Thursday, September 30, 2010

Call Before You Dig...Right?

I'm a little nervous.  A very large dump truck just pulled up into our cul-de-sac.  It is pulling a trailer loaded with digging machines.  The orange-vested men are in the process of unloading the... oh... wait they are done.  There is now a 2678 CAT and some sort of hydraulic pounder machine now parked in front of my house.  They are setting out orange cones and hustling about in their work boots yelling things like "Yeah, put her down!  Keep a comin' yep, just a little more... HO!"  Beep, beep, beep, beep.  What?  Now they are loading it back up and attaching it back to the dump truck.  Orange vest driver #1 is now making a cell phone call.  The others are watching him.  All engines have stopped and lunch coolers are being set out.  This can't be good.

The last time such an event took place, the Freon line to our air conditioner was snapped.  Bzzt.  No more cool air.  Another time all water stopped flowing to our home unexpectedly, and a rather apologetic, haggard man appeared at my back door and while trying to seem authoritative, asked if I knew where my water line was. 
My response: "I'm guessing it's quite near to where that big, old pile of fresh, black dirt is over there by the street- real close to that digging beast you just jumped off of - what do you think?" 

Then there was the time, that a heavy equipment outfit was in our neighborhood for about six seconds when I heard the crackalackin crunch of our wooden fence.  When I appeared in my backyard looking concerned and surveying the damage, I heard from behind the part of fence that was still standing, "Ooops... is she still standing there?"  

Oh, and then there was the time that my husband accidentally cut our cable line while doing some brute-force landscaping.  No heavy equipment that time - just a custom job,  conversion van wheeled in, slammed on the brakes, and cable guy workers jumped out and slapped a "Cable TV" magnet on the passenger door.  In approximately .4 nano seconds they arrived at my front door, each with a shovel and some paperwork.  We exchanged a rather short passage of convoluted communication complete with random hand waving and head nodding, and then they hopped into my yard and started digging.  Still not sure what they did, but the Internet was in full steam when they slung their shovels over their shoulders and zoomed off Mystery Machine style to their next destination.

Right now, we have workers eating lunch - probably plotting what random pipe, wire, or cable they are going to sever just to mess with me.  I must be staring.  I think one just waved at me.  Ahh, yes... there's the wave.  Hi.  I'm definitely in for it.
More on this later.  Must close wooden blinds now.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ninety-nine Reasons to be Glad

Today I received an incredible gift.  I spent the afternoon with my Great Aunt and her daughter.  My Great Aunt is ninety-nine years old.  Yes, ninety-nine years old.  After greeting me with a huge hug and her unconditional smile, she immediately apologized for the condition of her hair - she will be getting a permanent next week she informed me.  We had tea and coffee cake and our conversations travelled through the past, the present and the future seamlessly, as though we were actually walking down the path of her life.

She wanted to know everything about me and my family - does my son play sports and what are his interests?  What does my daughter like to do?  How is my husband?  And without fail, she listened and commented on each and every answer.  Every topic was discussed in detail and with a smile.  We talked about each of her family members - the great grandchildren - and how she loves each one of them, her granddaughters, their families, and how she admires each one of them  - all in her humble way.

We talked about current political candidates, recent flooding in parts of Minnesota, the state of our environment and how the world continues to change.  We laughed our way through memories of family gatherings that occurred during my childhood and how we loved to have our whole family together for picnics and sing-a-longs. We laughed about the time one of the grandchildren announced, "Uncle Fish caught a Frank!" 

Every so often, she would interject a memory of something that happened eighty-five to ninety years ago.  We talked about the Dust Bowl and how one year her father gave she and her sister the choice between one pair of shoes or one pair of boots for the year.  We talked of the time spent mending silk stockings and her dislike of potato bugs. She explained that she and my grandma's sheets were made of muslin and had to be stitched together.  Therefore, the seam separated the bed they shared into two sides - and woe be to the sister who dared to cross as much as a pinky toe across that seam! Then, with a contented sigh and a glance out the window, we would slide right back into the present and talk about her son's newly built home and his plans for more travelling abroad and her daughter's love for her job coordinating figure skating programs.  It was an amazing afternoon.

I was unable to attend her 99th Birthday Celebration in July.  By all accounts, it was truly a beautiful celebration.  I told her of my sadness of not being able to be there.  No matter.  She told me all about it and how touched she was by each loved one's memory and sentiments shared with her that day.   Earlier in the day, as I was making my way across the metro to see her, I was afraid that the moment I saw her - thinking that it may be the last time I see her- I would burst into a flood of tears and not be able to hold a conversation.  I continued to worry as I pulled up to her home.  The door was ajar when I arrived, and just as I began to knock, I heard, "Come in! Is that my Julie?"  No tears.  Just joy - an entire afternoon of smiles and laughter.  We spanned a century of memories in two and a half hours. 
The way I see it, she receives the birthdays...the rest of us are blessed with her gifts. 
Thank you, Aunt Glad.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Happy Halloween...

Okay, I'm slinking around Target waiting for a prescription to be filled.   So after a glance at the floor lamps, scented candles, shampoo, photo frames, and winter hats, I thought I might peruse the Halloween costumes for my kids.  Am I the only one that thought a cat was a good costume?  Or a witch?  Maybe a princess or a mummy?

These are some of the choices available to my female 6 year old:

1. Punk Pixie... Sorry, but what the..?  What even is that?

2. Little Miss Good and Bad... some half devil/half angel thing that had one side of the "skirt" hemmed up to the hip, and the other side hemmed to below the ankle.  Not only is it appropriate - it will be perfect for sub-zero, Minnesota trick or treating!

3. Skeleton Princess... cross and skull bones a-go-go - all over the outfit, complete with tattoos for the face.  I don't know about you, but when I was in first grade, a cross and skull bones meant POISON - STAY AWAY.  What the heck kinda costume is that?  And what first grader comes home from school and says, "Mom, Dad, I think I would like to be a poisonous chemical for Halloween.?

The whole experience made me feel like Peppermint Patty from the Thanksgiving Charlie Brown episode when she yelled at Charlie Brown for not having a traditional Thanksgiving meal.  This time though it's about Halloween and I'm yelling at Charlie Brown, "Where's the black cat, where's the scary witch, where's the cute little pumpkin, where's the ghost!  You can't have Halloween without the ghost, Chuck!!"

I'm old.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Another prompt: I Remember Biting...

I have always been fond of biting things.  I'm the person that always bites hard candy and completely crunches it up before the it's hardly out of its wrapper.  Squeaky cheese is another favorite.  One of the most vibrant memories of biting something goes back to a Sunday afternoon when I was about six years old.  I had been marveling at the wonders of Silly Putty and how it picked up the images of Family Circle, Dagwood, and Beetle Baily when it was smashed and flattened out on the Sunday Comics.  I enjoyed stretching their faces into odd contortions and then laying one image over another and pulling them apart.
It smelled like rubber bands.
It felt like smooth, plastic playdough.
It was the color of shiny flesh.
It made no sound - unless it created an air bubble during play that you could snap and pop.
But, yes, how did it taste?  Well, I guess I needed to find this information out.  I remember sitting on the floor near the fireplace and carefully looking around to see if anyone was looking at me.  The coast was clear.  I had to go for it.  I took one squeaky bite into the dome of rubber.  As you can surmise, it was not yummy.  It was like chewing on the leg of Malibu Barbie.  However, I was a bit intrigued by the marks my teeth left.  I was just about to give it one more try to see what kind of indentation my molars would leave when I heard those damning words: "EEEW!  Julie's eating Silly Putty, Mom!  That's so gross!  I can't believe you're eating that - it's like you're a puppy or something!!" 

Experiment over.  Will eat strange things behind closed door next time.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Mama and the Dell

A few conversations I would like to have:
Syncing ipod... do not disconnect.
Okay. So what about when I'm "syncing" my thoughts and I keep getting "disconnected" from them because someone wants to know if they can use the old cellphone they found in Daddy's desk drawer for a walkie talkie and someone else is angry because her leotard is itchy and can I fix it RIGHT NOW?!  That sounds like a pretty definitive statement.  I think I will start using it.  "Syncing brain.  Do not interrupt.  Doing so may cause permanent damage."
Would I like to download the latest version of whatever or would I prefer not to be asked again?
Sure... will I notice a measurable difference in the performance of whatever?  Or is this simply to just make me feel like I'm on the cutting edge of computer fashion? If I say I never want to be asked again - does that mean that I will be stuck in a computer fashion rut forever?
Error found on page.
Fine.  Thanks for the explanation.  It's all clear now.
Files cannot be written to CD.
Super, because I don't even have a CD in the burner, a file that needs to be written, and have no idea why you keep informing of the this apparent complication.  I think you have the wrong number.
You are about to view a web page with unsecured information, do you want to continue?
I don't know.  What kind of unsecured information?  Is it the kind that wobbles around when a six year old is cartwheeling through the house yelling, "Sorry, Mom - I just can't stop!"  Or is it more like the kind of information that if I find out about it, someone would have to kill me?  Because those are two very different kinds of unsecured.  Could you give me more details before I make a final decision? 
The page you are looking for cannot be found.
Really.  Come back and tell me that again after you have looked under your bed.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Stoplights and Pancakes?

I'm bringing the kids home from school... a different way than usual.  After winding roads, potholes, and random 4-way stops, I'm beginning to think there is probably a better way.  Then my thinks - they are confirmed.  I'm at a stoplight out in the middle of nowhere - you know the kind that are not on poles, but just swingin' in the breeze from wires?  That's the kind. 
Anyway, I was under the impression that the road was a simple 2-way highway with a total of two lanes.  I'm waiting for the light to turn and along comes a minivan from 1987 who sidles up right along next to me - on the shoulder.  No problem - right?  Wrong. This van is so close to me that the driver who's got his bare, muscled arm leaning on his open window can reach out and touch my car - oh, wait a minute - he IS TOUCHING my car! 
So here's the picture:
1.Mom in minivan listening to Nate the Great (audio book) with captive belted-in audience in back seats. 
2.Mom looks over and sees scary man with a total of three teeth leaning out of his minivan (which he has clearly outgrown) and is now resting his Andre the Giant-sized hand on the passenger side handle of MY vehicle! 
3.Light turn green, light turn green, light turn green... pleeeeeeeese! 
This is clearly an invasion of my personal space.  I am trying not to look directly at him - so my eyes are aching as I am calling up all the strength of my peripheral vision.  All the windows in my van are open at some level, and apparently hearing skills of elementary children are impaired after 3:30 - so the audiobook is playing rather loudly, and here's what happens next - I kid you not.
Audiobook: "I, Nate the Great LOVE pancakes!"
Scaryman (while still touching my car): "Heh, heh, me too. Heh, heh."
Children: "Who's that, Mom?"
Appalled Mom: "A man who likes pancakes."
Light: Green
Appalled Mom: "Good-bye."
Scaryman: "Have a good day, Mith!"

Okay, so Mama overreacted a bit.  Turns out that Scaryman - isn't so scary.  He just happens to have a mouth full of compromised dental work... and he also likes pancakes... hmmm... are the two related?

Monday, September 20, 2010


Let's talk about yesterday.  I was exceptional in many ways.  I got everyone out the door and to church almost on time.  I chose (quite carefully) the most uncomfortable shoes I own to slink around the Fall Festival at church in for several hours.  I fed my children wholesome corn dogs and pickles on a stick for lunch - and I didn't forget dessert: candy necklaces and dilly bars.  I helped my children build a mini golf course in our garage using random planks of wood, shoes, gasoline funnels, flower pots, a bike helmet and way too much painters tape.  I completed folding laundry that was started last Wednesday - I'm especially proud of that one. 
However, my best work of the day involved two "napping" fish, one beat up paper cup, and a toilet.  Good-bye Spiky and EX Glower.  As they were taking their last swirl around in this world, Maya yelled down the toilet, "Remember! All drains lead to the ocean!!"
Thank you, Nemo.   
Near the end of the day, while I was making some killer quesadillas, Joseph thanked me for feeding him, singing with him in church, and for letting him use the cardboard from the recycling for a fort in the sun room.  And then Maya added, "Yeah... me too."
The pay is lousy, but I wouldn't give this job up for anything.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

For the Love of Cheese

This said after listening to choir practice for over an hour:

I liked the cheese song best, Mom. 
Which one?
You know, "cheeese, cheeese, how I love thee..."
Oh, I think it's  "Jesus, Jesus, how I love Thee."
No, Mom, I'm pretty sure it's about cheese.
Yeah, I'm going with cheese.
Okay, how do you feel about "Cheese loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so...?"
Mom, that doesn't even make sense.

This is my life.  My attempt at helping them make sense of their world renders me the senseless one.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Me and Mario

I've got a banging headache and a crick in my neck.  You might think I just pulled an all nighter at the local pub - just boozin' it up with my peeps.  No?   OK, you're right - not enough caffeine and one too many offspring in the bed with me last night is more likely - or so I thought.

The children were not sleeping well last night - for whatever reason.  So I guess they thought spending the night rolling over me, my book, my glasses, and a Kleenex box (all of which were found in the covers this morning) would garner much better sleep.  That probably would warrant a headache and a crick - right?  Sure, but the experience has been heightened a bit by the dream revealed to me this morning by my nine year old.

"Mom, guess what I was dreaming about last night?  You know how in Mario Kart, how you have those statue guys who bang on your car and smash you into a crunch in Bowser's Castle?  I dreamed I had a hammerhead shark and I was banging back on them!  That's weird isn't it?"
Yeah.  That's weird.  Hmmm...

Oh... and I also sent my six year old to school wearing a sparkly pink, gem studded belt (thank you, Aunt Christie) which she ever so fashionably wrapped around her purple polka-dotted rain coat and then clipped her hand-sanitizer to the buckle of the belt - front and center.  Then, as she is getting out of the car,  she asked me if I thought her hair looked silly...

No... honey... you look... prepared.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Why I don't...

...cut my six year old daughter's hair anymore:
"Mom, I look like Darth Vader."

...fold underwear anymore:
"Mom, none of my underwear fits me - but it fits Pandy (stuffed panda bear that hides in corner by daughter's dresser - wearing about 16 pairs of little girl underwear) perfect!"

...let them pack their own lunches anymore:
"Mom! Don't look in there! We are supposed to have a surprise lunch today!"  Oh... well... then I guess you will be surprised when you open this up and find that the Cliff Bar, fruit snacks, cookie, barbecue chips, go-gurt, sunflower nuts, and chocolate chips are no longer accompanying your turkey sandwich, apple, carrots, and yogurt.

...answer the phone while the six year old is bathing in the glassed in shower:
"Mom, I only covered the drain because bubble bath doesn't work so good when the water is just sprayin' everywhere..." toothpaste in a tube for my children anymore:
"MOM!!  I didn't do anything, but SHE made me step on the tube to get the rest out!" whiffle ball with my kids and expect that the game might be civilized:
" can too - right mom?  You can just keep going around the bases if nobody's on 'em, right?  And it doesn't matter if I want to use a tennis racket to hit with - right?  And if we get hot, will you just spray us with the hose?"

The only thing that's missing is the big gong.  The one that Nipsy Russel or Soupy Sales is going to hit with a big old mallet and gong me right off of the "Mom Show."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The First Dirty Joke

So I take my kids to the library like a good mom does.  We decided to look for audio books for our commute to and from school.  Aah... yes, here we are, Diary of the Wimpy Kid - Joe's read these - should be good.  Right?  Sure, if your the kind of mom who enjoys listening to middle school ignorance and cruelty for 25 minutes each morning and another 25 minutes on the way home.  Oh, well... I figure - these are good talking points - we can discuss why the protagonist is making good decisions or not so good decisions - good spring board for random conversation... right?  And, heck, my six year old has already informed me that she knows everything already anyway - should be nothing new to her.

Two days straight of Diary of the Wimpy Kid - nothing we can't handle yet.  Until this morning...  approximately 30 seconds before I drive up to the school lane to drop them off.  Here's the joke: "Doctor, can I have a new butt?" (I don't even let them say this word - we're so medieval that we still say "bun-buns" or "bottom.") Punchline: "...because this one has a crack in it!"

Backseat: Nothing..."Giggle, giggle... hee, hee ... no sound... SNORT!"  Full on laughter - more snorting...   So now my usual "Have a great day, do you have your lunch, I love you, see you after school" goodbye - has turned into a frantic, "I know that's funny, but don't say that joke at school, have a good day, I love you, I mean it -don't say that to anyone - you will get in trouble, see you after school!"

As I am pulling away, the automatic van door is closing and the kids are walking up to the front door, I hear my youngest say to the nine year old, "I can't believe he said, 'This butt has a crap in it!'  What's a crap anyway?"

Nice.  Score one for Super Mom.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Do you want to play a game?

Hey, Mom! Come over to the island, I have a great game we can play - I made it up!  (I should have slowly stepped away and excused myself when I heard the words: minotaur, laser cannons, and the Wizard.)

This is all you have to do, Mom:  See these guys over here?  They protect the Minotaur because he's evil and he wants to destroy the world of Jokertow. 

Jokertow?  Did you mean Jokertown?

No, Mom.  Just listen.


First, you have to get your strategy.  This is a strategy game - you know, like Stratego - the one you never win.  See how these guys are made up of three parts?  Each time they get blasted, they lose a life - one of their parts.

How come my guy only has two parts?

Mom, they are called "lives."  Anyway, you have to get your laser cannons and shoot over to these guys unless they block you with this special Lego with the red piece on top.

Do I have one of those?

No.  Mom, just listen and stop asking questions!  Now, here's the cool part.  If the minotaur gets free, use this piece to call  up the Wizard, and the he will use his laser tank bombers to destroy the Minotaur's weapons.

Do I have a special wizard phone too?

What?  There's no phone, Mom.  You don't get this do you?  Here, just use this (he hands me a piece of breakfast cereal that's been left behind) to block the laser nets.

Laser nets?  What are those for?

Mom, please - they are for the gargoyles that live over in this cave.

Am I on your team or we against each other trying to defeat minotaurs, gargoyles and laser tank bombs?

What?  Where's Maya?  She will know what to do.

Are you saying, I'm too dumb to understand your game?

No, Mom - it's just that Maya will understand.  She just plays and doesn't ask all these questions.  You are making my head hurt.

Sorry.  Do you still want to play?  I'll just do what you do.

No, I'm kind of tired of this game.  You can just go.

I go upstairs to make my bed and get a load of laundry going and this is what I hear downstairs:

"Maya take this guy - and I will take this guy and then we can use these for lasers to shoot the Minotaur. KaPOW!  YESSS!  We got him!  OK, get on the earth ship - the soldiers are hungry!  Neeeroooooom, pashoooo, kashooooo.  We've landed safely.  Mom so doesn't get this - she just kept on asking me questions and stuff."
"I know, Joe - she does the same thing to me when we're reading - it's like she thinks she is our teacher or something..."

Oh... guess I'll just go back to being the housekeeper.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Dreaded Earwig

Ring ring.
Mama: Hello?
Teacher: Hi, this is Joe's teacher.  It seems that he was stung by something at recess.  I think it was an earwig by the way he described it - so it was probably more of a pinch.  We put benadryl and ice on it.  He's fine.  I know he has allergies so I asked him to tell me if his throat feels scratchy, if his tummy hurts, or if his vision gets blurry.  Would you like to talk to him?  He's right here by me.
Mama: Sure.
Joe: Hi, Mom.
Mama: Hi, Honey. Are you ok?  Does it still hurt?
Joe: Uh-huh... Mom?
Mama: Yes?
Joe: I think my throat feels scratchy and my tummy hurts and my vision is a little blurry.
Mama: Have you had math yet today?
Joe: No.
Mama: Hang in there, love you, I'll pick you up after school like usual.
Joe: Rats.

Mean Mama strikes again.

Friday, September 10, 2010


The lawn guys came this week to aerate or something the lawn.  Let's get something straight first.  I grew up in the country on an acreage.  The lawn mowing was a chore, a job, a task.  We had one acre of obstacle course.  Each tree was planted with a specific purpose: to be run into or run over.  And then there was the terrain.  Bumpy, random daisy patched, occasional gopher holed ground - all under the guise of being a lawn. So, you get the picture - lawn mowing was, at best, a four wheeling adventure that was done on an obligatory basis.

Now I live in the suburbs.  In-ground sprinklers are a given and we are the only people on the cul-de-sac who actually mow our own lawn.  A different lawn care outfit hauls up every day of the week to manicure one of the neighbors' golf course lawns.  My husband takes great pride in his landscaping, weed whacking, trimming and careful mowing of his kingdom.  So much that he doesn't let me even look at the lawn tools in the garage - much less actually use them.  This doesn't bother me.  He does, however, want my opinions on things like, shrub placement, mulch colors, flower choices, and tree branch trimming.  These are all things that I know compliment one's property and should be carefully thought out.  It's really too bad that I could give two flips about the whole process.

So, last Sunday, when my Dad hopped on the most prized possession in our garage, took it for a spin, and ended up four wheeling over a small retaining wall, drilling through our landscaping mulch, buzzing off a couple lilies, and ending up wedged on an incline between two evergreens... well, the earth almost ceased to revolve around the
sun... really.

By the grace of God, civility overpowered my husband's urge to become completely unglued.  Once the blood started flowing to my husband's face again, he finished the task looking like he was trying to digest rocks. As for my Dad, he sat on the front stoop of our house looking much like a little kid who just got in trouble for accidentally breaking a window or a prized bowling trophy.

Ahh... life.. it's all good, right?  We now all try to ignore the grinding, errr- ca-chunk noise that ensues every time the steering wheel is turned, and the six foot tall, seventy year old kid sticks to what he's best at - not a lawn boy, but instead the best grandpa our kids could ever hope for - and heck, he's a hero to them now - he's the rootin' tootin' lawn mower cowboy!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


This is how you know you have officially converted from a work-outside-the-home-professional to Mama Extraordinaire: You think nothing of spending the entire 25 min. drive time to school talking with your six and nine year olds exclusively about the intricacies of how mice are lured into a trap and then how they die - specifically.  These were the last questions we were pondering:
Maya: "Mom, what if the mouse takes the cheese and then turns to run away very fast?  Mouses don't die if just their tail is snapped, right?" 
Joseph: "I just can't believe how small the traps are... if we ever get a mouse, I am going to put zip-loc bags on my hands and throw him... Mom, where do you throw a dead mouse?"
Maya: "I would just release him back into the wild... wait... do raccoons eat mouses?  Nana says a raccoon will eat anything!"
Joseph: "Why are we talkin' about this?"
Maya: "What if another mouse comes by to see what all the snappin' is about and sees his friend all stuck and everything - can he help him or is that against the rules?"
Mama: "Oh, look, here we are at school... keep your questions in you pockets and we will pick this up later when I pick you up from school." 
Am I serious?  Do I want to get to the bottom of any of those questions?
Hopefully their pockets have holes in them.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Appraiser

So the appraiser is milling around the house.  The plan is that all the snooping around, sketching and calculating of random figures will yield the numbers we need to complete a successful refinancing of our mortgage - so we can take advantage of the bargain basement interest rates that are available at this time.  The kids have hidden themselves away somewhere in the basement - I mean "lower level" - as I believe this man makes them nervous.  The hardwood floors are gleaming, organization is at its best, and the soft scent of a pumpkin pie candle is wafting through the air.  As I am trying to make myself appear to be a responsible, deserving of high appraisal, homeowner - I sweetly call down to my children to ask them what they are doing in the "lower level."  I stand at the top of the stairs only to see them lying on their stomachs at the bottom of the stairway peering into a small rip in the carpet that covers that last step.  Before I can reach them, they promptly answer me (quite loudly), "We're checking for mice!!  We think there is something living in this hole, Mom - come check it out!"
I don't think I will tell my husband that not only did I forget to mention that we had special, high efficiency, break the bank, entry doors installed - when asked about improvements we have made to our home (all I could think of was that we put up a few ceiling fans) but that our children also offered up a possible rodent infestation.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What exactly does it take to get thrown out of a toy store?  And consequently banished from all others of that same chain?  Here are the steps you must take:

1. Foolishly buy something from that toy store's website.
2. Give it to your child in the anticipation that it will be the one toy that they will remember forever and ever - the one they will tell stories about to their children.
3. Observe that it does not work.
4. Pack up the family on a cold night and schlep them all into the store with you and head directly to Customer Service.
5. Begin a polite conversation with Toy Store "team member" about how you ordered the toy and now the toy doesn't work, and ask for a replacement toy or a reimbursement.  Easy, right?
6. After the team member informs you that anything bought off their website cannot be returned directly to their store and that they do not offer reimbursement, become tense and talk with authority.
7. Ask to speak with their supervisor.
8. After the supervisor tells you that you will have to call other stores in the same chain around the metro area to see if they have what you want, (here's the kicker) ask them if you can use their phone to do so.
9. When they tell you they won't allow you to use their phone, tell them this: "This is the stupidest #@!* store I've ever been to and your policy on returns stinks - I will be making a call to your corporate headquarters!"
10. Listen while the supervisor asks for security to come up front to the desk on his walkie talkie.
11. Loudly whistle at your wife and kids who are innocently milling about the store looking at all the treasures, and make a rather overt head motion at them which means, "Let's go - we're blowin' out of here because this store stinks and we are never coming back!"
12. Get in the car with crying children and kindly explain that Santa shopped here by mistake.

There you have it - a simple 12 step program to getting yourself and your family banished from the one and only toy store chain in the tri-state area.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A New Language

My six year old has been experimenting with words lately.  Some of them should be words, just take a look:

1. Concharge - this means to be in control and in charge.  Ex. I would like to be in concharge of my fan in the backseat of the van, please.
2. Repairments - changes that must be made on one's Lego ship.  Ex. Joseph, please hand me the ship in the back, I need to make some repairments before it can fly again.
3. Constreme - a describing word that is the combination of extreme and cool.  Ex. I made a constreme hopscotch on the driveway, and when Joseph did it he needed a break afterwards.
4. Mymopoly - the game of Monopoly in which the 6 year old always gets to start first, always wins and rules are changed on a whim.  Ex. Do you want to play Mymopoly or do you want to just play your regular dumb rules?
5. Ahscarederest - the most frightened.  Ex. I am ahscarederest of being on the wrong soccer team with girls way bigger than me.

Stay tuned - the list is growing.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Memory Snippets - 1 & 2

Prompt: I remember tormenting...
my sister.  EVERY time I a chance presented itself to further promote her fear of the dark - I went for it.  My favorite: the basement.  I could be on the other side of the house, but if I heard my Mom say, "Christine, would you go down to the basement and get me some frozen corn from the freezer?"  I was like a thief in the night.  I would wait until she was all the way down the stairs, and then I would flee down the hallway, through the dining room and into the kitchen to the top of the stairway.  By this time, she would be at the freezer door - a ways from the bottom of the stairs, but she could hear my feet above her running across the house... and she knew what was about to happen.  Click. Lights off.  Score one for the little sister.
Diabolical? Yes.  Retaliation? Absolutely - it takes two to tango.

I remember diving...
into our municipal pool with semi-disastrous results.  I had just learned to dive and I was spending the day with a good friend who was on the city swim team - she was a fish.  We were about 11 or 12 years old.  She had been doing fancy dives off the side of the pool into the five foot deep area and I had been perfecting my cannonball.  Then came the challenge: "How about we dive in with our hands at our sides - just heads first?" said the half-dolphin friend.  "Sure," said the not-so-sure, not-so-dolphin-like friend.  So we proceed - and all went well - it was even fun! So there we are, bobbing our heads repeatedly into the cool of the pool.  No problem.  Until the last one.  And when I say last - I mean last.  I have not had the courage to dive since that tragic day.  I stood on the edge of the pool all ready to make the last one a good one.  After cutting through the water, this time I went a bit deeper than I had before, a crucial mistake.  I skimmed the stucco like surface of the bottom of the pool with the skin that is right between the mouth and nose - the mustache area. When I surfaced, I felt a little bit of stinging in that area, but just thought it was a minor scrape.  No, there was bleeding - lots.  The moral of the story: Unless, you would like to look a young lady with scab moustache for the first days of Middle School, always dive with your arms in proper position.