly, I’m hearing parade music in my head: Three cheers for the red, white and blue

♬ dah-nah-nah, dah-nah-nah, dah-nah-nah, nah! ♬

But wait, it gets better! I had just this morning begun pondering doing a wider blue stripe at the top, across the chest, with little white STARS in it!, and STILL, it had not occurred to me that this would be a little American-Flag-Ish.


Seriously. It’s one thing to be hit with tunnel vision when it comes to craft projects. But when you start thinking about adding white stars on a blue background, to a red and white and blue striped object…c’mon.


How does one born and raised in this country, by rather patriotic parents, who sang the National Anthem by age six and knew the Pledge of Allegiance before she entered kindergarten, thank you mom and dad, manage to get this far into a project without saying, “Wow. This is, like, an American Flag Theme!”

The fact that I found myself putting my right hand over my heart every time I looked at it should have been a clue, people.

And, thank $DEITY even parents who are normally very fashionable lose their fashion sense after the birth of a baby and really, really love to dress their wee ones up for holidays. “EEEEE! Isn’t it cute, honey! Poopsie looks like a cute widdle American flag!

(By the way, you see what I mean about the Quick Knit thing? //ZOOM//!!)

And now, a moment of shameless gloating

So. A couple weeks ago, my husband broke his toe on our coffee table. We went to the doctor, who took an x-ray and said, “Oh dear, it’s broken”, gave him one of those ‘cast-shoe’ things and said, quote, “Keep it elevated, take these ibuprofen and use ice to keep any swelling down. Come back in two weeks for reevaluation.”

Now. Here is how I interpreted these instructions: Stay on the couch for two weeks, then come back to see me regarding whether or not you’re good to go back to work or whatever fool thing you deem worth doing.

This, however, is what my husband heard: Stay on the couch for precisely fourteen days from today, and then you are free to return to whatever fool thing you feel like doing, including going back to work with the 135 mile roundtrip drive and the stomping eleventy-zillion miles from the parking structure in your dress shoes, across campus, up and down stairs, to your cubicle, bungee jumping, jungle safaris, hey whatever!

When he announced that he was going back to work ‘as usual’ this week, there was a little bit of back and forth about whether or not this was a particularly splendid idea. (‘Back’ and ‘forth’ should be pronounced, ‘It’s fine, it doesn’t hurt at all, and she said I only had to put it up for two weeks AND IT HAS BEEN TWO WEEKS!’ and ‘ARE YOU NUTS?! Well, fine, but if you RUIN YOUR FOOT and need surgery and pins and stuff, DON’T COME RUNNING TO ME FOR SYMPATHY!’)

He kept insisting she had said he could go back to work as usual after two weeks. I kept insisting that no, she didn’t, she said come back for reevaluation in two weeks.

We finally agreed to differ and dropped the subject. (And secretly called each other twits and reactionaries and all sorts of other disagreeable names in the silence of our minds.) (Also, I spent the entire day yesterday worrying about his @*^&@ foot, because I had horrible visions of all the various ways he could really, really, REALLY hurt himself, rambling around in the cold, cruel wilderness of South San Francisco with a broken toe.) (And how awful it would be if he had to rely on me for pillow-fluffing or beverage-fetching while he healed after surgery, because I am a rotten, absent-minded nurse and he could actually die of thirst waiting for me to remember he needed some water.)

So. We had the follow up appointment today, during which the doctor said, “Ah. OK, um…didn’t I give you a cast shoe to wear? Yeah, see, I expected you to still be wearing it, because {long explanation that boils down to, if you walk on it right now at all but especially in regular street shoes, you will DEFORM YOUR FOOT and require surgery to correct it}.”

The toe is still broken. He still needs to stay on the sofa. And should categorically not be going back to work as usual etc. etc. etc.

Now, I told you that so I could tell you this.

I am never, never-ever, on this side of the argument. I am always the one sitting there looking sheepish while the nice professional informs me that I will now require surgery to have my gabbleflester removed because when he said ‘don’t eat chocolate’, that included Godiva – and no, ‘good chocolate’ was not like ‘good cholesterol’.

And my husband gets to sit there saying, “What did I tell you? I told her that, I said, ‘Honey, the doctor said you shouldn’t eat that, it’s going to wreck your gabbleflester!’, but would you listen to me? Oooooh no…”

So. Not only am I delighted to discover what it feels like to be on this side of the equation…I AM GOING TO SAVOR THIS PATHETIC VICTORY.

Oh yeah. Let it be written in the Annals of Time: On this day in History, I was right and you were wrong, neener neener neener.

…Maturity personified, that's me...

Dude, I feel your pain

I only wish I could do this with a SQL Server.

Office Guy Goes Nuts

Watch Video

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Laziness does not pay

I needed more solution for the Scooba. The only (and I do mean only) downside I’ve found to this particular little robot is that it really means it when it says ‘only use this solution, or plain white vinegar – nothing else!’. It will literally shut down on you – its sensors know, people.

Yes they do.

And, given the shocking variety of sticky what-nots that end up on my floor, I’ve found the vinegar just doesn’t work. Clorox, yes. Vinegar, eh, not so much. Terrible shame, really, because the vinegar is much cheaper…but I digress.

Anyway, I was about out of the solution (oh, the horror). There is one store in town that carries it (even though there are three (3) stores which sell the Scooba robot, but that’s another rant for another day). Fortunately, this store also has that thing where you can order online and pick up in the store – no shipping costs, and all your stuff is sitting there waiting for you when you arrive.

Let me hear the lazy say, “Oh yeah!”

I hate wandering through the store looking for a bottle of cleaning solution. It is never where I think it’s going to be (either with the robots, or with the other cleaning supplies – it will be in one, or the other, but never the section I go to first).

I’m too lazy for that kind of crap. Also, wandering through Linens N Things is a perilous journey, one I seldom complete without large bite marks in my wallet. And I really-really hate it when, after thirty minutes of wandering, asking four people, each of whom asked three other people who also didn’t know, you discover that they just plain are out of the stuff.

I really like being able to make somebody else go through that process. Somebody who works there, who can ask themselves to check in the back and see if there’s any back there.

If I could just find an option where they also bring it out to my car (along with a nice frappucino, and perhaps a masseuse to work on those shoulders of mine), man, I’d be set.

OK. So. I lazily went online and lazily placed my order this morning. In due course I lazily checked my email and got the confirmation that my two crummy bottles of solution were ready for me to haul my lazy butt in there to pick up.

When I got a good break in my workflow, I lazily picked up my keys and walked languidly out the door. Went to the bank, where with a great lack of hurry-up on me I filled out a deposit slip and put a $5 check into the savings account (yes, five whole dollars; do try to contain your envy, people). Went next door to Linens N Things, already contemplating getting actual food for lunch.

Someplace with actual flatware, know what I’m saying?

Because! I wasn’t going to be spending any time at all wandering through this store on a quest for Scooba cleanser. Oh no! Some poor clerk at the store was going to have done that! All I needed to do was swoop-n-grab, people…I’d have a solid forty minutes left on my lunch hour ha ha, HA! (So, possibly, I was also being punished for impending gluttony…)

I walked into the store. I breezed up to the customer service counter. I handed the nice lady the email confirmation which stated, and I quote, “Your items are ready for pickup.”

“Oh, OK,” she said, nervously, diving for the phone. “I’ve never done one of these before…”

{Dials phone} “Hi Person #1, I’ve got a guest up here who has an online order to pick up? It’s for two bottles of Clorox? Oh. OK.” {hangs up} {redials} “Hi Person #2, I’ve got a guest up here…”

Oh dear.

But almost immediately, Person #2 bustled efficiently up to the front of the store with my two crummy bottles of cleaning solution. Woo hoo!

Now, here’s what I’m thinking is going to happen next. I will show her my ID and the credit card I used to buy these, she does some clerical thing that finalizes the order, and off I will go into the noon rush in search of a flatware-owning restaurant.



I could stand there at the cash register for about, no, seriously, twenty minutes while she tries, repeatedly and unsuccessfully, to finalize my order on their phone system.

{cheerful voice}
“HELLO! And welcome to the automated store pickup line! If you are calling about THIS, press 1! If you are calling about THAT, press 2! If you are calling about an order we can’t find from a store which we are going to refuse to acknowledge in any way, please press 3!”

The automated system could not recognize their store number. It refused to acknowledge their phone as being one of ‘theirs’. It couldn’t find my order number. It wouldn’t give us a human, either. Oooooh, it said it would, but it lied, people – IT LIED.

“Press 0 at any time for an operator…” {boop!} {pause} “HELLO! And welcome to the automated store pickup line!…”

The poor kid trying to handle the mess was getting more and more flustered by the minute. Soon she was resorting to the oldest trick in the book, hitting a bunch of random numbers very hard and very fast in the hopes that the system would wig out and transfer you to a human to preserve its programming.

Nothing doing.

Eventually (and by ‘eventually’ I mean, ‘when I had about fifteen minutes left on my lunch hour, which is not really even enough time to pull through Fat on a Bun for drive-thru slop, especially considering I still need to fill up the minivan’), she got to a person.

Who promptly told her he couldn’t do anything for her, and she’d just have to enter it manually. You know, in the XJ9/QED/BBQ system? Just put in your FIN, PIN, WIN, DIN and QIN, plus the customer’s order number, the SKU, the PEW and the PHEW numbers, and she’d be set.

OK? OK. Thanks for calling, buh-bye!!

Person #2 hung up.

She looked a bit queasy. She had just gotten through telling me she could neither do this later nor just forget the whole thing and let me buy the solution “a-la carte” at this point, because…well, it was complicated but I think there was something about a nuclear bomb going off in the manager’s office which would eradicate all life as we know it, send interest rates skyrocketing and simultaneously cause bunions to appear on the feet of all dog owners within a sixty mile radius and we wouldn’t want that now, would we.

She took in a breath, and let it out again. And then she said, “OK, so, I’m going to have to…do this…”

There was a pause. Then she pulled her head up, looked me dead in the eye and said, quite firmly, “Thank you very much, ma’am, please have a nice day, I will handle this later.” (I suspect that ‘later’ should be pronounced, ‘when I darn well feel like it which, at this point, might be NEVER’.)

I thanked her for her help, grabbed my bag and split out of there like a low-flying bat out of heck.

On my way out the door…

…right next to the door…

…easily spotted by even the least observant among us…

An end cap, filled with Scooba cleaner. I would not have had to go more than ten feet into that store to grab it with my own lily white hands, and certainly would not have had the twenty minute purgatory of “please press one NOW” I endured with my fellow Tormented Ones via speakerphone.

I then filled up Homer the Odyssey and rushed through a drive thru where I was given onion rings I might just put up on eBay seeing as how they are obviously vintage, possibly from the mid-40s, and probably worth big money by now.

Eisenhower Generation Onion Rings, people.

That’s what they are.


Laziness does not pay. Laziness does not pay.

Stop, children, what’s that sound…

It is the sound…of silence.

Please. I…I…I need…a moment. {sniffle, sob} {deep, cleansing breath}

The only sound in the house right now is the Scooba, which is bumbling around my kitchen scrubbing up the fifteen or so layers of !filth! the children deposited over the last three days.

It cannot help but be a good day, people.

Children: In school

Husband: At client site, broken toe and all.

Me: In home office. With waaaaay too much to do, but nevertheless taking the next twenty minutes to collect myself. I shall start work-work at 8:00, and not a nanosecond before.

Yesterday was really, really hard, for everybody. TECHNICALLY, I took the day off. But I really honestly truly did have a lot of unanswered questions at work and a few too many tasks in my pipeline to just blow it off, so I said, “Wellllllllllll…I’ll just, you know, pop in real quick here and there, set things running, maybe use naptime as an opportunity to actually get some things done…”

Uh huh. Well, problem being: It was Day 3 of the three day weekend. Not a good day for the Mother of Chaos to be vanishing into her cave to become engrossed in banging two rocks together in search of fire.

The Denizens were bored. They were bored with everything from Little Einsteins to coloring books to sparkle glue and my truly stunning set of scrapbooking scissors – you know, the ones that will cut wavy lines and triangle lines and all kinds of other groovy patterns? These are good for hours of Denizen contentment. Unless, of course, it is Day 3 of a three day weekend, in which case…YAWN!

Outside? Boring. Unless you were throwing rocks at the side of the house, hitting a sister with a willow switch (yes, really) or trying to pry the falling board completely out of the fence. Boo Bug got a sliver in her palm and honestly? I had very little sympathy.

Inside? DOUBLE boring. Unless you were throwing toys over the stair railings, hitting a sister with a drum stick, banging on the piano, or asking mommy for a snack six hundred times in rapid succession so she would turn those interesting shades of pink, purple and red.

There were moments when I about lost my Zen entirely, people.

But on the bright side, I finished these:


Whew! OK, these are for B-I-G feet. I’ve gotten spoiled by all the little girl and ‘women’s small’ sized socks I’ve done in the last year – these are the first Tall Boy socks I’ve made in a long, long time and dudes. They aged me. I’m serious. I was doing That Thing where you take the measuring tape and then, when it doesn’t show you that you’ve made more than 0.25” progress, smooth the knitting (which should be pronounced, ‘stretch it like crazy trying to FORCE it to be 0.50 instead of 0.25”, which JUST CAN’T BE RIGHT!’).

And last night, I cast on some Semi-Instant Gratification.

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It’s a striped romper (you’ll have to take this on faith right now, because I know it looks like…well, I’m not sure what…but this is the first leg finished, and the wee little bit on the right is the second leg being worked on…it will all become clear soon, I swear it will…) 3-6 month size. This Jail Bird pattern comes out of Jil Eaton’s MinnowKnits, and is one of her QuickKnits™.

I’m going to be modifying the pattern slightly because frankly…I don’t have enough dark blue yarn to make it dark blue striped all the way. I haven’t decided if I’m going to just switch to another primary-color stripe at the top, or just do some red in the middle, or go all wild-eyed maverick and maybe do some light blue fishies or something like that. I am a wild, wild thing, people. Watch out. Hide the children. SHE’S GOT #6 CIRCULARS AND SHE AIN’T AFRAID TO USE THEM!!!

But this pattern lends itself well to having the occasional creative impulse, and when she says QuickKnit™? She means QuickKnit™. I got one entire leg and started the second in about one hour. It felt good to see actual progress on something, because otherwise I feel as though my whole life is one big ‘in a minute’.

Also, I have to say: I am loving this yarn. It’s KnitPicks ‘Swish’, their superwash wool? Nice. Very, very soft. Very, very warm. Very ‘keep a precious, sweet little baby warm’ worthy. We are pleased. They have our royal permission to continue selling it to us.

Ahem. Moving on.

Stitches West is this weekend. And I am going. I would like to remind myself that I am on a yarn diet. I would also like to remind myself that I have plenty of yarn. I would further like to point out to myself that I promised myself I would behave.

I would also like to point out that I am a pathological liar, especially when it comes to yarns, and that I have absolutely no prayer whatsoever of coming out of that yarn market without a skein or two of something luscious. Hmm. Apropos of nothing, I wonder what the going rate is for a home equity line these days…

Hokay. 7:59. Time to put on my work-work hat and get busy.

And, in a perfect Freudian slip, I just typed ‘work-work hate’.

Yes, sometimes, indeed I do…

Monday, February 19, 2007

Just one moment of silence

Apparently, the one thing that I am absolutely, positively, no matter what not allowed to have, is a moment of silence.

Not one.

Right now, the husband is blaring movie trailers three feet from my ear. He has Captain Adventure on his lap, wrapped in a towel after his bath. The middle two girls are in the bathtub shrieking and splashing. The CD player is going in the other room. Eldest is banging on the piano.

I have asked. I have pleaded. I have even yelled and screamed.

Will any of them shut up, for even one (1) minute?


They will not.

And you know what comes next, right?

“Oh. I thought you did the taxes yesterday.”
“Any idea what’s for dinner?”
“Hey, have you figured out how we’re paying for {extravagant item here} yet? But! {Honey, Mommy}, I reeeeeallllllly waaaaaaaniiiit…”
“What do you mean you’re not done working yet? You’ve been in here for sixteen hours!”


And then they wonder why I am a mental case, most of the time.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Head Wounds and Crazy Glue

So there I was. Finishing up my week, getting those last emails out, discussing how much we weren’t going to get done before the three day weekend.

My cell phone rings. Hmm. Daycare.

“Oh hi, this is Teacher X from Daycare #1, um, so, Danger Mouse? She was playing on the slide? And she hit her head on the bar that’s, well, it’s kind of under the, anyway, it’s really hard to, anyway, she hit her head on that bar…?”

The teacher was calm. So I was calm. I was waiting for her to say ‘and she got a little bump and she wanted to talk to you’. This is usually what these calls are all about: One of the Denizens got a bump or a scratch and wants to tell mommy all about it.

“So it’s really bleeding a lot and Director is cleaning it up but we’re not sure if…”

People, a fire engine with police escort could not have gotten to that daycare faster. I grabbed my keys and said something like, “Kid bleeding going now” ( or possibly “!!!!! Gskgh!!! Ajkhghklast! Yahabbala!!!!”, I really don’t remember) to my husband.

Who, by the way, was stepping on the backs of my shoes all the way out to the minivan. Probably based on facial expression alone.

I do not have a career ahead of me in poker, people.

We skidded into the parking lot sideways and rushed in to check the situation.

She had hit the top of her head on that bar they put over the tops of slides, to keep kids from backing up and falling down the slide. Hit it hard, and split her scalp open, a wound about, oh, a little over an inch long and (at first glance) SIXTEEN INCHES DEEP WITH BRAINS EXPOSED.

(OK, that is me overreacting again. It looked deeper than it was, but even at my most frantic I didn’t think she had an actual concussion – just a nasty cut.)

But oh yeah. There was bleeding. Lots and lots of bleeding. From hair to shoes, blood splattered all over the child. And Danger Mouse did not look good to me. She looked very upset, her little eyes looked ‘odd’, and I have to say: the blood caking her hair and splattered all over her jeans and shoes did not make me feel comfortable with the whole situation. (OK, and that? Is an understatement.)

So we hustled her out to the car, did a quick phone consultation with her pediatrician, and then drove like frickin’ maniacs in a calm and legally-approved manner to the local Emergency Room.

This is the first such trip we’ve had. That’s right! It will be nine years of parenting next month, and this is the first time we’ve had a child hurt herself such that we found ourselves driving to the emergency room with a damaged little person in the backseat whimpering. And the concept of putting staples into her head bouncing around in my mind.

I could have gone forever without that trip, but it is what it is.

Danger Mouse was seen in record time, and Thanks Be To All Child-Friendly Deities Because I Am Not Too Proud To Thank Even The Most Obscure One Under These Circumstances, it was determined that she needed neither stitches nor staples (STAPLES!?), but that a mere daubing of ‘wound glue’ would do the trick.

It stung.

She whimpered.

I sniffled. And also, I felt a little queasy, in that way you get when there is absolutely nothing you can do, but dog-damn-it, you would about drive bamboo under your own fingernails if it meant your baby could simply stop hurting, right that instant.


I managed to hold it together only because, well, I had to. I had no other option. I certainly was not going to melt down and wail, because seriously – the only thing worse than hurting and being frightened is looking up and finding your mother, who is supposed to be a cross between Saint Brigit and Rocky Balboa, melting like the Wicked Witch of the West.

Ooooooh, what a world, what a world…

But the hospital people? They were wonderful. From arrival to getting out, it was fast (well, for an emergency room visit it was), it was efficient, the areas were clean, and they were marvelous with Danger Mouse. Our nurse Lance had a marvelous smile and a very cheerful, calming way about him. He was so cheerful that you could not doubt that everything was going to be A-OK.

I could have kissed everyone there for being so happy, and calm, and reassuring. When you’re six and bleeding from a painful split in your head, the hospital could have been a terrifying experience. While it still wasn’t exactly fun (did I mention that the glue-stuff STUNG!?), she came away more pleased at having a great story to tell her friends come Tuesday than sobbing that she never, ever ever EVER wanted to go back to THAT HORRIBLE PLACE AGAIN.

Within a few moments of the glue drying, she was perking up. By the time we got home and had her change clothes, she was feeling downright chipper. And she was dancing and running and laughing by the time we got to Baskin Robbins for mommy’s painkiller of choice: Ice Cream.

And now? You’d never know she had ever hurt herself. And that glue stuff (after the initial stinging part) is great. No real special treatment necessary – she can take a bath and wash her hair and everything, and it will apparently just sort of drop off in a few days.

No having to go to her doctor to have stitches or staples (STAPLES?!) removed from her head. (See, staples, I can handle, I had staples for each of my c-sections…but IN YOUR HEAD?! Geeeeeeeeeeeez, that just seems rather medieval, you know?!)

I feel as though we have dodged yet another bullet. Reminded again to be thankful. And to hug my kids extra tight, every day.

And also, I discovered that when the ER nurse asks you what your child’s religious preference is, if you say, “Disney – but she wouldn’t mind a Nickelodeon practitioner, in a pinch…”, she may just have to take a moment to collect herself.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Garbage Guy probably thinks I’m nuts

Sometimes, I look at what goes into my trash and/or recycling bins and wonder what a stranger would make of me.

For example.

I do This Thing where I will buy one (1) small plastic bottle of something; in the most recent case of bottle-replacement, cranberry juice.

I then proceed to wash and reuse that original plastic bottle, refilling it with juice I either buy in bulk and freeze or reconstitute from frozen. There are two reasons I do this (well, three, if you count ‘crazy’): I like the shape of the ‘single use’ fruit juice containers better than most of the Rubbermaid versions, and, if I leave the labels on it I don’t have to constantly inform friends and family that the red one is, this week, cranberry juice. Just as it was last week. And the week before. AND ALSO THE WEEK BEFORE THAT. (If it is a red, juice-like liquid in my fridge, it will be sugar-free cranberry juice. It will never be Kool-Aid. Continuing to ask me if the ‘red stuff’ is Kool-Aid is pointless. It is not now, nor will it EVER BE, Kool-Aid.) (But I digress.)

Some months later, when the original ‘single use’ {ahem} bottle finally develops a fatal crack or loses its lid or whatever, I finally toss the worn-out bottle into the recycling bin.

I’ve done this with water bottles (putting water from our reverse osmosis system into bottles that formerly held ‘real’ bottled water), apple juice containers, dish soap, you name it. Buy one (1) small, ‘single use’ one, and then refill it endlessly from my bulk or frozen or whatever source.

Sometimes, by the time I decide that by golly, that’s an ex-container…it’s really shot.

As I put it with due reverence into the recycling bin, I wonder: Does the garbage guy ever glance at what is going into his big old truck and say, “Whoa. What the HECK?! HEY JOE! Come check THIS out...this is vintage stuff, right here...”

And I surely hope nobody has ever caught me patting the sad, worn little things and saying, “Well, that was a good run. Thanks for a really awesome eight months of service, little plastic bottle…”

Because if that became public, it would be really embarrassing.

…um, wait…

Meanwhile, back in California…

People, just look at what I noticed popping up in my backyard this morning:


My rose bushes are likewise putting forth wee little tentative shoots and otherwise indicating that yes, please, they think Spring should be here soon.

While I’m delighted to see them, I’m also a bit worried. We’re having some rather boomerangish weather this year, in the teens one night and the thirties the next, and I’m pretty sure these little blooms will be deeply unhappy if we get another freeze.

But I’m not going to fret about that right now. Because today? Today has been a darned good day. Everybody woke up in a great mood, everybody went off to school and/or work with minimal fussing, and the sunrise? Gorgeous. It’s like, Nature knows that it really, really stinks to be up so early, so She throws you a little bone. There, there, She says. It’s not so bad – look at all these glorious soft pinks and oranges and reds, and this perfect crescent moon winking at the rising sun. There, aren’t you glad you were up to see this?

I got a ton of work out this morning AND FOR BONUS POINTS, was actually and in as many words thanked for it!

Three times.

Plus also, for no apparent reason, someone sent me a package of spinach seeds. Well, it wasn’t for no reason. They would like me to join a garden club. Which I’m not going to do because I have learned my lesson on club-joining, to wit, I am not going to enjoy the real benefits of the club because whatever it is they’re sending to everybody is going to be the ONE THING I’m not interested in doing/reading/growing.

But I appreciate the seeds nevertheless, because I didn’t buy spinach seeds for my impending Victory Garden…thought about it, because I love spinach…but didn’t because I was getting awfully close to my budget cap and the Denizens on the whole are not that keen on it (imagine, children not liking spinach!)…and now? Lo and behold, here they are.

Spinach seeds.

So in due course there will be lovely, fresh-from-the-garden spinach for the dinner table after all.

And I’m sure my children would like to THANK THEM VERY MUCH.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Mood is for cattle

OK, before I descend into wild-eyed and ranty digression: The Sweater Formerly Known As Eldest’s came from Dale of Norway Book #147 - guess what? It was done in red for the model!

(Oh, dog-drat it – I just noticed they have a couple new books I don’t own. @*^&@. Must…resist…urge…to…buy…adorable…baby…patterns…!) (Argh. Couldn’t do it. The wee lace jacket was my undoing (scroll down – next to last row).

Being cheap thrifty, I used KnitPicks Merino Style (DK weight) instead of the Dale of Norway Fauk or Heilo. $40-something for the Dale of Norway brand, vs. $22.50 for the KnitPicks. Someday when I win the lottery, I’ll…oh, who am I kidding? For sweaters I know full well are going to be literally dragged through the mud, stuffed under car seats and left behind on the schoolyard, I am not paying $$$$ for the yarn.

I’ll try to get better pictures of it. If I can wrestle it away from Boo Bug. She is seriously marking her turf with that sweater. Fortunately, Eldest has a cabled one she likes that still fits her well, so all three girls are able to go forth into the world wearing sweaters Mommy made for them – otherwise, I might be having a civil war here in the Den.


Can anyone explain why it is that children will sense when you have plans and immediately produce just enough symptoms to stay home from school, but not enough that you can drug them heavily and set them in front of the boob-tube for a few (dozen) hours while you work?


We had…my so-called vacation last month. Preempted by children who were sick enough to stay home, but not sick enough to want to lie around. They wanted to be underfoot. And talking. All day. Just making sure that Mommy doesn’t get to put so much as the edge of a sneaker outside the house for the two precious days she managed to get off.

Then our tenth wedding anniversary, for which we decided pop out for a nice lunch. Then again, staying home with a feverish, coughing child is nice, too. Very cozy. Especially when the child perks up right before lunch and begins pestering you with, “I’m bored. Can I {activity which requires a great deal of parental interaction and/or supervision}?”

Yesterday we said, “Hey, let’s do Le Bistro for a Valentine’s Day lunch!”

Aaaaaaaand Boo Bug got just sick enough this morning to stay home. She woke up pissy and didn’t want to go to school. She began pitching a hissy fit. Sobbing + Coughing = Throwing Up. (We’re not talking about ‘stomach flu’ like vomiting – it’s more like, ‘coughing up a little fluid and then wailing and sobbing about how she threeeeewwwwww uuuuuuuuuuuuup! {sob, sob, screech, sob, SOB, SOB!}’

Damn. She was desperately ill right up until the point where we said oh well, she’s going to have to stay home. At which point she immediately perked right up, announced she felt a lot better, revved up her chatter-box and began making it very, very difficult to concentrate.

And then suddenly she remembered that it was Valentine’s Day and she was supposed to be giving out Valentines to all her little friends at school, and now? She’s all mopey again.


I know it isn’t really a vile conspiracy, but it sure feels like one sometimes.

I have a lot to do right now on just about every front I’ve got, from housework (oh, joy) to tax preparation (fun and excitement) to the new budget setup (feh) to oh yeah – work-work (bleh).

I don’t want to do any of it.

I’m not in the mood.

Which of course puts me in mind of a scene from Frank Herbert’s Dune: "Mood?" Halleck's voice betrayed his outrage even through the shield's filtering. "What has mood to do with it? You fight when the necessity arises - no matter the mood! Mood's a thing for cattle or making love or playing the baliset. It's not for fighting."

Or for getting the old job done, I guess.

I suppose.

I reckon.

…but I’m still not in the mood for it…

Monday, February 12, 2007

Just call me The Finisher

I finished Eldest’s sweater. Finally. After, well, I don’t want to calculate just how long I’ve been working on that sweater (‘working on’ should be pronounced, ‘dithering around with, ignoring and otherwise not finishing’).

I actually tried to do the finishing two weekends ago, but had a bizarre sewing machine accident. I’m not sure what happened exactly, but the upshot is that the thing went all funky on me and instead of sewing a seam, it produced a massive tangled knot at one point on the back of the sweater, and a ‘faux seam’ on the front (which came unraveled the minute I clipped the thread). I honestly don’t know what happened. But it upset me, and I set the sweater down and worked on the socks instead. Nice, safe, steek-less socks…

By this weekend, I had regained my emotional fortitude and went back after it. Finished running the stitches! Had a celebratory cup of coffee! Grabbed the scissors! 9:52 in the morning, I’ve got all day to finish this bad boy!

…ran off the Jehovah’s Witnesses…
…made more coffee…
…did dishes…
…broke up fistfight between Danger Mouse and Boo Bug…
…calmed Captain Adventure down (he has mastered the word ‘mine’, BTW)…
…made lunch…
…did dishes…
…baked bread…
…and cookies…
…rotated laundry for third time…

THEN I got the steeks cut and the shoulder and sleeves sewn up with minimal interference.

…more laundry…
…more cooking…
…more dishes…
...dealing with ‘honey do we have any’ questions…
...oh yeah and mommy I forgot…

Eventually, I sat back down grimly determined to finish the @^*&@ sweater. I picked up one of the most perfect neckbands ever (if I do say so myself, and I do!), and began working the neckband pattern.

While the girls were taking their baths, I finally finished the neckband. OK. Now, duplicate stitchery…hmm…

I put in about half of the duplicate stitch on the front, looked at it, and decided that frankly…I didn’t like it. Yes, it makes the center star ‘pop’ more. But I felt there was a little too much of it – it looked bulky and ‘not right’. I suffer from the Sin of Pride around the evenness of my stitches, and the duplicate stitch caused a definite lack of evenness. No matter how I tweaked it, no matter how carefully I smoothed it down, the duplicate stitch stood out to me like a sore thumb. And then I got to thinking about how it would likely look after a few washings and I said to myself, said I, “Self! Forget the duplicate stitch. Not doing it. Next time, I’ll go ahead and strand if I want the white there – but for now? Fughettaboutit.”

So I picked out what I had done and called it a finished sweater.

Eldest tried it on.

Or, she tried to try it on.

No good. Her head wouldn’t go through the hole.


I set the sweater aside, thinking that I’d deal with it, you know, later. (“Later” should here be pronounced, “When I had a granddaughter of about six-seven years who might want it.”)

I groused about the sweater. I fumed about the sweater. I almost wanted to cry about the @*^&@ing sweater. I went to bed angry. Not just about the sweater – there’s an awful lot of garbage raining down on me right now. Which is making a cabin in the woods far, far away from all people (including ‘my’ people) sound really damned nice.

This morning, I picked up the sweater and went to toss it into the ignore this forever work basket. In the morning light, it looked even smaller than it had the day before.

I looked at the sweater.
I looked at Boo Bug.
I put the sweater on Boo Bug.

Perfect. Fit.

Not for Eldest Apparently


I measured Eldest carefully before I started and determined that although she is going to be nine very, very soon, the six would fit her better than the eight (did I mention she’s a tiny little creature? I think she’s part hummingbird…). I knit to gauge throughout. I even did that thing, where you say to yourself, “OK, if I’m getting six stitches to an inch and I’m casting on 120 stitches, that’s 20 inches around…”

All the numbers I came up with matched the numbers I got when I measured her from shoulder to wrist, from neck to waist, and yes – around her head. I’ve already been bitten by the head-opening-too-small bug twice this year, and I proclaimed (firmly) that it was not going to happen again!

But, obviously…it was going to happen again.


Oh well. One good about having this many kids underfoot, no matter what size the finished object is, it will probably fit one of them.

And what have we learned, Tama? Have we learned that we should always-always-always take the size up by one bracket if we have a spot-on sizing?

Yes, yes we have. Because if it is too big? They’ll grow into it. Unlike their clothing, no matter how often you agitate them in hot water and toss them into the dryer on ‘high’, children stubbornly refuse to shrink even a little bit.

Boo Bug wore it to school today. I’m sure it will come home drenched in food, paints and $DEITY only knows what-all else. But, as Buddha says, All that is subject to arising is subject to ceasing.

I’d rather have it ruined after a single wearing than never be worn at all. Especially not after All That.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, there is a coffee in desperate need of my now finely honed finishing skills...

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Just like her momma

So I told Eldest last night, “We should go shopping tomorrow and get you some clothes that fit.”

She’s a hard kid to fit. She’s extremely skinny, but ‘normal’ tall for her age. A six ‘slim’ fits her waist, but hits her at the ankles. An eight slim is waaaaaaaay too big around the middle.

Anyway. She seemed moderately interested last night, but now that it’s time to go?

In a minute.
Hang on.
Can we wait until this show is over?
Wait. Can I have some cheese first?
I wanna go potty before we leave. {time passes, time passes, time passes}

Honestly. You’d think a kid would want to go shopping with mommy (and mommy’s credit card). I mean, granted, she’s only eight. I have some years to go before the teenager-fashion-squealing-OMG-that-is-so-totally-{whatever word will mean ‘rad’ by that time}.

But still.

She has been dithering around stalling long enough that I came in here…checked email…checked blogs…read some news…checked email again…

I’m about two seconds from leaving without her. I will buy her the most ludicrous, ill-fitting stuff I can find and then make her wear it by removing EVERYTHING ELSE from her closet. Don’t like it? Really? THEN MAYBE NEXT TIME YOU CAN COME WITH ME, instead of stalling and dithering and dragging your booted little heels until I give up on you and leave without you!!!!!



Shopping? What, now? Right now? Do we hafta? Oh, MAN! **sigh** roll eyes, drag feet, whine…

Friday, February 09, 2007

I hab a cod

I am not wearing my happy face, people.

I have a cold.


On the bright side, tomorrow is Saturday. I do not have to jump out of bed and start hassling my children at half-past-too-early in the morning. I can take it easy. I can make a second coffee. I can loaf around on the sofa reading the newspaper until 9:15 if I want.

I can’t wait.

Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking about my money. ‘Thinking about’, by the way, should be pronounced ‘have been wildly clicking on the Internet buying things for the last hour’.

I am going to invest some of it in seed for a Victory Garden.

I have been charmed by the idea of the Victory Garden for years. If you’ve never heard of this, it’s something that was first started during the first world war (yes, really – I know that most sources will say it was a 1940s thing, but it was first put into action by Woodrow Wilson in 1917: Let me suggest also that every one who creates or cultivates a garden helps, and helps greatly, to solve the problem of the feeding of the nations…). The idea was that every individual would plant some food, as a matter of civic and social duty, in whatever dirt they had available to them.

You then ate the fruits of your labor, and shared them with your neighbors, and by golly during WWII, some 40% of our total domestic produce consumption came from Victory Gardens.

Today, I’d doubt that 40% of our consumption came from within our borders, let alone from backyard gardens. I don’t know and am too lazy to go look it up, but judging from the stickers I see on produce at the supermarket (Imported from Chile! Export of Mexico! Grown in Kenya!), sometimes I wonder if anything is actually grown here in the states.

Which is an ironic statement, seeing as how I could walk out my front door and, on foot, be walking through farmland in less than ten minutes.

So I spent some quality time buying a whole lot of different seeds, from corn to carrots to peas to bell peppers, and have whipped the children into a frenzy of anticipation about How Much Fun This Will Be!

I figure between having good, fresh produce for ourselves, being able to donate our overflow to our local food bank (which has a terrible time getting such things before they’re a bit past their prime, if you catch my drift), teaching my children the miracles of nature and being able to make this recipe I have for tomatoes stuffed with béchamel sauce without falling over in shock and dismay because it cost me $24.97 for six stinkin’ beefsteak tomatoes, I think it’ll be a good return on investment.

I also got a couple packages of ladybugs in the (probably vain) hope that they will have a good old time eating my old enemies, The Aphids.

I hate those aphids. I hate them so much. They do unspeakable things to my rose bushes. And they are more numerous than the stars in the sky. The only thing I’ve found that works to (temporarily) get rid of them is Orthenex, and it must be applied weekly.

I have over a dozen rose bushes. The Orthenex solution gets pricy in a hurry. Of course, we also get the powdery mildew disease out here, so the ladybugs may not be enough – but then again, without the aphids sucking their will to live, perhaps my roses will be able to fend off the mildew on their own.

Anyway, I like ladybugs. And I hate aphids. Ladybugs living in my backyard eating aphids sounds like a match made in heaven.

And there you go. One chunk of change, invested.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

$500 and nothing to buy

I’m sitting here enjoying the never-ending joy ride that is waiting for a query to run. This sucker has now been running for nearly seven hours, people. I have officially done everything I had on my plate to do that didn’t involve what this query is doing.

In short, I am just sitting here. Watching the timer count up…executing query batch…6:56:07…6:56:08…6:56:09…

Oh, yeah. This is the part of my job that is downright scintillating. What’s distressing is, I still do have a fair chunk of work I need to get done. It isn’t like “I’m all done except for this one thing”. It’s more like, “I have a good thirty hours of work I can’t start until this thing finishes executing…”

7:01:47…7:01:48…7:01:49…Execute, you transistorized tormenter, EXECUTE!

It’s also the part of the job where I find myself pondering the imponderables of life.

For example, why is it that if you give one person $500 they will blow it out their…wallet-region…in about six seconds on nothing in particular, you know, just this and that and oops! all gone!, while another person will be able to produce that $500 in its entirety six months later, still folded just the way it was when you gave it to them, while yet another person will say, “Oh yeah, well, I bought this other thing, painted it, put it up on eBay and made $5,000. Cool, huh?”

I tend to be a hoarder. When confronted with ‘bonus’ cash, I neither spend nor invest it – I just sort of sit on it. For months. Years, even. Especially if it’s given to me with one of those ‘…and don’t you spend this on groceries, it’s for your birthday! Buy something YOU want!’ things.


I have $500 I was given by various parties for various events – anniversary with the company, birthday, wedding anniversary…and all of it has that ‘don’t spend this on groceries’ string attached to it. Which is not to say that I couldn’t just sneak out in the dead of night and spend it on groceries anyway – I really don’t think there’s a tracking device on it that would betray me to the interested parties.

But I promised I wouldn’t, so…there it sits. Waiting for me to come up with something frivolous to do with it.

On the one hand, I suppose I could spend it on knitting supplies (but not yarn, because I am on a yarn diet until September). Or I could buy some socks or something.

But I find the idea of trying to make money with it far more amusing. (Either that, or my aversion to going shopping has hit an all new high, which is entirely possible.)

So, as I sit here watching the counter increment on the blasted query, I have all kinds of wild notions bouncing around in my head. All very small potatoes, all very well suited to someone who tends to be rummaging around at strange hours (read as: done over the Internet), some involving slightly, erm, advanced banking techniques, some involving estate sales and eBay, some involving a little travel.

It makes for a fun fantasy-thought session.

What do you think? If you had $500 with which to start a business…what would you do with it? Or would you say, That’s not anywhere near enough, to do anything! Waste of time to even try! Just spend it on socks! Geesh!!

Discuss, people. $DEITY knows, I have nothing better to do right now...7:15:39...7:15:40...7:15:41...

Why I have no high horse to sit upon

Sometimes, say, when I'm being asked the same question about how we got to a number on an invoice (it's a little trick I like to call, math), I'm tempted to start feeling preeeeeety smart. And to begin feeling as though I am surrounded by a bunch of dull little bulbs who, though in desperate need of the shining light that is my smartness, are probably incapable of comprehending it.

It's OK, my little darlings, you may call me $DEITY and bask in my glory, and I shall lead you to the land of milk, honey and data integrity.

Of course, when I start getting that particular wind under my sails, reality is quick to take me down a notch or ten.

When asked a few days ago how old Captain Adventure was, I said two. Because normally, after a kid reaches this lofty age, that's all the information anybody wants. They don't want the 24 months, three weeks, two days, fifteen hours and twenty six seconds aaaaaaat...MARK!

'Two', will do.

But when the person persisted, actually asking for months, I said (with great confidence), "Twenty six months." I would have put down good money that I was right, too.

Then yesterday, when I again put forth the 26 month age, I was gently corrected by the pediatric nurse. "Well, actually," she said gently, embarrassed to be put in the position of having to make such a correction to an otherwise reasonably intelligent person, "He's 30 months."


See, because AUGUST makes twenty-four, and then we count SEPTEMBER=1, OCTOBER=2 blah blah and then if you take six and add it to twenty-four, you CLEARLY get...


If you add...well, if you take August, and you...add...


..........never mind..........

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Today, on Lifestyle of the Poor and Stupid...

We shall start this morning with the realization that I had about a two day supply of coffee beans I had forgotten we owned. They are old, and dry, and look oddly shriveled beside the new ones.

I grind them anyway. They make coffee that makes me think of Arby’s. I don’t know why, because I don’t think Arby’s even has coffee on the menu. But it does.

I rouse the children from their beds. They do not wish to be roused. I insist. They eventually make their way downstairs. Three little girls get their hair and teeth brushed. Two of them find homework. One of them decides she will simply perish if she can’t bring a backpack, too. A jacket has gone AWOL. Also a pair of shoes.

And I wish I had a stack of ‘I DRESSED MYSELF TODAY!’ stickers, so I could assure the world that I personally would never dress a child in blue floral tights, a striped skirt and white floral shirt.

Because seriously – I wouldn’t.

Come home, hand husband his ibuprofen pill, and go to work.

Work is full of answering the Same. Danged. Question. Again.

And again.

And again.

Have I not told this same person this same thing at least four times in recent weeks? Yes. Yes I have. Why is this hard to understand? Is it? I don’t think it is. Also, I receive several emails that make no sense. How can I reload corrected invoices that already went out the door? How does that work? Does this not mean that the customers will be billed twice? I have been told in the past that this is a Supreme High Lord of No No NO. Once the invoices go out the door, there is no ‘do over’. The fuse has been lit and the rocket has left the pad, people.

I break into the new coffee and make myself a bracing cup of Kenya Kruising. After the so-called coffee earlier, it is not only ‘bright’, but downright frisky. I approve of it so much I swallow it too fast and give myself a slight burn on my tongue.


I resist the urge to pour schnapps or whiskey into the coffee. It is, after all, not even 10:00 in the morning. There are appearances to be kept up and all that.

More work. More…well, I hesitate to call people stupid for not understanding things that are basic to my job, because I’m sure there are many things about their jobs that I don’t understand.

But still...Well. You get my drift.

Things that oughtn’t fail have failed. Again. And one of my fixes likewise fails. Damn.

More coffee.

And then…it is time to take Captain Adventure to the doctor.

Oh, why? Because. He is 30 months old and does the boy say mommy, daddy, juice, gimmie, or even the perennial favorite of two year olds the world over, NO?

Negative. He won’t even say ‘no’.

This is not right, people. At 30 months, the average child has an arsenal of roughly 400 words to use incessantly in an attempt to drive their parents insane. All of our children have been a touch slow out the gate with the talking-thing, but this is getting ridiculous. Together with some other little quirky things he does, I’ve begun to worry myself into a sniveling mess about things like autism. Or possibly that he was abducted by elves and the changeling they left didn’t have the ‘talking’ chip installed.

We go out terrified that the word ‘autism’ may be uttered unto us, and come home relieved with a mere ‘isolated speech delay’. We don’t even bring home a particularly long list of things to do to help – in fact, it’s more of a list of things not to do. Like, trying to MAKE THE BOY TALK. This is, we're told, not particularly helpful, and we should stick with simply talking to (not at, around, over or about) him as much as possible. Gentle leading. More interaction. Less television. More playing with sisters, who are to do less treating him like a pet than a sibling (eh, yeah, good luck with that) (by the way, one of the few words he WILL say? Boo Bug. Well, not Boo Bug, but her name. BOOOOOOOO BUG!, he will shout, running up and down the hall searching for her. Will he say 'mommy'? No. I feel so unloved *sniff!*)

Encouragement, but no pressure. Reevaluation in six months for progress.

We’ll take it.

And, we’ll also take a mocha made with Courtside Chocolate. Which makes an excellent mocha, even without a hefty dab of crème du cocoa poured into it. Which once again I nobly refrained from doing, in spite of feeling I might have a medical need about this point.

By the way: I swear I do not have any financial interest in Boca Java. Seriously. I have the same interest in their business that any good drug addict would have in the fiscal (and physical) health of their pusher, but other than that my interest is as pure as the driven snow.

Hand the husband another ibuprofen (honestly, the man would never take these pills if I weren’t around to remind him, even though they are the only thing standing between him and throbbing pain). Cuddle Captain Adventure until he accepts the grim reality that is Nap Time.

Put him in crib. Sit at desk regarding stubborn SQL Server, which is still refusing to talk to the Oracle box. Hmm. Maybe one is Catholic and the other Protestant? Hard to know, hard to know

And then suddenly, several same-exact-answers-via-email and one Captain Adventure demanding to get up now later, I become aware that Brian Williams is on in less than two minutes.

I will give the President’s speeches a miss any day, but missing Brian Williams?

Let’s not be silly, people.

Two rows on the baby blanket and Brian is saying, “That’s our broadcast for this Wednesday evening, thank you for being with us…”

Pick up Denizens, dinner-bath-bed…ibuprofen pill for husband…check email one last time.

Oh no.

She didn’t ask me that question again, pretending it’s new by attaching a new customer number to it?

Oh yes.

She did.

Next up on Lifestyle of the Poor And Stupid: I am going to brush my teeth and go to bed. Hopefully, in the dead of night, my subconscious mind will come up with something more constructive to say than, “For the love of hot buttered toast, woman, did you drop too much acid in the 60s or something?! For heaven’s sake, FOCUS! FOOOOOOCUS!!!!!!!”