Thursday, March 31, 2011

One Thing At A Time

This boy. I have to shake my head and smile when I look at him. He is my man-child and some days I cannot believe how quickly time has passed. He is brutally handsome, staggeringly smart, and wickedly funny.


He also makes me worry that he may have to live with us forever. Consider this:

The other night, he came upstairs to shower and remarked that he didn't have any underwear. I told him that I had a load of laundry that was just finishing cycling through the washer and was ready for the dryer. As I was busy with something else--probably laying on my bed and eating bonbons--he could just put the stuff in the washer into the dryer and start it.

I would like to state publicly and for the record that I have failed my children. Here's why:

As I was in my room, I could hear James in the laundry room. He said, "Ugh! These clothes are all cold and wet!"

My reply was that of course they were, they were in the washing machine. Then I continued that he should quit exclaiming over the wetness of the clothes and just move them into the dryer already.

His head immediately popped out of the laundry room doorway.

"Ummmm...what do I set the dryer on? Do I have to move the dials or does it just automatically go?" he asked.

After taking a moment to cry on the inside, I told him that he could leave the settings where they were and just hit start.

He did and then he headed off to the bathroom to take his 40 minute shower. (I asked him once why his showers took so long. I wondered if he washed everything more than once because I couldn't think of any other reason for a shower to last 40 minutes. He told me that he liked to think in the shower. It was quiet and warm and he could ponder along undisturbed. Ay, ay, ay!)

About four minutes after our conversation about how to start the dryer, the dryer shut off. Thinking that this was strange, I headed to the laundry room. I was wondering if perhaps he had changed the settings after all, because our dryer has a sensor which, in all of its genius, can tell when clothes are dry and given the load that was in the washer, the clothes couldn't possibly be dry in that short amount of time. As I opened the dryer, I stopped short and burst out laughing. Then I just stood there and shook my head. What I saw inside was so typically James; it just illustrated why I sometimes call him my absent-minded professor.

Inside the dryer was exactly one pair of underwear.

My man-child had, instead of transferring the whole load to the dryer, fished in all the wet clothes for the one article of clothing he needed and put it in the dryer. Never mind that there were several more pairs of underwear, not to mention socks, shirts, and pants in the washer that belonged to him. He had what he needed.

I went into the bathroom where he was distracted by something shiny and had not yet even begun preparing to shower.

"Son," I asked, holding up the lone pair of undies. "Were you planning on drying every article of clothing separately?"

He gazed up at me and I smiled I watched the realization dawn across his face.

"Oh," he said, sheepishly. "I guess I wasn't really thinking."

"Well," I responded. "It is customary to take the whole load of laundry from the washer and put it in the dryer. But, you know, 'dare to be different', I guess."

"Oops," he grinned.

I just shook my head again, laughing as I walked back to the laundry room to transfer the rest of the wash. In my head I was picturing him ten years in the future making excuses to his friends why he couldn't go out.

He was telling them that he was waiting for his other sock to dry.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What Do You Do All Day? 10 :23 p.m.

I'm dog tired. The dog is, well, dog tired. When I took this picture of me, she glared at me with utter disdain for disturbing her. She is tired and wants only to curl up on her smelly Spiderman beanbag chair to go to sleep. So that she can later keep me awake at 2:45 in the morning with the wet, slurping sound of her licking her smelly Spiderman beanbag chair. I love this dog, but sometimes I just cannot figure her out. Licking something redolent and delicious? Yup. I get it. Licking this beanbag that I can hardly stand to keep in the same room that I breathe in? Nope. Don't get it.

The homework is done and checked. The dishwasher is running so that I can empty it and my children can ignore its presence yet again tomorrow. The dog has had her last outing to the yard. Facebook has been quieted for the night. Three of my four children are tucked safely in their beds. I am about to go chase my oldest son out of the shower and tell him that water doesn't grow on trees. Or something like that. Then I will accept his wet-headed hug and send him off to bed. Shortly thereafter I will send myself toward bed.

It's been a good day. Nothing extraordinary, but good nonetheless. Sometimes ordinary has its own magic.

Thanks for sticking with me. Sleep well, friends.

*Thanks to Chris from Notes From the Trenches for the inspiration. I shamelessly stole the idea for this day from her.

What Do You Do All Day? 9:50 p.m.

Sometimes when your hair looks really good, you just have to share it with your friends.

What Do You Do All Day? 8:15 p.m.

Bedtime story and a snuggle on my bed. My favorite time of the day.

What Do You Do All Day? 7:30 p.m.

She's serious about her work.

I seriously love her.

What Do You Do All Day? 7:04 p.m.

The blogger.

The blogger suddenly realizing that her hairline in this picture looks as if it is receding.

The blogger further realizing that she really doesn't look as smart as she feels when she wears her glasses.

The blogger curses Photo Booth for not having an effect that can make her look smarter than she actually is.

And also for not making her look like Giselle Bundschen.

What Do You Do All Day? 5:53

Mmmm...waiting for Lo Mein and Bourbon Chicken. Maggie couldn't wait to eat. Mary couldn't wait to leave. "What's that smell?" she asked in her very subtle, toned-down voice. And by subtle and toned down I mean could be heard two counties over.

Life is never boring.

What Do You Do All Day? 5:37

We went to get Chinese takeout. This is not the take out place. No cats were harmed in the making of our dinner.

We stopped by the groomer's while we were waiting. They always have a couple of cats in the store and I knew that this would be entertaining enough for Mary to keep her from speaking Whinese while we were waiting for our Chinese.

What Do You Do All Day? 4:46 p.m.

Because even inmates get an hour of recreation a day.

Yeah, and that run that I had this morning doesn't count as recreation. That was forced labor. I had to do it to keep my um...a$$ets from growing.

What Do You Do All Day? 3:39 p.m.

The carpool line. I wish I had a dollar for every minute I've spent waiting in a carpool line. I wouldn't be a millionaire, but I would have enough money to keep me in dollar McD's Diet Coke for a long time.

What Do You Do All Day? 2:57 p.m.

Load number 3...or 4...or 7,280. You kind of lose track when you are counting to infinity. It just never ends.

What Do You Do All Day? 2:16 p.m.

I wonder if they'll make it through until breakfast in the morning?

What Do You Do All Day? 1:05

I am pondering how one might go about creating a new--perhaps smarter, less fart-y--dog from the dog hair in my vacuum. I think that there is probably enough here for a toy version. If I did the stairs and upstairs, I'm pretty sure I could replicate her exactly. Pound for pound.

What Do You Do All Day? 12:08 p.m.

This, apparently, is where socks go to die. The dumb dog doesn't understand why this bothers me. She sees the fact that my children do not know how to take off their socks and put them in the laundry as something akin to hitting the lottery.

"Socks that are full of the smelly scent of some of my favorite people? Yes, please!"

She was a little put out with me picking them up and putting them in the laundry.

What Do You Do All Day? 12:01 p.m.

It looks like a snowglobe out there.

What Do You Do All Day? 9:44 a.m.

Something is wrong with this picture. And no, it's not my first generation video ipod that makes my teenagers laugh because it's like, so, you know, old, dude! (What can I say? I am old. Old works for me.) No, no. The wrongness would be the ear warmers and gloves that I had to wear to run.

While it was snowing.

On March 30th!

You know what else is wrong? My ipod stopped playing for some reason while I was 3/4 of the way through my run. This is bad. I am interval training and my ipod has a podcast that tells me when to speed up and slow down. I had to estimate my last intervals. I suck at estimation.

Also, I had to listen to the birds merrily chirping and my knees loudly popping.
If God had wanted me to listen to birds chirping and my knees popping, He wouldn't have invented earbuds.

What Do You Do All Day? 8:56 a.m.

I drive by this every day. This sign makes me want to weep. Please, people, for the love of all that is good and right, check your punctuation before you go making a giant sign! I'm pretty sure that the word "weekend's" doesn't need to be possessive.

Seriously. I'm weeping.

What Do You Do All Day? 8:24 a.m.

What Do You Do All Day? 8:05

The lunch I pack for a certain child almost every day. Don't judge. This is a child who likes two fruits--strawberries and bananas--and I have discovered through expensive trials that she will not eat them when they are packed in her lunch. She only eats one vegetable--mashed potatoes--but we don't have those every week, you know. She only eats one kind of meat--store bought chicken nuggets--but she doesn't want them in her lunch. Sometimes she gets mac'n'cheese in a thermos. I have occasionally packed cereal. She used to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but she now declares them 'gross.'

Thankfully she likes dairy products. And pizza. But only certain kinds. And only if there's Ranch dressing to dip it in.

Pray for me.

Can I tell you that half of my excitement when the school year ends is the knowledge that I won't have to pack her a lunch?

What Do You Do All Day? 7:56

He is sporting a bit of a Heat Miser 'do. He doesn't care. Now leave him alone and let him eat his wonderfully nutritious breakfast.

I want to smooch all of those freckles right off his face.

What Do You Do All Day? 7:30

Everyday I unload it in the hopes that they will automatically put their dirty dishes in it. Everyday, my hopes are dashed. Ah, well. There's always tomorrow, right?

What Do You Do All Day? 7:22 a.m.

Figuring out how he will manage to read the last few pages and eat his pop tart on the bus before he gets to school. He didn't hear his alarm go off and woke up late. He was laid back about it. As always.

What Do You Do All Day? 6:50 a.m.

"Take me to the bus stop or there will be consequences!"

I believe her.

What Do You Do All Day? 6:41 a.m.

"Let me out or there will be consequences."

I believe her.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Two Years

Apparently the date was so important to me that I missed it. Actually, what more likely happened was Daylight Saving Time with all it's promises of evening light and fun and all it's drudgery of weeks of waking in the darkness and body clock confusion.

It seems that two weeks ago, I had what some call my Blogiversary. Yep. It's true. I have been sitting at my computer keyboard and writing for two years. Well, not actually sitting around here for two years straight. Although I'm sure sometimes it feels that way to my family. (I'm sure my high school English teacher would have loved that sentence. Sorry Mrs. McVey! I really do know better. Sometimes it's just fun to write things for a humorous effect.)

Anyway! It's been two years of me writing about my children, my beloved, my scary neighbors, my ridiculous dog, my garden, my projects, my grocery list, bad song lyrics, and life in general. For two years I have lamented, groused, delighted, and vented here. I have shared pictures and recipes and failures and victories. Sometimes I haven't written anything. And through all of it, for some reason, you keep coming back to read.

I am a lucky girl. I am a grateful girl.

Thanks for sticking with me. Let's see how we do for another year, shall we?

Oh, and just in case no one has told you lately? Reader, you da bomb, baby!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

10 Life Lessons Learned From Painting

1. Preparation makes life easier.

2. Big changes don't always have to take big effort. Or big money or big time, for that matter.

3. Attention to detail counts.

4. Variety is important.

5. Sometimes you have to get dirty.

6. Working alone isn't always a bad thing.

7. Working with other people can make a task more pleasant.

8. Clean up after yourself.

9. Little things can make the people you love happy.

10. Pace yourself.

And two extra things I learned from painting that I think are important and can be carried over into other areas of life:

11. The right playlist on your ipod is essential for happily completing some jobs.

12. Always, always, always check the bottom of your shoes.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Something Is Wrong With This Picture. And It's Not The Pictures.

This is what is happening right out my back door:

Meanwhile, I am stuck inside painting. Sigh...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Before And After: Maggie's Room

Remember the creepy, evil, grinning sun? And the big purple flower?

They are no more!

Finally after several coats of Killz and a couple of coats of paint and lots of days of her furniture all being one big Pangaea-like island in the middle of her room, Maggie's room now looks like this:

Ahhhh...much better.

It's still not finished. I need to get some curtains and paint her furniture and possibly paint a floor canvas (Oops, tracked some spilled paint on the gross carpet. Totally an accident, even though my beloved says it was all a subconscious effort to speed up getting new carpet for the house.), get some shelving, figure out how to do some stuff with chalkboard paint, and oh, about a jillion other things. But! My daughter--who now has the same plague that I did--smiled and made happy noises when she came home from school and saw her room.

Those kinds of things are few and far between with fourteen year olds, so I'm holding on to it while I can.

Also, did you notice? No mention of dog farts or cats and hairballs. Um, until now, anyway.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Random Bits And An Earworm.

Guess who found the baby in the King Cake?

Guess who will have to buy the cake next year? (Tradition says that it should be that cute little girl wearing the Baby Jesus on her forehead. Experience says it will be me. Again.)

I realize that Mardi Gras was a week ago and we are well into the Lenten season. But in the intervening week I have been painting, trying not to die of plague, and riveted to the television by the suffering and crisis in Japan. There may or may not also have been some lasagna eating and wine drinking with friends and a game or two of the Animal Game.

My point is, that time keeps speeding up and my intentions, although good, are tardy nonetheless. Hence the Mardi Gras post on the Ides of March.

Another guessing game: Do you know who is having a birthday today? Not me. I done had mine. Two days in a row--remember? No, it's my Supah Genius brother in TX. So, happy birthday Jon! I'm not sure having your birthday posted on my blog is the same as having your name in lights, but it's gotta be close, right?

And because I haven't been scattered enough in this particular post, I will leave you with this little ditty that has been sung around our house to the tune of Katy Perry's "Firework":

Tilly's butt's a firework,
when she farts we go berserk.
She makes us go oh!oh!oh!
Hurry plug your nose, nose noooo-se!

Boom, boom, boom!
She'll make you run from the room, room, room.
Did a squirrel die inside of you, you, you?
Wave your hands and go "phew! phew! phew!"

Tilly's butt's a firework,
when she farts we go berserk.
She makes us go oh!oh!oh!
Hurry plug your nose, nose, noooo-se!

My apologies to those of you who are offended by farts, references to farts, the idea of farting dogs (although the idea isn't nearly as offensive as the real thing, believe me), Katy Perry, and/or my putting my wretched song parody on this blog. I'm sure that my writing skills could be put to better use, but sometimes writing a song about dog farts is exactly where I am in life and it gets me through the day. Not to mention that it provides hours of fun with the family. And yes, I have threatened my children that if they sing this song in public I will deny I ever knew them.

Perhaps tomorrow I will write about cats and hairballs. You never know.

(I promise that tomorrow I will not write about cats and hairballs. Please come back, 'kay?)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Dog Ate My Homework. Or Something Like That.

Remember how I was all I love my shiny new computer and I will be writing on it all the time life is happy lalalala? Well, that was before life conspired against me. Two things happened to get in the way of all that shiny, happy writing:

Thing the first: the geniuses at the genius bar at the Mac store couldn't keep our PC running long enough to do the file transfers that they needed to do.

Thing the second: I spent yesterday on my couch begging anyone within hearing distance to kill me.

Let's start with the second thing first, just to confuse things. I am Patient X for the new plague. I mean, possibly. It's also possible that I just have some sort of crud that has given me a sore throat, a fever not high enough to cause alarm but still high enough to leave me alternately chilling and sweating, body aches, and clogged nostrils that randomly change which side will be clogged depending on the phase of the moon and whether or not Mercury is in retrograde. Of course, I should be painting Maggie's room. She has been living with her furniture all shoved to the middle of her room for a couple of weeks now and while she's used to chaos in her room, this is a little over the top, even for her. So instead of painting or writing or doing laundry or anything productive, I spent my day on the couch watching horrible daytime television, napping, and wondering if there was anything in the pantry that would taste good enough to warrant my moving from the couch. Turns out, no.

So. There was that.

There was also Thing the First. You know, my pretty, shiny new Mac being held captive getting all tuned up for use. The transfer was supposed to take a couple of hours. When we inquired about it, they informed us that they could not keep our PC running long enough to do the transfer. I have been complaining about this to my beloved for weeks. It would just randomly shut down in the middle of stuff. That's not frustrating at all, right? As often happens with my beloved, if it doesn't affect him directly for an extended period of time, he doesn't usually see the problem. Now, my beloved has many fine qualities, not the least of which is that he's put up with me for nearly 20 years, but this trait of, um, oversight shall we say, sometimes makes me crazy. Well, after enough whining (the children joined me in this endeavor) he sat down at the computer and made a discovery: Something Is Wrong With The Computer! And lo, there was rejoicing in our abode! So when the geniuses at the Genius Bar informed us of the issue and told us we'd have to have our PC fixed before we could use our Mac, well, you know, that was fun. If by fun you mean almost exactly like giving yourself paper cuts over your entire body and then taking a few laps in a lemon juice-filled pool.

You know what the PC repair guys said? Go on, I'll wait. Guess.

Apparently dog hair and CPUs do not like each other. Rather, CPUs do not like dog hair. Dog hair, it turns out LOVES CPUs. So now we have paid to fix our PC and are waiting to pick up the Mac. (I am typing this on my beloved new MacBook which he generously loaned while he was out overnight. He hasn't synched his work stuff on it yet, which is why I wasn't left completely computerless. Shut up, Spellcheck, it is too a word.)

So now I know two things: Apparently I keep a filthy house, and two, I have yet another thing to add to the fine print of the Dumb Dog's "For Sale, Cute Dog" sign. Hmph.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Life List Update And Some Shiny Happy News

I have officially hit my 25 bottle mark on my wine life list. I am a quarter of the way through. That sounds really bad until you think that it's been since last May or so since I embarked on this particular adventure. And also when you consider that I haven't consumed every bottle on my own. Most of them, yes (LUSH!) but not all. I have had help now and then. So I now give you numbers 11-25:

11. Snapdragon Chardonnay
12. Mirassou Pinot Noir
13. Stone Cellars Chardonnay
14. Trinity Oaks Pinot Noir (one of my favorites, thus far)
15. Snapdragon Pinot Grigio
16. Sutter Home Chardonnay
17. Sutter Home Pinot Grigio
18. Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio (YUM!)
19. Woodbridge Pinot Grigio
20. Gallo Sauvignon Blanc
21. Bogle Sauvignon Blanc (muy bien!)
22. Montevina Pinot Grigio (delicious)
23. King Shag Sauvignon Blanc (bought at Trader Joe's and I will be making more frequent trips just for this one!)
24. Five Rivers Pinot Grigio
25. Dancing Bull Sauvignon Blanc

These are heavy on the whites, I realize, but sometimes the reds launch me into a migraine, so I'm careful. I believe that there is enough winter left, however, to thoroughly enjoy a few more reds before I settle into some soft summer whites.

As for the shiny, happy news, I guess it affects me more than you. My PC finally drove us all to the edge of sanity (not a long drive, I realize) and we jumped to the Mac side of things. I am on a steep learning curve, and I'm not too crazy about seeing my own face in photos in high resolution, but otherwise, my beloved and I have been asking ourselves why we did not convert to Macs sooner. Possibly the only way this will affect you at all (unless you live in my house and you don't have to hear me curse at our PC) is that because I am in the blissful first stages of love, I may be posting more. I might end up just typing grocery lists and such on here just for the joy of using this thing.

I think my new baby needs a name. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Fine Print Is Always The Tricky Part

Anyone want a dog? No? Are you sure? She's cute. Right now, though, I'm pretty sure that's all she has going for her. Because if I were to put up a sign offering her to a good home, under her picture and the words "I'm cute" the fine print would say:

"I am also very good at finding doors left open even a fraction of an inch and then using my hidden and retractable opposable thumbs to completely open the door and escape to roam the neighborhood. I am not good at closing the door behind me. I am a fast runner. If you plan on coming after me on foot, you should bring along an Olympic sprinter. If you plan on coming after me in the car, I will ignore you until it suits my purposes. Then, when I am good and ready, I'll pretend to be submissive and slink into the car. Then I'll fill the car with the smell of my dog breath because, dude, I can really run fast, yo and that makes me pant. I love this game and am very good at it. I like to play it alot. I also like to play Spitty Ball. This game involves you throwing a tennis ball, me going after it, and then soaking it in my saliva and tossing it back to you. I really like to do this when you are relaxing on the couch after a long day and you are finally in control of the television. I have great aim. My favorite target is your chin. I am very furry and very generous. I like to leave traces of my presence everywhere within your dwelling and on your clothing by leaving behind copious amounts of dog hair. What can I say? I'm a giver. I am superb at chewing on things that will make you scratch your head in wonder and consternation; stuffed animals, Barbies, popsicle sticks, and expensive retainers are just a few of the things that have bent to the mercy of the sharpened spears you call teeth. I also believe that I am a lapdog and if you are sitting on the floor, well then friend, I am sitting on you! I love everyone, therefore I believe that everyone loves me and I greet all with the wagging of my entire body for an absurdly long time. Man, I know how to show when I'm happy. Well, except for the UPS guy. I hate him. I'm really good at making his brown truck run away every time he comes by. Coward. Also, I snore. And fart. Loudly. Seriously, what's not to love??"

Hey, I'm smarter than my dog. I'd put the fine print in invisible ink.