Wednesday, December 30, 2009

For Parents Only

I loved him before. But after reading this, I'm pretty sure I luuuuuuurrrrrrv him.

Smart, insightful and he knows where all of the best places are to eat.

FOR PARENTS ONLY

Whatever You Want To Do and Whatever I Want To Do

Last night I contemplated what my life would look like on December 29, 2010.

This particular thought crossed my mind because if you asked me on December 29, 2008 what I would be doing in one year, I certainly would NOT have told you that I would be living in Florida.

I would have been amused if you suggested that I would be waiting for part of my family to return from a bowl game in Orlando ~ Orlando, which is in driving distance of our home.

I fell asleep before they returned. My husband proceeded to screw with me with me because I was talking in my sleep when he came to bed.

The conversation, according to Chris:

Chris: Hey, will you move over.

Mary: No.

Chris: Just a little.

Mary: No.

(Pause.)

Mary: I want to get out of the car.

Chris: The car?

Mary: Yeah, the car.

Chris: Where are you going.

(Silence.)

Chris: Where are you going in the car, Mary? Where are we stopping at?

Mary: Whatever, Chris. You're being weird. I have to go to the bathroom.

I exited from the room and disappeared into the bathroom.

"You were gone a really long time," Chris said. "Like, a freakishly long time. Like you were having a hard time trying to figure things out in there," he said hoarsely.

He had all but lost his voice at the Champs Bowl last night, where his beloved Wisconsin Badgers won the some sort of title.

No, I certainly would not have offered up that scenario if you would have asked me where I would be one year ago.

Even though my sleep was disrupted, I woke up perky this morning.

I continued with the mounds and mounds of laundry I began last night. I opened up all of the blinds to let the Florida sunshine in.

Although I was a little peaked, I felt like doing something.

"I feel like not sitting at home today," I said to Chris. "I feel like doing something."

"Just give me an hour," Chris said as he played with his IPhone. I could hear drum beats, the Wisconsin fight song, cheering and obnoxiousness. I gathered that he recorded all kinds of stuff on that phone last night, and that his little Facebook world would soon be enlightened.

"After one hour, we can do whatever you want," he said, earnestly.

"You want to go to Tampa? We'll go to Tampa. You want to go to Miami," he continued. "We'll go to Miami. Whatever you want to do," he added, "just as long as you pay for gas."

Earlier this morning, I dumped a boatload of Calvin's clothing into a pile in his dresser-less room. I thought that picking up the dresser that my parents purchased for him at an after-Christmas sale would be a wisely super-fantastic idea.

Calvin would return home to a neat, organized room. I suggested this to Chris.

"I don't feel like doing that today," he said.

What about the Miami and/Tampa/"whatever I wanted to do" suggestions. I inquired, and he shrugged.

Apparently "whatever I wanted to do" didn't exactly include "whatever I wanted to do." We'll have to wait for another day to retrieve the dressers.

Yet the possibilities are endless and the day stretches out in front of me.

I have my two delightful children with me (the other will join us on Saturday), my husband is on vacation this week and I still have gas money available.

The day is perfect and there are beautiful things to discover within driving distance of our home. And we have a Perkins gift certificate, compliments of my parents.

Oh, the possibilities.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

DJ Lance and Adam Richman

I'm sort of judgmental.

All right, I said it: I judge people.

The other day, when my Hungarian friend was cutting my slob of a dog's hair, she talked a lot about how she enjoyed getting to know new people.

"Zum people, zey look at people's outzides and zay to zemzelves, 'Zey look zis way, or zat way. I don't want to get to know zem.' Zey make judgements about people by how zey look on the outside. I want to talk to and get to know everyone," she said.

I nodded and pretended to be tracking.

I made soft grunts and gave her appropriately disgusted looks. As in "how could someone do that? Judge someone on how they look? Shesh. What a judgemental a**hole. I would never do such a thing!"

But I do.

Kellie Pickler was on "Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader." This is what happened.

I understand if you don't want to click on the link so I'll summarize. It went something like this:

Jeff Foxworthy: Budapest is the capital of what nation in Europe?

Kellie Pickler: This might be a stupid question? But I thought Europe was a country. Buddhist? Buddha...pest? I've never even heard of that. I know they speak French there. I wanna say...is French a country? I don't know what I'm doin.'

Am I judgmental about this? Of course I am.

What an idiot. I might not have known that Malta is a country before four months ago, but I know that Budapest is the capital of Hungary, thank you to Elizabeth Kostova's "The Historian" and my third grade social studies teacher.

And take for instance, these pictures from peopleofwalmart.com. I judge them. It is easy to do. The woman with the pink hotpants and the fishnet pantyhose, but the size 18 ass? Hooker.

The person who drew this?



This person might be fun to have a drink or attend a Star Wars convention with. This person could make me a Venti Coffee Light Frappucino while watching and appreciating Return of the Jedi.

What more could I ask for?

I once watched headlines about toddlers escaping their homes and eating the neighbor's stash of Twinkies without their mother's knowledge.

"Who are these people," I would think to myself. "How could they not know where their kids were for every single second of the day? What were they doing, taking a nap?

Today, I laid on my couch. My head was splitting (blood pressure is up again) and noticed the quietness around me. I investigated.

I found Maggie with a pencil, drawing on our unpainted, white walls.

Did I mention I also once judged people who would say "I had to buy special paint to cover up the coloring little Jeb did on our walls! That little stinker."

"What a fricking brat," I would say to myself. "And where were you, you sad excuse for a parent?"

"Surely you were not suffering a high blood pressure induced headache and waiting for your Ibuprofen 800 to kick in on the couch, watching a Man Vs. Food marathon. Surely, not."

Alas, I thought of my judgments as I sat with my Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, scrubbing the wall free of Maggie's modern wall art. I saw an eye, lips and the outline of a tree. It could have been the throbbing headache and the pulsing in my left eye.

I didn't give her too much crap about it, though. Instead, I gave her a piece of paper and collapsed on the couch, yet again.

I thought she might pay more attention to DJ Lance as opposed to Adam Richman.

So, I listened to the importance of "not biting your friends," and "you can't always getting what you want."

It hurt my head a little bit more, but I was able to shut my eyes for a moment and find some relief.

I took solace in knowing that she can't unlock doors quite yet, and Yo Gabba Gabba holds some freakishly hypnotic effect on her and she won't move (except to dance) when it is on.

Go ahead. Let them judge.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happiness and The Size of Your Ass

I found this "Dress Size Factor" graph recently.

Apparently, I am right on the verge of being very happy. If only I would work at it with a tad more diligence than I am doing right now. Margaritas and burritos in the middle of the afternoon just aren't going to cut it, I'm afraid (but they were so GOOD!).

Granted, this is in reference to UK sizes so the numbers are a bit skewed. I discovered this when I ordered from Boden recently. So...the size UK 14 is actually referring to the US 12.

Alas, I will just take this chart and not think too much about size conversions.

I will do a little rejoicing in the fact that skinny little beeyotches (i.e. size 6's) aren't that happy, possibly because they are hungry.

Cheers.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dog Grooming and Neglectful Pet Ownership

Sven the Cairn Terrier got a free haircut today.

The haircut required minimal effort on my part. Specifically, I had to hold him still while my rear-end was parked in a lawn chair.

It started yesterday. We took him for a walk to check on the progress of our new home.

(This is what it looked like, by the way.)




Sven isn't walked regularly. I completely realize this is neglectful pet owner behavior and appropriately hang my head in shame.

::::Hangs head in shame::::

When he IS walked, sometimes the "walking" motion causes him to crap a lot. He must have been really backed up because in one block, he pooped five times.

Sven is also not regularly groomed. It has been six months since he has gotten his hair cut.

To say he was shaggy was a huge understatement.

As you can imagine, he was a sad sight when we encountered our Hungarian friend at the end of the block.

She owns a West Highland Terrier has an affinity to Cairns ~ kissing cousins of the Westies.

He managed to look particularly pathetic, giving her a doleful look as he squatted for the umpteenth time in front of her and dribbled a nugget of diarrhea down his ungroomed, hairy butt.

We promptly received a call the next morning.

"I have beeeen theenking about Zvehhhn," said the voice on the other end. "He haz to be zo hot and uncomfortable. Pleeez let me come over and groom him."

Normally, we would say no but she seemed to put a lot of thought into it. She had discussed the potential of highly offending us with her neighbor from Boston.

Meg, the Bostonian, is a bad ass and steps in front of speeding "cahs" and smacks the trunks. She screams, "What's wrong with you!? Slow down, there ah kids playing out he-ahh,"

She is also apparently better versed in potentially offensive requests. Some individuals might take offense in one offering to come groom their slob of a dog.

I didn't mind at all. I realize when I need help.

She had a plan as she usually seems to. She washes her Westie's face daily, so I am sure Sven's state of affairs was acutely disturbing to her.

She told me she would be at our house in fifteen minutes. There was a knock at our door in seven.

She worked diligently, explaining to me that "his skkeeen, iz zo zensitive. Zee? Iz peenk," and that it was good that she was taking care of the mats on his hair. She spent a lot of time on his ass. "Oooo, gooood! I can zee his reectum now," she said with glee.

Sven emerged a new dog. Literally. He appears to be a third of his pre-groomed size. I was able to bath him easily in the boys' bathroom (after I cleaned the hair from the clogged drain because the fourteen year old boy decided to shave his upper thighs. And why the hell would he not? It is SUCH a normal thing to do. Really.)

Sven slept the entire day, wiped out from the anxiety of the hour and a half marathon amateur grooming experience as well as the subsequent bath.

Maggie could hardly contain herself when she woke up from her nap and was greeted by the clipped, clean Sven.

She squealed and followed him around for a good thirty minutes, exclaiming, pointing and patting. I am not sure what she was saying, but I'm sure it was positive.

It put her in a good mood for the rest of the day which, in turn, made my day easier. There was no malcontent-type behavior and she was unusually agreeable.

Sven's free haircut was a win in so many ways.

Thanks, Erika. :)

.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thoughts and Quests

I am currently in the middle of filling out a "secret sister" form for church. I have been stuck for days on the "hobbies/interests" question.

I don't have any hobbies and I don't have time for interests. The unfortunate soul who receives my name as secret sister won't have the advantage of easily refering to my list for gift ideas.

I currently feel that I can barely maintain my household. I am actually sort of worried that having a "secret sister" will wig me out a little bit. I know how I am with remembering people's birthdays, anniversaries, etc. I suck.

My secret sister is doomed

Putting aside the hobbies/interest mind-bender for a moment, I thought I would jot a few thoughts down.

1.) Most of my day revolves around a screaming toddler. It is consumed with trying to figure out what exactly I can do to placate her.

I often wonder what created such a malcontent, but I can't think of anything specific. Chris thinks she is reacting to the amount of stress I exude; I think it might just be her personality ~ demanding, loud, high strung.

2.) Even though I don't think that I consume the amount of calories it would take to attain and maintain my current weight, I must. Otherwise, the weight would be falling off.

I can run my little heart out for miles and miles every day and nothing will happen if I don't stop putting loads of delightful crunchy things on top of my salads and shoving chips into my mouth before bedtime.

3.) It doesn't matter if I measure every single day. I probably won't see a change in my waist/hip size. Particularly when I eat chips at bedtime and load my salads with yummy crunchy things.

4.) On a related note, my weight. Refer to #3 and replace "measure" with "weigh."

5.) The refrigerator I want for our new house will inevitably cost 2,500.00, or more. There are cheaper alternatives, of course, but my eye will go to the one that is the prettiest, most tricked out, most expensive.

6.) Like the refrigerator, I am pretty sure that the car w/ third row seat that I want will most likely be a Mercedes.

7.) I visualize shaking my 8 year old until his teeth rattle out of frustration every day. It makes me feel better, for a moment, to visualize this because I know I will never do it.

8.) Angelina Jolie is a skinny little bitch and is probably starving. Our visit to the Potter's wax museum hit this one home.

And Brad Pitt is shorter than I am and looks like a Backstreet Boy. Perhaps it is the artist's interpretation of Brad Pitt but from what I understand, the wax sculptures are fairly accurate.

9.) No matter what I do or how hard I try to control/manage everything, I will inevitably run out of spending money (and toilet paper) before our next paycheck.

There will be flipping out at any suggestion my husband makes to "go somewhere" or "get something to eat." I will shriek, "We can't do ANYTHING, we have no MONEY for GAS!!!"

10.) Dishes are my least favorite chore and there is usually a sink full of them on any given moment during the day.

And normally, I need to watch an episode of "Hoarders" to get me motivated to mop the floor.

I'm deathly afraid of ending up like some of these people ~ harnessed to the medical toilet in the middle of the kitchen, snoozing amongst the filth of adult diapers. All the while flesh eating bugs are eating away at my toes (recent episode. One that has to be seen to be believed).

I have a feeling that the beginning of a slippery slope slide towards doom is easier than one might think. I have found this out with my weight issue.

"Oh, I'll just eat the pint of Cherry Garcia," I said. And, "Sure, just give me another helping of that delightful spaghetti."

The next thing I knew, I was shopping in the big momma department and was wheezing when I climbed a flight of stairs. Fat happened so quickly, and I can only assume that filth and flesh eating bugs in one's house can happen very quickly, also.

I better get back to filling out my secret sister form. If anyone has some ideas of hobbies that might accrue some interesting gifts, feel free to advise me in the comments below.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Vermin and Decomposition

My husband told me today that I seem really tense.

Actually, I had been feeling pretty good lately so this observation came as a bit of a surprise.

Although I skipped the past two days for various reasons, baby M and I have gotten into a new routine of daily jogs.

Naps are my barometer of personal "funks." I have only taken one nap in the past six weeks ~ it was today and it was only because it was dark and raining. And cold.

I walked Wesley out to the bus stop this morning in a t-shirt with holes in the armpits, drawstring shorts and flip flops. Sexy practically oozed off of me, let me tell YOU.

The cold air hit me as I walked outside but I was too lazy to walk back inside and get a jacket.

Half way to the bus stop I realized that this was a bit of a mistake. My blood has thinned out and 50 degrees now is surprisingly bone chilling. The family in Minnesota doesn't like to hear this, however, and I am reminded that it has already snowed up there.

The children who have been residents of Florida for longer than six months were bundled up in winter coats. Mine was speeding around on his scooter, pockets bulging with Bakugan balls, in camouflage shorts and an Aruba t-shirt. The Swedish Viking blood runs deep in this one.

The chill creeped into my bones and stayed there. It was a chill that wouldn't go away and clung to me like a wet rag.

I decided to curl up in my soft, warm flannel sheets and down comforter when the baby went down for a nap.

It took a little bit of courage to hang out in my room today. This is because there is a very large, very dead opossum directly outside my bedroom window.

Technically, I know that it can't hurt anything since it is already dead. It is actually just the creeper factor, mostly, because seriously ~ have you ever taken a good look at an opossum? Ew.

I nearly wet myself (it doesn't take much these days: a sneeze, a hearty cough, a good scare) when I opened the blinds this morning and saw it lying there.

I screamed.

"Chris!"

He was annoyed.

I was interrupting his dork online game in which he discusses strategies and civilization building techniques with pocked faced teenagers in Europe and Australia.

"Do you think it's dead," he asked after he had gasped a little bit. He would have been less surprised, I think, to see a gator since our backyard is a freshwater canal.

I looked at the legs, angled up a little in apparent rigor mortis, and the open, cloudy eyes. It looked pretty dead to me.

"Maybe it is just playing opossum, like they say? You know, like when someone 'plays opossum?' Let's see if it goes away," he suggested, then walked off.

That would have been too easy; alas, it did not go away.

It is currently being rained on and decomposing outside the bedroom window. I shudder at what kind of wicked vermin it will attract after the sun goes down. It is enough to keep me awake with the creepy crawlies.

I suppose it is good thing that I took a nap today just in case my sleep is interrupted with thoughts of possums, dead animals and decomposition occurring six feet from me.

Excuse me while I go take a pill.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Beginnings 3


Our lot is cleared! They were able to save a Palmetto in the back yard, yay! The surveyor was out today doing whatever a surveyor does...plumbing and foundation soon to come!

Trials and Blessings

I was stumbling through blogs as I ate my daily salad (I would have preferred a Big Mac).

I came across
one that touched me.

We have had infertility issues in our immediate family, and although I can't say I have personally experienced this, I have seen the pain that the difficulty in conceiving can cause.

It angers me that so many wonderful, loving people pray faithfully that they will be blessed with the PRIVILEGE to be parents. In the meantime others are aborting, abusing and neglecting their own babies/children.

I needed this couple's trials today to keep my blessings in perspective.

My 19-month is calling me from her crib and instead of grumbling that she only slept long enough for me to barely finish my lunch, I'm going to pick her up and give her a big hug and kiss.

I'll take a moment to smell her sweet scent and shower her with my love and attention. I'll make certain that she knows, beyond a doubt, that she is my blonde-haired, blue eyed, feisty gift from God.

http://icanmakeangels.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 30, 2009

Chubby People and Pure Joy















The other day I noticed that "Every Bite is Pure Joy" is printed on the side of each McDonald's bag.

At first I was a little horrified.

McDonald's is an institution that I hold in a similar regard as Walmart and Suntrust Bank. I wholly believe that these companies actively dream up new, different and twisted ways to kill our souls and bodies just a little bit faster in the form of greasy foods, astronomical fees, long lines and disgruntled employees.

Therefore, I try to keep my patronage infrequent and only by necessity.

But seriously, pure joy? It made me angry because this was EXACTLY what McDonald's wanted me to do: ponder the joy of a French fry.

And you know what? Dammit, they are right! It IS pure joy.

French fries? When they are hot and salty and just perfectly golden and crunchy? Bliss.

A Big Mac? When the special sauce is dripping out the other side? Awesome.

Quarter Pounders with cheese? In all of their greasiness and cheesiness? Perfect.

It was at that moment I realized that I will never be skinny. Never.

I have an inappropriate relationship with food that transcends "just getting up and moving a little bit" and watching what I eat.

I love to watch what I eat.

I love the look of food, even if it is something as bourgeois as meat gravy on top of mashed potatoes. I love the taste of food. There isn't much of anything that I will refuse. The nicest thing one can do for me, in my opinion, is cook for me or bring me food.

Our best friends in Iowa had this figured out. When Chris was in Iraq they brought us spaghetti, meatballs and salad on a weekly basis. And Cherry Garcia ice cream.

Meatballs. Mongolian beef. Soy sauce. Pad Thai.

Some of my very favorite things in life. No raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens for me ~~ PF Chang's Mongolian beef delights me, thank you very much.

I am convinced that the skinny people ~the TRULY skinny ~ don't have a pure love of food. And if they do have that love, they are spending their lives horribly, truly miserable by depriving themselves.

And that is how I rationalize my chubbiness.

It is my hope every day that I am on the verge of ending a 35-year phase. One day I will wake up and will be able to "take it or leave it."

In the meantime, I will enjoy my cold cut combo from Subway with the extra jalapenos and run a 1/2 mile more tomorrow.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bicycle Rides and Painful Lady Parts

{I fooled you, didn't I? You thought this was ME on the bicycle. Silly goose. Although she is a dead ringer for me, I could never ride with only one hand. And I tried to wear shorts, but I thought it would be best to put on my capris because of wind and indecent exposure issues. And I have PINK, not GREY Uggs. Tsk, tsk. Onto my story~~}

We just returned from a bike ride. It is a beautiful day; it made sense.

I had gone out and did an approximate 2.25 shuffle around our neighborhood earlier today. Although I was able to check off my daily exercise contribution, Chris reminded me of our desire to be a more active couple.

I had not been a bike for about 25 years. And hot damn, what d'ya know? The saying WAS true! It came back to me quickly and I wobbled down the street.

I made it halfway to our new lot (about .25 mile) when I realized this just wasn't going to happen. At least, not with the seat I was currently using.

"Chris! It hurts," I cried. "I can't do it."

"Yes, you can. Your butt just has to get used to the seat."

"I want your seat," I said as I pointed to his padded contraption. He was busy adjusting my seat to a higher (and more comfortable, he claimed) position.

He sighed and took the padded cover off of his seat and put it on mine.

We weren't even a block away from home.

The padding helped a little bit. I personally feel as if I have as much padding as should be necessary, a la "junk in the trunk," but apparently this isn't so. The bicycle seat cut right up through the junk and invaded my lady parts, and not pleasantly so.

We cut through a trail on our new property that various children/teenagers have burned through over the years to get to a bike path directly behind our new house. The trail was rugged, might I add?

I bounced and cried out in pain as I wobbled off of the trail momentarily. My heart lurched as I tore through a small shrub that could have been poison ivy. I've never been able to discern poison ivy, although I studied it online at various points in my life when I had reason to be concerned.

What I DID know was that there are snakes in these here parts, and I wasn't keen on startling one. I peddled faster to get out off of the trail.

Dead palm branches and twigs smacked me in the face as I bounced out onto the bike path. "Seriously, Chris. I don't know if I can do this, " I said pitifully.

I knew that our destination was a newly constructed house with a similar floorplan to ours, and I knew that this was located another mile or so south. My ass was already on fire and I was **this close** to tears. Exaggeration? No.

I followed along behind him, trying different positions. A new position would momentarily make my backside feel a twinge better, but something would shortly begin to sting. Shift. My va-jayjay fell asleep. Shift again. Now THAT position was just WRONG. My 14-year-old son's "soul would die a little bit" (as he likes to say) if he knew what I was doing to his bicycle seat.

"Isn't this great," Chris asked happily. I didn't respond, but glared at glare on the back of his bald head and wished bad things for him at that moment.

We arrived at the house and I immediately got off of the bike. We looked in windows and peered in doors to get a lookey-loo at what our house was going to look like with different exterior, interior fixtures and location.

We have been staring at a mere floorplan for months and while some people can "visualize" the end result from a drawing, I cannot. People who are able to do so are are gifted in such a way that makes them useful in interesting occupations such as engineering, interior designering and architecture. I chose to go into journalism for different reasons, such as the diminuitive math requirement.

After we spent some moments at the house, we resumed the ride home.

I didn't think, as I crawled back on the bicycle, that I was going to make it. We took a different way and stopped to gaze out at the canal for a while. The water was peaceful, if not murky and full of algae, but the trees and the blue sky were welcome reliefs to the tedium of the bicycle ride.

"Will you buy me a new seat," I asked.

"Yeah, sure. We'll find you a seat."

"They're called Hobson seats, you know. I know that because a friend of mine with the last name "Hobson" bought a Hobson Seat," I informed him. She shared the delightful irony with me years and years ago. I still remember the conversation.

I shifted, cried and complained much of the way home.

I don't think Chris will ask me to accompany him on any more bicycle rides with him in the future.

At least, not until a new seat is purchased for me that will not cause my girl bits to fall asleep, scream or sob in protest.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Beginnings 2




Our lot is being cleared this week. We are being super freaks and stalking it daily. We are wildly excited to see a backhoe parked there now. The brush is gone, but the large pine trees are still there.


Interruptions and Unexpected Intrusions

I am listening to Maggie chatter in her crib.

She was premature awakened from her nap by the doorbell.

I was busy watching this video (which I find oddly intriguing), measuring my hips and spraying myself with my Thierry Mugler's Alien perfume.

To say that I am not a fan of the doorbell is sort of an understatement.

I hate the phone, too, but I can always hit the "ignore" button. The aversion to the doorbell is unique and more acute. I cringe when the doorbell rings unless, a.) there is something good and expected on its way (i.e. buffalo wings and/or pizza) or, b.) I am looking forward to someone coming over to babysit or bring me cookies.

Doorbells in the middle of the day are not good.

It is usually someone whom I don't want to see or do not care to speak with. In addition, I don't want them to see ME as I am usually in my stained tank with the shelf bra and drawstring shorts and sporting greasy hair.

Oh yea, and today I had just sprayed myself with a hefty dose of Alien because **I** find the fragrance appealing and felt like smelling delicious .

Anyway, anyone worth a nickel would leave whatever business they have with me on my doorstep. I hoped it was a package, or something fun.

Today was especially weird, though. The doorbell rang, the dog barked and I heard a declaration on the front porch from the person ringing the doorbell. The dog was confused and I hid in the kitchen. I prayed that Maggie wouldn't start crying (a dead giveaway that I was home and merely hiding).

The doorbell rang again, followed by another declaration.

The dog, not sure whether to bark snuffled loudly at the door jam.

I found my phone and called Chris.

"There's someone outside ringing the doorbell and yelling."

"What?"

"Someone is ringing the doorbell and saying something really loud. What should I do?"

He suggested I answer the door, but I decided against it. I had placed my phone call to him and informed him what was going on. That was good enough for me.

I peeked outside and saw a car that vaguely looked like the mail car, speed off. I peered outside the front door. Nothing.

I immediately began to fret. Could it be a certified letter? Could it have to do with to the charges I filed in September against the mental senior citizen in the scooter who ran into my car ON PURPOSE? I've been sort of ignoring the letters from the State Attorney's office. Never a good idea, I know. The whole thing just causes me so much ANGST.

I can only speculate and fret.

And retrieve my wide-awake 18 month old. The mid-day interruption prematurely robbed me of my daily quiet time and the opportunity to do wildly important stuff. Like ~ cough, cough~ conquering my mounting chores. Or measuring body parts. Or sampling my perfume collection.

Damn it all, anyways.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Target and Dumpy Looking Housewives

This morning I went to Target.

I purchased three items: a package of Bakugan cards/balls, some synthetic motor oil for my SUV and a Gerber Graduates meal for Maggie's lunch.

It was a quick transaction, as it usually is when one has three items. There was not much time for small talk.

As I walked away, the cashier exclaimed, "Have fun cleaning!"

"Yea, thanks," I said and waved as I walked away with my purchases.

It took me a approximately two seconds.

Wait. A. Minute.

Have fun cleaning? Why would she say something like that? Did we have a conversation that I was unaware of? Was I buying a product used to clean some sort of surface in my home? Did she overhear something said to Wesley?

All of the answers were big, fat "no's."

I looked at what I was wearing. Exercise clothes.

I made the effort and did 25 minutes of exercise this morning.

**I pat myself on the back.**

I am about 15 pounds heavier than earlier this summer, so the "exercise" process of the daily walk/jog is a bit more laborious, but I did it.

(The second part of my Grande Strategy is not eating everything in sight. This is, as always, the more difficult half of the battle for me.)

I was wearing cropped yoga pants, a zip up jacket and my baseball cap to hide the fact that I hadn't showered in two days.

So...it was my APPEARANCE, apparently, that intimated that I was cleaning. I didn't know whether to be amused or pissed.

I thought about calling my sister in law to tell her I was highly offended in order to get free stuff.

My sister-in-law works at the corporate headquarters at Target and has been very helpful. She provides an attentive ear for our pissed off complaints about the Target missteps that we have encountered over the years.

"Molly. We waited for FIVE WHOLE MINUTES to be waited on at Food Avenue. It was completely unacceptable and we expect that you will take care of this problem."

We heard there was some sort of meeting to address this.

We were appeased.

"Molly. We were at Super Target today and the lines were RIDONKULOUS. We might as well have been at Walmart!"

Nothing moves a Target corporate individual faster to action than a comparison to Walmart.

She inquired whether or not we needed coupons to feel better.

We felt as if we did not, as we were not PERSONALLY offended. But we kept the offer in the back of our minds.

"Molly. I was buying groceries today at Super Target and the check out moron asked for Calvin's ID when I was buying a bottle of wine."

"What?"

"Seriously. I am not even joking," I said.

"I was buying groceries and a bottle of shiraz for dinner," I continued.
"The check out girl asked for Calvin's ID. I told her 'My son is 14 and is just accompanying me for a grocery run,' but she was adamant that she needed an ID to prove he was 21."

I didn't think this was the Target policy, but I am not the type to cause a scene and ask for a manager.

Instead, I handed my cell phone to Calvin and said, "Call Molly."

She didn't answer, but I felt powerful. Like I was somebody with a little hidden superpower, ready to use it on unsuspecting Target employees who dared to err me.

Molly again asked if we wanted coupons.

We declined because we were satisfied that this erroneous error on the cashier's part was addressed. Chris received a phone call from a manager apologizing about the situation.

The cashier was informed, again, of the alcohol policy. We were, again, appeased.

So should I, or shouldn't I, rat out this particular cashier who commented on my appearance?

I am still trying to decide.

It is an embarrassing situation, because honestly, was I THAT dumpy? It says something about ME to be out in public looking like such a wreck. It is sort of like being asked if you are having a garage sale when you are, indeed, not having a garage sale. Embarrassing, right?

And...I WAS dumpy.

The black yoga pants I was wearing have holes in the crotch. But Chris assures me that the holes are not visible when I am walking. And hell....I don't do yoga, so I am not stretching out my inner thighs in public. No one will know that there are holes except for me.

And now, you.

There is a small chance that I smelled foul. My hair was greasy, but it was hidden underneath a baseball cap.

I suppose I looked as if I might have plans to clean.

But, really. I didn't need that pointed out to me.

I have said it before; I should take care in my appearance. Right now I am not in a place to care too much. Except when someone else takes notice. Then I am all over it. Like today.

Perhaps I will lodge a complaint that my feelings were hurt. Can you put a coupon amount on that?

We shall see.


Friday, November 13, 2009

The Beginning



These are a couple pictures of the lot that we are going to be building on. We are facing east, the front of the house will be to the west. As I mentioned, it is in a cul de sac.

I'll continue to take pics as the house goes up.

Taping Trees and Meeting New Neighbors

We just returned home from marking trees on our new property.

The builder tries to save the trees that we mark, as well as any hardwoods that aren't ten feet away from the property. The lot should be cleared in the next week.

It's really handy to be building about a block away from our current home. It is a mere five minute (or less) walk from our house and brings out the neurotic in us.

Want to drive by the lot five times a day? Sure! Why not? Want to take a walk by for the sixth time today?? Heck, yes!

Between Chris and I, the current homeowners on the quiet cul de sac must have been scratching their heads for the past two months.

The same two cars appear to be constantly lost.

"Why is that red SUV driving by AGAIN?"

"Haven't we seen that sand colored Corolla before? Those cars all look alike..."

So, today we took the bundled-up baby, the dog and a hoe to inspect and tape. Actually, Chris inspected and taped. I watched from the street and gave him orders.

"There is a palm way back there," I would yell. "Way in back. Make sure to get that!"

"Why are you using all of the tape on that one tree!? We're going to run out!"

"You're wrapping the tape around a dead branch, Chris! Tape it around something green!"

I think I observed some fist shaking in my direction several times. I would have joined him myself, if not for the threat of rattlers and water moccasins. We are rather close to a freshwater canal.

I understood his frustration with me, I suppose. He was trying to concentrate on not startling a snake, a nest of critters, or a badger. (I actually saw a dead badger on the side of the road not too far from here. I ALMOST stopped to take a picture, but thought better of it).

I think it would be very ironic for Chris to be attacked by a pissed off badger.

The neighbors returned home as we were in the middle of our process. I made Chris put down the hoe before we approached them. I don't think we appear threatening, but I didn't want to get off on the wrong foot.

He was from Connecticut; she was from Miami. They mentioned they were trying to decide whether to move or not. I hope meeting Chris and I, along with a screaming toddler and a scrappy Cairn Terrier, didn't push them over the edge. They seem like they would be nice neighbors.

We also received the scoop on the other neighbors, which was very handy.

Apparently we are building right next door to a "jerk." The husband used this word several times while talking to Chris. The wife used more tactful phrases like "he's quiet and keeps to himself," and "we only speak to him about once a year."

This is unfortunate because the "jerk" has a shed that is in a questionable location. It is set diagonally in his backyard, partially located on our lot.

His day is really going to suck when he hears that, a.) the empty lot he has been enjoying for years and years is going to disappear. And, oh yeah, 2.) that shed that looks to have been placed there twenty years ago with vines growing over it? It needs to be moved ~ pronto ~ because the permits are being pulled tomorrow and the bulldozers are coming.

I'm glad it is not us who has to inform him, but I am morbidly curious how that conversation is going to go.

Oh, and apparently the girl next door to him is a nurse is quite a "looker." The husband nodded and winked when he gave Chris this information.

The wife told me, "she's nice and she works a lot."

I want to be a "looker" again. Maybe someday.

We returned home, even more excited to be able to watch the process on a daily basis.

Once the ground is broken, we'll be even more OCD than we are now. There is no stopping us from walking/driving by a dozen times a day.

We signed an agreement not to walk around inside the property for liability reasons. I KNOW how we are and how much effort it will take for us to adhere to this.

It will take every fiber of our being.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wenches and Perfect Asses


I am pretty sure I hate this woman and I am certain she is a total bee-yotch.

I'm pretty sure
these things don't work.

But I'll probably buy
them anyway.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Untitled

Tonight, my 8 year old son asked what year 9/11 happened in , because he wasn't sure if he was alive.

He was. He was a newborn baby and I was nursing him while I watched THIS FIRST BROADCAST.

Our country needs to remember this.

Many of us have forgotten, and have reverted into being, in my opinion, weak-minded wieners (I was going to use a different word, but thought it might be distractingly offensive).

Yes, America has enemies. No, America is not perfect. But YES, she is worth fighting for.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

How To Get Rid of Fruit Flies and Tainted Cabernet

It took me over an hour to eat my dinner.

I ventured out to the local Panda Express for my pile of sadness in a bowl of desperation.

I brought it home to eat in relative peace; the husband and boys are at church tonight, the baby is not. The glass of cabernet that I poured took me about as long to drink.


Towards the end of the glass, I noticed chunks in the bottom. Hmm, I thought. Must have been the bottom of the barrel.


Alas, no. It was not.


A pesky fruit fly had been bothering me all night. Apparently, however, it was a multitude of fruit flies.
I don't know where they came from, but one never does. There is no fruit around here to be had.

Unfortunately, we haven't been models of a healthy, balanced diet in OUR house lately.


There were four dead fruit flies in the bottom of my glass.

Now, my blog is about to take a different turn momentarily.

I have a piece of unusually domestic advice to bestow upon you.
A friend told me this several years ago and I have used it numerous times to get rid of fruit flies.

You will need:


A glass
Two drops of dish soap
3 TBSP. sugar

1/4 C. cider vinegar


Directions: Place two drops of dish soap in the bottom of an 8 oz. glass. Add sugar, then cider vinegar. Fill it up w/ water, stirring to dissolve sugar. There will be bubbles on top, and these will trap the flies and they will fall to the bottom.

Place the glass in an area in the kitchen and watch the demise of the fruit flies.

It's actually quite entertaining.

I'm no Martha Stewart, but that is my good thing for the day.

**Takes a bow.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Heidi Klum and Fat Sticks

I want to look like THIS.

I mean, really. Hasn't she had, like, six kids by now?

This is why life is not fair.

COME ON
. I'm German, too!

But I guess I must come from the lineage that tended to be chubby and feasted on bratwursts, potato salad and dumplings.

(Shakes fist at the heavens.)


Heidi Klum drops a baby and two weeks later, she models in a Victoria's Secret fashion show.


Meanwhile, I was hit with a fat stick and super taste buds and often need blocks of cheese and French onion sour cream dip to even get through my day.


Seriously. Not fair.

End of tantrum.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thelma Minus Louise Moments and Broken Dishes

I wrote this earlier today, but had to set it aside and come back to it later. I was in the middle of a stressed moment, and I was worried that it had a desperate tone to it. I don't want to sound desperate.

I said the magic words super early this morning.


Usually they are reserved for mid-afternoon at the earliest, but I just couldn't do it anymore. By 9am you could stick a fork in me ~ I was SO done.

"Would you like to watch Yo Gabba Gabba, Maggie," I asked.

The response was wildly enthusiastic, as usual. She snapped to attention, did a pivot turn and ran (as much as a toddler can without bending her knees) towards the television set squealing with delight.

Parenting purists, or whatever those annoying people are called, are probably paling and feeling faint. But yes, at times I do use television as a babysitter. THERE. I admitted it.

And this was whole-heartedly, 100%, one of those times.


Chris has been out of town for four days, hence the lack of a "mental" break from the children. They are ALL mine. ALL my responsibility.


Some mothers revel in this kind of shiz and rise to the occasion, but honestly, it sort of freaks me out.
I mean, it is totally up to ME to keep them healthy and ultimately, alive.

If I happened to check out and say "adios," or pull a Thelma-minus-Louise routine, there would be
serious implications.

And folks, it's only 10:02 a.m.

And I am feeling a bit Thelma-ish day today.


I don't know how single mothers do it. Really. They are rarely given the props that they so desperately deserve. Seriously, they rock.


I was a single mother for a while and I fully believe that God blessed me with a dream of a child. Calvin was such a good baby and toddler. The "eleven and twelve year old" Calvin? Ehhh, not so much. But he has rebounded nicely and I couldn't be prouder of him.

Anywho, I hadn't necessarily recovered from yesterday. By the time Maggie went to bed at 7pm, my entire body was buzzing with the uncomfortable anxiety that precipitates the necessity of me popping a pill.

The anxiety was triggered by several things. For one, Maggie lost my driver's license.

I noticed how nicely she was playing with my wallet and made the erroneous decision not to mess with a good thing. Hey, she was quiet and occupied with something that wouldn't kill or maim her.

I let it go on for a little while, but when I looked at her again, I realized that she was taking each card out of the wallet and sliding them under the refrigerator.

"NO! No, no, no, no, no," I shrieked as I ran over and very quickly gathered the scattered contents as fast as I could.

Upon further investigation, I very quickly realized (as I got the wooden spoon out with the long handle) that there was no room to fit the handle. There was barely enough room to get a credit card under, no WONDER she was so quiet.


I fetched a long, serrated knife, slid it under the appliance and began fishing. I retrieved an insurance card, my hair stylist's business card, my Flagler County library card. I couldn't feel anything else and all of the credit/debit cards were accounted for.


It wasn't until later I realized that my driver's license was gone.


This wouldn't be SUCH a big deal, but I find that I am asked for my driver's license so much more in Florida than in Iowa. Got a doctor's appointment? Need your driver's license. Want to sign a kid up for something? Anything? Need your driver's license. They take proper identification seriously in Florida.

Oh, and I have "SEE I.D." emblazoned on the back of every single plastic form of payment that I carry in my wallet.


Shortly after the wallet incident, Maggie decided she was going to empty a cabinet so she could climb inside.
Most of the contents weren't breakable, but she found the one thing that was and tossed it out onto the ceramic tile.

It was a large, Pyrex baking dish with a lid. Was. It is currently in our trash can in no less than 1,000 pieces.


Not even 30 minutes later, she had opened the dishwasher, found a salad plate to toss at the startled dog.

And so it went.

As I have been writing over the past hour or so, she broke another plate. As I was preparing her evening cereal, I heard the "clink" of a toilet seat and then some splashing.

"NO! No, no, no, no no," I shrieked, running to the boys' bathroom. Doors are supposed to be closed in our house, but the bathroom door was somehow left open.


But she was quiet for a moment.

Nothing good comes from a quiet 18 month old.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Plump Wife and a Big Barn

I ripped this off from my cousin Missy's Facebook page because I think it is pretty freaking awesome.

Sorry for not asking before I snitched it, Missy.

To atone, I'll mention HER blog: http://primaryfood.blogspot.com/

Wonder Woman, Regressions and Digressions

The boys had Monday and Tuesday off of school this week.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Calvin went to stay with my parents in the Orlando area.

Grandmother fed him as much ice cream and red meat as his little heart desired. In return, he dug holes, trimmed crepe myrtle trees and moved various plants from point "a" to point "b."


Wesley spent the time, quite miserable, with me.

He was instructed to clean his room on Saturday.

It was clean by noon on Monday .


During that time, the uncooperativeness caused the Legos littering his room to be packed up and put away.


My reasoning was that if he wasn't going to pick those evil little buggers up, they would be taking an open-ended hiatus. The ones left on the floor in the common areas are regularly sucked up through the vacuum hose.

He doesn't know that, though.


The uncooperativeness continued through Sunday, so his action figures were also cleared out.

He cried. He begged for mercy as I threw the Star Wars, the Spidermans
and the Fantastic Four characters in the large garbage bag that will be stored in an undisclosed location until I see fit.

So, basically the current entertainment in his room consists of three shelves of books.

I don't think that taking toys away is a bad thing ~ or mean ~ at all.

I'm not hitting him too much as of late, so given the choice of two punishments, I think he would happily accept the former rather than the latter.
Totally kidding.

And good grief, in the old days, kids played with string or mud. Or rocks.
Or a variation of the three.

The peer pressure on Monday finally broke him. His friends came to do the door no less than three times in less than 30 minutes, wondering how long it could POSSIBLY take for him to clean his room (if only they knew) and why wasn't he finished, already?


As they were waiting, they hovered and rode their bicycles and scooters in circles on the street in front of our house. They looked like deranged little Energizer Bunnies.


Yesterday morning I decided that we were going to Orlando.

I threw the Pack N Play in the back of the SUV and herded the cats. We arrived around lunchtime.
My mother was at one of her numerous doctor's appointments.

I'm not exactly sure why this happens, but I regress the moment I walk into my parents' house. Chris comments on it all the time and asks why my ability to think for and take care of myself completely disappears once I walk inside my parents' home.


My brother and I sat in Mom and Dad's rocking chairs, looking at each other.

The kids tore through the house maniacally trying to tackle each other to perform wedgies. The goal: rip the underwear. Although I very clearly disapproved, this activity was
highly encouraged by Tony. Thus, my authority was completely negated. I am not as cool as he is, nor do I buy them Abercrombie and Fitch clothing.

"What was mom doing for lunch," I asked. It was now 1pm.

We were all hungry and, upon walking through the front door of this house our brains had fallen out and we all forgot where to find sandwich meat and how to make ourselves sandwiches.


Mother returned at 1:30 with Chick Fil A.
And she remembered the extra barbecue sauce for my waffle fries. Something not even Chris always does.

I had an unusual burst of energy (or, rather, lots of babysitters) so I vacuumed out my car. This is no small feat ~ let me tell you ~ as it hadn't been done all summer and we visited the beach at least once a week since July.

I then took the car to the local car wash and paid ten bucks for the "Ultimate" wash.


As we left after dinner that evening the heavens unleashed their fury, in the form of rain, on my freshly washed car.

GREAT, I just flushed ten more dollars down the toilet, in addition to the GI Joe Snake Eyes costume I bought for Wesley.
He shows a great amount of enthusiasm for the costume, but it is too tight in the crotch area and I'm concerned that it is not entirely appropriate for him to wear to school on Friday.

He thinks it is just fine. What to do, what to do.

I wasn't going to dress Maggie up, but I recently saw pictures of a friend's daughter dressed up in a kick ass Wonder Woman costume that I believe I
must have.

My daughter WILL be Wonder Woman, you know, in real life. I feel as if my opportunity to be rockin' and wonderful has passed me by at times, but I am totally not above living vicariously through her.


"You can do ANYTHING! You want to be the president AND a doctor AND a paleontologist? SURE YOU CAN! You are STRONG! You are SMART! You will take no sh**! TEAM MARGARET!"


She'll look back at pictures of herself dressed as Wonder Woman when she was 17 months old and will be all, "This is where it all started, folks. "


Alas...I digress.

It is back to life as normal for Calvin. Back to canned soup, the un-fun cereal (Raisin Bran). There is no ice cream for him to inhale. Wesley's room is still clean as a whistle, mostly because there are no toys for him to throw around.


Netflix
finally sent a movie on the top of my queue, instead of my crappy fourth, fifth and sixth choices.


So we will all be watching Transformers 2 this evening and eating popcorn. I can't think of a better way to spend a fall evening.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Unusually Accomodating Grandmas and Needy Houseguests

I failed to mention earlier today that Calvin, my 14-year-old, is spending two nights with his grandparents in Orlando.

My 30-ish (and single) brother also showed up there on Sunday evening, with some sort of communicable disease that sounds beyond gross. My poor mother is trying to simultaneously feed Calvin while taking care of my brother, who completely pusses out at the first sniffle.

Anywho, I am receiving a 48 hour reprieve in the atrocious amount of food being inhaled at mind-boggling rates at my house. Zang ("excellent" in Cantonese)!

However, I received this email earlier today from my mother; I'm surprised she could get on the computer with Calvin there. I'm sure to be granted access, she had to do something drastic, like bake him a pie. Or sweet rolls with icing.

Oh, wait....that's exactly what she did.

Can't you just hear the desperation in her voice?

I sat down to write earlier in the day but was called away for something before I got it done. Been busy with the fam. Cal is here, and insists on putting food into his mouth 24/7, and Tony has been here hacking and blowing his nose so I have tried to nurse him back to health ...

Between that I made Cal get out of the house and help with gardening. I figured if someone was going to eat my food for 48 hours I better get something in return. He did quite well but I have a new name for him tonight, "Calvin, are we done yet? ________?"


WE did get a lot done before the sun beat down on us and we were both pretty much soaked through with sweat.

Tomorrow I want to get him out and help with one more big bougainvillea bush that is roof high and has needles at least 1/2 in long. I thought I would let him "help me" by doing the work as I feel it is really too hard for a grandma to do.


I made some rolls (Cal was hungry for those) and
apple pie (also a favorite). He should be happy tonight or too pumped to sleep and sit in front of the t.v.watching horror movies all night.

Tony did go to meet some friends for dinner so it is just 2 boys and myself tonight. That should be easy as Cal eats anything or I should say, everything...


How fun. I'm so glad that Grandma is waiting on him hand and foot because he knows he can't expect as much at home. He eats a lot of canned soup for snacks. I don't provide baked goods, much to his dismay.

Between the unusually needy visitors and all of the gardening they are apparently accomplishing, I fear my mother will be wiped out and burned out on visitors (i.e. children) until at LEAST Christmas.

Ghost Hunters and Stories of the Supernatural

I'm torn between really liking and really disliking Halloween.

Actually, if I am at all honest, the list of "dislikes" probably greatly outweighs the "likes."


First of all, I dislike buying costumes.

This year Wesley wants to be Snake Eyes from GI Joe. Or a ninja. I think that Snake Eyes IS a Ninja, but I'm not quite sure.


It is my scrooge-like belief that the money spent on costumes is not unlike flushing $40.00 or so of hard earned money down the crapper. (
I believe I touched on this in last year's Halloween blog post. )

I dislike having to buy candy for other people's kids.

I don't even like to buy candy for my own kids because usually when candy is involved children turn into little beast-like creatures with only slightly better vocabularies.


It begins with crazed eyes in the check out lanes at the grocery store.

What ticks me off is that stores do this on purpose. They hire psychologists to tell them to set it up this way (I saw Dateline once). They put the candy that ONLY kids could possibly want at the very end of the grocery store journey, when the parents have been so
beaten down and psychologically weakened that they are tempted to say "yes" just to get their kids to shut up.

"
Mom! Mom, mom, mom, mom," they beg, tugging at some sort of appendage or various piece of clothing/accessory on my person.

"Whatever question you are about to ask, the answer is no." As usual, I'm ignored.

"Mom, can I get the Liquid Bomb Blasting Sour Puss Extreme Razzle Dazzle Raspberry Squirt Pop? I saw it on a commercial! It's actually really good."

I observe the concoction that has been thrust up to my eye level.

It looks positively wretched, both for the eyes and most likely for the health.
The color isn't natural and probably contains no less than a hundred known cancer causing ingredients.

On the other hand, I like Halloween because presents the best television opportunities of the entire year. There is a horror movie broadcasted every single night.

Last night, I donated a sliver of my time to The Shining, much to Chris' dismay. He told me to turn it off because he was eating. He doesn't like to watch anything "out of the ordinary" while he is eating.


Best of all, there are
Ghost Hunter marathons. My very favorite episode was last season when TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) investigated The Mt. Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire.

A princess was a regular guest at the hotel and her original bed is still in one of the rooms.
They performed the routine EVP's (electric voice phenomenon) in that room.

If you don't want to watch
the 2 minute video on YouTube, I'll recap:

Jason (TAPS): Princess, are you in here?


Princess Caroline: Hello? Is there someone there? (This wasn't audible; it was only discovered after the replayed the tapes.)


Jason: Princess, are you in the room?


Princess Caroline: Of
course I am in here. (Pause.) Where are you?

This interaction was positively brilliant and thought provoking.
I watched it no less than a dozen times that night, thanks to my handy DVR machine. I also made Chris watch it. He hates Ghost Hunters.

Unlike some of my family members, I haven't had anything really supernatural happen to me.

My personal "ghost story" isn't nearly as impressive.


We were house hunting about six years ago, before we bought our first house. We had scoured realtor.com for all of the available listings in Des Moines.


One of the houses that showed up in our search was a turn of the century gem that boasted four fireplaces, 6,000 square feet and three stories, plus an apartment in the attic. The asking price was under 20K.

It was so intriguing, and probably SUCH a dump, that we had to see it.
We talked our friend/realtor, Gina, into taking us there.

This was probably a mistake.


According to Gina, it had been a brothel. And a drug house. There had obviously been some serious crimes committed inside the house.

I had never, to my knowledge, been inside a house like this.


The first thing that assaulted me when I walked inside was the smell. It wasn't bad; it was different. It was a sweet smell. It didn't smell like air fresheners or detergent. It just smelled
off.

The next issue was that it was freezing in there. We were house hunting on a overcast, fall day and we were wearing jackets, but the temperature dropped at least ten more degrees as we stepped into the foyer.


It was so sad. The once grand house had been completely stripped of everything of value ~ the fireplace mantles, the trim around the windows, the moldings around the doors. Everything was gone. The wood floors were bare and in terrible shape. Whoever bought this house was going to have to gut and replace EVERYTHING.

The smell was off, the temperature obviously dropped and the third thing that happened within seconds of walking in there was that I felt as if someone dropped a heavy cloak on me. My body felt a little heavier, my shoulders dropped. I felt a horrible, desperate sadness that made me want to cry.


"This place is haunted," Gina said. "I have been in thousands of houses and I can just tell by now."


"Okay then, let's go," Chris said. He could tell, too.


"Chris, I really want to just look around in here," I protested. I was morbidly curious.

Gina agreed with me. Chris turned to leave, but thought better of letting two women and a child walk around a house like this alone. He unwillingly joined us.


The rooms were choppy and bare. The sadness and cold followed me throughout the house. We walked upstairs to the fourth story apartment. There were hand prints on the walls.


As we left, the sadness stayed with me.

I wandered through the rest of the day feeling off and perpetually on the verge of tears. The dread I felt as I walked through that house clung to me like a wet rag.
It was a horrible feeling and quite honestly, I felt as if something had followed me out of the house.

I did something that I had never done before. I asked if my husband would pray over me.


Now, we are Lutheran. We are not Baptists, or Pentecostals or any other denomination where this is regularly done. My faith is private, quiet. To ask someone to pray over me took a lot of courage to ask, but the feeling attached to me was serious and required some big guns.


Several years later, Chris asked me if I remembered that house.


I was like,
hell yeah I remembered that house.

"Yes," I said.

Apparently a local Christian group bought it, renovated it and turned it into a
homeless shelter for teenage boys. I was speechless. Here is the picture of the house:



To my dismay, Wesley is asking (read: pestering) me when we can go shopping for his costume.

I'm putting it off, but the money flushing is inevitable. No need to ruin a child's holiday just because
I am the scrooge.

I'm sure when we go through the checkout lane, pleading will ensue for candy. Or a Pepsi. Or Goldfish. He becomes desperate after the first two "no's" and just starts asking whatever crap in the immediate vicinity that his greedy little eyes rest upon.


It should be a delightful trip. If not, I know that there will be great television on tonight.
And that always cheers me right up.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Handel's Water Music v. Katy Perry

Today I accomplished something that I have been wanting to do for a very long time. Or at least since we moved to Florida.

I was able to sit on the beach completely by myself.

Well, not completely. There were the usual suspects around me: the fishermen, the pruned-out 40 year-old-woman who looks 60, the teenage girls in bikinis looking only how teenage girls can look in bikinis. (Yet we as women painfully yearn for that dream and work our asses off, quite frequently in vain, in our efforts to turn back the clock .)

No, I wasn't completely alone, but what counted was that I didn't have the responsibility of running after a deranged Maggie.

"Taking a one year old to the beach," my husband, Chris, explained, "is kinda like being on the edge of awesomeness. We are right there, but soooo not quite."

The responsibility of corralling a child whose only fear (apparently), is that of a terrified gecko on the handle of the shopping cart at WinnDixie, is quite a responsibility.

It's a piece of cake when she sits and plays with the sand and shells. The problem is that this lasts for five minutes. After five minutes she is tearing off into the surf hoping to take a dip. It sucks for her that this is the ultimate no-no for a 17 month old.

Calvin was easily bought off to sit at home with Maggie and watch Yo Gabba Gabba. Chris had taken Wesley down yonder on the beach and I sat on my little beach towel not really knowing what to do with myself. It would have been nice to have remembered to bring a book.

Because I am reading no less than six at last count ~ plenty to choose from.

I then decided to sit and watch the surf while taking deep breaths. Whatever ions were there, I was going to make darn good use of them for an hour or so. Perhaps this would help to bring down my blood pressure a little bit, which apparently is high-ish again. According to my new doctor, or rather, the blood pressure machine in my new doctor's office.

I tried to concentrate on chillaxing, but I couldn't get "Waking Up In Vegas," out of my head. Not a very relaxing or chilled out song.

Dang it
.

I tried to adjust my internal soundtrack to Handel's Water Music, quite apropos whilst sitting and gazing out at the wide expanse of ocean.

But that stupid Katy Perry kept interrupting the horns and oboes of "Allegro," or "Air," or whatever movement I was forcing into my head.

I laid back and observed the clouds. I was enjoying the sun, the warmth and the sound of the ocean that people pay actual money for via sound machines and/or CD's.

But the sand was terribly uncomfortable and my back hurt. Shiz, I had laid down and I honestly didn't know if I was going to be able to get back up again. I felt a bit like a beached whale, belly up. I probably resembled one, too.

I wriggled around in the sand (inconspicuously, as to not draw attention to myself) trying to make a groove. Sand MUST be like Tempurpedic material, right? I would attempt to make an indentation of my body to eliminate stress points. Totally worth a try if done inconspicuously.

I laid back and watched an airplane fly south over me. It flew above the clouds and was red and blue. Southwest? It wouldn't make sense, because this is the Southeast. But you never know.

I speculated the jet's destination. Orlando? Miami? Cuba? Do they even fly planes into Cuba? Or is it just the United States that has a beef with the country? Maybe it was a Canadian jet.

I don't know and probably won't ask my husband because it is probably a question that will reaffirm his belief that he married left of the bell curve.

My "alone time" was becoming boring. I was ready for a burrito. Or the company of Chris. Both would be fantastic.

We returned home and I returned refreshed and somewhat rejuvenated. At least I felt as if I could be pleasant to those around me which was definitely not the case before we left.

I returned having learned the lessons to a.) bring a book to the beach, b.) leave the 1 year old at home.

Tomorrow we are going back and I have the luxury of neither.

Chris suggested we take the Pack-N-Play to set up in the back of the SUV so she can nap. But I am completely icked out contemplating the sand that permeates EVERYTHING at the beach and the implications of cleaning the bed when we return home ~ a task that will inevitably be left to me.

We'll figure it out.

I'm just delighting in the fact that it is 90 degrees and there is no possibility of snow. Not even an faint inkling.

I'm not going to miss it; not after days like these.

Sick Bugs and ......

It is quite ironic that in a recent blog entry I mentioned that I didn't "know what earaches felt like."

Later that same evening, I felt a sharp little twinge in around the vicinity of my left ear. And then another. And another.

I mentioned my concern to my husband and he expressed a diminutive iota of concern. He was probably have a silent meltdown inside his head that included much fist-shaking directed towards the heavens and wailing, "Nooooo, not her toooooooooooooooo!"

I thought the pain was just a fluke; unfortunately as I tried to sleep that night I repeatedly woke up to persistent series of twinges.

You must be wondering why I didn't truck it to the medicine cabinet for some ibuprofen. I wondered that, too, and came to the conclusion that I would rather just bitch and moan about things sometimes than to actually take action.

By the next morning I was in serious pain and had a microwavable rice shoulder bag, blazing hot, pressed to the side of my head. I was crazy eager for my doctor's appointment at 2pm, at which the doctor took one look up my nose and said "Whoa...do you have sinus problems?"

I wanted to say, "No, I didn't think I did, but since you took a gander up my nose and made a noise that indicated some sort of issue up there, I would guess that I do."

I think that it is going to be my personal mission to get everyone in this house shiny and healthy. By Christmas. Or Valentine's Day at the very latest.

The past few months have been rough and I have chalked it up to our family getting used to these new "sick bugs" in Florida.

After we moved from Minnesota to Des Moines in 2001, I recall that there was a regular parade of health issues as we acclimated to new germs.

2002 culminated in a tonsilectomy for Chris. And back surgery. He was a gimpy barrel o' fun that year, let me tell you.

It is most likely just a "running its course" type thing. As soon as we have blown through all of the sicknesses that our immune systems were not able to effectively fight off, we will be right as rain.

Hopefully right as rain come sooner than later and without too much pain.

Or invasive procedures.