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Monday, February 28, 2005

How To Cut In Line

I was at Walmart buying a cart load full of junk. Literally the back of the cart was overflowing with stuff. I hadn't bought that many things, but what I did buy was large and took up lots of room... two big boxes of diapers, big mega box of wipes, papertowels, toilet paper, tissues.

Basically it was stuff that was going to only make a pit stop in my home on the way to it's permanent residence, our town landfill.

The store was crowded and the lines at the check out were excruciatingly long. As I was waiting on line to pay the man and woman standing behind me began commenting on my adorable baby son. Of course I turned around to thank them.

The man behind me was holding a bottle of Windex. Not holding it down at his side like he was carrying it, but holding it up at chest level, like he was some sort of hand model holding the Windex in an ad.

'Your baby is really cute.' he said.

'Thanks.' I said.

'Really, he is. How old is he?' he said, with a flourish of the hand across his lonely bottle of Windex.

'He's two months old. Is that all you are buying?' I said watching his hand caress the bottle of Windex.

'Yes it is. Just one little thing.'

'Do you want to go in front of me?' I offered.

Him and his wife practically leap frogged over my cart they were so excited. We talked for a bit more and then fell silent waiting for the never ending line to move.

Suddenly I hear a man's hopeful voice behind me.

'I think your baby is cute too.'

Nope, I'm not that nice.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Just Call Me A Pincushion

To day I had to get blood drawn. I have been told that I have "bad" veins and have had several not-so-good experiences with phlebotomists and nurses. It's probably a good thing I never aspired to be an IV drug addict, or I'd be a very frustrated drug user due to a lack of good veins to shoot up in. Anyhow, today was no exception.

We went through the initial formality of pulling up both of my sleeves and examining the veins on both arms. She smacked then insides of my arms a bit, presumably to make the veins stand up more, but I really think it is the phlebotomist taking out her aggression, 'Look at these damn veinless arms.' smack smack smack

The right arm was deemed better than the left. She put the tight blue elastic band around my arm and I opened and closed my fist. A few more smacks and she jabbed me with the needle. Nope no blood. Jab some more. Still no blood. The she began moving and jabbing the needle around underneath my skin. I had to tell her that I didn't think I had signed up for liposuction on my arm, because that is what it looked (and felt) like she was doing.

Okay no blood. Time to move on to the left arm. We repeated the above scenario on this arm. I asked if they had some leeches and a glass, because it seemed that might be a tad more effective.

The girl began calling for the other phlebotomist to come into the room. That alone did not inspire the sort of confidence I like to have in someone who is holding a needle in my arm. Then my arm did begin to bleed, just not into the needle.

Yeah I didn't know that could happen either. I was thinking, 'This can't be good.'

But when the girl said, 'This is SO weird' I had had enough. I told her to take the needle out.

'Are you sure? I think I almost have it'

Ummm, yes I am definitely sure that the time has come for you, your needle, and my arm to part company, 'TAKE IT OUT OF MY ARM.'

The other phlebotomist came into the room and we began the blood letting dance again. Third time was the charm. The girl kept saying how "funny" it was. I might have found it funny too if it wasn't my arms.

Now I have huge black bruises on the insides of my arms and I'm just thankful it is long sleeve weather.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Another Room Down

only 50 more rooms left to go.

Okay, not really 50. It just seems that way.

We were really pleased with the way the floor in my daughter's bedroom turned out. The sanding was a lot of work, but definitely worth it in the end.

Don't you just want to get naked and roll all over the floor? No? It's just me? Nevermind then.

We still need to change out the ceiling light fixture, I haven't found anything I like yet, and put the doorknob back on the door. But otherwise it is done.

Our handyman is coming over tomorrow to begin work on another one of the bedrooms. We are hoping to get three more of the children's bedrooms finished by summer. She-Who-Will-Not-Stop-Screaming loves her new bedroom.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Joy of a Sick Toddler

Her screams are loud and shrill enough to cause dogs several towns over to howl in fright and make all of us in the house want to jam screwdrivers in our ears so we won't have to hear her anymore.

She wants bananas, then by God she will have bananas. So we all got into the van, with it's brand new windshield wipers, and drove 15 minutes to the expensive grocery store to get her some bananas. We just need the screaming TO. STOP.

And the screaming did stop once we got the bananas.

And some fruit snacks.
And some Fruit Loop cereal.
And some granola bars.
And some English muffins.
And some green cupcakes.
And some soymilk, because even though we have plenty at home she saw it and wanted it, and we CAN'T. TAKE. ANYMORE. SCREAMING.
And a six pack of a premium malt beverage. (okay, I picked this out, but I need something to dull the echo of screaming in my head)

Then we paid for our $60 bananas and left the store.

We arrived home and she wanted something. We pulled everything out of the grocery bags. But she didn't want to eat the bananas, the fruit snacks, the cereal, the granola bars, the English muffins, the green cupcakes, or the soymilk. (Not sure if she wanted the premium malt beverage since I didn't offer it, because I don't like to share.)

She wanted a peanut butter sandwich. Cut into 4 triangles. So she could bite the tip off of each triangle and be "Dawl Dawn".

At least the screaming has stopped.

Good Times

Nothing wakes you up in the morning like a nice hot, strong cup of coffee.

Except for:
  1. a toddler who prevents you from drinking your coffee
  2. a toddler who is screaming and preventing you from drinking your coffee
  3. a toddler who is screaming because she is covered in poop from neck to toe inside of her footie pajamas and thus preventing you from drinking your coffee
  4. a toddler who is screaming and wrestling with you while you try to carefully remove the footie pajamas without getting poop on yourself
  5. a toddler who is screaming because she doesn't want to take a bath to wash off the poop which covers her body from neck to toe
  6. a toddler who is screaming and throwing poopie bath water on you while you are trying to wash her off
  7. a toddler who is screaming and has the strength of Hercules and can therefore yank the spray hose out of your hand and squirt you with it
  8. a toddler who is screaming and now poop free, demanding that only a banana can make her whole again
  9. a toddler who is screaming upon the realization that there are no bananas in the house
  10. a toddler who is screaming hanging onto your leg while you chug your freezing cold cup of coffee

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Maybe We Should Use Public Transportation

Every Saturday morning I drive 40 minutes to bring my 5 yr old to gymnastic class. One of the things I like about it is listening to the radio. I also like the fact that the car is peaceful, since it is usually just my 5 yr old, me and the baby. The 5 yr old has no one to fight with, or heck even talk to, since I am too busy singing along to the radio.

One of the radio stations plays music from when I was in high school, which they call Way Back Weekend. Oh yes, way back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth and we wore fur pelts as clothing, we listened to R.E.M. and Madonna.

This Saturday, on the way to the gymnastic center, we almost had a car accident. An old man driving in front of me slammed on his brakes at a blinking yellow light. I had thought he was one of the few okay elderly drivers, since he was driving over the speed limit. But I was proven wrong when he slammed on his brakes and I had to slam on my breaks and swerve on to the other side of the road to avoid hitting him. The two cars behind me had to go up on the curb to avoid hitting us both. The oncoming traffic went up on their curb.

Since I was driving Rob's car I couldn't find the horn without looking so I couldn't immediately honk it. I had to wait until I was completely stopped, which took a good 20 seconds longer, to located the horn buttons, so by the time I actually honked the horn it was a rather useless exercise. It was so frustrating that I'm not sure what annoyed me more the old man or the fact that I couldn't find the horn to express my displeasure.

Then on the way home something fell out of the bottom of the car and was dragging along underneath it. I later found out that the catalytic converter had broken off from the muffler pipe. The car was really really LOUD. It was kinda cool. I felt like I was driving a powerful race car at the Daytona 500. All the other traffic got out of my way and people stayed way way behind me, probably fearing that the important piece of the car was going to fall out and they would end up driving over it.

I stopped about half way home at a baby store to buy a present for a friend of Rob's who is having his first baby next month. When I pulled into the parking lot, there was a man trying to put a crib into the back of his SUV and he came over to have a look at my noisy car. He ended up climbing under my car and fastening the catalytic converter back up to the chassis with a bungey cord. And did I mention it was bitter cold outside. I was freezing cold just standing there watching him. I was half tempted to just go in the store and leave him there fixing the car, because really I was contributing nothing but staring at his legs.

And speaking of which, he was wearing this ankle bracelet that I found a bit distracting. He was dressed in uber conservative clothing, but then had this shiny thin ankle bracelet peeking out over his sock. I had no idea what to make of it. But I am so out of touch that, for all I know, male ankle bracelets are a really cool fashion statement.

Anyhow, who says chivalry is dead?

We dropped the car off at the shop to be repaired Saturday and this morning they called us with the estimate. The $1200 estimate. Apparently my driving with the part unattached and dragging along behind me on the ground caused about $600 worth of the damage since it broke some other vitally important car part. Ooooops. If you can't yet tell, my car knowledge is limited to locating the gas tank when I need gas. Or if I were really honest, locating the button that opens the little gas tank door so that the man can pump my gas.

I guess pretending to be a NASCAR driver was a wee bit costly.

Hey, Rob just came in the house holding the windshield wipers to my van in his hand. It seems they were frozen to the windshield and when he went to move them they snapped right off. We are just not having luck with motor vehicles this weekend.

I realize that his mistake will only cost $20 and a trip to Walmart, but there's no need to split hairs now, is there?

Monday, February 21, 2005

It's The End OF The World As We Know It

I fully expect to see the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse come riding over the hillside, signaling the end of the world, any day now.

My kids are sick, AGAIN... or is it still? It is all just a blur now.

I think we have the plague, a Lysol resistant plague. I was lulled into a false sense of security, thinking that we were over it when everyone seemed relatively well for a few days.

Now I have three with fevers of 103 degrees and others coughing constantly and usually in my face. And one who is whining so much I want to grab him and toss him out into the snow storm.

And I am feeling a bit congested myself. Luckily I have Nyquil, the nectar of the gods, on hand.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Here Comes The Sun And It's The Fiery Pit Of Hell

I am not a morning person. It seems unnatural to me to wake up when it is still pitch black out.

And exercising before dawn, well, that should just be outlawed. My treadmill is in the sunroom off of my bedroom, an unheated sunroom, that is on the side of the house closest to the house next door. (If you look at the photo of my house, the sunroom is on the far right side, second floor, with the grayish looking windows.)

Since the room is wall to wall windows on three sides, I exercise with the lights off. I don't really want to blind all the neighbors or broadcast the fact that I am on my treadmill. I certainly don't want people to see me running and dying. The lights that come off of the treadmill are bright enough for me to see. It's running, not surgery, and I could do it with my eyes closed, and often do. I'm bringing new meaning to the phrase, "I could do that in my sleep."

Anway, this would be great except that my neighbors have not grasped the concept of curtains. They have a huge bay window in their bedroom with no curtains. They get up early and have no problem turning on every light they own, despite the fact that they have no curtains.

I feel like some sort of voyeur.

I have thought that maybe I should go over to the light switch and flick it on and off, like a sort of beacon announcing "I am here! I am here! Please refrain from full frontal nudity!" I don't even like to see myself naked anymore, let alone other middle aged people.

Not that I have really seen anything, because I try not to look at their window, even though it is a spotlight beckoning me. But it is hard not to steal glances over there, since there is nothing else to look at in the pitch blackness and running is so boring.

But you know one day they are going to be in their bedroom and suddenly notice me across the way on my treadmill and then they are going to get all weird and self conscious. I guess when they get curtains and stop waving to me I'll know that has happened.

If nothing else it has added variety to my inner dialogue.

run run run... don't look over at that bright light
run run run... this is so boring
run run run... oh, why did I look
run run run... I am so going to hell
run run run... at least I'll be thin there
run run run... I bet in hell I'll have to run for eternity
run run run... I think I am in hell right now
run run run... I won't look again
run run run... starting now
run run run... no starting now
run run run... damn

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Two Months Old

My Sweet Baby Boy,

You are two months old, give or take a few days. You are growing so quickly.

This month you have learned to smile, though you are pretty stingy with the smiling and we really have to work to get one from you. You have the most adorable dimples. I wish I could say that your adorable dimples were from my gene pool, but, alas, they are not. Now if you get them on your thighs, I'm sorry to say you can give me credit.

Your eyes are still blue, though I don't know if they are going to stay that way. And your thick dark hair has thinned quite a bit and left you with a receding hairline. You also grew eyebrows and eyelashes this month, which is means you don't look permanently surprised anymore.

You have become much more content this month. Though we do still see quite a bit of this face.

Mostly you only cry in the evening when you want to be permanently attached to my breast. You are a champion nurser and get so excited, snort and shake your head as you get close to the boob. No doubt you are a male.

I love holding you up to my cheek when you are hungry and you wipe your little open mouth all over it. I pretend you are kissing me. Yes, I'm pathetic.

Most people burp their babies, but we have to fart you. I take your little legs and have you run. Then I push your knees up to your stomach and you fart. Like this:

It's makes you smile. And makes everyone laugh. I have it on video too, so remember that when you are an obnoxious teenager.

Last night we were in bed. You had just finished nursing and were snuggled up contentedly in the crook of my arm. I turned to Rob and asked him if he was jealous that I got to snuggle you up and smell your intoxicating baby head smell all night long. And your father, even though he loves you very much, said he was not the least bit jealous and furthermore he didn't think you smelled that great. Maybe it's a scent only mothers can detect.

I love you, Snorty.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Color Me Crazy

I got into my van in the grocery store parking lot this afternoon and realized I had lost my sunglasses while shopping. Grocery shopping with all my children. I didn't go back in to look because I have no idea when I dropped them and I would have to be insane to step back in the store after we all made it out alive.

Could have been when my 1 yr old threw everything out of the back of the shopping cart and I had to bend down and pick it all up. (She was sitting in the back of the cart because I was only going to run in and buy a few things, $275 later we had our few things.)

Could have been when I was picking up the boxes of cake mix she grabbed and gleefully threw off the shelves as she ran down the aisle. (This was after I took her out of the cart and let her walk so she would stop throwing our groceries at other unsuspecting shoppers.)

Could have been when I bent down and picked up a case of beer, which I earned on this trip and therefore has no calories. (No,I didn't make that up... it's true. Honest.)

Could have been when I bent down and hissed at children, who are old enough to know better, that just because the fruit and produce are not in hermetically sealed packages, doesn't mean it is your personal snack buffet.

Could have been when I was digging down into the bottom of the grocery cart to find my wallet, because the cashier wanted to check my ID and held up the conveyor belt until I produced it. WTH!?! (And I know I was flattered last week when this happened, but I'm so over that now)

Could have been as I bent down and dragged the 1 yr old away from the candy display, while she flailed, kicked, and beat me about the face and head with her tiny fists.

Could have been when I chased down the running 5 yr old in the parking lot, holding the screaming flailing 1 yr old, and pushing a full grocery cart with the infant seat attached to the front, a trail of children running behind me screaming for me to slow down, and my 10 yr old hitting me in the backs of my ankles with the second grocery cart we had picked up along the way.

:: Pausing to allow everyone to fully grasp the scene that particular incident created::

But hey, looking at the bright side, I did learn that you cannot be killed by being hit by a shopping cart, despite repeated attempts by my 10 yr old son to test this.

Could have been when I was unpacking both the grocery carts and realized that the bread and fruit were UNDER the canned goods. (A steady stream of expletives poured out of my mouth over that one, and I was not the least sorry about it.)

As I sat in the van, I noticed my husbands sunglasses he wears when he goes flyfishing. They are these huge wrap around kind of glasses. So I got to drive home looking like a 75 yr old with cataracts.

Could have been that I had the sunglasses on the top of my head the entire time, so I drove home looking... well, just like a freakin' lunatic.

Sigh, at least I have an entire case of calorie free beverages to drink tonight.

Monday, February 14, 2005

I Will Not Get Sick

Blech. I hate being sick. So I'm just not going to get sick. Not. Going. To. Get. Sick.

I have that slightly queasy, pain in the pit of my stomach feeling. I'm not going to eat anything today. Can't throw up if you don't eat, right? Maybe this will be my new holiday tradition, a Valentine's Day fast.

On a better note, I did use my treadmill this morning. It was so early in the morning that I wasn't awake enough to know I was feeling sub par. I fast walked 3/4 of a mile and sprinted the last 1/4 mile just to make the torture end more quickly. I was going to do 2 miles, but thought I'd best ease into it and remember to bring my CD player next time. That way I'd have something to focus on, other than my internal dialogue which kept saying, 'This totally stinks', 'How much longer', 'I hate exercise.'

I considered the fact that if the day is passing too quickly and I want to slow time down, all I need to do is hop on the treadmill. Time on the treadmill all but stands still. I watch the clock in disbelief as a minute drags on for an eternity.

Run... run... run... holy crap, how can that only be 30 seconds, run... run... run... I think I may die... run... run... run... the clock must be broken

My arms are killing me now from hanging on to the support bars. There were a couple of times I could have sworn I was almost horizontal and my arms were the only thing that were keeping me from flying across the room and slamming into the wall behind me.

What, your arms are not supposed to be what keeps you on the treadmill? I should go slower? But then it will take so much longer. What? I can't hear you.

I am trying to tell myself that I will be very happy once I am consistently exercising and seeing results, the first step is the hardest, and all those other motivational and inspiring things. blah blah blah.

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is a holiday that Rob and I pretty much ignore. I have no issues with other people who celebrate it, but I have never liked Valentine's Day. The whole idea that we need a special day to show those around us how much we love them seems so wrong, so contrived, so thought of by Hallmark that I can't stand it. And the things that they promote for this day are way to cutesy and infantile for me.

My husband surely doesn't need a pair of heart covered boxer shorts made of a 20 thread count fabric, which is about as soft and comfy as wrapping a burlap sack around your privates. And just what is the thought behind things like this ?

If my husband ever bought me a stuffed animal for ANY occasion I would truly question his sanity.

And I don't have a particular desire for a rose that really is a red thong all tied up to look like a rose. Do I smell it and then put it on, or put it on and then smell it?

And has anyone else seen the Valentine's Day commercial that uses the song 99 Red Balloons? What is up with that? Leave it to advertisers to turn a song about nuclear war into a song about love. I only saw the commercial once, but I am really hoping that I'll get to see it again as I didn't enjoy it thoroughly enough. The first time around, I spent looking at Rob, ranting and saying WTH?!?! I think the second time around would be humorous since I have already come to terms with the idea that *someone* thought it was a great song for a valentine's commercial and I already set the disbelief aside.

And don't get me started about the commercial which shows a woman following cards (Hallmark ones I can only assume) up to the rooftop of an apartment building. Upon reaching the roof she sees her boyfriend sitting at a little table holding a STUFFED BEAR that itself is holding a tiny heart shaped box of chocolate. I don't think my reaction is the one Hallmark intended.

And what is it about Valentine's Day that has brought out the need for me to begin every paragraph with the word "and" and to write only in run-on sentences?

Yet, despite my disdain for this pseudo-holiday, you wanna know what I spent last night doing?

I made this:

And even though I was tempted to just throw the red hots on I persevered with the neat little rows. Because this is being graded and neatness counts. Because I love seeing my children's happy little faces more than I hate this commercialized holiday. Because they are growing up.

One day when my children are grown up and recalling all the ills I have inflicted upon them, I'll be able to counter with, but hey remember that cake, how it was heart-like and had all the red candy neatly on it?And your baby brother was crying the entire time and Dad kept telling me it was bed time, and I probably could have gotten lucky, yet I kept slaving away on that cake for you. A cake I made for a holiday I don't even like?

I have to do something in exchange for all the fodder I legitimately give them for the therapist's couch.

To all my friend's, whether you celebrate Valentine's Day or not, I hope that you have someone in your life who makes you feel special and loved everyday.

Sunday, February 13, 2005


1) Yes, the remote control was found, by Rob. It was stuffed way down inside the couch. Not visible to the naked eye, even when every single cushion was torn off and stomped upon. Not that the stomping upon had anything to do with the looking, that was done just for fun.

2) Rob is still not smoking. It has been 11 days and 10 hours, roughly... but who is counting. Actually, he is doing really well and I am proud of him. His new gum chewing habit, on the other hand, makes him sound like a truck stop waitress.

3)I have used up the entire can of Lysol during Pukefest 2005, and will undoubtedly use even more as we progress into Diarrheathon 2005.

4)This is a 5-in-1 tool.

I am not sure what exactly the "5" things are, but so far I haven't found anything I want it to do that it can't do. I really should have made that holster for it, because I have misplaced it. I know it is here in the house somewhere, I just have no idea where.

5) The bedroom floor has been stained and polyurethaned. It looks awesome. My diamond rings that got polyurethane spilled all over them, not so awesome. Today was spent putting up trim work, hanging up curtains, assembling the crib, and attempting to hang interior shutters, all interspersed with periodic bouts of profanity.

6) Someone asked if I live in a small town. There are under 1000 people in my town. But the news is statewide news, since I live in a small state. I am sure that Rachel, who used to live in CT, and Beth, who still does, can attest to the fact that the televised newscast is really lame. Not that it is a bad thing to live somewhere that has no hard news to report.

7) Rob starts his new job on Monday. Not much I can say there except that he will now need to leave the house at a truly un-godly hour of the morning. I am hoping to get up early with him and use the time to run on my treadmill. But, let's just say that I am glad the financial welfare of my family isn't resting on me.

8)HUGE public thanks to Sue for the adorable Hawaiian outfit for the baby. One of the downsides to living in a small town is a post office that closes for several hours in the middle of the day, which always seems to coincide with my being any where near the post office. I have a proper thank-you package ready to go out to you, Sue, so look out for it sometime this week (month?, year?, lifetime?) I stare at the outfit in the drawer everyday, longingly wishing for summer.

9) Yes, I realize that my house doesn't look yellow in the photo I have posted. There is a good explanation for that. My house isn't yellow. When we bought the house two years ago the entire house was painted white and most of the shutters were missing. The paint was peeling and in such bad condition that we were not able to get homeowners insurance unless we painted. We poured over colored swatches and picked a color that appeared on the 1" by 1" square to be a light yellow. Our painter assured us it was a nice soft yellow. If you stand across the street, squint, jump up and down, and quickly consume a few beers, it looks yellowish, maybe.

Which is a long winded way to say The Big Yellow House sounded better than The Big Linen White, But We Really Wanted It Yellow, House.

10) This is just included here because a list of 10 things seems better to me than a list of 9. My two oldest sons have come up with a money making venture. They are going have a lemonade stand out in front of our house. But not just that, they are going to dress in rags and make more money because people would feel sorry for them. Then one of them said they should bring their 1yr old sister outside and dress her in rags too because people will really feel sorry for them and think they need the money badly. I'm half tempted to let them do it for the sheer comedic value.

Those Pesky Blue Laws

Nothing can explain the sadness that one feels at 9:15 on a Saturday night when looking in the fridge for a drink of the adult variety and discovering that there isn't any left and that the liquor stores are closed... until Monday.

Damn you Puritanical laws still hanging around.

I could drive over the state line, but that just seems a tad too desperate. At least too desperate to admit to doing.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Friend or Foe

Oh Motrin, you lure me in with your promises of making my children feel better. Every time my children are sick, I grasp at your orangey flavored goodness and promises for fever and aching free children for 6 to 8 hours. 6 to 8 hours, no wonder I am so weak.

Oh Motrin, your label fails to mention the side effects that every parent knows about during their moments of clarity. Moments that are not effected by the clouded thinking produced by feverish children clinging on to all available appendages.

The wicked truth is, Motrin, that you only make the children well enough to whine and complain, to bitch and moan, and did I say whine? A whine which can make the heartiest of souls want to drive a screwdriver through their eardrums. Flat head or Phillips... it doesn't matter.

Your label should have the following bold print warning:

Use with caution.
May produce marked whining.
Do not use without parental ear plugs.
Use extreme caution when parental figures will be driving a motor vehicle as it may produce the urge to drive the vehicle into nearest tree.
Use of alcohol is highly recommended for parents for the duration of product use.

Oh Motrin, you truly are the spawn of Satan himself.

You Don't Write, You Sure As Hell Don't Call

I loathe talking on the telephone.

I have gotten into the habit lately of ignoring the phone when it rings and letting the voice mail pick up. This is problematic since I also have a very bad habit of forgetting to check my voice mail.

Yesterday I got my monthly bill for my cellphone in the mail. I have a very basic inexpensive plan that gives me 300 free minutes a month and free nights and weekends up to 5000 minutes. I used 8 last month. That would be 8 minutes for the entire month, all to my husband.

I guess the appeal of having a cell phone is lost on me. I don't particularly want people calling me when I am out and about doing errands, nor do I feel like talking on the phone while I walk through the grocery store. And forget about talking on the phone while driving, the children think my holding a phone up to my head means it is time for them to talk to me... simultaneously... as loud as they can. And being trapped in the car with them means I can't get away.

I often wonder if the advent of cell phones has improved the overall quality of life for people. I realize that they are convenient and useful, which is why I have one, but when does it become an intrusion on your life.

I like being "unreachable" at times. None of my friends have my cell phone number and I only give it out as an emergency number when the children are registered for something that will separate us. I feel pretty confident that the children's pottery instructor isn't going to call me up to chat. If I start giving out my cell phone number the next thing I know I will be walking around invading other people's personal space with my obnoxious phone conversations. Because honestly, aren't all phone conversations obnoxious unless you are one of the parties?

Or worse yet I'll end up wearing my cell phone in a little holder on my belt. If you do this, please stop. And while I am telling people what not to do, unless you are a latch key kid, wearing your keys on a lanyard around your neck is, well, dumb looking.

Rob mentioned last night getting rid of our land line and going to only cell phones. The thought of this bothers me so much, though I'm not really sure why. It just seems odd, strange, weird! Yes, that is the crux of my argument... it would be weird.

Plus, I'd probably have to figure out how to set up and access my voicemail account.

And when I said that no one would be able to look us up in the phone book and call us, he countered with, "Well, you don't answer the phone anyway."

Ummm, yeah... whatever.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Get Out Your Pom-Poms

Oh, Lysol, you're so fine
You're so fine you blow my mind
Hey, Lysol
Hey, Lysol

Oh, Lysol, you're so fine
You're so fine you blow my mind
Hey, Lysol
Hey, Lysol

Oh, Lysol, what a pity
You don't understand,
The key to my sanity
Is in your little can.

Oh, Lysol, you're so pretty
Can't you understand
It's cleaners like you, Lysol
and bleach too, Lysol.
Oh what you do, Lysol,do Lysol
Oh what you do.

Oh Lysol you're a habit
I can't seem to break.
I spray you everwhere
When illness I can't take.

Oh Lysol, what's the problem
I don't understand
The promises you break
That are written on your can

Oh Lysol, do your job
please don't make me cry
The kids are still sick Lysol
And I ask Why, Lysol,
Don't make me cry, Lysol.
Do your job , Lysol.

Oh Lysol please don't tell me
it's a futile task,
with your soft powder scent.
sanitize is all I ask.

Oh Lysol, kill the germs in this petri dish
Oh make them well, Lysol
That'd be swell, Lysol
And your friend bleach,
where you can't reach.

Don't break my heart, Lysol.
We'll have to part, Lysol.
If you don't work,
I'll go beserk.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Sing Along to the New Queen

Another one gets the bug
Another one gets the bug
And another one gone, another one gone
Another one gets the bug
Hey, it's gonna make you puke
Another one gets the bug

Nothing brings joy to a mother of sick children like the sound of running feet and vomit making it into the toilet. It is so much easier to be sympathetic when all I have to do is flush the toilet and hand the child a cup of listerine with which to gargle.

Stay tuned for my follow up song, Ode to Lysol.

Live, Local, and Late Breaking

Such is the slogan of the 11 o'clock news here.

Last night the feature story was a water main break in which close to a dozen, CLOSE TO A DOZEN!!!, people were left without water. There was a reporter out in the field, standing next to a pot hole in a road somewhere reporting on this horrific story.

Did you know this very serious water main break started with a pot hole, very similar to the one she was standing near. My God, I didn't know! I pass by potholes every day and never even thought about the danger that lurked beneath the ground.

The reporter went to neighboring houses and asked the people what they thought about the pot hole in their road and what would they do if their water main broke, like the one in the neighboring street. The people, all older with bad hair and yippy dogs barking in the background, spoke to the reporter through their aging screen doors. They didn't know what they would do! It would be a tragedy of epic proportions. They need their water for cooking, bathing, drinking! You should have seen the horror of their faces at the very thought.

Then they cut to interviews that were done with victims (!!?!!) effected by the water main break. One was a man holding his baby. He needs the water to wash his baby and make it bottles. It was heart wrenching. The man was going to have to go to the convenience store and buy bottled water. No, not that!!! The sheer magnitude of it was too much.

Another woman said she didn't know what she would do without her shower that evening. Oh good God there are going to be unwashed people walking around in this town, DOZENS of them! What is this world coming to?

Then they cut back to the reporter in the field next to the pothole. She wraps up the headlining news story by saying, "People here in Hell (name changed to protect the innocent and stupid) were extremely upset about the situation, but they managed to make the best of it and get through this difficult time. And within 2 hours, the water main was fixed and water restored to the area." Now that is newsworthy.

But let me recap the key points. Almost a dozen people were without water for almost two hours, luckily they all survived.

Wow. I am thankful to live among a bunch of hearty folks who can endure such hardship.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

And The Third One Falls

My 10 yr old son is now ill too.

According to him he is the sickest of anyone who has ever gotten sick in our family.
According to me he is the biggest whiner of anyone in our family. (Not that I would say it to him, as tempted as I may be.)

He isn't a quiet sick child. He feels entitled to make everyone in the house feel his pain. This means he will yell and screech at his siblings who are playing innocently in the other room.
"Why are you SO loud? You better not be touching my stuff. Oh my head, it hurts when I yell."

When I suggest that he not yell, I hear "But who will tell them what to do then?"

Ah yes how would we all survive.

"It's so unfair. I always get the sickest. No one else ever feels as sick as me."

I tell him that I don't think it is neccessarily true. Everyone seems to have a turn being the worst off.

"No it is true. No one complains as much as I do. "

Ain't that the truth.

Let's All Do A Pirate Dance

Everybody clap...
Everybody sing la-la-la-la-la

The tiny Queen is sitting on the couch, wrapped in blankets, surrounded by her favorite toys, commanding all her serfs to dance along to the Wiggles. Hell hath no fury like a sick toddler.

This morning I was greeted by a vomit covered one yr old. The momentary guilt I felt when I realized it was dry vomit and that she had been sleeping in it, was overcome by my involuntary dry heaving. Is it wrong that I gave a moment of thanks that she slept through it so that I didn't have to deal with the mess in the middle of the night? Picking chunks out of your child's hair is bad enough in the daylight.

Now I am waiting for the rest of the children to fall ill and planning the menu accordingly. Hmmmm, what foods do I want to see again all over the house?

Monday, February 07, 2005

At Least I Have A Target For My Anger Now

This weekend was fraught with tantrums and tears, all mine.

Today I finally admitted to myself that my post partum depression was not getting better and perhaps it was time to call the doctor. It is hard for me to admit that I need help. The perfectionist in me likes to be, well, perfect.

So I called my obgyn and was put through to the nurse, otherwise known as the evil gatekeeper, who has my chart handy for reference.

Evil Gatekeeper: So, you think you might have post partum depression?

Me: Yes

Evil Gatekeeper: Why do you think that?

Me: Well, because I just had a baby and I feel, well, awful. And it seems to be getting worse, not better like I would expect.

Evil Gatekeeper: Do you have any trauma going on in your life? You know death or marital difficulties?

Me: (trying not to laugh because for some reason this question struck me as absurdly funny) No, but there might be if I don't get my act together.

We then establish that I am NOT going to kill myself or anyone else in my immediate family as well as the fact that Evil Gatekeeper has no sense of humor at all. And since Evil Gatekeeper is not related to me I still feel confident saying this.

Evil: Can you come in and see the doctor today?

Me: No, I can't.

Evil: What about tomorrow?

Me: I don't think so.

Evil: Well, when can you come into the office?

Me: I'm not really sure. I'd have to find someone to watch my children.

Evil: What about your husband? Can't he do something?

Me: Um, yes he could but he is in the city today and tomorrow and not available. (wondering why the hell this is any of her business)

Evil: Well, you need to tell him that he needs to help you more. You can't do everything yourself.

Me: He does help. He is helpful. ( he just has this pesky little thing called a JOB that he must do to, you know, clothe and feed us. I feel myself being put on the defensive and I don't like it. This woman knows nothing about me, my husband or my family and I find it incredibly rude that she is making assumptions.)

Evil: I'm really not sure how you want me to help you. Obviously you have a lot on your plate what with ALL THOSE CHILDREN. No wonder you are depressed and stressed out what with ALL THOSE CHILDREN. Who wouldn't be?

Me: I'll admit that I have a lot on my plate, most of which you know nothing about, but my depression and being stressed out has nothing to do with my children. I have always had a lot on my plate and I like it that way. I have never before felt the way that I do right now... ever.

Evil: Well, what did you expect when you called here today?

Me: I expected to actually talk to my doctor, not you. (as well as some compassion and empathy)

Evil: The doctor will want to see you. And since you don't know when you will be able to come in I can't really help you.

At this point I pretty much gave up. There was more talk from her about "getting away from ALL THOSE CHILDREN" who obviously are the source of my depression.

How do you explain that someone who doesn't get it. ALL THOSE CHILDREN are my life boat. *They* are what is keeping me afloat right now. Without them I would drown. I feel so awful when I snap and yell at them. I feel unworthy to be their mother.

But, I don't want to get away from them. And somehow I don't think that is the answer.

Friday, February 04, 2005


Last night Rob discovered that not only is the remote control missing, so are three bottles belonging to my 1 yr old. He can't stand such a lack of accountability. He decided it was time to call in the troops and enlist their help.

So, this morning he made a sign and hung it up on the kitchen cabinets.

Remote Control $2
Bottles $1 each
Good Luck

I think Rob omitted the words "driving your mother insane" after Good Luck.

The children saw the sign during breakfast and were very excited. As soon as they were done eating they began an all out search.

They tore every cushion off the couch, they emptied every cabinet, they turned over every toy bin. By the time I noticed what they were doing it looked as though the house had been ransacked by thieves... messy thieves. I might go as far as to say vandals.

Did they really think the remote or bottles were hiding in the box of baby wipes? Or the drawer where I store the diapers? The diapers they threw over their heads and across the room with such abandon while their little sister clapped and cheered them on.

Nope not in the bookcase behind the books.

Nope not in the bottom of the laundry basket containing the clean and FOLDED clothing.

Being messy is so. much. fun.

Cleaning up afterward, not so much.

I told them I am reasonably sure that silly Daddy must have put the remote in his clothes drawers... or (excited whisper) in his home office. After they are done cleaning up downstairs they are going to go upstairs and search very very carefully.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

There's Not Enough Liquor

The remote control is missing.

My husband needs it back. He has wandered around the room for 15 minutes ranting and raving about it's whereabouts.

It would have been much quicker to manually turn up the volume on the television set, but what do I know. I won't even mention that it is a movie he has already watched no less than 50 times and can recite by heart.

The flash light is also missing. Personally I didn't even know we had a working flashlight in the house. Apparently one of the children did though.

Rob needs the flashlight to look underneath the loveseat to see if the remote control is hiding there. He really wants to take all the cushions off and lift it up on it's side, but I refuse to get off of loveseat since I just got the baby to sleep on me and have my laptop set up just right to type.

He is very upset that I don't care about the missing remote control or flashlight. God help me if I do find them because I am liable to use them to beat him senseless.

Two days of no smoking. Where is my wine glass?

Weekend Warriors

Last weekend at the big yellow albatross, we sanded the floor of my 1 yr old daughter's room. Or at least a room that I hope is finished in time for her to use before she leaves for college.

I say "we", but really my job description entailed little more than standing around, telling my husband how hot he looked with the big manly power tool, and oohing and aahing as layer after layer of paint, stain, and varnish were removed from the floor. I tried my hand at the using the floor sander once but it flung me across the room like a rag doll and sent itself into the baseboard molding, where it left a huge black mark.

This past week I have been scraping the cracks between the floorboards with my 5-in-1 tool and vacuuming all the debris out of the cracks. This weekend will find me staining the floor and applying the polyurethane. Hopefully by the following weekend we can move her furniture in. After working on this room on and off for a year I am ready to move on.

And as my husband was upstairs sanding away I got fed up with the ugly, dirty, primary color green linoleum floor in our butler's pantry. So I took my handy 5-in-1 tool and tore the floor up. The 5-in-1 tool is so handy that I am thinking of devising a holster to wear so that I will always have it close by.

Unbelievably I can't seem to find a before picture of the butler's pantry, but you can see a bit of the green floor in the picture. It matched the color paint that is seen in the backsplash. This photo was taken after we had stripped the cabinets of their bright red paint. Yes, bright red paint. It was like a sad Christmas themed room.

This photo is from the other corner of the room where you can see the lovely green and red paint color scheme on the wall and trim. One of the many things in this house that have made us say, "What were they thinking?"

At least we are never bored here. There is always something to scrape, paint, refinish, knock down, build up, or beat your head against in frustration.

Whoa That Must Be A Fire Hazard

A photo of the birthday cake made solely by my children. The 4 and 5 yr olds were in charge of decorating it. They believe a cake can never have too much frosting or too many sprinkles, and there is no need to spread the frosting and sprinkles out evenly over the cake because they are going to eat "that" piece. They could care less about the rest of us, which is fine by me since I don't particularly like a crunchy layer of sprinkles on the top of my cake.

And contrary to the belief of my 8 yr old, we were able to light "that many candles".

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Happy Birthday Rob!

Today is Rob's 40th birthday and as a present to himself he has decided to quit smoking... again.

The last time he "quit" it ended a couple months later with the entire family begging him to take the habit up again. I think these words may have been uttered "you might live a longer life, but who the hell is going to want to be around you since you are a miserable son of a b-----". I don't know who would have said such a thing. (hanging head in shame)

That was over a year ago. At the time I said I wouldn't allow him to put me and the kids through it again. I told him he'd have to go away on an extended business trip for a few months. But here we are. I will be supportive and encouraging. I will explain to the kids why he is short tempered and crabby. And I will pray that this time will be it.

If anyone wants to send no smoking prayers, vibes, and thoughts our way, feel free.

I'll also be hitting the package store with unparalleled enthusiasm and frequency. Don't they say you should substitute a new habit in place of the old one?

Updated to add: For those of you who don't live in New England, a package store is a liquor store.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Big 4-0

Tomorrow is my husband's birthday, a big one. And being the advanced planner that I am, I went out shopping today to buy him a present.

I pleaded with the children in the parking lot to behave in themselves in the fancy schmancy store not meant for children. All was going well when my 4 yr old spotted a big bowl of hard candy on the counter. The salesman told the children (and this is an exact quote) "Help yourself, we have tons more candy in the back room." Don't need to tell them twice.

He looked surprised when they grabbed it by the handful and shoved it in their pockets faster than I could pick my stunned jaw off of the floor. This tells me that he has no children of his own.

They did leave one piece of candy in the bowl, because, in the words of my 7 yr old, "We don't want to be pigs and take it all." Oh yes, we'd hate to be pigs.

I managed to find a nice present, the children got lots of candy, and we left the store unscathed save for sticky mouth and hand prints on the glass front door. And that is success in my book.

All For the 5%

I spend about 95% of my day, everyday, doing crap I don't really want to do.

Task upon task that individually are mind numbingly boring, but taken as a whole are nausea inducing. It is 10:30 in the morning and I have made breakfast, cleaned up the kitchen, unloaded the dishwasher, done laundry, changed diapers, brushed hair, said "No" more times than I'd like to, mediated arguments, cleaned a bathroom toilet and surrounding floor area, and picked up toys I tripped over.

Those are the big things. In between them were innumerable small things like unraveling my daughter from the roll of scotch tape that she wrapped herself in. I have made a pot of coffee three times because I keep forgetting about it until I smell that burned coffee smell signaling it has been sitting on the burner too long. Or how about holding your child down, trying to get a piece of granola out of their eye after they decided to put the box of it on their head.

And the day is still young yet, who knows what other excitement is still in store for me.

There are days when I stand in the middle of my house and wish that a stray bullet would take me down. Not that it is likely since I don't live in the inner city or out in hunting country, but you know what I mean.

Does it mean I don't love my children? Of course not. I love them more than anything and I love being their mother. It is possible to love your children with every fiber of your being and simultaneously hate the grunt work that goes into being a parent.

But then there is the 5%. The tiny percentage of the job of parenting that makes it worthwhile.

Today my 5% was my infant son smiling at me for the first time. Not just smiling into space. He looked *at me* and smiled. I called my other children over and they all stood around him trying to make him smile again.

I watched them for a few minutes and felt my parenting cup fill back up. For a few minutes no one was fighting, no one was crying, no one needed anything. We were all enjoying the moment. The sort of moment I thought parenting would be solely made up of when I signed up for the job.

And then I turned around. My 1 yr old daughter stood there with a huge smile on her face. In those few minutes she had managed to strip herself naked, except for a broken Christmas ornament worn on her wrist, get a magic marker, and draw all over the kitchen cabinets and herself. And I felt a range of emotions all at once. It was funny, annoying, exasperating, funny, heart melting, frustrating, did I mention funny? Ah, the schizophrenia that is parenting.

For a moment I wondered, in which percentage did this belong.