Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I Have A Cold. You Have Too Much Information.

I have a cold. Or allergies. I don't know. Whatever it is, it is killing me, y'all. I sound like a cross between Eartha Kitt and Barry White after they've stayed out all night singing karaoke, swilling whiskey, and smoking stogies in a seedy cocktail lounge. (Now that I think about it, it might be kinda cool to see that.) Oh, me and my phlegm--so sexy. The worst part is that when I cough, I cannot cough and do anything else, for coughing requires that I stand still and cross my legs. I've had 5 children. They have all tap danced on my bladder. My bladder cannot take the stress. I can't cough with confidence. (That should totally be a tag line for an adult diaper. "Peepee Pads--Cough with confidence!") Too much information? Yeah, well, you should know better than to expect a filter from me.

The worst part of that is when you are walking along with someone, carrying on a conversation and all of a sudden, you have to stop, cross your legs, and cough. If it's someone who knows you well, they just sort of wait for you to recover and catch up before they respond with a snarky comment like: "Need a bucket?" If you are walking with someone you don't know well and you stop, cross your legs, and cough, well, let's just say it's awkward and leave it there, shall we? If it's a first grader that you are walking with, one of two things will happen: they will either be completely oblivious that you have stopped walking and just continue on in their own little world, or they will absolutely notice that you have stopped walking and then ask 742 questions about why you have stopped, why you are coughing, what causes coughing, when you think your cough will go away, and apropos of nothing, if you knew that their grandpa wears suspenders.

I love first graders.

Also? I love Nyquil. Although I'm betting my beloved wishes that I would figure out another way to sleep. Evidently Nyquil makes me snore--or snore worse than I do when I have a Nyquil-free night. I'm not sure if he'd rather have me coughing or snoring.

Yeah. I know. My poor beloved. He's married to a coughing, snoring, leg crossing woman with sexy phlegm that makes her sound like the love child of Eartha Kitt and Barry White. (Insert wolf whistle here.) Lucky, lucky man.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Did My Award Get Lost In The Mail? It Did, Right?

Wednesday when I was driving carpool, I was five minutes from home when my cell phone rang. It was Sean and he was crying. Somehow through all the tears I was able to decipher that he wasn't feeling well. I told him I'd be home soon and we'd talk.

When I got home, the tears were gone and Sean stated that he just wasn't feeling good. He was tired and his head hurt. He didn't want to go to football practice.

Now, I must state for the record, that this is almost a weekly occurrence. At least once a week my boy tells me that he doesn't want to go to football because: a. something hurts, b. he doesn't feel well, c. he's tired, or d. some variant of those three. And my usual response is "Tough luck, cowboy. You signed up for it, you're in it for the season," and then I say some words that are encouraging and we get him fed, suited up, and out the door.

On Wednesday things were different because instead of his usual habit of telling me he's not going even as he's getting ready to go, this time he had a melt down of epic proportions. I sent him to his room to calm down and regroup. Meanwhile I was fixing something for him to eat and getting his water ready.

When I went up to his room he had calmed down. He insisted that he felt "like crappin' crap." Oh the silver-tongued wordsmith, my boy. I told him that I would take his temperature and that if he wasn't running a fever then he had to go to practice and there would be no more complaints. He begrudgingly agreed. His temp was 99.5. He assumed this meant that he wasn't going. I told him that it wouldn't keep him home from school, so it wasn't going to keep him home from practice. My boy was not happy. He insisted that his head hurt.

Being a sufferer of migraines, myself, I am sympathetic to anyone suffering a headache. I told him that I wanted him to down some water and eat something. I said that if he wished I would let his coaches know that he wasn't feeling 100% and that he wasn't going to push himself at practice. He whimpered that he guessed that would be okay.

Fast forward to me picking up both boys from practice. When I met Sean at his field, his face crumpled when he saw me and he could barely control his tears. I still chalked it up to being tired and told him to sit in the curb while I walked to James' field to get him.

As we all walked to the car, Sean just kept telling me that he wanted to get home. I told him we'd have to make a couple of stops--one for food and one to pick up Maggie from a friend's house. By this time, he was sitting in the back of the van with his head back and his eyes closed. I didn't think too much of it because James and Mary were arguing about breathing each other's air, or something equally stupid.

As we pulled into McD's for food for the boys, Sean said he didn't want anything. This should have been a red flag. I missed it. Then as we picked up Maggie he said he was cold. This should have been another red flag. I didn't see this one, either. Apparently I am color blind when it comes to red flags. I told him that he was cold because he was sweaty and the evening was cooler than we'd had in a long time and he was in an air conditioned car. He nodded his head wearily and rode in silence the rest of the way.

When we went in the house I helped him get his gear off and told him to take a hot shower while I fixed him something to eat and that he'd feel better after that. Again, he just nodded and then he droopily plodded up the stairs.

I went up later to check on him. He was sitting in a bathtub so full of hot water that if he so much as hiccuped there would have been a flood of water pouring over the edge of the tub. I asked him what he wanted to eat. He said, "Nothing. I just want to go to bed."

You know what? I finally saw one of those red flags.

He got himself ready for bed and climbed under the covers. Then he asked me if I would run my fingers through his hair--something he has loved since he first started sprouting curls. (Truly he is his mama's child, because I would do just about anything to have someone run their fingers through my hair.) I snuggled up next to him and stroked his hair and told him silly things he did when he was little. He snuggled closer to me and closed his eyes.

After a bit, I left him with a kiss on his cheek and wished him a good sleep. And then I went downstairs for awhile. As I was doing other things, the red flags started popping up and my head and wouldn't leave me alone. Finally I decided that I would go up and check on him.

When I stood next to his bed and put my hand on his cheek I knew that I was going to have to apologize. He was burning up with fever. I shook him lightly and told him I was going to take his temp and give him some Motrin. His temperature was 104.6 and I about lost my tiny little mind. I gave him some ibuprofen, apologized profusely for making him go to practice and told him he wouldn't be going to school in the morning. He just nodded sleepily and rolled back over to sleep.

I went back downstairs to make arrangements for work and carpool. Each time I told the story I told people that I would be awaiting my Mother of the Year award. I'm thinking it's going to be a long wait.

On Thursday, the doctor confirmed what I already suspected: Strep. Fan-cussing-tastic. Because one of my kids is highly susceptible to strep. In fact, just mentioning the word might cause him to come down with it. I told Sean, "I know it's going to be hard for you, but don't kiss your brother, 'kay?" That gave me one of the first smiles I'd seen in 24 hours. He smiled again when I told him that I was a loser for not picking up on him not feeling so good sooner.

He's better now, but it was a LONG three days before we started seeing some improvement. Guess that's what I get. So, I guess there won't be a Mother of the Year award for me. Unless I make one for myself. I'm just glad he's better. That counts for something, right?

Now, please excuse me while I go find some scissors and glitter. I have an award to make.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Toadally Awesome

The kids discovered toads in our window wells. Edited to add: I have since been informed by a couple of people that what we have are frogs, not toads. Huh. I always thought frogs needed to be very near water. Given that our window wells are not near water (not any longer, anyway, since we moved in and cleaned up the nasty basement) I assumed that they were toads. And we all know what happens when you assume, right? Anyway, thanks to Jon and Amy for their frog knowledge. Henceforth, everywhere you see "toad" in this post, substitute "frog." Thanks!

The decision was made that they must be rescued. The boys climbed down into the window wells. Mary gave direction from above. I stood by, camera at the ready, to capture my boys capturing toads.

James and Sean cornered two toads in the first window well and got the cup ready.

As the boys moved the cup closer to one of the toads, the toads refused to be caught and started jumping every which way.

And then my two strapping football player boys started shrieking like girls.

And then my girl started shrieking like a girl.And then I almost wet my pants laughing at all of them.

They were able to capture--finally!--all the toads. There were five of them total in the three window wells. They were removed one cup at a time to the safety of the shrubbery.

Now, everyday, someone makes a run to the basement to see if there are any toads to be rescued. So far, there haven't been any. I'm thinking that any toad within a five mile radius heard all the ruckus and decided to save itself the trouble of being rescued and hopped off to quieter climes.

At least that's what I hope happened. I hope we didn't deliver the toads into the waiting mouth of a snake or bird. I don't really want to have to explain the beauty of the "Circle of Life" to Mary. That's not in my parental contract.

Monday, August 23, 2010

You Be Snow White...

Many years ago when my niece was four or five, she was sitting next to my brother in church. My brother and his family are always notoriously late. This makes my brother a little out of sorts. So as he was stewing in his pew, my niece asked him if he wanted to "play Snow White." When my brother quizzed her about this game she said, "I'll be Snow White. You can be Grumpy."

Henceforth on this blog, my dear brother shall be known as Uncle Grumpy. (Not to be confused with Uncle Fuzzface, who is sometimes known as Uncle Crabby. He is my beloved's brother. Also, he has a fuzzface and has been known to be crabby on occasion, so, you know, the nicknames. [Thank you Madame Obvious!]) Anyway! In the spirit of my niece's creativity, I am asking you to play Snow White to my Grumpy so that I can be allowed to grumble and vent my spleen.

Let's play, shall we?

Why the cuss* does my 9 year old son need to cussing practice at cussing 8 a.m. on a cussing Saturday morning? Why does this cussing practice coincide with one of the few weekends my cussing beloved is out of town? Why the cuss must it be cussing raining? How the cuss will I ever get those cussing white football pants clean? Why the cuss does this first cussing 8 a.m. practice have to occur on the first cussing Saturday after the first cussing full week of school when we are all so cussing tired?

My crock pot lid broke several weeks ago. It exploded when I pulled it out of the dishwasher and I had to clean up glass from every nook and cranny all over the kitchen.I love my crock pot and use it all the time. When I emailed the company, they told me that since I didn't have the receipt (who keeps receipts from 5 years ago???) I needed to get some code from the plug. Have I done this yet? No. I just use aluminum foil and a lid that sort of fits. My crock pot is sitting on my counter right now. I am too lazy to go look at the plug and then sift through my email to find the correct one and send the information.

There are 7 pairs of shoes, 4 pairs of socks, a shirt, and two blankets sitting in my family room. I have asked my children umpty-billion times to pick them up and put them away. I am met with the blank stares of non-comprehension. It's a shame. I sort of always thought my children were smart. Guess I'll be teaching them how to say "would you like fries with that?"

Last night was the first time that all four children were home at the same time for dinner. It was the first night that I was with them. We had Subway at 7:30 p.m. because I was too lazy to cook. They ate at the kitchen table while arguing over the television. I took my sandwich and hid from them retreated to the patio with a book. I am a bad mommy.

The dog stinks. Her claws are so long and sharp that every time one of us plays with her, we are at serious risk of being sliced open and disemboweled. I have barely had time to get her dog food so a trip to the groomer has been out of the question. (Also, apparently I am the only one who knows the super-secret phone number of the groomer and is able to make those appointments. I am not, however, the only one capable of complaining about her stench. Huh.)

My mudroom is a wonderful thing to have. I wish it were functional. I keep trying to find ways to get it better organized so that my children will actually hang up their backpacks and stow their shoes and sports gear. So far nothing has worked and now I am discouraged and too lazy to try to fix it. Today I tripped over 4 backpacks, three lunch bags, two sets of football shoulder pads, cleats, and helmets, two drink coolers, and two boxes of my beloved's work stuff that came out of his trunk and never made it back in while I was trying to take the dumb dog out. I might have said a bad word. Or seven.

I have paid almost $400 in book fees alone for my three eldest children. So much for a free public education.

Someone keeps leaving used tissues by the computer. Nobody admits that they are theirs. So I wind up being the one to throw them away. GROSS.

I have nothing fun to write about, so I end up grumbling and venting my spleen about things like smelly dogs and used tissues. That's some stellar blogging right there.

Okay. Enough of playing Grumpy. All this whining has made me tired. You can still be Snow White, but I think this time I'll be Sleepy.

*Thank you "Fantastic Mr. Fox" for letting me cuss without being offensive.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Just 30 Minutes

It has been one long week, my friends. I haven't had a meal with my family all week. I thought I might get one tonight, but then I remembered that apparently I am the only one in the family who knows the super-top-secret location of the pet store. Ahem. And the dog, well, she needs to eat and I fear that if I left her without a regular meal, I would wake up to her feasting on my toes. So when three of my family members were sitting down to dinner, I hied off to the pet store to get the dumb dog some food. I am so tired that I just couldn't face the idea of sitting down for a few minutes and then having to get right back up again to buy dog food.

After I got back, I discovered that my three offspring had dined and dashed and left me with the utter destruction left behind after they hoovered their food. As I cleaned up the mess, I supervised homework for Mary, sifted through the papers from Maggie's Parent Night last night, filled in some forms for Sean, ran a load of laundry, and longingly eyed the wine bottle wishing for just 30 minutes to call my own.

After the week I've had, I decided that life would not come to a grinding halt if I actually took those thirty minutes. So I grabbed a glass of wine, a book, a candle, and my camera and hot-footed it to the patio to hide relax before Patrick and James came home from football practice.

I didn't actually ever open my book. I just sat and drank in the green. I checked on my forlorn and neglected but still growing garden. I watched the goldfinches cluster around the feeder. I enjoyed the hummingbirds that darted around the flowers along our patio. I admired the gold-tinged green leaves of the willow tree. I reflected on the last several days and offered up prayers of grief and thanksgiving and praise and supplication.

And then my husband broke the spell by asking if I would come in and serve he and James supper. I'm pretty sure that if he hadn't been protected by the door, the glare that I shot at him would have knocked him flat.

It's been a long week. I am tired. I feel overextended. I am sad. I wish it were still summer. But I am grateful for 30 minutes' peace and will be trying to grab 30 more very soon. Do you suppose they would mind if I brought my wine and candle to school?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bleach? Check. Fish Sticks? Check. Back To School? You Betcha!

I just returned from my second of four Parent Nights at my kids' schools. For the second time I sat through the Superintendent's message on why we need to pass another referendum. I don't disagree with it, by the way. When you live in the fastest growing school district in the state and your high schools will be over capacity by 1300 students in 2 years and your elementary schools will hit that same level in five years, well, yes, I say, build some stuff. I just don't love sitting through the same speech several days in a row. If it weren't for a visitation tomorrow night, I'd get to sit through it again. I'd probably go all Bad Student and start to quietly mock it, so even though a visitation isn't such a good thing, it's a good thing for me--and likely anyone who would've been subjected to sitting next to me. (Why is it that teachers make such incredibly bad audiences? Wait. It's just me? Oh. Well, huh. Never mind.) My beloved will attend instead.

My beloved's attendance at school functions doesn't happen all that often. It's not that he isn't involved or doesn't care--his involvement in my two oldest's mathematics has kept them on or above target and allowed me to maintain my sanity, because as I may have mentioned before, math is, like, you know, hard 'n' stuff. It's just that his job keeps him on the road, so often he isn't home to go to events like Parent Night or band concerts or school plays. He tries to get there if he can, but sometimes it just doesn't work out. But even if he's in town and an event like Parent Night is on the calendar, it's not a certainty that he will be there.

We have taken a bit of the "divide and conquer" approach toward these types of events. There's not really any reason for both of us to nod off through watch the Superintendent's speech three times. We don't both need to go listen to each teacher talk about curriculum and homework and behavior policies. I can take care of that. After all, I was a teacher. I'm comfortable with the language and the vocabulary. I enjoy being in a school setting. My nostrils are attuned to the smell of the hallways. (It's strange, but every school smells like a mixture of bleach and fish sticks and construction paper. Every. Single. One. It's not a bad thing. In fact, it's a bit reassuring to know that no matter where you go, every school will smell that way.) I get excited right along with the teachers as they explain all of the things my student will be learning in their class.

My beloved? Well, let's just say that while he's not uncomfortable in a school, there are loads of other ways that he can think of to better spend his time. It's cool. I get it. If you put me at one of his trade shows or with some of his customers, I can state fairly confidently that I could think of loads of other places I would rather be. My point is, is that his non-attendance at some of these things works out alright for us.

Much like our vomit agreement, this is something that has evolved over time and has worked for us. I know that when something big comes up, he will bust his hump to attend. It's understood that if there's a problem with one of our children, we meet it together, head-on, as a team. We know that if there's a math question above fourth grade math, it goes to him. He is on call for all math related questions, any time of the day no matter where he might be. (Because I am a big, math phobic baby and math is haaaaarrrrd, y'all!) I am the go-to-girl for any question related to English, grammar, or writing. Although now we are adding Spanish to my list as well.

So as we start the new school year and the kids bring home seven metric tons of papers to be signed and forms to be filled out, it's not a surprise that all of the signing and filling out falls to me. It's not strange that I've got Parent Night written in three different boxes on my family calendar. That's part of my job. And most of the time, I'm good quite happy to fulfill my end of it.

But I have to say, I'm already grateful that it will be my beloved squishing himself into a junior high desk tomorrow night and filling his nostrils with the lovely smell of the junior high hallways (add to the usual smell of bleach, fish sticks, and construction paper a vague whiff of body odor and a hint of Axe). Because I'm fairly certain that if I had to listen to that referendum speech again, I might not be able to contain my urge to snicker and throw spitballs.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Above Water And Sinking Fast

Hello! Did you think that I had been abducted by a roaming band of feral goats? Nah. Just in the drink and barely keeping my head above water.

School has started back again and I started back to work again. The kids are all in the same schools, but EVERYBODY has some major changes--including me. I am working 5 days a week (not all day, but 4.5 hours each day, so you know, enough to cause a fatal backlog here on the home front) and I'm working in first grade this time around. But I'm with the same dear teacher. We're a bit like Naomi and Ruth--you know, "wither thou goest" and all that. She moved up to first grade and I rode on her coattails. We are on a steep learning curve. Yowza!

The kids are all trying to get used to new teachers and new lockers and new bus drivers and different principals and, for one of them, uniforms. Plus football has started for both James and Sean, so they've had the extremely lovely experience of running drills and such in 90+ degree heat for 2 hours each night. We are all already exhausted.

On the upside, my new mattress gets delivered today so I'm looking forward to some blissful slumber. So if my posting is light for the next week or so, you'll know that it's because I've been busy making drool stains on my new mattress trying to figure out how to serve dinner to 6 different people at four different times. I get to have all the fun. Aren't you jealous?

Sunday, August 8, 2010


This can't be right. I am having a hard time believing that you are fourteen. Why does fourteen sound and feel so much older than thirteen? I cannot reconcile the picture of you in my head with the reality of the you in front of me.

In my head, you are a newborn with a cap of light hair, a sweet little bow of a mouth, long fingers, and paddles for feet. I should have known then that we would never be able to share shoes.

In my head, you are still colicky and shunning a pacifier, instead insisting on sucking on my pinkie. I had visions of having to go everywhere with you because of your aversion to pacifiers. But eventually you were persuaded to take a pacifier and I was able to reclaim my hand.

In my head, you are 18 months old, impatiently kicking my seat while we sit at a stoplight. "GOOOOOO!!!!" you yell. "GO!" It is no use explaining stop lights to you. You are insistent upon being obeyed.

In my head, you are a pig-tailed two year old, saying goodbye to your first crush, our neighbor Frank, as we left Minnesota bound for Indy.

In my head, you are three, crawling up on the footstool and looking into your baby brother's crying eyes and asking "Hey Dames! Whas da madder to Damesie-boy?"

In my head, you are 6, standing in front of the little tree in the front yard of our first Indy house and having your picture made on the first day of Kindergarten. You are anxious but excited. You are looking forward to school. That has not changed all these years.

In my head, you are 10, holding my hand and crying while you get your ears pierced. Yes, the girl who hates shots and shuns needles needed to get her ears pierced. You laughed through your tears and were proud of yourself for your bravery.

In my head , you are 12, and we are crying together--along with your brothers and sister--as we drive out of our old neighborhood. We had just done a final "goodbye" walk-through of our old house. We had said goodbye to neighbors that we loved. We looked forward to the new house but we were sad too. "This is the only house I remember," you said. "I grew up in this house." This time I laughed through my tears at your calling yourself grown up.

And now. Now you are fourteen. And some days I can still see the little girl in you. I see it in the way you giggle. I see it in the times that you get goofy with your friends and your siblings. I see it when you snuggle up next to me on the couch. I see it when I look in on you at night as you sleep and I whisper prayers over you.

But most days, I see the young woman you are becoming. I see your intelligence and good sense. I see your blooming independence. I see the bonds you have made with your friends and the way you treat them with respect. I see how you are able, most of the time, to overcome your annoyance with siblings who get in your stuff and your business and treat them kindly. I see how you are, quite rightly, growing away from your father and I, and I pray.

I pray for your present--for the every day stresses and temptations that come your way. But I also pray for your future: for the people who will enter your life and influence you, for your future spouse, for your safety. But mostly the prayers I offer up are prayers of thanksgiving. I am so very grateful to God for giving me you for a daughter.

Happy birthday, Peach. You are my favorite Maggie!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Picture Of Bliss

To the average eye, this is just a doorknob. But to the eye that belongs to the owner of an evil genius/dumb dog (I know, I know. How can she be both genius and dumb at the same time? Answer: I do not know, but somehow, and to my great consternation, she has managed this.) this is a sanity saver.

After running after the dumb dog who managed to escape THREE TIMES in one day and listening to me mutter Not Very Nice Things about the dumb dog, my beloved took five minutes and switched doorknobs on our mudroom door.

And instead of asking my beloved why it took him so very long to get to this task, I puckered up and kissed him and said "thank you" without even a hint of snarkiness. We have since had a week of blissful rest from any Houdini-esque escape attempts by the dumb dog.

To sum up:
1 switched doorknob--free.
Time to switch doorknob--5 minutes.
Watching dumb dog attempt to turn a round door knob--priceless.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I'll Just Get A Hammock

I went mattress shopping yesterday. Aside from an eye exam when the doctor makes you look through those lens thingies and then quizzes you with the whole "Which is better? 1 or 2? And now? 1? 2? And how about now? This is 2. This is one." is there anything more confusing?

Many years ago, 19 to be exact, my beloved and I bought our first bed together. Previous to that, we slept on a bed that he bought from some guy he knew. And that bed had belonged to that guy's brother and sister-in-law. Squicked out yet? No? Let me help you. When the guy sold the bed to Patrick--along with some very lovely 1970's fiberboard furniture, a piece of which still graces our closet and serves a to hold my beloved's unmentionables--he told him "My brother and his wife made four kids on that bed." To which Patrick replied "It looks like they had four kids on that bed!" Yes. It was gross. But! We were young and had no money and didn't really care that we were living in other people's filth. Ah, youth!

So we were using this lovely bed when we moved into our first house. Our first home was built in 1940 and it had very narrow doorways and a very short doorway leading to the stairs that took you to the second floor. I guess people were shorter and skinnier in 1940. Anyway! We couldn't fit that bed upstairs to the "master bedroom." I put that in quotes because I don't think people really had master bedrooms in 1940 either. It was just the largest bedroom in the house, so we claimed it as the master. You see, the nasty bed didn't have a split box spring, so we could not in any way, shape or form get that sucker up the steps.

That didn't stop us from sleeping on it for 6 months though. Nope. We just threw that baby on the floor of one of the downstairs bedrooms and lived like college students. Albeit college students with good jobs and less beer soaked carpeting. What finally clinched the deal for us was my parents making the trek up to Minnesota to visit. We needed a bed for them to sleep on, so we bit the bullet and went out and bought a bed.

Seriously. That is about all the thought that we put into it, too. We went to some little bare bones mattress store with the big "SALE" banners that never changed in every window. We laid on some beds. We asked which ones had split box springs. We looked at prices. When we found one that met our requirements--namely a split box spring, cheap, and relatively comfortable--we threw our money at the guy and left. I am sure we got hosed. But! We had a bed and a guest bed and all was lovely.

[Aside: Guess which bed became the guest bed? Did you guess the nasty Mystery Stain Bed? You win! If you were ever a guest in our home in Minnesota, this is where I offer you my deepest and most heartfelt apologies. You may console yourself with the thought that I slept on it too and never encountered anything worse than a lumpy night's sleep. I am sorry. I promise that if you have slept in any of our beds since then, you are getting a clean Non-Mystery Stained Bed. We can account for every stain. Ahem.]

Fast forward to yesterday, 19 years later, when we hit some stores looking for a mattress. Because after 19 years of sleeping on the cheap, relatively comfortable bed things were becoming, well, uncomfortable. Didn't you know that I am a delicate flower, y'all? Well I am. Delicate, I say! My beloved says "HMPH!" Because he doesn't think that there is anything wrong with our queen-sized-19-year-old-lumpy-stabs-me-in-the-ribs-makes-me-sore-in-the-morning mattress. He thinks we could sleep on it for 19 more years. As for the size, he thinks that a king sized bed would give me "too much room to maneuver out of his reach." Heh. TMI? Sorry.

After doing some online research, we set off in search of our mattress. We entered Store 1 and were met by a saleswoman. She very politely showed us to the beds and gave us a briefing on the bed we were interested in. Then she suggested we lay on it. Well, naturally. So we did. And then she went all Zen on us. She was all "close your eyes and let your body sink in and let your body feel each sensation!" This caused me not only to open my eyes but also to start to snicker. Patrick and I gave each other The Eyebrows and tried not to laugh. Then she gently questioned us about our sleeping habits. Then she asked us to close our eyes and "let our bodies remember the sensation of the mattress" before we moved on to another mattress to compare. At this point she did the whole Lady Zen thing again and then asked my husband to roll on to his side and she asked me to roll on to my side and face his back. I think we were both starting to get a little worried, but we did as we were told. Then she asked me to notice his spine and the support it was receiving. I nodded my head enthusiastically while murmuring noises of agreement. To be perfectly truthful, I couldn't see Patrick's spine. He was wearing a golf shirt and it didn't fit him snugly enough to allow for that, but that woman, she was freaking me out a little so I just did whatever I thought would let us get off of that bed.

After taking Lady Zen's card and information about the mattress that we decided we liked, we set off to Store 2. There we were met by a polite but chatty saleswoman. By this time, I wasn't really interested in chatting so much. We had things to get home to and were in a bit of a hurry, but our Chatty Saleswoman was not to be deterred. She took us to an aisle that had beds of a different brand than we were interested in and proceeded to pummel us with information tell us everything we ever wanted to know about mattresses we weren't really interested in. It was delightful. Chatty Saleswoman informed us about the revolutionary inner coil system with individually wrapped coils wherein each coil was coated in fairy dust and bound with hair from a unicorn's tail and then encased in supertechnoviscoelastoplasmatic foam which would ensure not only an uninterrupted night's sleep, but also guarantee that we would sleep so deeply that we would only need to sleep every third night, thereby allowing us to have more hours in the day which would then allow us to climb the ladder of success while other people are sleeping and thus provide us the tools for world domination. Or something like that. She lost me after "revolutionary."

After enduring several more mattresses and the information Chatty Saleswoman needed to pass along, my beloved made the great mistake of asking about a frame. He missed the daggers I was shooting at him from my eyes, so we had to follow her over to the cutaway bed frame display and listen to her wax poetic over a metal bed frame for another 10 minutes. I thought we were through after that, but it is a looooong way out of the mattress department in Store 2, my friends. After giving us her card and information about our bed of choice (now known as "havemercychooseonealreadymyeardrumsarebleeding!") she regaled us with tales of $109 mattress pads. I have to say, if I spent $109 on a mattress pad, that pad better call me "pretty" when I wake up and then make the damn bed!

Once we escaped Store 2, we had to stop by Menard's for a sprinkler head for our sprinkler system. As we were walking through, guess what we saw? Did you guess mattresses? Because I couldn't believe it when I saw them! Who knew that Menard's sold mattresses?! I couldn't even bring myself to lay down on one. I just can't get past the idea that the same place that sells plumbing also sells beds.

But, they did only have one model, which kind of cuts down on the confusion. And not once in the couple of minutes that we stood there shaking our heads in amazement were we approached by a salesperson. So you know, they've got that going for them.