Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Tree Swing

A couple of years ago, the girls were outside with some old rope making a swing on the tree in front of our house. Making a swing that looks like a noose will alarm any mother, so I bought a cute little wooden swing.

That cute, little swing lasted about thirty seconds. Sometimes, you have to choose form for function--the next stop: plastic.

I was sure that our plastic days were over. I felt even more foolish spending money on a purchase that was bound to be obsolete as soon as I hung it.

I have to tell you... that swing sees constant action. Kids of all ages can't resist that thing. Teenagers to toddlers, it is always occupied.

I guess we all have the need to swing.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

P.S. How Many Times A Week Can You Feed Your Kids Frozen Pizza And Not Feel Too Guilty?

Just wanted to ask... but only want to know your answer if it's going to make me feel a little bit better.

Does it count if it's a different brand each night?

The More Thing Change The More They're Different

It occurred to me at 5:05 am, that I am becoming Zombie Mom, Zombie Friend and Zombie Wife. I could add Zombie Blogger, but I've learned this is a secret life that most of the people I know in real time don't care about and think is a waste of potential exercise time.

I'm spending time taking my son to visit potential high schools that we can't afford, ferrying different children to different events and I'm barely covering the minimum of what my house needs to keep purring along.

I've got four lights burned out in a dark laundry room--the tricky, special trip to the hardware store kind of lightbulbs. My front entry light is also broken, with the little nub of the teeny lightbulb stuck in the crack.

The flowers that were beautiful weeks ago have turned to seed, and in my allergy enlightened state, it was all that I could do to drag them out the door and put them on the ledge outside the window.

My husband is working late and getting up early. Some freaky alarm went off on his new iphone, and now I'm up for the day at 4:05. Speaking of his new iphone, all of my own iphone chargers and accessories have disappeared, hmmmmm. Maybe that's why he switched to the iphone.

My house needs painting inside and out. We need new windows and I've got a stack of unclaimed papers and bills a foot and a half high. I'm terribly behind on e-mail and...


I will stop whining and get on with my day. After all, I get to talk to 8th graders about a fundraising rummage sale in 3 hours.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Nyquil, Acupuncture and the path to Alcoholism

My allergies have been kicking my butt. The eyes: puffy. The nose: runny. The sinuses: like a brick on my face. Coughing, sneezing, red, runny eyes: good gracious, I'm an allergy commercial. My husband is surely thinking, "How did I marry that?"

I play a game with myself, it's called inconsistently taking medication. I take a few allergy pills here, a hit of the good old nose spray there...some local honey (tastes like candy, yum!) emergen C, vitamins... Sometimes I take it, sometimes I don't.

My doctors have been shaking their heads for years. "You live with two cats, a dog, you sleep with down pillows and comforters AND you have carpeting???" I am stubborn. I refuse to give in or give up.

Now I'm on the way to get poked full of needles. After 4 years (remember that stubborn thing?), I've taken the advice of my good friend, I'm off to see the acupuncturist.

The funniest thing? My drug of choice is Nyquil. I knew it had some alcoholic content, but in my desperation, I've never actually looked at the label. It says right on it "10 percent alcohol." 10 percent?

Yikes. Might have to take a few shots of Nyquil to give me the courage to get me through that acupuncture appointment.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Canadian Chronicles 2009: Hearing (Alien) Voices

Look carefully at this picture. Please note two things:
  1. This picture is taken at the end of the season. During our Augusts in Canada, you would NEVER find this many flashlights in the actual flashlight spot. You are actually guaranteed NEVER to find a flashlight when you need one.
  2. The Green Alien Voice Changing Device.

In the picture, it's fairly easy to spot. In real life, you can't miss it. Thank you Godmomma Wendy. This was a birthday gift for John when he was quite young. If you want to give the gift that keeps on giving, give the Alien Voice Changer.

Every one of our children and our friend's children, our friends, their friends and probably the dog has used the Alien Voice Changer. It's been annoying the crap out of everyone for at least eight years.

Three more things to know:
  1. It's been designated an "OUTSIDE ONLY" device. This, of course, initially means nothing, you just have to keep on yelling that phrase to get it to go away.
  2. It's been forgotten and discovered so many times and used in so many different creative ways, that we have to make new rules for it ALL of the time.
  3. It is excellent to awaken teenage boys by younger sisters. Expect bruising and blood.
I don't know where the GM (godmother) found this delightful instrument of torture, but I think I need to find out and send her family one of it's own.

The real reason for the cottage is that you can send all of the obnoxious stuff people give you there--then, you can forget it for the better part of the year. However, then you only use it for one month of the year, and then, kids, well, it lasts almost forever.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lots Of Bloodsucking, And It Wasn't Just The Twilight Series

Need I say more? Although this is just a cool moth, those skeetos were at least this big!

Due to the wet, humid weather, the mosquitos were out in numbers never seen before. Decades from now, we will tell stories to our grandkids about the summer of '09 and it's monster-sized, insatiable bloodsucking mossies.

I will never smell the odor of citronella and not think of this summer. We coated ourselves in the organic, most natural defense system that we could buy. It cost $15,99 a bottle, and somewhere in the onslaught, I was wishing for good old "Off" with all of its toxicity--and some heavy duty DEET.

Weeks later, I still look like I'm recovering from the chicken pox. It's funny that we all read the whole series of Twilight and watched season one of True Blood whilst being sucked dry in real life. You could say I'm scared for life, due to my inability to not itch myself raw.

My most vivid memory is of Paula, in her bed, target spritzing individual mosquitos.

Ever heard the term "so bad it's hilariously funny?" Two days in and that's exactly where we were...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Why You May Want To Remove The Bubble Wrap

When you go on trips, sometimes you forget things. Sometimes it's your toothbrush, sometimes it's your underwear, sometimes it's your contact lens cleaner. Paula and I forgot that when you go on vacation without your husbands, YOU have to do all of the work. By yourself.

Arriving at the cottage in the pouring rain, it quickly became apparent that it was going to be a vacation powered by mom-power. Who was going to unload the bursting SUV? We were. Who was going to unstrap and haul the bubble-wrapped kayak off the top? We were.

The saddest part is that the list grew infinitely before our eyes:
1. Unpack? Moms, check!
2. Make the beds? Moms, check!
3. Put the melting groceries away? Moms, check!
4. Cooking
5. Cleaning
6. Laundry
7. Entertainment
8. Referee
9. Tuck in.
10. Doctor
11. Wake up
12. Watch over
13. Damage control
14. Fix it crew
15. Emergency clean up crew
16. Driver
17. Menu planner
18. Disciplinarian
19. Bed time story reader
20. Cleansliness moniter

I could go on and on. You, sadly, can probably get the picture. We had no one to shirk our duties to, unless it was each other.

By the time we had unloaded, sorted and made some food for the kids and various other things on the above list...we were too tired for wine, scrabble or anything else. Our first day of our big Girl's Trip and we were asleep. 9 pm EST. I think the little girls were still awake and running around.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Canadian Chronicles 2009: Are We There Yet?

And the rain rain rain came down down down.

Everywhere we went, the people were complaining about how it was the worst summer ever. We of course, hoped that we had brought bright, sunny weather from California. We refused to buy into the foreshadowing of gloom and doom.

Alas, we loaded our purchases into the car, tried to keep a stiff upper lip, and braved the torrential downpour.

At the sport's store, the nice man lashed the new kayak on top of the car, ignoring the pelting drops. He was Canadian, and he was making the best of it with smiles and sarcasm.

We drove slowly and carefully away from civilization. I squinted through the glass, trying to keep a steady eye on the road through the water-soaked windshield. The words 'Cabin Fever' kept slipping into my mind. As we twisted and turned out of civilization, I had flashes from "The Shining."

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Canadian Chronicles 2009: One Good Idea Is All It Takes

It all began, like so many things do, over a glass of wine. My good friend, Paula, and I were wanting for a little adventure in our stay-at-home-mom lives. We only had one glass of wine. If we had two glasses, we might have come to the realization that a girls trip should not include "girls" under the age of 10.

But, as far as we knew, we were planning the getaway of a lifetime. We decided to hit the family Canadian cottage early, before all of the summer guests arrived. We plotted quiet nights, lazy mornings and lots of girl time. Kayaking, frolicking in the water and delicious food danced like visions of sugar plums in our heads.

Reality hit hard and fast. The bickering began on the plane. You might have guessed it, the quarrel was over the window seat.

The window seat has long lost its appeal for me. I now prefer the quick and easy exit of the aisle seat. I love not having to lope over strangers two or three times in a flight to stretch my legs and make a run for the bathroom. This should be why a person might take yoga, so they can bend themselves like a pretzel over the legs, bags, reclined seats and trays between themselves and freedom.

However, when you are seven, the window seat holds the magic of the fluffy clouds and the people and places as tiny as ants. The world looks nice and tidy when you are gliding over the geometry that bisects and trisects the landscape. The most mighty of reasons the window seat rules you may ask? When you have it, no one else does.

This theme popped again and again throughout the trip. Possession is 9/10ths of the law, and when someone else has something, that makes it all the more important that you have it, too. When you don't have it, and you are a girl under a certain age, the whining can turn an 8 hour trip into at least 16 hours.

When we got off the plane and got the rental car, the girls started to fight about who had to sit in the middle seat. Paula and I looked at the mountain of bags--we were going to have to work a small miracle to fit them in the car. Our eyes sagged with fatigue, and the whining, the whining, the whining, kept right on going.

We still had a two hour drive and the task of picking up a kayak and strapping it to the roof. Girls getaway? Are we there yet?

Credit Card Pond Scum--Welcome Home

Arriving home to a three foot high stack of mail, I settled in to find out what I've been missing in civilization. I opened my first bill from Nordstroms. It was for $20.00 and dated end of July. Ot oh. What did I buy at Nordstroms for $20? Yikes, better pay that right away.

Further into the stack, I find the second bill from Nordstroms: $40.00, and it was dated mid-August. They charged me a $20 dollar late fee??? Well, it stinks, but it's not the end of the world, right?

Further into the stack I open the third bill from Nordstoms. Now I owed $43 dollars and in blazing letters I had:
1. Been reported to the credit bureaus
2. Had all of my wonderful Nordstrom points revoked

I grabbed the phone first thing in the morning, just wanting to explain that, had I known that I owed $20, I would have paid it. I've been out of the country, blah blah blah. I'm not a bad person and I wanted to pay that bill ASAP.

I dialed their number. Busy signal. Dialed again and again and again...busy, busy, busy. When I finally got through and pressed the appropriate buttons, entered my account number and settled in to talk to a human, I was informed in that computer voice that my wait would be 61 minutes to talk to the customer service representative.

61 minutes? Are you kidding me? Apparently, I'm not the only one in trouble over at Nordstroms. I tried to call back to just pay my bill over the phone...BUSY. I called back 9 times and finally was able to pay my bill.

I'm still determined to speak to someone about this, but in the meantime, the card is being cut up and I've been forbidden to shop there by my husband. It's funny how you can lose a good customer over $40 in this economic climate and time of customer service that's been taken over by computers.

I am sorry for the rant, and as soon as I get it all together, there is more to come about life in the wilderness, the practicality of outhouses and entertaining 100 of my closest friends this summer!