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.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Safety Dance

We have a lot of foot and bike traffic outside our home at all hours of the day and night due to our location being convenient to Sac State and also the Arco.  Most of the young passersby at least have headphones stuffed in their ears and many are also busy texting or doing something which involves unbroken focus on a smartphone.  So they stride by, heads down, fingers texting furiously, deaf to the sounds of the outside world.  I fear that someday one of them will walk straight into my open car door while I'm unloading the kids.  Well, I don't technically "fear" it, I actually kind of "hope" for it.

Anyway, last week a guy went by in the usual fashion with headphones stuffed in his ears.

He was also texting.

He was also riding a bike.

In the street.

At 11:30 at night.

I just don't know what to think about that.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Operation: Body Spray

I like to be free from unpleasant odor.  It's true.  My (nearly) daily shower routine and complete lack of exercise are a living testament to my desire to avoid smelling like an actual human being.  I also like other things that smell good.  Flowers, cookies, clean laundry, and Glade Plug-In Air Fresheners.  These all get a high-five in my book.

Why it does not occur to me that I, too, can not only be free from unpleasant odor but that I can actually smell delicious is a mystery.

While packing up the bathroom in preparation for moving just over a year ago I discovered a veritable cornucopia of body sprays under my sink.  Over the years I'd amassed at least 9 bottles and I judged the oldest to be at least 10 years old.  Some were nearly full and some were more than half-empty but it got me thinking, "Have I EVER finished up and thrown away an entire bottle of body spray?"  I could not conclusively answer in the affirmative.

I guess I thought of body spray as something to be saved for a special occasion so it wasn't part of my daily routine.  I just kept collecting and collecting them (almost all were given to me as gifts) and never using them. Sure, a new scent would keep me interested for a week or two then I'd forget about it and never use it again.    They were all dusty but seemed otherwise unharmed by the years of neglectful storage.

When we moved I followed my traditional pattern:

Me (packing the first box):  Yay!  Moving and packing rocks!  An opportunity to go through all my junk!  I'm not moving a single item that I don't intend to keep!  I will go through every single item that I own and decide its fate!

*three boxes later*

Me (dejectedly):  Moving and packing sucks.  This is so much work without going through every single item I own and deciding its fate.  (brightening)  I know!  I simply will move all my junk and when I unpack it in the new house I will go through every single item I own and decide its fate!

*one move later*

Me (unpacking the first box):  Ugh.  I'm so tired from moving and there are boxes everywhere.  I need to clear some space so I can function.  I don't have time to go through every single item I own and decide its fate.  I'll just find a spot for this stuff and later when I have time I will go through this cupboard and decide the fate of these items.

*10 years later*

Me:  How the heck did I end up with 9 partially used bottles of body spray?  I should throw this out.

It was at this point that I decided to spare the lives of these brave body sprays and begin to use them for their intended purpose.  To make me smell delicious.

It wasn't easy.  Some days I forgot to spritz.  Some days I was too tired.  If I missed a day I wanted to quit because I was so discouraged.  I could be a perfect spritzer for a week and still not see any change in the level of liquid in the bottle.  I seemed to reach a plateau and I threw my hands in the air and shouted to the heavens, "I'm trying so hard and you are not cooperating!  I'm going to throw you all away right now!"  But then reason returned and I would began again the next day, fresh and eager.

I sought out support groups on the internet and was frustrated by the lack of people going through what I was experiencing.  I realized that I needed to be the change I was seeking.  Maybe there was someone just like me out there, struggling with unused body spray.

Eventually, silently and almost imperceptibly, a change happened.  It took discipline and dedicated effort but I did it.  I finished one bottle.  I remember it well.  It wasn't a full-size bottle, just a little one that came in a gift pack at Christmas many years ago.  It was almost a shock that morning when I spritz, spritz, sprit... hold on... nothing is coming out.  THIS BOTTLE IS EMPTY!  *cue Hallelujah music*  If I can knock down one tiny bottle of Bath and Body Works Sweat-Pea Body Spritz, I can do anything!  Watch out world!  Here I come!  Who knows what is next?  The half-empty Warm Vanilla Sugar?  Black Raspberry and White Tea with matching body cream?  The three ancient and nearly full bottles of Cucumber Melon?!

Because I want to be accountable I'm reporting today I've managed to rid myself of 6 of the original 9 bottles.  It's taken a whole year but I've taken them out and kept them out.  I like to think of it more of a gradual lifestyle change rather than a gigantic purge.

Don't get me wrong I LOVE smelling nice.  Especially around the holidays.  And I know body spray is a popular gift.  It's my goal to be down to one bottle left by Christmas so that when temptation comes, gift-wrapped in crinkly cellophane, I can confidently accept it.

Because I know... I can do it.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The ants go marching

We've been having a little bit of an any problem in our bathroom lately.  Every morning when I get up and see a couple dozen of the little critters marching purposefully across my counters and walls.  It's enough be be irritating but not enough to take any drastic action again.  Brett set out an ant trap which has had exactly ZERO effect on the ants.  They crawl around, under, and over the trap but never go through to the delicious poison-laced peanut butter flavored goo in the middle.  In theory, they would take the poison back to the colony and the whole lot of they would die off but like I said, one would have to actually ENTER the trap for that to happen.

But I'm lazy so I've done nothing other than just wash them down the sink in the morning and wipe the counter with soap (which they seem to hate... not enough to keep them from returning though).

But last night, A MIRACLE!  Brett shaved his beard!  Wait, no that's not the miracle.  Brett shaving his beard is A Very Big Deal but not a miracle, especially since he really just trimmed his goatee and didn't shave anything.

Side note:  Brett wears a goatee regularly.  I prefer him cleanshaven but he is SO MANLY that the smooth cheeks that I love do not last more than about 2 hours.  And when he shaves off the goatee he breaks out on his chin.  So I do not require a facial hair free face very often, if ever anymore.  The funny part is that when there is some sort of coefficient of density multiplied by length of time worn for the goatee that reaches a maximum, suddenly and without warning.  The maximum tolerance can be reached at any point and during any activity.  We might be watching a movie on the couch or having dinner and Brett will rocket out of his chair and hurl down the hallway to the bathroom, hollering, "I can't stand it anymore!"  This was shocking and distressing the first few times it happened, but I'm used to it now.  End side note.

So Brett trimmed his goatee and left the whiskers all over the counter and sink in the bathroom.  Normally this would irritate me but amazingly there was not a single any in the entire bathroom.  Not just near the whiskers, but anywhere.  It's like the ants deemed our bathroom a condemned site or a nuclear fallout zone.

Maybe Brett's whiskers have super powers.  Perhaps I should sprinkle them around outside to keep the feral cats away.  Or wear an itchy little pouch around my neck for good luck.

Whatever the power is, it only last as long as the whiskers are present because after I washed them away the ants returned.  Now they are in the kitchen and bathroom.

Good thing Brett is manly enough to provide me with a fresh supply of whiskers every couple of hours.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Fox and the Hair

A couple of years ago, I visited Coolest Family Ever in Utah for Christmas.  Coolest Sister-In-Law Ever was finishing up her residency at cosmetology school and I scheduled myself for a cut and color.  There is no one on earth I would rather have cut my hair than Coolest SIL Ever.  She has given me the ONLY cuts that I've actively liked rather than just "Eh, it'll do."  (It may also have to do with her words of encouragement.  "Andrea, you have to style it.  You can't just roll out of bed and expect it to look good."  But anyway...)

We're finishing up the process and it's time to rinse the color out.  I guess it had been a particularly busy day and the school and, with the exception of one other stylist and her client, we were the last ones to leave.  Apparently, the high traffic of the day in combination with the arctic temperatures outside had depleted the hot water supply in the building.  Did I mention it was December?  Did I mention the freezing temperatures?  Did I mention that the water and the aforementioned lack of hotness thereof was going to be applied to my SCALP?  Did I mention I had no choice if I didn't want to walk around dripping haircolor?

In the words of Sheldon Cooper upon finding himself in Bozeman, Montana:  That is a bracing cold, an invigorating cold.  Wow, is it cold!

The serious injury of having my frostbite on my scalp was lessened to a small degree by the delicious shampoo which accompanied the washing.  (Joico, I think it was?)  It was lessened to an even further degree when we heard the following exchange from the only other people still at the school:

Stylist:  Oh... uh... wow.

Client:  How does it look?

Stylist:  Uhhh... I'm not even sure how I did that.

Client:  How does it... wait, what?

Stylist:  It's uhhh... I'm so sorry...

Client:  Let me see!

Stylist:  *turn the chair to face the mirror*

Client:  OH MY G*D!!!

Stylist: I just... I just don't know how... what went wrong... I mean, I've never, ever.... I don't even know how it...


Stylist:  Really?  I just... I can't really redo it... it's too late now... and I'm not even sure how... what...

Now you can't overhear a conversation like this and not at least try to look at the train wreck.  But we didn't want to be obvious.  So CSILE and I craned our necks, stretch our arms, and acted like I was inspecting my (perfect, btw) new do in the mirror while actually trying to peek around.

I only caught a glimpse but it seemed to be a hot mess of black and gray and lavender.  Like this, only... not.

Stylist:  I'm so sorry.  I can try to fix it tomorrow.

Client:  I'm going to have to cancel my date.

That seemed a little extreme to me.  I think showing up on a date with totally whacked out hair (provided it wasn't your fault) would be an excellent conversation starter.  What's better that a first date story that you tell your grandkids that starts out with, "So I accidentally dyed my hair purple the day your grandpa and I met..."

Or just wear a hat.  It is December.  In Utah.  Something my scalp will never forgive nor forget.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

This is why we can't have nice things

When life is handing us lemons, my husband and I turn to each other and say, "Well, at least we have the Kirby."  No joke.  When the cars break down, the washer and dryer fail, the a/c needs to be repaired, and the kids have peed on the furniture one too many times, we can always trust that our indestructible Kirby G5 will be there for us.

It was a sad day last week when I realized that our Kirby was no longer performing at its full capacity.  Like, it wasn't sucking at all (in a good way).  It was blowing the stuff on the carpet out of the way and into places where it would be much harder to reach later on.  So with a heavy heart I set about trying to discover the malfunction.  Would this be the end of reliable vacuuming as we knew it?

I checked the bag.  Yes, the bag was full to overflowing.  It was so heavy I needed two hands to carry it out to the trash.  Surely, the installation of a new bag would be an acceptable sacrifice to my faithful vacuum.  But alas.  The sucky non-suction continued.

Brett suggested I change the belt.  Reasonable, since I'd never done it in the 8 years we owned the vacuum.  No improvement.

When consulted, the internets suggested I check and clean the fill tube.  I guess over time lots of tiny pieces of dust can congeal into a massive tube-clogging monster.

I removed the appropriate pieces of the machine and hesitantly gave it a little shake over the garbage can.  Some dirt, a few chips of wood, and a penny fell out.  Another shake yielded more of the same.  Surely this can't be keeping my all-powerful Kirby from doing its job.

I tried to hook out some more goop with the end of a wire hanger without any luck.  Then Brett suggested I run the entire length of wire through the tube for better results.  Success!  The hook snagged on a fluffball roughly the size of my dog and dragged it kicking and screaming into the light.  A few more passes with the wire and I had enough dingy fluffballs to start my own petting zoo.

At last the tube was clear with the exception of one item still rattling mischievously around in there.  I gave it a whack and this little guy landed on my carpet.

Yes, that is a Star Wars action figure.  (And yes, that is the actual color of my bedroom carpet, but that's a post for another day.)  

The point is that my Kirby is SO FREAKING AWESOME that it sucked up a whole action figure at some point in the last 8 years and I didn't even know it!

And of course, the combination of Star Wars and vacuums made me think of this straight away:

I'm pleased to report the actionfigurectomy was a wild success and the Kirby is back in business!

Monday, September 10, 2012

I'm only a few years behind the masses


Here were my thoughts a few days ago:

I'm reading "Twilight" for the first time. (I got it for free at a swap meet.) So, Bella falls down a lot. And if she's not falling down, she's worried about falling down. She's practically in tears when Edward suggests they go for a hike in the woods, not on a trail. I have to wonder what kind of high school experience the author had to include SO MUCH falling down. Is this more of an issue with kids these days than it was in my youth? More drugs, more peer pressure, more... falling down?

Now that I'm almost down with the book I have discovered at the clumsiness that is mentioned 786 times in the prior pages actually has a point.  If you haven't read it *SPOILER ALERT*:  When Bella is attacked by an evil vampire her mother is told that her injuries were sustained by falling down two flights of stairs and through a window.

So there.  Maybe mentioning Edward's beauty 257,596,809 times will have point eventually, too.  One can always hope.