Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Conversations with a 6 month old

Me:  Look at your little feet!  One has and sock and one doesn't.  What shall we do with the toes that have no sock:

Elizabeth:  *smile*

Me:  Eat them?  Okay.  Nom nom nom!  And what about the toes that do have a sock on them?

Elizabeth:  *smile*

Me:  Eat them, too?  Okay!  Nom nom nom!  And how about those little baby fingers?

Elizabeth:  *smile*

Me:  EAT THEM?  ALRIGHT!  NOM NOM NOM!  Your cheeks.  What are we going to do with your cheeks?

Elizabeth:  *smile*

Me:  Alright, I will eat them too.  But only because you insist.

Elizabeth:  *smile*

Me:  You're looking at me with great interest.  I wonder what you are thinking.  Are you thinking that you would like to eat ME?

Elizabeth:  *giggle*

Me:  Okay, but I have to warn you.  Mommies are not as tasty as babies.  First of all, there's a texture issue. I'm pretty soft, but not nearly as soft as you.  And sure I'm chubby like you, but it's a different kind of chubby.  It's a too-many-french-fries kind of chubby instead of a I'm-a-happy-baby chubby.  They taste quite different, you know?  What's that?  You don't care?  You want a taste anyway?

Elizabeth:  *divebombs onto my face with her mouth wide open*

Me:  *wiping away the slobber*  Well, I'm glad you enjoy trying new foods.

Elizabeth:  *smile*

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Comcast:  We're calling about a past due balance on your account.

Me:  Weird.  I have this set up on autopay.  There shouldn't be a balance.

Comcast:  I show the amount owing is 89.40.

Me:  Can you tell me why the autopay didn't go through?

Comcast:  I don't have access to that information. You can call customer service at 1-800-COMCAST.   I'd be happy to take a payment today for the past due balance of 89.40.

Me:  Well, I'm not entire sure I owe anything.  It is usually charged to my card automatically.

Comcast.  Your service may be disconnected if I don't receive the payment of 89.40.

Me:  When is it scheduled for disconnection?

Comcast:  I don't have access to that information.  You can call customer service at 1-800-COMCAST.  How would you like to make your payment of 89.40 today?

Me:  I'm not going to make a payment until I find out why the autopay didn't go through.  I don't want to pay it twice due to an accounting error on your part.

Comcast:  Is there anything else I can do for you today?

Me (ignoring the fact that he has done absolutely nothing for me yet):  Yes.  You are the third person to call me about this account in the past 3 days.  None of you have been able to answer my questions.  Can you at least take me off your calling list?

Comcast.  No.  It's an automated call center.  As long as there is a balance due you will continue to receive calls.

Me:  Let me get this straight.  You are assigned to speak with customers about their past due accounts but you are given no useful information about said accounts.  You have no resources at your disposal, no way to answer questions, and no power to make the calls stop.  You can do NOTHING but accept my payment.  Is that right?

Comcast:  Well, yes.  Is there anything else I can do for you?

Me:  *facepalm*

Monday, December 3, 2012

Have Yourself a Merry Little Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer's Joy to the World Christmas

Brett and I were discussing Christmas music the other day.  He noticed one stations plays a heavy rotation of 80's and 90's Christmas songs while I was lamenting the fact that out of the literally THOUSANDS of Christmas songs in existence to day I always hear Bing Crosby warbling something that sounds like he's underwater.

"There are some songs I rather like, though," I admitted.  "I heard a version of 'O Holy Night' which was fantastic.  Well, fantastic until he changed the words at the end from 'O night divine' to 'Noel, NO-ELLLLLLL!  I just... don't like that word, noel.  It rubs me wrong."

"There's nothing wrong with 'Noel,'" Brett insisted.

"Really?  Tell me... what does it mean?  This 'Noel' business.  Is it a noun?  A verb?  Adjective?  What is The First Noel?  A song?  A message?  Aurora Borealis?  What is it?  No one actually knows.  Yet we listen to the song and decorate our homes with it."

"Well, it's uhhh... the... ummm... yeah, I don't really know either."

"I'm just reserving my right to dislike a word that I have no idea the meaning of, that's all."

So, for your edification:

Noel -- according to wikipedia.

Also for your edification, in addition to disliking The First Noel, I also dislike most Christmas songs in which the singer leaves out the original words and inserts some version of "shoobydoobydoo."  As in, "Have yourself at merry little shoobydoobydoo..."  Or "Chestnuts roasting on an open shoobydoodoowop..."

Now be quiet and let me listen to the radio's 10,000,000,000th playing of "Last Christmas."

Friday, November 30, 2012

Mind meld

I'm sitting at my desk today, thinking about all the things I need to do this evening.  Included in my list was to do a walk-thru at my rental property.  I'm packing a few tools and some cleaning stuff in my car today so I can do some caulking and light repair.  I also know there's a stain in the carpet so I packed the iron in case I need it to try to remove the stain.

"Wouldn't it be funny," I mused, "If someone needed the iron at the house today?  I'm the only person who ever uses it and even then it's just when I'm sewing.  But wouldn't it be funny if the one and only day the iron has ever left the house it was needed?"

I kid you not, 30 seconds later my cell phone rang.

"Hey baby," Brett said.  "Hey where are we keeping the iron these days?"


"The iron.  Mom is looking for it and we haven't been able to find it anywhere."

Seriously.  I'm thinking of playing Powerball tonight.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A spider town hall meeting

Head Councilspider:  Thank you all for coming. Scoot in, scoot in.  We've all got 8 legs you know.  Those of you who can spin your own web and dangle from above, please do so.  We're a little crowded here.  We'd like to thank Gus, our facilities manager, for constructing this new web here on the abandoned car tire on short notice.  Imagine our surprise when we went to check out our previous town hall web in the wood pile and found it was gone.  Not just the web.  The whole wood pile.  Weird.  Seems to happen every year when the weather gets cold.  Anyway, on to the business at hand...

Random spider citizen:  Sorry I'm late!  I went to the bicycle tire on the patio by mistake!

Head Councilspider:  It's okay.  Just squeeze in wherever.  So, the purpose of this meeting today is that Wolfbane, who many of you know, has asked to be allowed to address the community on a matter which he consider to be of great importance.  The floor is yours Wolfbane.

Wolfbane:  Thank you, sir.  And thank you fellow spider citizens for coming today.  Many of you have known me since I was an egg in my momma's sac.  I've grown up in this community and consider all of you as my family.  I've come to speak to you about the destruction of our homes.  Whether you want to admit it or not, it's happening more and more frequently.  Miss Sally, your fine home above the front porch light was destroyed just last week.  You and all your children were forced to relocate into a web half the size way out in the garden area, isn't that right?

Miss Sally:  Yeah, that's right!  I spent weeks on that web... it was my dear departed mother's design.  And then one day, BAM!  We're homeless.

Wolfbane:  I'm truly sorry.  And Phil, a similar thing happened to your web in the darkest corner of the closet just last night.

Phil:  Why, that's right.  And believe-you-me, it ain't easy for a 7-legged disabled arachnid like myself to just pick up and spin a new web.  I'm living with my niece up near the fireplace for the time being but it just gets so dagnabbit hot in the evenings.  I won't be able to stay there forever.

Wolfbane:  I think every spider in this community has been touched by disaster at one time or another.  That is why I have asked to address this council.  I propose moving the community to somewhere safer.

Head Councilspider:  But where?  The wanton destruction seems to follow us wherever we build our webs.

Wolfbane:  I wish permission to seek for the mythical land of... Tub-Show'er.

(There is a quiet uproar among the spiders.  Several mother spiders cover the ears of their little ones and many shake their heads in disgust.)

Spider citizen #1:  This again!  We all know Tub-Show'er doesn't exist!  It's a legend!

Spider citizen #2:  Oh, it's out there!  It's a magical land!  Cool white tiles as far as the eyes can see!

Spider citizen #3:  It's too dangerous!  Be afraid, be very afraid!

Head Councilspider:  Order please!  Come to order!  Wolfbane, this is folly.  Many have attempted to find this land, Tub-Show'er, and none have ever returned.

Wolfbane:  I know the road will be dangerous but I am a mighty spider, wide of girth and hairy of leg.  I can find it and lead our people there.  They will be safe there.  How many more homes need to be destroyed?  How many more of us must be stepped on or sprayed with hairspray and lit on fire before we take action?!

(The web falls silent as a grizzled old spider, older than the hills, makes his way forward on shaky legs.  He addresses the group in a near whisper.)

Old Man Spider:  When I was a young spider, my grandspider used to tell me stories of Tub-Show'er.  He's long gone but the stories stayed with me.  It is truly a unique place, warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  And white... so much white.... but beware.  The true danger of the land Tub-Show'er lies in the sudden, violent rains.  Don't shake your head, young man.  You ain't never seen nothing like these rainstorms.  One moment you are basking in a cool rounded corner and the next you are fighting for your life!  You may think that you are strong but when the storm comes it will be all you can do to skritter around, desperately searching for a foothold, while the drops pound, pound, POUND you from above, draining your strength and your will to life.  Another moment later you will have no choice to curl up in a ball and be washed away to wherever the current carries you.  IF you survive the current, you will no longer be in the land of Tub-Show'er but in a land far removed, dark and moist and prone to flashflooding from whence there is no return.  Think twice before you set out on your quest, young Wolfbane.  What I say is true.

(There is silence for a moment.)

Wolfbane:  Thank you all for your concern, but with your permission, I shall begin my journey to find Tub-Show'er in the morning.

Head Councilspider.  We cannot stop you if you are determined.  May the odds be ever in your favor.


Epilogue:  After many days, Wolfbane did indeed discover the mythical land of Tub-Show'er.  He had only been there a few hours to enjoy the cool white tile as far as his eyes could see before the prophesied torrential rain started.  It was scalding hot and seemed to follow him in all directions.  As he curled up in a ball and resigned himself to his fate he thought he heard a woman's agitated voice, "Blasted spiders!  Why is there one in my shower EVERY SINGLE DAY?!!"

Friday, November 23, 2012

The nose on her face

I went into an office the other day to pick up a letter which I was told was left at the front desk.  The receptionist is sitting a a desk which has a little raised counter attached to it so the public can write checks or whatever on it, and so I can't see over into her workspace.

Me:  I'm Andrea Fox.  I'm here to pick up a letter that was left for me.

Receptionist:  A what?

Me:  An envelope.  It has a letter in it.

Receptionist (looking around her desk):  I don't see anything.  What's your name?

Me:  Andrea Fox.  I was told yesterday that it was ready and I could pick it up at the front desk today.

Receptionist:  Hmmm.... there's nothing here.  (looking around again)  Could it be under a different name?

Me:  No.  It's just an envelope with a letter in it.  I was told it was already ready and at the front desk.  Is there another place that might be "the front desk?"

Receptionist:  Well... no.  I just... there's just nothing here... (flags down a coworker)... Hey, I'm looking for a letter for Andr...

Co-worker (grabs an envelope that is hanging at eye-level, right in front of the receptionist's face with the words ANDREA FOX WILL PICK UP ON WEDNESDAY emblazoned on the face):  Andrea Fox?

Receptionist:  Oh... is this what you are looking for?

Me (blink, blink):  Yes.  Thank you.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Conversations with a 3 year old

Brooke is looking out the window while eating dinner last night.

Brooke:  Look mom!  The moon!

Mom:  No, sweetie, that's the Target sign.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Conversations with a 2 year old

We were chatting with Leah yesterday morning.

Mom:  What's your name?

Leah:  I'm Weee-ah!

Mom:  And how old are you?

Leah:  I'm two! (holds up two fingers)

Mom:  Are you a boy or a girl?

Leah:  (thoughtfully)  Cow.

Dad:  A cow?

Leah:  Yup.  Cow.

Dad:  Are you a dog?

Leah:  Dog.

Mom:  Are you an elephant?

Leah:  E-phant.

Mom:  Are you a platypus?

Leah:  Claptypus.

Dad:  Are you a parrot?

Leah:  Carrot.

Love my little carrot girl!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Driver's Ed, part 2

... continued from part 1

For my second drive with the instructor, I chose an after-school session.  No darkness and no snow.  Both cars from the driving school were parked in the lot when I got out of class.  Who should I drive with?  The husband, who had made my very first driving experience... memorable.  Or the wife?  She was unbearable during the classroom portion but she might be better behind the wheel with a responsible and conscientious student like myself.  I scurried to the car where the wife sat and hoped for the best.

We drove around town for a while and I began to relax and become a little more comfortable.  The wife seemed okay if a little uninterested.  She only overreacted once when I "failed to come to a complete stop" at a stop sign.  (Her definition of a complete stop:  all the parts of the car settle completely and you wait for another 2 seconds.)  We headed downtown to practice some parallel parking.

As I was attempting to maneuver into a parking spot on Main Street, while the instructor maintained her "laissez-faire" to teaching me about driving (read: ignored me completely), suddenly there was a BAM! and the whole car shook.  I froze.  The instructor looked at me and barked, "A**h***!"

Wait, what?  Listen, lady.  I'm a student driver.  It's YOUR JOB to make sure I'm not running into things.  And if I do hit something I'm pretty sure it's NOT in your job description to hurl vulgarities at me.  I stared at her and finally squeaked, "What did I hit?  Is it bad?"

"I can't BELIEVE this!"

"I'm sorry!"  I felt terrible even though I felt like she should have been helping me to not hit things.  "You have insurance, right?"

"Huh?  No.  Hold on."  She sprang out of the car and began inspecting the rear fender.

NO?!  No insurance?  How can you run a driving school and have no insurance?!  Visions of indentured servitude crowded into my brain.  How many hours would I need to work for her to pay for the damage?  And what about the damage to the other car?  I felt faint.

She finally returned.  "A**h***," she muttered again.  I tried to make myself as small as possible.  She glared at the dashboard for a long, long time without moving.  Suddenly she jolted to her senses and turned on me.

"Did you see him?!  Did you?!  What was he wearing?  Can you give a description to the police?"

"I didn't ... I didn't see... any...one.  Did I hit a person?  Oh my gosh!  I hit someone!  Where is he?  Is he hurt?"  This was a thousand times worse.  How long would they lock me up for running over a pedestrian while parallel parking?

She looked at me like I was insane.  "The guy," she said slowly.  "The guy who crossed the street behind us slammed his body into my fender.  There's a big scratch in the paint and I'm going to press charges.  I think I know who it is.  He and his a**h*** friends are always harassing my driving students."

What.  A.  Relief.  I wasn't going to jail after all.  It was just some idiot who probably had to drive in the snow while being verbally abused by his instructor and had held a grudge for all these years.


My final drive was with the husband again.  It didn't much matter which instructor I chose.  I was going to have a miserable, nerve-wracking time no matter what.  Not only were my teachers soulless burnouts, but there was a gang of Placerville thugs out to get me as well.

The sun had just gone down when a car full of guys zoomed past.  Two guys hung out the windows and taunted, "HEY, A**H****!"  My instructor was livid.  "Follow that car!" he commanded.  "Just... just don't worry about anything!  Don't lose them!  Faster!  Don't worry about the speed limit!  Go go go!"

I couldn't really even tell which car I was supposed to be following but I dutifully mashed the gas and we took off like a rabbit.  "Don't even stop here!  There's no one around... just go!  Go go go!" he screamed.  We blasted through a stop sign.  "Turn in here!  Don't slow down.  Go go go!"  We rounded the corner on two wheels and screeched to a halt in the Rite-Aid parking lot.

"Stay here," he barked.  I'll be right back."  He ran off to confront the hooligans.  Cars began to pile up behind me.  (I wasn't in a parking space.  I was in the middle of the traffic aisle.)  There was very little room to go around my car since the instructor had left his door wide open.  The honking started and I could see other drivers rolling their eyes to say, "Ugh.  Student drivers."  I forgave them.  There was no way they could  know the ordeals that I had been through in the last 72 hours.

Eventually, my instructor came back.  As he settled heavily into his seat, he apologized.  "I'm sorry you had to had to hear that.  Those guys are so vulgar."

I refrained from pointing out that his wife had used the exactly same word no less than three times just the day before.

To be continued...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Driver's Ed, Part 1

Learning to drive was one of the worst experiences of my teenage years.

Because of the birthday cutoff, I missed being able to take Driver's Ed as an elective at school and so my only option was to enroll with the private driving school in town.  The instructors were a husband-wife team and had a reputation for being at little... uneven.  Some kids reported that they were cheerful and friendly and some couldn't stand them.  I guess many years of trying to make a living dealing with teenagers ranging from flighty featherbrains to mouthy know-it-alls took a toll and you never knew what you were going to get from either one.

The wife of the team taught the classroom portion.  She turned out to be strict and demanding and had high expectations of a class with well... varying academic levels.  All teenagers want to drive.  Not all are good with books and tests.  I didn't have a problem with the coursework but didn't like her personally.  You could tell she felt like all teenagers were stupid and liars and would do anything to get out of completing the required material.  I'm sure this was true of some but it was a broad brush to color all adolescents with. As a result, she overcompensated by being extra strict and extra condescending to everyone.

I remember one boy, who was not the sharpest knife in the drawer but who legitimately tried to learn the material, could not understand when the teacher explained how to curb the wheels when parking on a hill.  She drew a picture and said to turn the wheels "in."  Confused, he raised his hand and politely asked if she meant "out" based on the diagram she put on the board.  "No," she said flatly.  "In.  Like I've drawn.  Just look at the picture."  He was still confused.  "So... that looks like... out?"  "No!  In!  In!  Can't you see?  Do you need to move up so you can see the board better?  Here's the curb.  Turn them in!"  Humiliated in front of the class he cried, "But that's out!"  She berated him further and actually made him get up and draw what he considered "in."  It was the exact opposite of what she was telling us.  After many long and painful minutes had passed someone eventually figured out that she was meant "in toward the street" while he meant "in toward the curb."

She was also superstrict with break time.  We had a certain amount of time allotted for each break and if we weren't back exactly on time she threatened to give us an incomplete for the course.  The vending machine downstairs was bottlenecked during break and there was only enough time for about half of us to get a snack.  She didn't like to excuse students during class to use the bathroom because she was afraid we might sneak down to the vending machine.  (A problem which could have been avoided if she would have given us a longer break to begin with.)  One girl asked to leave to use the restroom, explaining that she had had to go out to her car on break and didn't get a chance.  The teacher grudgingly agreed and as the girl stood up to leave the teacher snapped, "What are you doing?"  "Uh, going to the bathroom," the girl replied.  "No.  Leave your purse."  "What?"  "You heard me.  If you're going to the bathroom, you don't need your purse.  This is not time to get a snack.  Just go to the bathroom and come back."  "But I need...uhhh..."  "I know what you are doing!  Leave your purse!"  "It.. uhhh... I just need it..."  "You don't need your purse to go to the bathroom.  Leave it!"  Furious, the girl finally blurted out, "I'm going to change my pad!  Is that okay with you!"  That was awkward.

Weirdly, even though she believed teenagers to be idiots, the teacher had the attitude that most student drivers were too cautious.  She preached hard on making sure you were driving the speed limit (but not over the speed limit) and drilled it into us that if we slowed down without sufficient warning (or really if we ever slowed down at all) we would be rear ended and the collision would be our fault. I completed the classroom portion of Driver's Ed with flying colors but without the faintest idea of how to actually operate a motor vehicle.  And in full possession of the knowledge that hitting the brake meant getting into an accident that would be my fault.

You can see why I approached the actual driving portion of my instruction with more than a little trepidation. My first drive was scheduled for the wee hours of the morning.  We were to start at my house and end at the high school just in time for the first class of the day.  When the little Corolla with the lighted "Student Driver" box sign on top arrived at my house, I was relieved to see it was the husband and not the wife who would be my instructor that day.  I was not relieved, however, to discover that it was snowing.  Now, unlike many teenagers, I never had the opportunity to "experiment" with driving on a deserted country road or on a farm vehicle or even in the driveway.  Literally my first experience driving a car would be with a man who would surely hate me for being too cautious while I drove in the dark in the snow.

I remember we took a lot of time adjusting the mirrors.  He stood behind the car, held up his arm, and told me to adjust the mirror so I could see his arm.  I couldn't see jack squat in the mirror because it was dark and snowy so I fiddled with it until I could see... something and yelled, "Okay!"  He got back in the car, cold and wet, inspected my adjustment and said, "That's where you want the mirror?  You could see me?"  Uhhh... yup.  That's it.  "No.  It's not right.  Let's do it again."  He got out, I fiddled some more and he got back in, even more cold and wet than before.  "I just can't believe that's right for you!  YOU NEED TO BE ABLE TO SEE ME!"  I was a bundle of nerves and all I could think was, "Let's go let's go let's go!  The snow is piling up and it's not like I'm going to use the mirror anyway!  You don't want to be cold and wet anymore?  Just adjust the stupid mirror for me!  Can you not see the snow snowing down?  It's snowing unless you haven't noticed and I HAVE NEVER DRIVEN A CAR BEFORE."  We tried again and for good measure and to make sure he had more cold and wet to complain about, he made me stick my arm out and show him the arm signals for left and right.

We did all these things before leaving but he neglected to show me where to turn on the headlights, wipers, and turn signals.  It comes naturally now, but there was a time when I had to memorize "up=right turn, down=left turn."  And I had to figure all this out in the dark.  And the snow.  With a driving instructor who thought I was an idiot because I didn't already know how to drive.

Now, it snows a fair amount in Pollock Pines and the foothills, but the elevation drops rapidly so unless it's a really bad storm you can drive for 5 or 10 minutes and change from full on snow to light slush to just rain very quickly.  I figured no one would want to be out with a student driver in the dark and snow longer than necessary.  So, we'd get on the freeway and head down toward the high school.  Wrong.  Mr. Driving Instructor was bored and wanted to take all the backroads down the hill.

We ended up driving on (appropriately named) Snows Road, a very narrow two-lane road full of hairpin turns on the side of a cliff.  I wonder if Mr. Driving Instructor had a death wish or if he just didn't believe me when I said I'd never driven before.  I couldn't see both because of the dark and because of the snowflakes whizzing toward me, catching the glare of the headlights.  Mr. Driving Instructor kept sighing that I was driving too slow and when I'd speed up he'd holler, "Not so fast around the turns!  The road is slushy!  We'll end up at the bottom of the canyon!"  It took FOREVER to get off the mountain.  When we reached the bottom, the snow had ended and daylight was creeping over the horizon.  I was beyond frazzled.  Mr Driving Instructor looked alternately frustrated and distracted.  We reached a T in the deserted road,  He was off in lala land so I took a second to sit quietly behind the wheel and contemplate the beauty of my life which had miraculously not ended with a snowy plummet to my death.  He snapped to and hollered, "WELL!  Turn on your blinker!!  You need a blinker!  You can't just sit here!  YOU ARE GOING TO GET REAR ENDED!  GO!"

"Which way?" I asked meekly.


"But which way?" I asked.  He looked at me like I was a moron, reached over and slammed his hand down on the blinker.  "Toward the high school."

I could tell he didn't want to hear that I had no idea where we were or how we'd gotten there or which was the way to the high school.  I dutifully checked the dashboard to see which way the flashing light was telling me to go and pulled out, aware that if I stayed in place for one more moment, I would be rear ended.

To be continued...

Monday, October 22, 2012


Last night I was kissing Brookie goodnight.  We usually read Goldilocks and the Three Bears before bed but it was too late and sister was already asleep.  As a substitute, I kissed Brookie's left cheek and said, "This one is TOOO HOT!"  Then I kissed the other cheek and said "This one is TOOOO COLD!"  She smiled and giggled and pointed at her lips.  "This one is just right," she whispered.

My heart.  My melty melty heart.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Rat Race

A few years ago we had an infestation of rats in our garage.  It started with a scratching noises in the rafters and quickly ballooned to a cacophony of tiny claws scrittering every which way when the door was opened. Then there were the droppings.  Hard to see at first because of the multitude of junk stacked in every square inch of the garage but the rats soon tired of pooping in corners and began to poop wherever they darn well felt like.  We had an aluminum canoe hanging from the rafters which was a favorite rat hang out.  We could hear them prancing around its cavernous (to the rats) interior from twilight to sunup.  And when we finally hoisted the boat down to sell it, the inside was littered with droppings and stained with urine.  So yeah, basically, yuck.

We knew they weren't just mice either because Brett had seen a whole family brazenly taking a stroll through the clutter one night.  Completely unfazed by the overhead light and the appearance of a human being they looked up at him as if to say, "Welcome to our home.  Can we help you?"  These were thick, fat, greasy black rats with demon-red eyes and repulsive reptilian tales.  Something had to be done.

Knowing that standard snapping mouse traps would be insufficient for this kind of infestation we contemplated buying the larger rat-sized model.  But as neither of us wanted to lose a toe during an innocent trip out to bring in some apple juice we decided it would be unsafe.  Poison was an option which we tried until the first rat died and we were unable to locate the corpse and it stunk the place up.  Finally I found the solution.  The Victor Electronic Rat Trap.

It's essentially a little house that the rat walks into in search of food and then ZAP!  He is electrocuted when his paws are in contact with the metal floor and his nose touches the metal backing on which the bait is placed.  Once he's dead you simply pick up the entire trap and dump the rat carcass into the trash.  Reload and repeat.  There's even a light that comes on on top to let you know when you've made a kill so you don't have to crawl around on the ground to inspect it every morning.

It was pricey compared to standard traps (around $40) but it had great reviews so I bought it, baited it with peanut butter, and set it out.  The next morning I couldn't wait to check it.

No green light on top.  No dead rat.  Weird.  I'd heard them partying all night, dancing to Prince tunes and smoking cigarettes.  Why would they avoid my trap?

Brett suggested I place it parallel with the wall as that's the natural place for rodents to travel.  If the scent of tasty Jif wasn't enough to lure them in perhaps they would just be stupid enough to walk in during the course of their journey.  I made the adjustment and the next morning... still nothing.  No green light.  No rodent death.

I tried a couple of different places in the garage and the novelty started to wear off.  I made noises about taking the darn thing back.  Maybe the rats had moved on of their own accord and I wouldn't need to be the judge, jury, and executioner after all.  Eventually, I moved the trap to the spot where I would be most likely to have success:  parallel to the wall behind the dog food container.  (I knew they were fond of dog food as I had seen their gnaw marks on the plastic lid.)  It would be right outside the door to the house.  All I would need to do is poke my head out each morning and check for the light.  I decided to leave it there until I got around to taking it back.

Since I'd had it for so long, I didn't want to take the trap back without a good reason ("This never caught a single rat" didn't seem good enough.)  I thought that maybe the trap was malfunctioning and the rats were eating the bait and not being properly electrocuted.  So one morning I got down and peeked through the mesh at the bait end of the trap.

A little dead rat face was staring back at me.

"BLWEERRRRGH!" I cried involuntarily, my heart racing and palms sweating with both excitement at having caught something and disgust at having caught something.  "I caught a rat!  I caughtarat!  Icaughtarataratarat!!"

Wait a second... what about the green light on the top which I'd been checking faithfully for many days which was to alert me when I'd made a kill?  Was it broken?  Clearly the trap did its duty.  Why no warning that I'd be face to face with a rude surprise?

I started at the trap accusatorily for a few moments.  It was then that I noticed that there was a light on the top.  It was flashing.  Not "blinkblinkblink."  More like "blink... ... .... ... blink ... ... ... blink... ... ..."  I might have to watch for a full 5 seconds to see the light make one quick blink.  Harumph.  Poor design.  Well no matter now.  I'd killed my first varmit.  I emptied it into the trash and replaced the trap.  Easy, quick, and clean, just like the box promised!  I was sold.

We caught a few more little rats in quick succession (one drawback, unless you check and empty the trap during the night, you can only get one rat each day) then there was a dry spell.  We began to venture into the garage again, sometimes even barefoot, usually without a weapon.  And as it was shaping up to be a pleasant, vermin-free environment we decided to try to clean it out a little.

Cleaning the garage is a terrible, terrible chore.  By default, our garage is filled with a mish-mash of outdoor stuff (camping equipment, lawn care stuff), car stuff, DJ stuff, and old/broken stuff which we can't part with because IT MIGHT BE USEFUL SOMEDAY.  We had to take it slow, cleaning just a little bit each night so the task wouldn't feel so overwhelming.

About four nights into the job, Brett suggested I check the trap to make sure the peanut butter hadn't gotten all dry and crusty and thus less savory to any rats which might still be hanging around, undeterred by the cold-blooded murder of their kin.  I peered at the trap for a good 10 seconds waiting for a blink... blink... blink...  just in case.  No lights.  Good, because I'd already been surprised by a dead rat once and I didn't intend to ever make that kind of noise again in my life.

I reached for the trap and noticed that the switch was in the off position,  Great, that's why we'd have having a dry spell.  The darn thing didn't get turned back on after the last catch.  "Hey honey," I called to Brett, "This silly thing isn't even OOOOOOOOOOMYBLWEERRRRGH!"

Hanging out the end was a big, fat, black, greasy, rat butt, complete with reptilian tale.

I screamed some more and dropped the trap.  What the...?  How?  Why?!  The light!  The light wasn't on!  The trap wasn't even on!  How on earth...?

Then I heard it.  The manical laughter of a man.  A man who has done something... rotten to his wife.

A man who upon seeing that a fat, disgusting, rat had been killed in his trap saw an opportunity.  An opportunity to prank his loving, sweet, kind, self-sacrificing spouse and scare the pants off of her.

It must have been a rare afternoon kill because the light was blinking for Brett when he arrived home.  So instead of just taking the dang thing out to the trash, he turned it off, and tilted it forward so the rat slid all the way to the end, out of sight for his unsuspecting victim.

Then he innocently suggested that his wide-eyed, beautiful, naive, fresh-faced bride pick it up to check it.


Oh yeah.  The kind that wants to laugh his fool head off when she can't stop screaming.  That kind.

And he wonders why I have a blog called Serious Injury Inflicted.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Potty training update -- feel free to avert your eyes.

I heard Brooke tooting and for the first time in months I got her on the potty in time.  Yay me!  Then immediately I heard Leah tooting and I thought, "I will be a freaking ROCKSTAR getting both of these kids to poop on the potty within 5 minutes of each other!"  Leah sat and sat and sat and never went.  Then 15 minutes later she comes to me with her pants around her ankles.  "Leah!" I asked excitedly.  "Did you go potty?"  Upon closer inspection, I can tell she did because her pants, undies, shoes, and socks are soaking wet.  Which means she stood up from her seated position on the potty where the pee was supposed to go and PEED ALL OVER HERSELF.  Brain damage.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Two! Four! Six! Oh!... crap.

I am insanely excited about the Les Miserables movie coming out in December.  And it's like the filmmakers were worried that I wouldn't go so see it anyway so they had to go and cast Russell Crowe as Javert.  Sold. Sold to the crazy platypus down front.

Anyway, after bugging my father-in-law, "So, Les Miz is going to be our Christmas movie, right?  Right, right right, rightrightrightright?" I got to thinking about my first Les Miz theater experience.  Talk about a serious injury inflicted.  Perhaps you would like to hear the tale?

I think I was a sophomore and my high school had purchased a block of tickets and was sponsoring a trip to see a performance at the Sacramento Community Center.  I bought a ticket with my Christmas money and my friend Brian and I went with the other 30 or so students from school.

There was excitement in the air as we boarded the yellow school bus which was to carry us all to the venue. I'd never been to see a professional theater performance and I'm sure this was the case for many of the others.  Looking back on it, it seems like Brian and I were maybe a year or two younger than all the other kids on the bus.  Not just because we didn't really know anyone else but I remember that we were... well, obnoxious.  I don't remember exactly what we were doing or how we were behaving (just loud and giggly, I'm sure) but I distinctly remember getting a lot of dirty looks from the upperclassmen and thinking, "We are REALLY obnoxious."  Not that we were inspired to tone it down at all.  Actually, we probably just got more amped up every time we saw someone look down his nose and whisper, "They are really immature."  So, by the time we got to the community center, an hour later, everyone was probably really glad to be rid of us.

The bus driver pulled up and dropped the group off in the roundabout in front of the building.  Mr. Teacher instructed us to meet in the EXACT SAME SPOT after the performance.  We went inside and joined the throngs of theatergoers as we climbed the stairs (and stairs and stairs and stairs) to find our seats.  Every though we were as far back as one could possibly get in the auditorium, we were awed by the performance and generally had a great time.

After the show, Brian and I wandered around in the lobby among all the vendors selling Les Miz programs, mugs, hats, pins, and posters.  It took us a long time to decide which priceless trinket we would purchase to commemorate our monumental evening.  (We both ended up with posters, of course.  I wish someone would have just told us to buy a dang poster to begin with.)

It wasn't long after that that the vendors began to take their booths down and we figured we should go outside to meet up with the group.  After getting a bit turned around in the building we managed to find the correct exit and stepped out into the frosty midnight air.

The frosty deserted midnight air.

A single limousine glided silently out of the roundabout and we were completely alone.  No bus waiting.  No group of high school students.  No teachers.  Not even a single other theater patron.  Just Brian and Andrea.  Standing on the steps.  Alone.

We looked at each other.  And then back at the dark street.  And at each other again.

"Uh-oh," Brian whispered.

"I think they left us," I croaked.

"They... it's a school trip... they can't just leave us... can they?"

What Brian didn't know was that I already had a track record of being left behind after field trips.  When I was in grade school, the classes used to take regular walking field trips to the local community college for shows and concerts.  At one such show, the children in the audience were invited to come up on stage after the play and meet the actors.  I did and my class left without me.  I had to walk back to school with a class of first-graders and be humiliated by my own teacher when I returned to a classroom full of my peers who were all studiously working on their math problems.  "Nice of you to join us, Ranger," he sneered.  (He knew I hated being called by my last name.)

So yes.  It was not only probable that our group had left without us, based on past experience, it was almost certain.

We stood in silence for a few minutes.  Then Brian piped up.  "We could, uh... call a cab, I guess.  How much money do you have?"

Being two kids from Pollock Pines, neither of us had the slightest idea how much a 60-mile cab ride would cost.  Honestly, neither of us even knew how to even call a cab in the first place.  Not that we had the option to do so.  The theater was now locked up and there were no payphones in sight.

"I don't have any money left.  I guess we'll have to find a phone and call one of our parents.  Yours or mine?"

"Mine will be really, really mad.  It's the middle of the night."

"Mine too.  Also, I don't even know where we are.  We're in downtown Sacramento.  At a convention center of some kind.  What are we supposed to tell them?  Just look at all the convention centers and theaters in Sacramento until you find us standing out front?"

"Well, if we can get ahold of them, they could call the school and find out where we are."

"Who are they going to call?  It's the middle of the night!  They'd have to call an emergency number or something!"

"This is an emergency!  And it's the school's fault!  THEY JUST LEFT US HERE!"

We stared in silence a while longer.  "This is Sacramento," I offered helpfully.  "Maybe there's a homeless shelter we could stay at until morning?"

Suddenly, the irritated voice of a teacher rang across the street.  "There you two are!  Finally!  It's about time!"

"About time for what?" Brian asked snarkily.  "We are right here.  Waiting.  Exactly where you told us to wait.  Where.  Is.  Everyone?"

"The bus is parked a couple of blocks away.  We realized the two of you were missing because you were so rowdy on the drive down," he said reproachfully.  "I had to come back looking for you."  He sounded like he thought he'd done us a favor.

"Hold on, every single other student in our group just happened to know that the bus was parked somewhere other than was agreed and just happened to find it?  In the dark.  At midnight."

Mr. Teacher averted his eyes.  "You're lucky we figured out you were missing."

"Really?  How far up the road did you get before you realized you were missing two kids?  Because we've been standing here a long time trying to figure out how to get home."  Brian wasn't letting him slide.

Mr. Teacher gave a let's-just-put-this-thing-behind-us chuckle.  "Well, no harm done!  Let's get on home!"  He led us back to the bus, which was parked several blocks away.  We never could have found it even if we knew exactly where it was.

The other students glared at us as we boarded.  Maybe they were annoyed at having to return for us.  Maybe they were expecting a repeat of our obnoxious behavior on the way back.  They didn't realize that it was only because we had made such an impression on the way down that someone even noticed we were missing on the way back.

Otherwise we would have had a date with the local homeless shelter.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally

I've got 3 kids in diapers (pretty much).  I've changed hundreds, if not thousands of diapers in the last 3.5 years.

One would think I could remember one simple rule.

Snap the onsie, THEN put the pants on.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Apparently, I'm old enough to have a 20-year reunion

I went to my 20-year high school reunion last June.  I ordinarily wouldn't have gone, but Brett ended up DJing the party so I felt like I couldn't skip out.  A friend asked that I analyze the event from a psychological, sociological  and anthropological standpoint and report back to her.  

"Andrea, all these people have a social lubricant that you do not have. It lowers their inhibitions and allows them to interact more freely with one another. Alcohol." ~Brett Fox

So, since I'm a lot more confident in my social interaction than I was in high school I went in figuring that I could interact comfortably with pretty much anyone I would run into. I was only expecting to see half a dozen people that I still know because I'm friends with them on facebook. 

It actually would have been easier if it had been a room full of strangers. There would be an openness to getting to know anyone there. And it wasn't like there were boundaries or cliques or anything like there was in high school. It was just weird because people are looking for their friends. And if you don't know the person, there's no point in chatting them up. There's also a huge added level of awkwardness because everyone is wearing a badge with their name and yearbook picture. So, there's all this sneaky sideways glancing to see if you can catch the name and recognize the face before approaching and talking to someone. It's quite evident when you are deemed unworthy by someone who had previously been approaching because they thought they might know you. And you hug EVERYONE. For no reason. I hugged a dude I hadn't seen since eighth grade graduation.

You would have had a much easier time because you would have a wingman. Brett was DJing so I was flying solo. After about 15 minutes I had seen everyone that I knew and it was evident that this wasn't the place for making new friends. So I went over to the DJ booth and reported my findings to Brett. He suggested that I just start chatting with people, even if I didn't know them. Honestly, in most other circumstances that's what I would have done but it was really, really hard for some reason. I felt myself starting to hang back and peoplewatch rather than try to socialize. 

Then it was time for dinner. I was toward the front of the line so I got pretty much first pick of seats. I chose a table right near the door where everyone had to exit after getting their food. Surely, someone I knew and had already talked to would see me and want to sit with me. Person after person exited and I watched as everyone veered off in different directions. I ended up sitting at this 4 person table ALONE (with Brett when he wasn't up taking care of the music.) I'm sure it wasn't me, it just happened that way, but I was pretty much ready to call it a night after that. 

I once heard a comparison about a rider on an elephant to the subconscious mind. An elephant is a huge beast. There's no reason for him to do anything the rider wants him to. The rider might think he is in control of the elephant, but in reality all he can do is ask politely for the elephant to go in a certain direction. If the elephant chooses otherwise there's not much the rider can do. The subconscious mind is one huge elephant. You might think you are in control of your thoughts and feelings but when stress and anxiety strip you down your subconscious is going to do what it is programmed to do... what is familiar and comfortable.

So this is where I ended up after dinner. Sitting at a table by myself watching people socialize and dance with little effort while I watched and tried to blend into the background. Just like I had done so many times as a teenager.

Unfortunately, now I am more aware that sitting by yourself and not moving at a party or dance is not socially acceptable. So instead of being nestled a cocoon of comfortable familiarity I was wrapped in self-loathing. I finally mustered every ounce of willpower I had and forced myself to get up and wander. Because you look less desperate and silly wandering than sitting by yourself. Before I knew it I was standing in a shadowy area of the deck trying to blend into the background again. I hadn't planned it that way, it just happened before I realized it. 

I finally spotted the table where all the people that I knew where sitting. (Any surprise that all of my friends chose to sit at the table furthest away from all the loud music and action?) I wanted desperately to go sit with them but I was held back by some fear that I couldn't identify. Did I really think they would reject me? No, they are all nice people. Did I really think I would have nothing to contribute to their social interaction? No, just let me tell a few stories and they'll be rolling on the floor. After playing out the worst case scenarios in my brain, I realized that my fear would be that I would get over there and they would say that all the chairs are being occupied and there would be a weird awkward moment, chair-wise.

I may be a social dork, but I'm a resourseful social dork. So to conquer my fear, I grabbed a chair from the closest table and dragged it down the path with me. 

They watched me coming. I couldn't see their faces in the fading twilight. I took a deep breath and plunked my chair down and said, "I didn't realize how much it would suck to not have a date tonight!" Silence hung in the air for an unbearable and interminable moment, then... laughter. "Of course!" they cried. "Pull up a chair! Your husband is doing a wonderful job! It's so good to see you! Tell us about yourself and your family!"

Crisis averted. I settled in to have a fairly pleasant evening catching up with a the very few people I would have wanted to see at the reunion anyway.

The very last song was "Jump Around," which I knew Brett was playing just for me. I thought, "I'm not a dancer but anyone can jump around. I'll hit the floor since this is the last song." As I tried to squeeze in among the long, tan legs, high heels, and short skirts on the dance floor, I realized that 20 years makes little difference in who you are. Not only could I not squeeze in physically, but I was on the outside in other ways as well. I finally gave up and retreated to my safe little hobbit hole, with the other hobbits, far from the loud music and drunken dancing, hugged everyone again and went home.

P.S. It doesn't matter in the slightest what you wear.

This was my report.  It sounds like I had a terrible time, but in reality I look back on the evening with fondness.  It confirmed to me that the people I had as friends in high school are still the people I would want to hang out with today.  I have good taste in people.

Also if I hadn't gone to the reunion I would have missed out on this delightful interaction when two VERY drunk girls who I barely remembered from high school stopped by my table...

Girl #1:  Heeeyyyyyy... *peeking at my badge*  I .... remember you?
Girl #2:  Yeaaaaaahhh.... she was in our... uh.... one of our classes...
Me:  I'm not sure, but it's nice to see you anyway.  Are you having fun?
Girl #1:  Yeaaaaahhhhh!  It's time to PAAAAAAAR-TAY!!!!
Girl #2:  Heeeeeyyyy!  You don't have... *hic*... a drink.  Where's your drink?!
Me:  I'm just drinking water tonight.  I'm good.
Girl #1:  Noooooo.... lemmemme buy you a drink!
Girl #2:  You don't... *hic*... have a drink.  Where's your drink?!
Me:  Thank you.  I'm good with just water, though.
Girl #1:  Lemme buy you a drink!  *fumbles with her wallet and dumps its entire contents on the ground*  Oops!  *bends over in her too short skirt, flashing everyone on the dance floor*
Girl #2:  Oh, sh*t!  *bends over to help pick up the credit cards and spills her drink in Girl #1's hair*
Girl #1:  *doesn't notice the booze in her hair* Heeeeeyyyy!  Where's your drink?  You don't have a drink!  Lemme buy you a drink!

I kid you not, she dumped her wallet on the ground again, retrieved it again, and said, "Heeeey! You don't have a drink!" again.  This would have gone on all night if I hadn't distracted them by promising to get the DJ to play their favorite song.  He never did, but I don't think they noticed.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Haunting

Several years ago, Brett and I visited his brother and sister-in-law who live in Virginia.  In August.  I mean, they don’t just live in Virginia in August (that would be silly) but it was August when we visited them.  Actually, that was silly.  I’ve only been to Virginia twice, once in October and once in August.  October was brilliantly sunny with a delightful crispness in the air which perfectly complemented the trees turning into flaming bonfires of orange, red, and yellow.  August was… well.  It was hot.  Dang hot.  Like, Tarzan hot.  And humid.  It was literally 99 degrees and 99% humidity. 

It should be noted that at this time I was also suffering from an undiagnosed thyroid condition, the main symptom of which is “heat intolerance.”  And not just heat intolerance like, “Gosh, it’s hot and uncomfortable~I wish I was drinking lemonade in the shade” kind of intolerance.  This was more of a… how shall one say, “GIVE ME A GUN AND KILL ME NOW JUST SERIOUSLY PUT MY OUT OF MY MISERY LIFE IS NOT WORTH LIVING IF I HAVE TO BE SO HOT WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE SO HOT AND WHY CAN I NOT GET A MOMENT OF RELIEF” kind of intolerance.

Avoiding the heat became an obsession.  It occupied all my waking thoughts and some of my dreams.  There was never enough air conditioning.  Not in the house.  Not in the car.  Not in the stores or the restaurants.  I desperately just wanted to park myself in an igloo in my underwear and never come out. 

So, it was while we were visiting Bill and Suzanne (who have a perfectly lovely air conditioned house which they maintain at a perfectly lovely temperature) that one night I determined that I COULD NOT SLEEP ONE MORE NIGHT NEXT TO THE BLAST FURNACE WHO CALLS HIMSELF MY HUSBAND.  I went in search of cooler, less populated surroundings. 

The unfinished basement with its cool cement floors and wide open spaces beckoned to me.  I tiptoed down the stairs and pulled the chain on the single hanging bulb.  I had planned to sleep directly on the concrete if necessary, but the futon seemed like a better place to start. 

I watched a little TV to relax and cool down.  Ahh… so much better.  I might be able to sleep after all.  I closed my eyes and began to drift off.

I was somewhere between sleep and waking when I heard.. a voice.

I snorted and sat bolt upright.  “Yes!  I’m down here!  Just getting cool…” I said in the direction of the stairs.  I was sure it was Brett looking for me to come back to bed.  There was no reply. 

There was no sound of any kind.  No footsteps or breathing or shuffling or anything that would indicate that I was anything but alone in the dark basement.  I must have imagined it.  Part of a dream which my brain misinterpreted, I’m sure.  I laid myself back down and drifted off again.

Once again as the murky twilight enveloped me I heard a voice.  This time there was no mistaking it.  I couldn’t make out what it had said, but it was definitely a man’s voice and it was definitely in the room with me. 

I leapt up and pulled the chain on the light.  My eyes struggled to adjust as I spun frantically around.  I saw no one and aside from the neat row of cupboards along the wall there was no where for someone to hide.    

“Someone is going to hide in a cupboard and try to scare me by talking in the middle of the night?” I wondered.  He would have to be devoted.  He would have had to have gotten in there to hide before I went to sleep.  And he would have had to wait for me to finish my show.  And he would have had to wait for me to fall asleep.  And, most importantly, he would have had to know that I would end up sleeping in the basement tonight.  A fact which I didn’t know myself until an hour prior.

It was unlikely, but since I couldn’t think of a more reasonable explanation, I tiptoed over to the cupboards.  I threw open the doors quickly and violently lest the prankster get the upper hand by bursting out and scaring me before I could uncover him. 

The cupboards were full of board games and baby toys which the kids had outgrown.  No pranksters.  No monsters.  No voices.

Now what was I to do?  I desperately wanted to sleep.  I was too hot upstairs and too scared to stay in the basement.  I pondered my plight and inspiration struck me.  The TV!  Of course!  I must not have turned it off properly or there is a video game or something still playing in the background.  Better check the electronics. 

Satisfied that everything was off and stopping short of unplugging everything that could possible make any noise I resumed my position on the futon.  And because I’m a pansy, I left the light on.  The basement was silent and with the light protecting me I closed my eyes.

Again!  A voice!  It was deep and slow and distorted, bearing an eerie resemblance to what a demon in a movie might sound like!  But this time, it didn’t stop.  It kept groaning on in a distinct cadence that was frightening but oddly familiar at the same time.

“Nrgh… nnnnrgh wr grrr… craaaaaaw,” it droned.  “Phrrr…  phrrr wr grrr… orrrrrrrs.”  A chant.  Some kind of demon chant. 

This basement is a portal to hell and I am about to be dragged into the lake of fire and brimstone. 

So hot.  So very, very, very hot.

Don’t they know I have a thyroid condition marked by severe heat intolerance?

I can’t go to hell.  No way.  I’ve already spent a week in Virginia in August.  I’ve already been there. 

I steeled myself and walked toward the sound.  No little demon was going to get me without a fight.  Pre-emptive strike! 

I found myself standing next to the cupboard which I had checked just moments before.  I flung open the door, ready to gouge out the little red eyes which I knew would be staring back at me.

“C… C is for cow…  D… D is for dog…”

My nemesis which I stood poised and ready to destroy was not some naked, scaly, cloven-hooved, bat-winged succubus.  It was a Fisher Price Barnyard Speak-and-Say children’s toy. 

With trembling hands I pried the batteries out and dared it to taunt me a second time.  It did not.

Good thing, because if it had continued to speak I don’t know what I would have done.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Clue, Zoolander, and a brush with celebrity

It started when a certain family member watched for the first-time, and did not enjoy, the movie Clue.  Certain other members of the family were aghast that anyone would not enjoy Clue.  Then the discussion drifted to other movies, comedies specifically, which were held in high esteem by some and loathed by others.  Zoolander was mentioned as one example and indeed it had even polarized a married couple who generally share the same taste in movies.

My favorite movie critic, Eric D. Snider (www.ericdsnider.com) write a column called "Re-Views" in which he re-watches movies to which he had given extremely favorable or unfavorable reviews when they were first released.  He then offers his opinion about how well the movie has stood the test of time and whether he responded the same way upon a subsequent viewing, usually about a decade later.  He's an open-minded fellow like that.

I remember not liking Zoolander when I saw it in the theater and so I was very surprised to see that Eric D. Snider had given it high marks.  So, I e-mailed him for some more information.  And he e-mailed me back!

Here's how our exchange went:

Our family is having a lively facebook debate about the merits of Zoolander.  I thought I'd check to see what you thought of it and I see you gave it an A.  Have you re-viewed this one?  I'm wondering if it stood the test of time.  Most of the family who didn't like it just don't care for Ben Stiller.  I generally like Ben Stiller but didn't think Zoolander was funny.  The side of the family who enjoyed it the first time still maintain it is one of the funniest movies OF ALL TIME!!!1!1!  I don't think they are impartial judges at this point.

Your thoughts would be appreciated.



Sorry I didn't reply sooner! I'm at a festival. I did see ZOOLANDER a second time, in 2006 or thereabouts, and I remember still laughing a lot but feeling like I would probably ease off on my "A" grade a little. Comedy is too subjective to debate, though. If it don't make you laugh, it don't make you laugh. 


So, there you have it.  My brush with celebrity!  I'm practically a celebrity myself now!  Almost like the time I shook hands with Eddie Van Halen!

(Just for the record, I did watch Clue again as I promised.  I wanted to like it.  I really really did.  The whole dog poop bit at the beginning made me laugh.  Christopher Lloyd made me laugh once.  But there wasn't enough funny to justify all the running from room to room and repeating what had happened over and over and over and over and over and over.)

(I have yet to watch Zoolander again.)

(And speaking of Eric D. Snider.  This is one of the funniest things I have ever read.  I usually try to re-post it around Halloween each year.  If it is new to you, enjoy!  If you've read it before, enjoy again!)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Field of (Old) Dreams

After years and years of saying, "You know what movie I'd really like to have on DVD?  Field of Dreams" we finally acquired it.  (Yes, we are still buying DVDs instead of BluRay.  Shut up.)

I was amazed at how much I still enjoyed it after all these years.  I was in 7th or 8th grade when I saw it in the theater.  I remembered really liking it but I can't be sure that wasn't because I was with a friend and her parents bought us a MASSIVE tub of popcorn and we gorged ourselves silly on buttery and salty goodness.  (I find many of my fondest memories involve an activity which is accompanied by eating as much as I wanted of something.)

It's a little dated for sure.  I mean, Ray goes to the library and looks at old newspapers on microfilm while sitting in front of an enormous card catalogue.  He calls his wife from a payphone and she talks to him on their gigantic corded home phone which makes a clangy, ringy sound when she hangs up the receiver.  These are things that most kids who are old enough to drive and date and even get married these days have absolutely no experience with.

"Just think about this," Brett piped up.  "You are older now than when Kevin Costner made this movie.  How's that for a mind-blower?"

"Nu-uh!" I began to protest.  "He's got to be at least thirty-five in this film."

Brett let that sink in to my consciousness without saying anything.

How did I get so old?

(I looked it up today.  Kevin Costner was 33 in 1988.  Yup.  Younger than me now.  Crap.)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Stinky, part 2


I had chili for lunch the other day.  So, of course, by evening time I was a little gassy.  I was trying to squeak them out a little at a time during the times that I was alone.  Except when you have little kids you are NEVER  alone.

So, I'm picking stuff up around the house and the kids are watching TV.  The familiar pressure began to build up.  I peeked around and decided now was as good a time as any.

Unfortunately, at that exact moment Brooke thought it would be a great time to run up behind me, wrap her arms around my legs and give me a huge, superhug.

Which means that I farted directly into my sweet baby girl's face.

I waited to see if she would react.  Maybe it wasn't as bad as I thought.  Maybe she just didn't happen to breathe at that moment.  She's a little kid.  Kids smell bad and smell bad things all the time.

Silence (and fart) filled the air for a moment.  Then...


So, uh, I guess she noticed?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lunch date

My husband, mother-in-law, and I were discussing this very important topic in the car the other day.

If you could have lunch with 3 actors or actresses, living or dead, who would they be?

I chose:

Catherine Zeta-Jones (because she's sooooooo pretty)
Tommy Lee Jones (because he seems like kind of a jerk, but a smart and funny one)

Dr. Sheldon Cooper (no explanation necessary)

Who would you choose?  Weigh in on facebook or in the comments.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hazardous waste

When we moved into our house there were several old fluorescent tubes left behind.  I looked into how to dispose of them properly and discovered the reason they were probably never taken care of is that it's kind of a pain.  You have to call the city and make an appointment for pickup.  Then they have to be wrapped a certain way.  Then you have to remember to put them out on your pickup day.  In a place that they can be visible for the picker upper but in a place that they won't get broken in the meantime.  And because I'm lazy like that the tubes have been sitting by the side of my driveway for almost a year now.

However, the inevitable finally happened.  The tubes got hit by one of the cars or something dropped on them because there was glass and white power all over the place.  I have to admit, I was kind of happy that I no longer had to worry about getting them picked up.  I busted out my broom and dustpan and went to work cleaning the driveway.  No more glass.  No more power.  No more unsightly garbage on my driveway.

When I got to work, I started feeling a little sick.  Just a wee bit of a sore throat and headache.  Something stirred in the back of my mind.  Hmmm.... I think there's a particular way you are supposed to clean up broken fluorescent tubes.  Flashes of long-forgotten instructions darted through my mind.  

"Wear gloves..."  "Avoid breathing..."  "Do not sweep..."  This sounds serious.  I'd better investigate.  Here's what I found from THE GOVERNMENT:

How to Clean Up Broken Fluorescent Bulbs and Tubes

Compact fluorescent light bulbs and tubes save energy and are safe to use but contain mercury and need to be safely recycled when they burn out.
If you break a compact fluorescent light bulb or linear fluorescent tube before it can be recycled it must be cleaned up properly:
  • avoid breathing vapors
  • avoid touching broken materials
  • do not vacuum or sweep
  • follow proper clean-up steps shown below for hard surface or carpet clean-up.
How to clean up a broken compact fluorescent light bulb or tube from a hard surface such as a tile floor or countertop. 
  1. Remove jewelry and put on rubber gloves.
  2. Have people and pets leave the room. DO NOT let anyone walk through the breakage area on their way out.
  3. Open windows and shut off central forced-air heating/cooling system if you have one then leave the room to vent vapors for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Use stiff paper or cardboard to pick up large pieces.
  5. Place them in a secure closed container, preferably a glass jar with a metal screw top lid and seal like a canning jar. This type of container works best to contain the mercury vapors.
  6. Use index cards or playing cards to pick up small pieces and powder.
  7. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape or masking tape to pick up fine particles.
  8. Wipe the area clean with a damp paper towel or wet wipe.
  9. Place all materials used to clean-up into a sealed container, preferably glass.
  10. Continue ventilating the room for several hours.
  11. If clothing, bedding or other soft materials have come in direct contact with broken glass or mercury powder, they should be taken to your local household hazardous waste facility. DO NOT wash in washing machine, sink or by other methods. Place soft materials in a sealed plastic bag.
  12. If shoes come into direct contact with broken glass or mercury powder, DO NOT spread mercury over a larger area.  Wipe shoes with a damp paper towel or wet wipe and place towel or wipe into a sealed container, preferably glass. 
  13. Immediately place all clean-up materials in a protected area away from children and pets.
  14. Wash your hands.
  15. Dispose of cleaning supplies, broken bulbs and tubes and clothing, bedding or other soft materials at your local household hazardous waste facility – not in your garbage.

Suddenly, I was so very itchy.  My face.  My hands.  My throat.  I've breathed in all those powdery fumes.  My throat is feeling tight. My head hurts.  I'm thirsty.  So very thirsty.  Do I look pale?  I feel faint.  It hurts when I breathe.  My chest is tight.  I need to sit down.  Maybe lie down for a bit.  Maybe not.  If I fall asleep I might never wake up again.

In my head I began composing letters to my sweet girls telling them how much they were loved by their mother and reminding them that I would watch over them from heaven.  But would I even go to heaven?  I'm pretty much a murderer for releasing toxic chemicals into the environment.  Who knows how many countless others will be harmed by my selfishness and ignorance.  

Please just bury me in a unmarked grave so my corpse cannot be desecrated by those whose loved ones have been hurt by my improper waste disposal.

I finally got up the nerve to talk to my boss about it.  Who knows, I may have dragged some lingering toxicity  with me to work.  He deserves to know that he might be in danger.

I explained the situation.  He rolled his eyes.  "The biggest danger from broken fluorescent tubes is the broken glass.  Just wash your driveway down to make sure all the shards are gone."

But... but... what about the power?  The fumes?  The MERCURY?!

"We used to play with mercury when I was a kid.  If you had a large pool of mercury sitting inside your house and you lived there for 30 years you might get enough exposure to make you sick.  But it would be a gradual deterioration.  Nothing like suddenly getting a headache and sore throat.  Maybe you are just getting a cold."


Oh yeah.  Brett had woken up last night complaining that he didn't feel well.  Oh yeah.  And the baby was sick with a fever on Sunday.  Oh yeah.  And the other girls have had runny noses all week.  Don't you remember wiping them over and over and over?  Oh yeah.

Crisis averted.  I guess I'll live after all.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?

I think it's weird that any celebrity that ends up on Sesame Street I automatically like more than I did previously.  Obviously, I liked Paul Rudd prior to being The Very Handsome Prince on Sesame Street but his likability factor skyrocketed after that.  Eva Longoria discusses the word "exquisite" with Elmo and suddenly I'm thinking, "Maybe I could hang with her sometime?"  I go to the doctor and smile fondly thinking of Anderson Cooper helping me learn the letter G by intoning, "G-G-Gastroenteritis..."

The best example has to be Jason Mraz singing "Let's Go Outside" to the tune of "I'm Yours."  He extols the virtues of playing in the sunshine and I just really want to get outside and play.  He's just so darn happy and good natured about it.  Not only that, but when his blasted song comes on the radio, I have to listen to it.  It's not even the Sesame Street version!  I can't change the station.  It's like it would be unfaithful to my friends on Sesame Street not to support Mr. Mraz and his hipster noodling.

Can you think of any celebrities you've like LESS after seeing them on Sesame Street?  I can't.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Yesterday when I went into the girls' room to get them dressed, Leah handed me a domino and said, "Stinky."

It was covered in poop.


Today, they were poking at something on the ground that looked like a wet tissue, giggling and saying, "Stinky!"  I couldn't fathom what it was.  I finally resorted to poking at it myself.  I discovered it was a glob of diaper filling, you know, the absorbent beads which are supposed to be INSIDE the diaper.  Apparently, someone's diaper had exploded during the night and the pee-soaked beads had worked their way out onto the carpet.

It was this abomination of nature that my girls were playing with this morning.

Motherhood rocks?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Status update update

I was searching through my facebook status updates to find one in particular that I thought would make a good jumping off point for a blog post.  I never found it but I had so much fun looking for it, I thought I'd share my "Best Of" from 2010.  Enjoy!

A solicitor knocked on my door the other day trying to sell me internet service. At the end of his speech, he asked if I had any questions. I pointed to my "No Soliciting" sign and asked where I might put it that would be more visible. Oh snap!
My neighbor must have had the munchies. I heard him groan, "Girl, I need some macaroni salad reeeeeal bad...
Brooke spent 15 minutes this morning trying to put on the strange and bizarre new pants she found on the floor. Then she proudly stood up to show me that she'd managed to wrap my bra around her legs and waist.
Me: Honey, bad news, there's poop on the bed.
Him: What's the good news?
Me: It's all on your side."

As I waited at the railroad crossing today, I saw a boxcar fly by bearing graffiti which said, "Trust no one." And then, "The truth is out there."

Heard "Don't Fear the Reaper" on the radio this morning. Instead of changing the station, I turned it up and thought, "This needs more cowbell.""

Dear Mr. Delicious Fried Zucchini: While I appreciate you making your way secretly into my bag of french fries, I do NOT appreciate the fact that you were, in fact, a jalapeno pepper masquerading as a delicious fried zucchini. Infidel!
The version of "If You Could Hie To Kolob" that I'm listening to sounds a little like "Enter Sandman." Makes me want to listen to more church music.

I deleted an e-mail from Brett's account from a company called "Bongo Flashers." Was I wrong to think it was porn? Turns out they are a DJ lighting company. Oops.

I had a dream last night that I was singing "Called To Serve" at the MTC. But instead of singing it, I was clucking the tune like a chicken. Bok bok!

My baby just put the end of a USB cable that was connected to the computer in her mouth. The computer said, "Your USB device is malfunctioning." 

The phrase "Girl, I need some macaroni salad reeeeel bad" has actually become an inside joke at our house.