Friday, December 19, 2008

Is There A 4th Option?

What do you do when you know your kid's not getting what he wants for Christmas, and he still believes in Santa?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Economy - Stealing More Than My 401K

Every year my husband’s company hosts a really nice dinner for their upper management. This year, since the CEO was asking each department to cut back and not spend more than was necessary, he didn’t feel it appropriate to follow through with this year’s holiday celebration and a few weeks ago we received notice that it was cancelled. My feelings on the topic were conflicted. On the one hand, I didn’t have to find something to wear. On the other hand, I would not be eating prime rib and cheesecake on someone else’s tab. On the positive side, I would not have to make small talk with 50 people I didn’t really care about. Nevertheless, there are a few people I have made relationships with over the past several years and always enjoy catching up with them. Most notably, however, I would not be making my annual encounter with a woman I have come to know as “Glitter Boobs”.

She earned her nickname by coming scantily clad each year in a low cut number, having sprayed fine, glitter spray all over her tanning bed influenced skin. Every year when she walks through the door on the arm of her husband I think to myself, “Let the games begin,” and I try to make sure we are seated near them at dinner. See, I didn’t grow up going to parties and watching people get wasted so this is the only real experience I’ve had to witness what alcohol does to people. And Glitter Boobs never disappoints.

Our last get together was the most memorable as I sat there and watched her empty glass after glass of wine. It seems so innocent, the wine. It’s basically grape juice, right? Yeah, grape juice that makes people tell naked stories! So apparently she and her husband were on vacation, and they were “busy” and then all of his friends walked in. The details are fuzzy now, but trust me, SHE GOES INTO DETAILS, and as she regaled the account through inebriated tones I kept close watch on her husband, who seemed to be taking it a little too well. Maybe he had enough to drink to dull his senses to the point that “Dude, your wife is talking about the two of you without your clothes on!!” didn’t register.

As we left I turned to Cory in the car and said, “Did that just happen? Because seriously, I don’t think I dreamt it, and holy crap if I ever get desperate and attempt to dull my senses with liquid substance will you please remind me about this experience and warn me that partaking of said substance might find me without my top on at a company party covered in glitter and telling our innermost secrets?!?!” We laugh, and then pinky-swear on a lifetime of sobriety, and wake up the next day with no headaches or remorse. Sometimes for fun I imagine “The Day After” for Glitter Boobs. She wakes up, tries to run her hand through her hair but then it gets stuck in the hairspray, looks at the clock that says 10:00 am as she starts to come to, then she attempts to sit up in bed until her head starts to pound and she moans and throws her head back on the pillow. Her husband starts to stir and they mumble morning greetings and then it hits her, like a ton of bricks. She slaps her husband on the arm and audibly gasps. “Hey! Husband! Did I…? Oh no. I did, didn’t I? Did I tell that story???”
He speaks into his pillow, “I’m not sure. I think so, but my head is kind of fuzzy. Don’t worry about it, everyone else was wasted too.”
“Everyone, you mean, except for Cory and Kristy. They don’t drink.”
“Right,” her husband would say. “But who are they gonna tell? They’re Mormon and I don’t think they’re supposed to gossip.”
“Does she have a blog?”
“I don’t think they’re allowed to use the internet.”
“Phew,” she says wiping her brow. “I guess that’s a relief.”

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m a little disappointed about our cancelled dinner. It’s the first year we wouldn’t have to pay for babysitting, and I could use a good “See? There’s other people out there who are crazier than you” experience. Nevertheless, my yuletide visit with Glitter Boobs will have to wait another 12 months, which should give her plenty of time to come up with a great story for next year. Sorry GB, I hope you find somewhere else to wear that dress.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Making Me Look Bad

It's not that hard to do you know, make me look bad. I'm giving people opportunities all the time without even trying. Half the time that's what I write about - how I am lame and you are better. It's my little way of giving back. Deep down however, on most days, I don't really think I'm that bad.

Then again, there are days.

Monday we had what is called a "delayed start" for school. Not enough snow to cancel it altogether, but enough to give everyone a little extra time to get there safely. I translate "delayed start" to "sleep in", so at 5:00 am after checking the internet to confirm the school beginning time I went around and turned off all the alarm clocks and then snuggled back down in my covers to go back to sleep. At 8:30 Samantha came into my room and asked, "Are you ever going to get up?"
"Eventually," I groggily replied.
"All right then, I'm going to go shovel the driveway," she announced as she bounced off to gather the equipment.
So I did what any responsible adult with a 12-year-old daughter about to brave the cold to blaze a trail for the car to get out while I lay there in bed and I...



...stayed there. And went back to sleep.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Getting In The Spirit

Watch this! At first you think, "Ohhhh, this is going to be boring" and then five seconds later you're like, "Heeeeey, this is festive." And this time a year, who doesn't need festive?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

Not that it's any of your business, but I'm voting for McCain. Not because we see eye to eye on everything (especially 'cuz I'm like a foot taller) but because if he wins I'm pretty sure Susan Sarandon and Barbra Streisand will move to Canada. It's my own special way of saying "God Bless America", and brings on a whole new meaning to "God Save The Queen".

I have to try.

Monday, November 3, 2008

On Halloween

My niece and her husband win for best costume. Unfortunately for them, there is no prize. She is expecting their first child, so they went as "Juno".

The movie poster vs. The Real Thing:



I love it!!! And here are Sam and Drew. When I am old and lonely this picture of them together will be fun to look back on. Unless Sam grows up to be, I don't know, sparkly, and Drew actually grows up to be violent, then it might creep me out.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Under 12 Not Admitted

With a vacant lot to one side of us and zero landscaping on our property, we have been the gathering place for underage testosterone everywhere. There are lots of boys here ranging from age 3 to 14, but when it comes to our front yard age makes no difference. Unless your name is Josh and you're the 14-year-old who can catch air, then everybody else worships you:


For three months we have been the "cool house", not because I'm cool but because you can build ramps here. There goes Drew!



But as cute as these boys are, it's time to say "Party's Over!"



It's too late to install grass, so that will have to wait until spring, but here's what we have in the meantime. It's so nice to have something besides dirt!





Saturday, October 25, 2008

New Season Of Dancing With The Stars

My mom sent this to me, and since I'm desperate for anything to post on this, my forgotten blog, I had to share. Regardless of your commitment level to this show in the past, you can't tell me you wouldn't watch a season like this!

Friday, October 17, 2008

And That's Why The "Imperial March" Is On My iPod

Because my iPod broke, and Cory fixed it, and when he was done he said, "I left a few extra songs on there just so you could think of me when you deleted them."

He's a keeper!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Undecided

The way I see it, around 8:00 tonight I will have approximately three choices:

1. Watch the VP debates.
2. Poke my eyes out with forks that are dripping with jalapeno juice.
3. Rub my butt with bricks laden with razor blades.

Tough call. Very tough call.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Parenting Advice From Kacy

Some of you may know Kacy from my other blog on Light Refreshments Served. I don't know if you have ever checked out her personal blog, but she is drop dead pee your pants funny. Don't let that dissuade you, I mean it in a good way. She has a regular feature for "Parenting Advice" - she just posted volume three, during which she advises the following:

If you take your child to their kindergarten assessment and they act a little bit autistic (even if they aren't), don't sweat it. Think of the improvement they will make by the end of the year.
Isn't she smart? Click here for the full version. Grab the Depends.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Are You Funny? Do You Write? Read On.

This woman is hilarious. She is also very generous, and has come up with a very creative idea for trying to raise some money for Stephanie and Christian, trying to fight their way out of hospitals and back into the daily lives of their children and families. Her idea: to self publish a book full of funny excerpts submitted by fellow bloggers, then use proceeds from the sales of the book to donate to their recovery fund. For a list of all contest rules, click here.

Imagine, you get to be funny, you get to be published, and then you get to help someone! Go check it out. You won't be sorry.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Eyes Wide Open

It's 1:30 in the morning and I'm wide awake. Somebody shouldn't have had a Pepsi with dinner.

What? After two weeks of not posting here are you wanting more than that? Fine. Here's what I've done so far today:

I watched the end of "War Games" on TBS this morning before I cleaned my kitchen.
I taped Oprah.
I watched Oprah.
I fast-forwarded through most of Oprah because the topic was highly disturbing.
I observed my father-in-law fix my malfunctioning garage door opener with duct tape and a sour cream container.
I flossed my teeth with my hair.
I spent the better portion of the last two hours trying to find some kind of blog of an ex-boyfriend I could lurk on (challenging, considering I hardly dated anybody seriously before Cory).
I watched a dancing hamster on YouTube.
I bought Drew some rope from Home Depot so he can use it as a whip and therefore represent Indiana Jones more effectively while playing the theme song on iTunes.
I conducted a search on YouTube for videos of farting babies (Did I mention Drew is off track and we're struggling for time fillers? No more video games! Go ride your bike. Or read a book. Practice your piano. Look! Babies with gas on video!)

See what I mean? Too much caffeine.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Live From The DNC

Since I live in Denver, it feels like I would be shirking my civic duty not to share this with you. It's the part of Obama's speech last night that they didn't show on network television. Enjoy, and thanks Greg for the link!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Good Cause

As you know, I blog on another site with three other fabulous and talented women. One of my friends over there, Lisa, has been struggling within her family due to a very serious plane crash that killed a flight instructor and critically injured her sister and brother-in-law to the degree that it's going to take many, many months and millions of dollars for recovery. The couple also have four young children. Today, along with many other supporters, we are joining in a silent auction to raise money for the family. Currently up for bid on Light Refreshments Served is a giclee print, tickets to a Maroon5 / Counting Crows concert, a signed guitar from James, lead guitarist of Maroon 5 (and Lisa's brother), as well as a DVD collection and links to many other amazing items.

I invite you to join thousands of others trying to help this young and beautiful family - come bid on something you like or make a donation if you feel so inclined. Thanks everybody - the outpouring of love for this couple and family has been oozing all over the internet since this happened, and it hasn't gone unnoticed by the family. I know they appreciate all the love and prayers that have been offered on their behalf.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Calling All Non Creepy Denver-ites

My internet friend Randi and I have been making comments on each other's blogs for many, many months now, and since we live in suburbs of the same city of Denver we've decided that it's time to meet in person. We'd also like to invite other Denver bloggers who are not freaks or stalkers to join us tomorrow! If you're interested email me at bunsofsteele0605@comcast.net and I'll give you the details. Sorry for the short notice - we just hammered out the details yesterday!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My Best Friend's (ex) Boyfriend

The other night I was having trouble sleeping when I thought up a brilliant idea for my next prank on my friend Ganelle. Recently she stumbled upon a blog of one of her ex-boyfriends – it’s a detailed account of his daily life with his wife and multiple children. As you can imagine, this kind of information has similar addictive qualities as meth, and she’s been stalking lurking for weeks, curiously reading about his life and family activities etc. (I would like to clarify that she is happily married and not pining after a former guy, just curious.) Still, she panicked when he added a site meter to his blog and she wondered if he’d now be able to tell that she was visiting so she stopped.

Lying awake and staring at the ceiling is when it hit me - I knew exactly what to do, and I jumped out of bed to head down to the computer. For the last three days I’ve been pretending to be her ex-boyfriend, creating a bogus email account using his name and then emailing her to say (basically), “Hey, I noticed you’ve been visiting my family blog, I managed to find yours too, how’s life going?” That’s when she called me and said, “Crap! He knows! What do I write back?” So I helped her draft her response, to ME. My final email was sent to her last night – this is what it said:

Ganelle:

Well, I haven't quite adopted the enthusiasm of blogging as much as my wife has, but I’ve managed to catch up with a few friends. So, your husband sounds pretty important and successful. Is that why you chose him over me? I was pretty devastated when it didn’t work out between us. My wife is great and everything, but to speak candidly she’s only second best.

Your kids look cuter than mine, too. I know that my wife paints a pretty happy picture on our family blog, but it’s pretty much a façade. On my darkest days I get out old pictures of you and I in college and imagine what might have been, but I know that’s not very healthy. I had a little bit of counseling which helped for a while, and then I saw your picture in the BYU alumni magazine and saw that you hadn’t changed a bit and it brought back old feelings. At least I don’t put that picture under my pillow anymore.

Even though I don’t contribute much to the family blog, I have a secret blog that no one else knows about that’s dedicated to you. I guess it’s okay to tell you about it since you’re the only who will know! The web address is: http://www.iloveganelle.blogspot.com

If you left a comment it would absolutely make my day!!!

Still Love You,
[he who shall not be named]
She must have checked her email around 10:19 pm because my phone rang at 10:20. Luckily, she was laughing!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Technical Difficulties and June Cleaver

A few weeks ago I tried multiple times to post a YouTube video to my blog and it was giving me grief. I finally got it to work, but apparently the ones that were unsuccessful at the time all the sudden showed up on my blog, making it a little redundant. I really don't love Justin Timberlake as much as you might think at this point, and I feel better clearing that up!

Anyway, we are moved and starting to feel settled. Yesterday I made cookies and delivered them to all my neighbors as if to say, "See how cool The New People are? They're so nice I bet you don't want to let your dogs bark after 10pm or let them loose to take a dump in their yard. You probably don't even want to harrass them about hurrying up already to get their landscaping in, because that's the kind of power that this particular cookie recipe holds. It just says, 'Be Patient. She knows how to operate her oven and that could work to my advantage.'" I met one woman who commented that this neighborhood felt like Leave It To Beaver Street. Better go get myself some pumps and a nice dress.

All along I've been looking for some kind of confirmation that we did the right thing by moving here. You know, nothing fancy, just some kind of message in the clouds that says, "Vern: You did the right thing, and you picked precisely the house that I planned for you. Good job. Love, God." Instead Drew came home on the second day of school and announced that he had made a friend. Then we moved in and realized that this friend lives two doors down in our cul-de-sac. Then this kid invited Drew to his birthday party, which consisted of pizza and the premiere of the new Star Wars movie "Clone Wars" after which they would have lightsaber fights outside. So yeah, it's no burning bush or anything but I'm calling it good.

Yesterday I asked Samantha how she was doing with the changes and everything and she said, "I'm taking it better than I thought I would." Apparently she thought she would be crying herself to sleep every night. Frankly, I had the same concern, but that has not been the case. She said having all of our things in the house made it feel more like home. Plus, I yell just the same here as I did at the other house, so I'm sure that helps. I do what I can.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Because I Care

We close on our new house tommorrow, so I am in the complete chaos that is packing up the last eleven years of our life. We have a ton of boxes as a result of friends who have gone out of their way and a husband with access to a shipping area. They represent many companies including Crate & Barrel, Budweiser, and Oreck, but there is one box in particular that caught my attention while packing today. I took pictures for you because that's the kind of person that I am, I'm a giver. But seriously, if you saw this on the side of a box wouldn't you be really curious where it originated from?

Their warnings also sound very serious. These people don't mess around. Or maybe they do, and this box of goods is exactly what they need to get their lives in order:

This part however, THIS I understand:

Monday, August 4, 2008

It's Almost Like I Can Forgive Him For Dating Britney Spears

I had no idea Justin Timberlake was so funny! Now I want to invite him to my family reunions and have him participate in our "Skit Nights". Thanks to my niece Brie for the link...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Prank Wars

Ganelle and I have known each other for twelve years, a relationship based on a mutual disdain for tofu and a love of all things Mrs. Fields. Also, we have been playing jokes on each other for the duration of our friendship. I’m pretty sure I started it when I decorated a van she was preparing to take to the mountains full of kids from our arch-rival high school – the tin cans attached to the bumper were like bells of angels at 5am. She reciprocated with fliers distributed on all the cars at the airport with my picture on it and a phone number to call me “For A Good Time”. Cory and I stuck with the airport theme for our next gig and dressed as nerds to pick them up after a flight from the Pacific, back in the day when we were free to meet people at the gate. (This picture exists, but is unfortunately packed in a box somewhere deep in the annals of my garage. Sorry. Maybe later.)

But I have to say, my crowning accomplishment came when I submitted an outdated picture along with a cheesy update to her college alumni magazine without her knowledge, AND THEY PUBLISHED IT!! We’re still not sure how many ex-boyfriends witnessed this section in the magazine, but I’m confident it’s enough to satiate me my entire life. To retaliate, she secretly made a copy of my house key, then used it when we were on vacation to change our answering machine message, replace every photo in my home with her picture (as well as hiding a total of 140 copies throughout the house), and put our home up for sale. She got two phone calls from interested buyers. Not bad.

I was finding photos of her for months. A year afterward I got out our Pack ‘N Play for a friend who was visiting with her baby and found another copy, and I was pretty sure that was the last one. Until today. I was cleaning out my crawl space, packing up our crap Cory’s 300,000 baseball cards our stuff when I found what has to be the final picture, discovered inside a box that held a Christmas Tree Stand that we no longer use:



It’s been FOUR YEARS. I cannot believe she braved the dark and creepy crawl space! Then again, we’ve never been much for understanding boundaries. Perhaps that’s another reason we get along so well. So, the fun continues. Tell me Ganelle, is it over yet?

Monday, July 28, 2008

How Far Along Are You? Oh.

The new clothing fads are killing me. Pregnant people are wearing saran wrap and skinny people are wearing maternity clothes. This is a trend I cannot win.

Though I tried.

A couple of weeks ago I broke down and bought one of those boob-hugger-stomach-enhancer shirts that went over my thighs. I looked in the mirror and said to myself, "It's the style. People will understand." And then I wore it last night and while Samantha approved, Cory was all, "When are you due and why didn't you tell me sooner?"

Luckily, I saved the receipt.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Because My Dad Doesn't Have A Blog

An email I got from my dad this morning:

So yesterday morning I started to juice some oranges fresh off our tree when our awesome, had it forever, juicer began to growl and slow down. What to do?? To fix most anything around the house the usual two choices are duct tape or WD 40. I opted for WD 40 because I don't know how to tape an orange and spraying is more of a guy thing anyway. I tried to be judicious in my application but, alas, WD40 becomes ubiquitous when sprayed and mom's OJ immediately picked up the subtle aroma and tang of this amazing lubricant. She immediately poured her juice into mine. I drank both hers and mine and I no longer squeek. Mom is squeeking and taping her joints. Did I make the right choice?
~ Dad


Dad: Fifty extra points for using the word "ubiquitous". You're awesome.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Seriously, Where IS Everybody?

I don't know where everyone goes during the summer, being all road trippy and vacationy or whatever in the name of family bonding, but I swear to you it has been like pulling teeth to find people for Samantha to hang out with. And in case you haven't heard all my complaints about how Drew has already started school and it sucks to be me because year-round school wants to put my freedom into a pit of crap and flush it to the North Pole so we can blame the frail existence of polar bears on something other than global warming, then let me add to my list of grievances that his absence accentuates Samantha's boredom because WHO ELSE CAN SHE BLAME FOR RUINING HER LIFE BEFORE 9 AM?

Our neighborhood streets have scarcely seen a life form to be found riding a bike or walking the sidewalks in search of a playmate. After three visits to unanswered doors and multiple phone calls looking for a friend this morning, (one friend answered her cell phone from Atlanta) Samantha admitted defeat and I responded facetiously with, "What is up with your friends this summer? Clearly they have forgotten that we have needs, and that it's ALL ABOUT US." "OR," she said, "CLEARLY we need to GET OUT and DO SOMETHING so we're not the only ones SITTING AROUND!"

She might have a point, but I don't want to get up. Maybe I should get her a blog.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Keeping You Abreast of the Situation

I had to sit for a couple of hours at the car dealership recently so I began flipping through a magazine. I came upon a short article about sports bras and how past versions have let us down (no pun intended). It cracked me up on several levels, leaving me no alternative but to share it with you, my mostly imaginary friends, on the internet. Here is what it said:

“The first sports bra was two jockstraps sewn together. Thirty-one years and several design advances later, many women still aren’t getting enough support, because until recently, scientists had never actually analyzed the manner in which breasts bounce. In a three-year study, British exercise scientists discovered that breasts don’t just swing up and down but also move in and out and left to right, forming a figure eight pattern. Most bras stop only up and down movement, which could be part of the reason more than half of women suffer breast pain during exercise.”


Unfortunately with the case of magazines, there is no place to ask questions. That’s where blogs and imaginary friends come in very handy. So let’s get started.

1. TWO JOCK STRAPS SEWN TOGETHER? Is that true?! Thank goodness I was only six years old at the time and not quite developed or I might have something to say about that.
2. Can we talk for a second about the part where they say “SCIENTISTS HAD NEVER ACTUALLY ANALYZED THE MANNER IN WHICH BREASTS BOUNCE”? Clearly, these scientists never played on the high school football team.
3. Furthermore, breakthroughs were finally made after British exercise scientists conducted A THREE YEAR STUDY????? May I ask how exactly this research was gathered? Are all the British perverts hanging out around Hampton Court just following people with cameras while they hurry their way through the tree maze? And really, aren’t you just taking advantage when it takes you three years to figure out that boobs make figure 8’s when subjected to turbulence?
4. Don’t you have to receive permission to video people for research? If so, who are the morons agreeing to it? I mean, a guy with a camera comes up to you running in the park and says, “Excuse me ma’am, I’m conducting research on women’s breasts and how they move during exercise. Could I video you in slow motion?” DON’T YOU SEE SOME RED FLAGS?!!!
5. Finally, how are we supposed to crack down on pedophiles when this kind of research is going on? Focus on curing cancer people!

The article was followed up with pictures of four “latest and greatest” sports bras approved by the author. One is called the “Under Armour HeatGear Endure D”. For Pete’s sake, are you going jogging or hunting down Osama bin Laden all by yourself? Another is, “The Nike Revolutionary Women’s Support Bra” – perfect for operating a musket. The third is the “Champion Powerback Underwire Sports Bra”. Translation: My name is Greta, I weigh 350 pounds and I do the shotput. You wanna take this outside? ‘Cuz my girls won’t get in my way THIS time. Finally, the simply stated, “Enell Sports Bra”. It claims to “minimize breast movement, eliminate chafing, and provide back support.” Finally, a bra that accomplishes more than a Presidential Candidate.

The thing is, I totally understand the need for good support during exercise. I guess it just never occurred to me how “good support” translated into “pervs getting paid with my tax dollars”. If nothing else I’ve learned that if I ever meet a man at a dinner party who claims to be an exercise scientist, it's time to turn my back and walk away. Slowly.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Where Have I Been?


We took a road trip, then Drew started school, and on his first day he sat by himself at recess and when he told me that I cried, and then we visited our new house and got excited, and then Drew asked me why we had to do a stupid move and go to a stupid new school where the teachers are stupid and the rules are stupid and by the way the color red is stupid and walking on sidewalks is stupid, and I gave him hugs and told him I loved him and he hugged me back. And I went in the other room to cry some more. And then Samantha got three teeth pulled and I held her hand and supported her from a chair at her side begged Cory to take off work so I wouldn't have to watch and read in Sunset Magazine about the 12 most exotic beach vacations in the waiting room while he sat with her. She got to pick out two toys.

But the road trip was good (it's where these pictures come from), day #2 at school was better, Samantha is on to solid foods, and while we won't be cashing in any time soon on any of those exotic beach vacations, the word "stupid" around here is being used a little less frequently. Baby steps.


Monday, June 23, 2008

What I Know For Sure - Volume V

Have you missed this feature? It's been a while, and I've learned a few things lately so let's get up to speed. First, what Paul Reiser knows for sure:

“Sometime during those forty-five minutes between feedings when you actually are asleep, a little man comes and takes your nouns away.” - from his book "babyhood"

1. I don’t know what the going rate is for idiots these days but whatever it is, I’m grossly underpaid
2. Ron Paul has dropped out of the Presidential race. I could have saved him some money.
3. The Lakers can't win a playoff game EVEN IF THEY OCCUPY A 24 POINT LEAD.
4. Using a gas lighter instead of a torch to melt the brown sugar on your crème brulee does not produce the same effect - I learned this on Father's Day - I don't want you going around thinking I whip up crème brulee on random Tuesday nights
5. The commercials where they make real people look animated aren't cool
6. Applying moisturizing chap stick before buzzing on your bike through the buggy area of the lake is a bad, BAD idea
7. Purple jelly beans always suck
8. Sonic has happy hour every day from 2-4pm. Drinks and slushes are 1/2 price. What else do I need to know? Except that their shakes are also 99 cents during the month of June. And JUST now I learned that there is nothing on my keyboard that will produce the "cents" symbol. Has it always been that way?
9. Behind every good man in a road trip crisis is a good woman with a bag of wipes
10. Anyone who still operates under the notion that all black people have rhythm has never seen Oprah dance

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cautiously optimistic

This whole house thing has been a bit of a roller coaster, and I will spare you the gory details but as for now, our house is back under contract which means we are back to being excited about the house we're trying to buy. It is being built, and is supposed to be finished at the beginning of August. I have been negligent in remembering my camera on my visits to see the progress because I think part of me doesn't want to get too attached, but it's kinda too late. Anyway, my friend Ganelle went out there with me yesterday and since she was sick of me forgetting my camera, she brought hers instead and took some pictures. So, here's a little sampling of our (hopeful) new digs!

KIDS IN FRONT


THE BACK


LOOKING INTO THE FAMILY ROOM FROM THE KITCHEN - THIS IS WHERE WE WILL SNUGGLE UNDER BLANKETS WHEN IT'S SNOWING, OPEN CHRISTMAS PRESENTS AND WATCH THAT FIRST SEASON OF "MACGYVER" ON DVD THAT CORY GOT FOR FATHER'S DAY.


IF YOU COME TO VISIT ME, THIS IS WHERE YOU WILL READ MY EXTRA COPIES OF 'O' MAGAZINE WHILE YOU'RE CONDUCTING YOUR "BUSINESS" AND WHERE I WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH AMPLE SUPPLY OF PERT SHAMPOO


SAMANTHA STANDING IN SHOWER OF THE MASTER BATHROOM WITH MY FRIEND'S LITTLE BOY - LET'S HOPE THIS DOESN'T BECOME A HABIT


DREW IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MASTER BEDROOM

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Dear Dad, Thank you...

…for coming to my high school basketball games and yelling almost as loud as mom.
…for pretending you liked Wile E. Coyote as much as we thought you did.
…for hating to discipline us, but loving us enough to do it anyway.
…for insisting that the guy selling you the used car fill out the proper sale amount on the paperwork, even though he was trying to do you a favor by reducing it. You didn’t believe in favors unless they involved integrity.
…for loving Tim Conway.
…for teaching summer school so many years in a row because we needed the money. In case you wondered if anyone noticed besides mom, we did.
…for going to college.
…for saying "bollocks" and "aaaaaaargh!" and "ghe-mi-ga-shu-maaaaahhhhhh!" When you were mad, usually while working on cars, instead of…other things.
…for the killer song machine you gave me for my 21st birthday, and for drilling a hole in the dashboard to install it so it could be heard effectively throughout my college town.
…for always wanting to do the right thing.
…for being the kind of high school biology teacher that never ate out, and instead ate in his classroom with the doors open for any students who might need a listening ear or just a place to go.
...for thinking that $15 for a shirt is a ripoff.
…for leading a group of family and friends in a rousing rendition of “I’m A Yankee Doodle Dandee” in the airport with banjos and red, white & blue Styrofoam hats when coming to pick me up after my first airpline flight, which fell on the fourth of July. (For those of you who know me, but not my father, does this help explain things?)
…for regularly telling us that you loved us. We could always tell when you’d had a particularly hard night in the Bishop’s office. You would walk in the door, half hunched over with strain written into your forehead and interrupt “Knight Rider” to make sure we knew it. We did. We do. I love you too Dad. Happy Father’s Day.

Friday, June 13, 2008

How Social Security tries to kill us off

If you are planning to spend a few minutes on the internet today, I have found the best way for you to use it. It comes to you from my friend Kira, a very gifted writer who is not only hilarious, but even more hilarious. Grab a cold one, sit down, and READ THIS. Then READ THIS. It ends in universal victory.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Do you believe in miracles?

In the planning of our summer schedule we have dedicated our Wednesdays as "Pool Day". This sounds fun, right? When you hear the word "pool" don't you start dreaming in different shades of aqua blue and fantasizing about nonchalantly sipping your cold beverage while donning the coolest, newest, hippest sunglasses? Yeah, me neither. My sentiments are more like, WHAT? I'm supposed to wear a bathing suit? Like, with other people around?

The last time I bought a bathing suit was six years ago. I went into a department store and saw a section labeled "Miracle Suits", figured they were talking to me, and bought this little number. Cute, right? It claims to take off ten pounds in ten minutes. It comes pretty close, although being able to achieve deep breaths while wearing the suit is irrelevant to the makers of this product. Nevertheless, I'm open to compromise when discussing revealing one's thighs at weekly conventions of Moms Who Should Not Be Allowed To Claim Childbirth And Look Like That. Also, I'd like to let the brains behind the operation of Miracle Suit know that there's more work to be done. Metaphorically speaking, more mountains yet to climb. As in, it's time for me to buy another bathing suit. Are you with me? I need more than a miracle, and I'm willing to give you more than ten minutes. C'mon, what have you got?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I'm A Hummer

When I was in college I had a roommate Nicole who used to make fun of me for humming all the time. I didn’t even know that I was a hummer until she pointed it out, and then I started to pay more attention and realized that she was right. I hummed ALL the time. She was also my roommate during the period when Cory and I were dating. He and I had been seeing each other for about eight months when he made it known that his feelings were pretty serious. Like, eternally serious. He sensed that I wasn’t ready so we continued to date and left the “m” word out of it. Halloween night of 1992 became a pivotal moment in our relationship. I spent all day feeling very strongly that I needed to break up with him – that night we spent the evening at separate events with friends and afterward he came to my apartment to see me. Everyone was already in bed and all the lights were off, so we went into the dark kitchen where we started to talk. I couldn’t hold it in any longer, and I told him that I needed to walk away from our relationship. He hugged me tight while our emotions bubbled over the surface and then he respected my wishes, let me go, and walked out the door.

A few days later Nicole nonchalantly weighed in and stated, “You’ve stopped humming.” She was a keen observer. For two weeks I zombied my way from class to class and moderately stalked what was now my former boyfriend. I’d stare out my window from the Humanities building and watch him walk by after my Spanish class, lamenting our former routine of walking that sidewalk together on those days. One afternoon I stood behind the freshman dorms which boasted a view of his campus employment just so I could see him exit the building at the end of his shift. I stopped eating. Just kidding. Who does that? Lots of people, I know. But I’ve never known a crisis that didn’t improve when garnished with a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Where was I? Oh yes, break up remorse. I was miserable without Cory in my daily routine. Two weeks later I had a big test to study for and decided that I needed the private confines of the library instead of the bustle of activity that was my apartment, so I gathered my books, shoved them into my bag and set out for campus. On my way out I saw the phone and I thought to myself, “Self, studying would be good and important and the main reason that your parents are paying thousands of dollars in tuition for you to be here. Also, I think I will call Cory.” I called, he answered, and I asked if I could come over. He said “yes”.

His roommate answered the door with a grin and confessed that he was glad I was back, and then I entered the kitchen where Cory stood. He was making guacamole, and when he saw me a smile spread across his face that made my insides calm down and he came over to put an arm around my waist and give me a sideways hug. I was instantly cured. We looked at each other and determined that perhaps a drive was in order. I navigated my “Beast” (as my suburban was affectionately called) to the base of the mountains in Provo where we talked for three hours. I mostly confessed that in addition to losing my ability to hum my way through life the act of breathing, sleeping and functioning at acceptable levels had become increasingly difficult since our breaking up. He said, “I made out with two other women while we were apart but it’s only because I missed you so much” “let’s give this another shot.” My lungs filled with air and exhaled fully for the first time in two weeks as my world became whole again. The next morning I resumed humming and bought donuts for my roommates for breakfast, and Nicole said she liked it when Cory and I got back together. Four months later he proposed to me at the Springville Art Museum and four months after that we were married in the San Diego Temple. That was fifteen years ago today, and I’ve never looked back.

Happy Anniversary Studly.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Wondering...

Are there people who still think that calling Arnold Schwarzenegger "The Governator" is funny?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Blonde Joke

My brother Mike works two jobs - one where he earns a paycheck, and the other is a part-time gig where I swear he does nothing but forward me funny emails. Here's one I'll share:

A blonde calls her boyfriend and says, 'Please come over here and help me. I have a killer jigsaw puzzle, and I can't figure out how to get started.' Her boyfriend asks, 'What is it supposed to be when it's finished?' The blonde says, 'According to the picture on the box, it's a rooster.' Her boyfriend decides to go over and help with the puzzle. She lets him in and shows him where she has the puzzle spread all over the table. He studies the pieces for a moment, then looks at the box, then turns to her and says: 'First of all, no matter what we do, we're not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a rooster.' He takes her hand and says, 'Second, I want you to relax. Let's have a nice cup of tea, and then ...' he said with a deep sigh, 'Let's put all the Corn Flakes back in the box.'

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Worst Daughter Ever Award goes to...

Moi. It's not that I forgot her birthday, it's just that I didn't happen to remember it on the actual day. The woman who said, "Honey, it's OK. Drop the Geography class" when I called her from my college dorm room, stressed with too many credits, did not receive a call from me on May 15th to wish her a happy birthday. This is the same woman who was never late picking me up from school, who put presents in my lunch on Valentine's Day, who sent me sappy cards in college with her handwritten message that scathed, "Who in their right mind would ever send a card like this ON PURPOSE??" and then sent me flowers after a bad day. This is a woman who deserved to be remembered on the day she was born from one that she gave birth to, but I forgot. Not even 24 hours later forgot, SEVEN DAYS LATER forgot!! Mom, I would like to say I'm sorry by telling the internet how cool you are. I love you! Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Up & Running

We still have some tweeking to do on our new blog, but for the most part we are up and running! Here's where you can find me and some other really great women. This is going to be fun!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Dude, I'm stoked

Have you noticed that "Dude" has made a comeback? Good news for me, since I never really moved on from it. Although I'm pretty sure "stoked" is still mostly reserved for stoners.

But Dude! The reason I am stoked (stoner or not, it's effective) is because we bought a house today! We tried to put a contract on it Saturday but ran into a few problems, namely that somebody else beat us to it. We are lucky, and he backed out. It is going to be awesome.

Right?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Friend or foe? You decide.

You know how in elementary school it was the kid who gave you the most grief that supposedly liked you the most? Is that also true for adults?

Friday night our church had a fundraising activity to help the youth earn money for their summer camps. We paid to get in, paid to play games and do activities, and then auctioned off all the donated desserts that people brought. A dozen cinnamon rolls went for $120. I watched a guy pay $110 to buy back the cake that his WIFE brought! Crazy.

Then in the corner of the room were three jars with three different names on it. I was one of them. Throughout the night people could put money in the jars, and the one with the most money in the end would get a pie in the face. (You see where this is going?) Our friend Erik was also one of the three contenders, and every time someone put a dollar in his jar, he put a dollar in mine. The Bishop saw my jar and shoved a $20 in it. When they tallied the end results and ruled me as the "winner", they added, "Let's just say it wasn't close." THEN they auctioned off the opportunity to be the one to throw the pie in my face, and raised another chunk of cash.

I can't decide whether this scenario represents a congregation of Kristy haters who have been dying for a chance like this, or if it's more like that 2nd grade mentality where the one getting picked on might actually be liked by the class. Either way, I got a pie in the face and I think the people enjoyed it. And if that doesn't pay for Samantha's summer camp, I quit.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Scoop

Several months ago I was approached about doing a group blog with a few other writers. For money. It has taken a while for the idea to get off the ground, but Monday I flew out to Salt Lake City to meet with the other writers and fine tune our plans. Having been mostly a stay-at-home mom for the last twelve years I have to admit that flying out for a "business meeting" wearing clothes that in no way resembled my pajamas while hooking up my laptop to the airport WiFi made me feel cooler than it should have. I haven't worn heels for that long since, like, Adam.

Anyway, we have been test driving the other website for a couple of weeks and are hoping to go live on Monday if all the graphic design for the site is ready to go. When that happens, I'll let you know the address and how you can find me over there if you're interested. I suspect that my posting here may become a little irregular since I'd like to do all I can to make the other site a success, but I hope you'll hang with me!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

Mother's Day highlight: Cory made me crepes for breakfast.
Lowlight: Drew was given a handout at church to fill in about his mom. For example:
If I could give my mother anything, I'd give her a ________________.
I love my mother because ____________________.
It was a lengthy handout, so most of Drew's spaces were left blank. However, he managed to fill in the following:
The first thing my mother does when she wakes up is...SHE SLEEPS IN.
He knows me so well.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Under Contract

Apparently it's supposed to be really hard to sell a house in this market, yet somehow, in less than a week we have found a buyer for our home. We have been negotiating for a couple of days, and today we are officially under contract. I think I'm supposed to be excited, but instead I'm feeling really close to streaking through my neighborhood to relieve stress. Plus, that would help my neighbors cope with my leaving. Trust me, they are all broken up about it.

The annoying thing about selling our home, however, is this nagging feeling that perhaps I should hurry and find another one. From what I hear this isn't supposed to be very hard. I can even look at homes from home! I can conduct searches by simply typing in square footage or a neighborhood or even a zip code and find hundreds of homes for sale. I can go to zillow.com and see aerial views, select the panoramic photographs and take a virtual tour, and check the family watch dog site to make sure there are no registered sex offenders on my block. Incredible friends to the realtors, these websites.

Still, I would find it helpful if they would add options to conduct a search on neighbors who will let you borrow eggs, addresses for people who make bread for a living and constantly bring you leftovers, and links to housing developments where Brad Pitt look-alikes roam the streets with their lawnmower, in search of opportunities to mow people's lawns for free. With their shirts off. House hunting should be awesome.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

"You haven't posted for four days and THIS is the best you can do?"

When someone uses the term, "all the nooks and crannies", what the heck is a cranny?

Friday, May 2, 2008

For Sale

A few years ago my friend Ganelle and I were engaged in a healthy prank war. I guess you could say it was always ongoing, but it escalated one day when I was at her house and she needed to run a quick errand while her baby slept, so I offered to babysit for a few minutes. When she left, my eyes searched the room for the remote control but got distracted by the bookcase where she housed all of her scrapbooks from years past. A brilliant idea overcame me, and I quickly began flipping through the pages of a book until I found a picture taken during one of her first years as a high school teacher. She wore an embroidered sweater vest and sported a haircut more appropriate to ten years previous. It was perfect. I yanked it out and stuffed it in my purse.

I brought it home, made a color copy, wrote a cheesy update on her life (something about putting off teaching for a while so she could accept a promotion as CEO of T&T Inc.; the initials of her two young boys) and mailed it to her college alumni magazine. She was featured in the next issue.

A few months later our family went to Mexico for a family reunion. Ganelle was aware of this, and planned her retaliation in advance. At her first opportunity before we left on vacation, she stole my house key, made a copy, and returned it to its rightful spot before I noticed. She was busy in our absence. When we came home we found that every picture on the walls in our house had been replaced with a picture of HER, in various sizes. She had made 140 copies – if they weren’t in a frame, they had been hidden in other parts of the house. I was finding them for months. Also, she put our house up for sale. She borrowed a “For Sale By Owner” sign from a realtor friend and stuck it in our yard with her phone number on it. She got two calls and a visit from our neighbor who lamented as Ganelle pounded the sign into our grass, “Awww, all the good ones are leaving!”

But back then it was a joke. Today it is for real. The “For Sale” sign went up in our yard this afternoon, making it official. Despite the fact that we are making this decision voluntarily, and we’re probably not going more than 15 minutes away, it’s really hard to see it there. It’s just so…non conducive to denial. A bit of a problem when denial serves as one’s “happy place”. Still, I am focusing on the positive, not the least of which is my realtor who struck a deal with my kids the night we signed the papers saying he would give them each ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS on the day of our closing if I could vouch that they had worked really hard to keep the house clean. Brilliant, my realtor. It’s already working. The kids had the day off from school today and Drew asked me early on, “So, what are we doing today?” I thought he was referring to a fun outing, and I assured him he would be playing with friends in the afternoon. “No,” he said. “I mean what do I need to do to help clean today?” He scrubbed the bathroom and did other jobs for over an hour this morning. If you ever move to Denver and need a realtor, I will hook you up! In the meantime, I think I'll sit and enjoy the cleanliness that is not likely to last until morning.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Music and Lyrics

I do not love gardening, and gardening does not love me. If John Denver were still alive I would call him up and say, “Dude, time for you to come up with one new song and go back on tour and you’re welcome because I have a new verse to add to 'Sunshine On Your Shoulders'.” And he would say, “No WAY!” And I would say, “WAY!” and then sing the following: Goat heaaaaaads in my fingerrrrrrrrrs hurt so badlyyyyyyy.

He would go on tour and pay me royalties and I would be rich. Too bad he’s dead, ‘cuz I don’t have a backup plan.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I swear, I don't even say the words "home improvement" in this post anywhere

When I was working as a professional my resume said things like, “strong attention to detail, goal oriented, calm under pressure,” and I had all the technological experience necessary to support a group of fresh college graduates down a path of experience they soon relegated unworthy of the thousands they paid in tuition.

Now the bad news. That girl is dead. My strong attention to detail doesn’t seem to be spilling over into the laundry department, my list of goals has been demoted to a list of DON’Ts, like don’t spray cement into the mouths of your neighbors’ dogs, don’t put the open paint can there, and for the love of all that is good and holy don’t kid yourself into thinking that you can fit in that window well to clean the other side of that window. That whole “calm under pressure” bit? Doesn’t apply to children. Technological experience? I still tape my favorite shows on my VCR and get my phone messages from an answering machine we got as a wedding present fifteen years ago. I can get my email and read my blog comments, DO NOT HASSLE ME.

My latest discovery: Multi-tasking was invented for other people. I would like to move. I would like to finish up those photography classes that I paid for two years ago. I want to scrapbook our lives from the last three years, and I would very much like to find the time to get back to Michael Vartan about that lunch date he has been hounding me for. Also, I would like to keep blogging because how else will I flaunt my lunch dates with celebrities? Plus, have I mentioned that I’ve been hired to blog for Deseret Book? More details on that to come. In the meantime, people say “change is good”. I hope those people don’t ever need to see my resume.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Lightbulb moment

In addition to visiting for Drew’s baptism, my parents and in-laws worked tirelessly to help us with a few projects around the house. One of them was installing some new lights. During the installation of our entryway light, we recognized that our 6' ladder wasn’t big enough to reach the high ceiling where the light connects. We called several people to see what we might be able to borrow, but everyone had about the same thing we did. My mom jokingly suggested pulling over my dining room table and putting the ladder on it at which point my dad’s eyes lit up with enthusiasm.

For real.

“Hey, that could work!” he piped. This was my cue to take the phone to the garage and call my sister to explain the scenario. “So mom said…and then dad was like, ‘excellent!’ and I’m like, ‘OR, not excellent!’” At this point my sister said, “What are you doing talking to ME? YOU GOTTA GET BACK IN THERE!” But in the time I was gone his enthusiasm had amplified for the increasing probability of landing himself either six feet under or in the Redneck Hall of Fame, so I ran to the neighbor across the street to see if she could please have a very tall ladder I could borrow before my dad ruined my beautiful dining room table killed himself, but she was all chatty and like, ‘The new paint job on your house looks great! So are you guys moving for sure? We’ve been thinking about it too. So who’s visiting…?’ then Cory ran over and got caught in the fray until he couldn’t hold it any longer and simply interrupted with, ‘Your dad is putting the ladder on four chairs. You might want to hurry back.” It took six adults to install one light, which we managed to do without any physical injuries. Emotional injuries, well, that’s up for debate.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My philosophy

It's the age old Philosophy 101 question posed to have us think outside the box of our naive college student minds, and it goes something like, "If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" The first time I heard this question I thought, “Does it matter?” I didn’t much excel at philosophy. Despite that, I’ve asked myself some equally poignant, self reflective and philosophical questions lately. For example, “If a ceiling fan goes unnoticed and unused for over a decade at the top of one’s stairs, does it still collect dust?”

I can declare with authority that the answer is yes. Yes, it does.

Overheard

On the radio: "I tell everyone I know about sedation dentistry."
On TV, promoting a disco aerobics class: "Fro and glitter pants not required."
In the car: "Usually I chase girls at recess but today my friends and I were on vacation."

What Drew wrote in his journal about his baptism on Saturday: "Today I got baptized. I had fun at my baptism and the water was all warm when I got in. When I got out of the water I felt like I did the right choice. I really liked the cookies they had. And I liked the cake too except I didn’t really like the middle that much."

Friday, April 18, 2008

I'm not TOTALLY dispensable. She still can't drive.

It's really been pretty hectic around here lately. As the rumors have indicated, we are planning to sell our house this summer, which means we are trying to get it ready to list in a couple of weeks. Hence all the posting about my home improvement woes. [Digression: One of my friends showed up at my door last night with homemade cinnamon bread on a piece of tile that said, "Sorry about all your tile woes". The bread was still warm, the frosting was a-plenty, and I'm all better now. How freakin' awesome are my friends???] Just think how lucky you are that I wasn't blogging when we were finishing our basement.

So yesterday, I got sick. The kind of sick where taking a shower is just preparation for a nap. But it wasn't the kind of day I could dedicate to naps and Sudafed because my in-laws and parents were both coming into town for Drew's baptism, which is Saturday. I made several compromises as to the state of my home upon their arrival, and luckily they are all ridiculously accommodating.

In summary: house in total disarray? check. company coming to serve as witnesses of our true ineptitude? check. no food for them to eat? check. sick? unable to breathe but for the magic of certain pills? check. kids getting to bed right on time at about the time the werewolves come out? check. But they did finally get to bed, and when I went to bid them a final goodnight, Samantha asked, "Hey Mom? How about if I just take the extra alarm clock and I'll get Drew up in the morning so you can sleep longer?" I said she was incredibly sweet, but that wasn't necessary. "Well, it's just that when I'm sick you take extra good care of me, but who's going to take care of YOU?" I gave her the alarm clock, she woke me when it was time to go, and we have never had a morning run more smoothly. I'd like to focus on the positive here, which is that my kid is awesome, and not the fact that she's basically a driver's license away from not needing me at all. Work with me.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

If these walls could talk

If my walls could talk I think my living room might say something like, "Such nice taste in color Kristy has. I'm so happy to be taupe," and I really think my loft/office space identifies with being library red. If my furniture had a voice I think it would say, "How nice to be right by this window to watch the snowfall" or "I just love my cozy spot by the fireplace". I'd like to think the hardwood in my entry and hallway enjoys being the perfect surface to drag the kids over on a blanket, or to serve as the running track when friends are over.

As the newest member of our family, I am more curious about what our new kitchen floor has to say. Specifically, the grout. The grout that was put in, dried, sealed, cracked, dug out, put in again, sealed again, and is now starting to crack again. I can't be sure, but as I was on my hands and knees putting on the second coat of sealant this morning I swear it was contemplating, "Hmmm...how to say this nicely...you are too stupid for this kind of work." Then again, maybe that was me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

If all dogs go to heaven, I'm holding out for hell

My neighbor's dog barked for OVER AN HOUR last night. It began at 4:00 am and not until I was researching the internet to try and find their phone number did it finally stop. Incidentally, they are not listed. Naturally.

Not to worry, my other neighbor waited until 7:00am before hammering away on their new roof. As for the rest of my day, I will be a slave to the grout gods who, by the way, are getting way too manipulative with my time. I'm starting to feel like Cinderella, minus the singing prince and pretty dress. Not that I need a dude in pants that are too tight to spin me in circles while singing a gay song, but it wouldn't kill a fairy to show up with a new outfit.

And I lived happily ever after.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

"I'm gonna go water my crotch now" followed by Indiana Jones music

More home improvement projects this weekend. This is what Cory said right before going outside to cut tile, and followed it up with a little tune from "Raiders of the Lost Ark". If you have ever done this before, you know where the water splashes back in the process of tile cutting. If you haven't ever done this before, the post title doesn't leave much to question. I hope your weekend is more exciting than ours.

Update 5:23 pm - Hard work, saving money, and pride in one's ability to learn new skills is overrated. The end.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

2,920 days ago

Dear Drew: I will never forget the blissful couple of days I spent in the hospital with you after you were born. And it wasn’t just because of the plate of warm cookies Ganelle brought me. I hardly knew you then, and as all mothers do, I wondered what kind of a kid you would be. At that point I didn’t know the critical role that lightsabers would play in your life. So critical that you felt it necessary to wear pants over your swimsuit to swim lessons because your swimsuit didn’t have a belt, and then WHERE WOULD YOU POSSIBLY BE ABLE TO HANG YOUR LIGHTSABER? I didn’t know that learning to swim would make you feel “even more like a Jedi, because Jedis don’t use floaties or noodles.” Your desire for good to conquer evil was also evident one day when Samantha began to make siren noises, and you stopped mid-sentence to shout, “I gotta go save the world!”

I didn’t know that you would be so capable of soaking in simple pleasures of life. But I witnessed it once when we were riding our bikes together, just the two of us, and you sensed it by asking, “Is this something special that we’re doing?” I’d see more evidence later when I purchased you an ice cream on a hot, summer day and we drove down the road with the windows down. You let out a huge sigh as your head relaxed against the seat and you declared, “Ahhh, I just LOVE my life.”

I didn’t know you would care so much about other people, but a few weeks ago when the community was collecting loose change for a boy in need in our neighborhood, you went up to your room and got every penny, nickel, dime and quarter from your own personal stash and turned it over to him. When I told you that in lieu of a party this year I would give you a $50 shopping spree at any store you wanted, your first thought was to spend thirty of those dollars on a friend who really wanted a certain game for his Nintendo. You came to your senses when we went to the store and you saw all the shiny, new lightsabers, but still.

I positively had no idea how much bodily functions would command your attention. Who knew that you would glean motivation from the Old Testament when potty training as you declared, “Moses doesn’t wear a pull-up”? Or that when your slurpee began to drip from the straw onto the couch you would laugh because, “it was going pee”? Or that my saying the word “butt” could make you laugh in the middle of a homework crisis?

I surely had no clue then how much you would come to love all things camouflage, or that you would still beg to snuggle with me every once in a while, or that bad dreams would still urge you to my side of the bed in the middle of the night.

I guess that’s the beauty of the last eight years, is that I can sit here and say that if I knew then what I know now, I would do it all over again.

Happy Birthday buddy.
Love,
Mom

In case you haven't heard, I'm a pretty big deal around here


Yesterday I made penguin cupcakes to deliver to Drew’s classroom for his birthday. Here’s where you should take notes, because if you are ever feeling like you are not that cool, bring treats to your kid’s elementary school class. Birthday or no birthday, this will do wonders for your spirits. I walked in mid-math, the teacher stopped, had the class put down their pencils and greet me in unison with, “Hellooo Mrs. Steele!” I returned their greeting and stepped through the aisles where kids I knew whispered to their neighbor, “I know her!” while animatedly waving their arms at me. Others who desperately wanted to share in the popularity contest would grasp at straws to say something like, “Hey! You were there at the same time as MY conference!” [nudging her friend to make sure she heard clearly, I’m SERIOUS! She was THERE!] It was highly amusing. I was the talk on the playground – I went out to tell Drew goodbye and he and his friends were standing in a circle devouring their treat and when they saw me they came running up to declare that I made the best cupcakes EVER. When I picked up Drew up from school, he got in the car and declared with pride and a grin that his friends Keaton and David said I was a really good cooker. I may not hold a candle to my friend Heather here, but the 2nd graders don't know that.

Seriously, you should try it. Eight-year-old kids is where it’s at.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Favoring columns on public policy and current news

A couple of months ago a friend of mine sent me a link to the Denver Post, which was advertising a writing competition for a section of the paper called "Colorado Voices". Figuring I had nothing to lose, I sent in an application including two writing samples. Yesterday I received my official rejection letter, signed by a woman who serves as coordinator of the editorial page.

The letter states, “I'm sorry to say your entry was not among those chosen. We favor columns on public policy, social issues and current news.” I think what she meant to say was, “We are sorry, but you are way too funny for us.” Luckily, I’m really good at reading between the lines.

"No junk food until AFTER you've had some pizza."

I did. I said this today. Don't judge me.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

No pain, no back hickeys

I believe there are certain signs of desperation that deserve our attention. I also think that rubbing your back up against the corner of your wall to get to a knot in your muscles that you can’t reach is one of them. Luckily, I know a massage therapist who lives on my street that comes highly recommended, so I paid her a visit. There’s something about getting naked in between warm sheets at your neighbor’s house that causes one to reflect.

[Digression: At this very moment my children are laughing over a booger on my bathroom floor. Sam says Drew did it. Drew says he didn’t, and defends that it’s not even a real booger. They were both laughing. I was not in the mood, and actually asked the following question in all seriousness and irritation, IS THERE A BOOGER ON MY BATHROOM FLOOR OR NOT????!! And then tried not to laugh. Back to the main topic…]
First of all, I wondered why none of the current presidential candidates have outlined mandatory foot rubs in their health care reform plans. Or for that matter, why hasn’t it been proposed as an obligatory ritual before UN meetings? If we could just get one undercover American to infiltrate Osama bin Laden’s camp and give him a good foot massage we would have world peace.

Secondly, I would like to know when “cupping” became appropriate behavior in the masseuse / client relationship. I specifically requested “no cupping” this time because of the stark recollection from my previous visit which left me with an allover back hickey. Not to mention it felt like someone trying to extract my spleen with a vacuum cleaner strong enough to suck up cement. She said it would be beneficial in my problem spot, so I relented and tried not to scream like a little girl. I wondered if Jack Bauer ever tried this technique on any of his enemies.

As I left she handed me some bottled water, told me to take a bath in Epsom salts, and to drink half my body weight in ounces of water. I fear this might drain my local reservoir. Doesn’t she know we’re in a drought?

Because it's Spring Break, that's why

The first time I looked at the clock this morning it said "8:45". Way too early to get up on a day when we don't have to be anywhere. I have to pee, I thought. I can hold it. Phone's ringing. I'll check the caller ID later. 9:15, I'm not really tired, I just don't feel like getting up. Maybe I'll read for a while. Reading makes me tired, so I snuggle back under the covers. I'm hungry. All righty then, time to get up.

Monday, March 31, 2008

12 Years Ago, March 29th at 1:38 am

Dear Samantha:
A couple of weeks ago I was trying to explain homework to Drew for the 17th time and he and I were both getting frustrated. I stood up and walked away while counting slowly to 10, and he spun elaborate schemes in his head about the possibilities of channeling Darth Vader to destroy long division. Then you came in. I was still pacing, “7…8…9…” and not feeling any calmer when you sat down next to him and started to explain his assignment kindly and patiently. He gave you his full attention and finished his homework in minutes.

At the beginning of the school year you decided to run track for the 6th grade team. With no prior experience and no other friends joining you in this quest, you showed up every day after school for six weeks of practice. Your windblown ponytail and pink cheeks revealed the hard work you were putting in, and I was so proud of you for trying something new. Aside from that one week where they got your name mixed up with that big German girl on your team and had your 55 lb. frame competing in the shot put, I loved watching your track meets. I will never forget the look on your face as you grabbed the baton in the final leg of the 800 Meter Dash and tried to catch up to the opponent ahead of you. The soft ripples around the dimples in your smile condensed into fierce lines that displayed a look of intensity that I had never seen in you before. I entertained the idea of not having to worry about you so much, because that kind of determination will get you a lot further than an 800 meter dash.

Yesterday I watched you walk to the front of the church congregation as the Bishop presented you with a certificate of advancement from Primary into the Youth Program. You recited one of the 13 articles of faith into a microphone in front of hundreds of people without batting an eyelash, and minutes later gave a talk in front of the Primary children without any notes. And it hit me - we sure have come a long way from putting bows in your hair with KY Jelly.

I’ve been watching you learn and grow in various capacities for twelve years now. You learned how to walk on our hardwood floors when you were 1, how to play tea party with Dad at Christmas when you were 3, and how to kick all our butts on Mario Kart’s DK Mountain when you were 10. And while I still believe you get your creativity from me and your apathy toward multiple sugary treats from your dad, in the end you are just you. And being a part of that is the real gift.
Happy Birthday baby girl.

Love,
Mom

Friday, March 28, 2008

A word of caution

If your oven has been unplugged and in your dining room for five days and was used in the interim as a prop to play restaurant, hold your Sonic trash, and provide a nice little niche for dirty socks to get lodged, I highly recommend that you conduct a thorough exam of said oven after returning it to its rightful spot in the kitchen. Otherwise, you might go to use it for the first time and start to smell something funny. When the smell becomes so strong you can no longer ignore it, you may open up the oven door and discover that you have been preheating the top of a shoe box. (Why? Why??) This is not only dangerous, but it can make your pizza smell funny.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Hoof Hearted wins!

C'mon, admit it. You laughed!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dear Home Depot: Thank you for living just down the street from me.

Here's why I am cool. I worked for ELEVEN HOURS today purchasing, loading, painting, cutting, nailing, and caulking the new baseboards for my kitchen. I also put two coats of sealer on the grout. If you blindfolded me and turned me around thirty times I could still point you to the paint section and the lumber aisle at Home Depot.

Here's why I am not cool. In the 17 visits I have made to Home Depot in the last week I have only worn something besides my pajamas once. And that was worse, because my overalls, orange shirt and orange hat made me look like the long lost cousin of Mario and Luigi. Also interfering with my cool factor is my tendency to yell and throw things when my 13th attempt to cut a perfect 45 degree angle with a saw that is as efficient as a dull nail file goes awry. It's probably best that my children were at school most of the day. I said some things. Unfortunately, the family who lives behind me and homeschools their 8 children were not spared. "Children!" their mother barks to snap their attention back to their math instead of the flying miter box in the sky. She explains how the phrase "I am woman, hear me roar" was not intended to be taken quite so literally.

Finally I realized that the only thing that could save me (and perhaps the neighbors) were those three magic words: electric. miter. saw. I made some calls and managed to borrow one from a friend and I am telling you, the electric miter saw could not be a better friend if it took my calls and remembered my birthday. The baseboards are done. Oven is out of my dining room, refrigerator is out of my family room, and we will no longer have to eat breakfast at the table in the middle of the living room. I have my kitchen and sanity back. Perhaps I should make some cookies and deliver them to the neighbors.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Home Improvement for Dummies

There are essentially two schools of thought when it comes to laying tile to replace existing linoleum that went out of style about the same time as Atari. One, tile over the linoleum. Two, spend 17 hours ripping up old linoleum, install Wonderboard, and THEN you may tile, you gargantuan fool you have no business doing home improvement. I vote group #1. Mainly because it all depends on your definition of a "fool", and because I am not afraid of being called gargantuan.

Aside from finishing our basement, which was only done because of a friend of ours who told us what to do, tiling our kitchen is the most aggressive home improvement project Cory and I have ever undertaken, second only to dusting all the way to the top of the 20 foot ceilings in our living room. We almost called it off the night before we started because we discovered a water line that we couldn't shut off. Which left us with the following options:
a) Instead of removing the refrigerator completely, we would have to tile around it and work in stages. Pros: we would not flood our kitchen. Cons: I would not have full use of my kitchen until Samantha graduated from high school. And I might kill someone.
b) We could install a new valve. Pros: A decent option if you are “fix-it people”. Cons: We are not “fix-it people”.
c) Turn off the water completely for approximately four days. Pros: Again, able to avoid flooding in the kitchen while still removing the refrigerator. Cons: Despite Cory's attempt to decorate this option with optimism by saying we could "practice for a natural disaster and see what it's like not to shower for several days", I vehemently rejected this choice on the basis that I would again, likely kill someone. Only this time I would also smell bad, so I’d be easy to find.
d) Find an angel at Home Depot who helps you locate a gadget that will allow you to disconnect said waterline and cap it off. For only a few minutes and a few dollars your problems are solved.

We chose “d” with more enthusiasm than should be allowed to display for small copper parts. But seriously, when Cory showed up with that and made it work I have never wanted him more. We got all the tile down in one day, and were barely able to walk the next. But the kitchen looks awesome. A little grout and a couple more nights out at Chipotle and we’re in business.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Riding in cars with boys

I was driving a car full of boys home from school when Drew stuck his head out the window and yelled to a kid walking on the sidewalk:
"Hey brutha (brother) from anotha (another) mutha (mother)!"
Me: "Drew! Don't yell at kids out the window. And where in the world do you get stuff like that?"
Anonymous 1st grader in our car: "Well, sometimes we learn it from books. At recess I tell girls they are the sexiest, sexiest hottie. Uh...but don't tell my mom that." I resisted the urge to ask him what he had been reading lately, then admitted that I was totally telling his mom. Blaming his dad, but telling his mom.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I swear this is what they’re doing when we’re asleep

After days like today, I sometimes wonder if it was premeditated. I imagine Drew walking in our room at night, whispering our names, and when he doesn’t see us respond he knows we’re really asleep and he’s in the clear. He runs to Samantha’s room and jumps on her bed and wakes her up to have a little chat.

“Psssst!! Samantha!” he whispers loudly as he nudges her awake. She sits up groggily and rubs her eyes and asks Drew what’s going on.
“Well,” he says. “Mom seems fragile right now. I have a plan; I think we can take her.”
“I’m listening.”
“So, here’s the deal. She’s picking me and my friends up from school around 2:30pm. I’m going to ask her something that I know she’ll say ‘no’ to so I can immediately start some regular whining.”
Regular whining?”
“Yes. Regular whining. No door slamming or feet stomping, just the repetitive questioning of ‘whyyyyy’???? accompanied with a solid look of disdain and the crossing of my arms. Nothing serious.”
“Sounds fair.”
“Then, at some point my friends will have to go home. And you know how I feel about this. Whether it’s been 17 hours or 17 minutes, it has not been long enough and so I will say, ‘Awwww, but we just got to the fun part of our game where the Good Superhero takes over the world and sends all Bad Superheros to exile in a wasteland of lima beans!’ And she will say, ‘Sorry, but it’s time to go.’ Then I will amp it up, refuse to come down off the playhouse, and when she threatens to take away my Nintendo game I will come off the house but I will add the stomping of my feet and the furrowing of my brow but I will also keep with the crossing of my arms. It looks more defiant and more convincing of how unfair the whole situation is.”
“I see.”
“And after that we’ll pick you up from school, but we’ll only have seven places to choose from to sit for the whole two of us. This is where you come in.”
“All right.”
“So, I’ll sit in the middle seat, then you sit behind me in the backseat, and when I try to push my seat back you can yell at me for hitting your knees, proving to mom and dad once and for all that even if we drove an RV with 8 bedrooms, a trampoline and a spa we would still fight over which seat we sat in.”
“A trampoline sounds cool.”
“Stay focused. After homework starts I will start ripping up papers and pouting and refusing to communicate. When I finally ask for help on my homework, mom will sit down and try to explain it while I ignore her actual words and stare at the ceiling and tell her over and over that ‘I STILL don’t get it’ before she can even complete a sentence. She will lose her patience at about the 8th round of this.”
“Got it.”
“At this point, she will probably forget that she is the grown-up in the situation and start stomping her feet and ripping up papers like I did. She likes to prove how ineffective our own tactics are.”
“True.”
“This becomes the perfect time for you to start crying over the issue that has been bothering you for the last three months. I highly encourage loud sobbing from your upstairs bedroom.”
“I’m on it.”
“And we’re clear on the regular bedtime routine, right?”
“Business as usual.”
“Excellent. This should be fun.”
They conclude with their secret handshake and return to bed.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Going Green

The way I see it, there's essentially two kinds of moms. The kind who bake shamrock sugar cookies and invite the neighborhood kids over to frost them and make dinner of all green food on St. Patricks Day, and those who don't. Which category would you like to guess that I am in? Well, normally you would be right. But not this time! Today I was one of the fun moms. Unfortunately I didn't remember that it was St. Patrick's Day until after I dropped Drew off at school wearing blue and brown. So really, I'm not so much cool as repentant; trying to find a way to make it up to my 7-year-old boy who was likely pinched and harrassed all day long. So we did all of the above, complete with a dinner of sugar snap peas, granny smith apples, pears, kiwi, green salad, and guacamole.

During dinner he had several questions, all of them ending the same way: Who is St. Patrick, me laddie? Are we celebrating his birthday, me laddie? How old is he, me laddie? Why does everyone wear green on his birthday, me laddie? And why do you get pinched if you don't, me laddie? And then it occurred to me, that in 37 years on this earth, thousands of dollars in college tuition later, I had no idea who St. Patrick even was let alone why we went through all this trouble. So I answered the only way I knew how, "I don't know. Finish your kiwi."

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Dinner with the President

Throughout my life I have always been fortunate to have great friends. When I was pregnant with my first child and about to quit working to become a stay-at-home mom, I was feeling a little apprehensive about the upcoming changes and was in need of a good friend. One Sunday we were sitting in church when I saw a new young couple come in and sit down in a pew across the room and I recognized the female counterpart instantly.

It was “Know-It-All-Head.” I recognized her from a college class we had shared. She always used to sit in the same spot and though we never spoke to each other, I nicknamed her “Know-It-All-Head” because she was constantly correcting and challenging the professor (a.k.a. the grad student who didn't really know anything but pretended to be an expert). At church that day it wasn’t long before we approached each other in mutual recognition and in accompanying mutual desperation, we made a date for lunch. We have been friends ever since.

Our friendship hasn’t been one of sheer platitudes and niceties. She tells me the honest truth, I tell her what I really think, then we toast our Diet Cokes and move on to more interesting topics like whether she should highlight her hair before or after her cruise. It’s quite remarkable. She is fiercely loyal, strong, opinionated, resourceful, creative, and smart. We can have conversations of equal length about the death penalty or whether to have a pirate birthday party theme for our kid. When we start a conversation with, “Real quick…” it is anything but. If one of us says, “Hey, opinion question…” be prepared to have a clear stance on the superiority of organic vs. regular, and if we start out with, “Can I just go off for a minute?” then get comfortable. As it turns out, Know-It-All-Head makes some good points.

So here’s the story. Several months ago my friend and her family were preparing to move and she was a little concerned that her strong personality would alienate her new associates at church before they really got to know her. So my husband made her a deal. For SIX MONTHS at church she couldn’t make any controversial comments, share any opinions, or make sarcastic remarks to the person sitting next to her. If she could go a whole six months, Cory would pay to take her and her husband to dinner at their favorite restaurant. [Reason #39 of why we are friends: Highly motivated by food.] The very first Sunday in their new ward would prove to be difficult when the Sunday School teacher asserted his opinion as doctrine, but others in the class chimed in and saved her from having to lose this bet on its first leg of the race. Week after week her challenge got easier, and she settled into emphasizing her easy going and pleasant sides.
Four months later she got a call from her Bishop.
Hours after that she called me. She was a little edgy. It was 10:00 at night, and she was ranting on about how something was our fault.
Apparently the Bishop had an important question for her. As in “We’ve been thinking long and praying hard and feel strongly that you are the person to serve as our new Relief Society President. Will you do it?” Tempted to question his propensity for accurate inspiration and by the way did you know I’m not normally this pleasant? she reluctantly agreed.
Sometimes I call her “President” to her face because I find the rolling of the eyes to be highly rewarding. When she gets hostile on the phone, I accuse of her not acting very presidential and I think she secretly loves that. But it has officially been 6 months, so Friday we made good on our end and took them to dinner. She now spends 15-20 hours a week on the phone or visiting personally with people to assess their needs and address their grievances. One of her biggest challenges so far? People telling her how “sweet” she is. I tell her not to worry, pretty soon they’ll know better than to say such things. In the meantime, I don’t think their Relief Society could be in better hands.

Friday, March 14, 2008

"I think guacamole would be good as a carbonated beverage."

Dad: Did you really say this at the dinner table while eating with mom? She says you did, and I believe her, because a) she never lies and, b) I used to live with you too. We think we know where Drew gets it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

In my next life...

...I want to get paid to travel the globe in search of the world's best hot chocolate. And if that doesn't work out, I suppose being a price checker at the Dollar Store wouldn't be so bad. Oh, and I want to have a pencil sharpening fairy who comes once a month and goes through all my drawers and sharpens all my pencils and throws away all the ones without erasers. And I want there to be scissors in every drawer that are never missing, and when the fairy comes I don't think it would kill her to put my tape back where it belongs.

But so help me if she leaves her backpack and shoes in the middle of the floor when she comes she will be fired and her fairy days will be sooooo over.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Vehicle Safety Features - Saving Lives or Driving You To Drink?

The way I see it, there are basically two groups of people: Those Who Currently Have Small Children, and Those Who Don't. Those Who Don't will come on to the scene of a child running half naked through a home while being chased by another child wielding a plastic sword high above his head and repeating threats recently overheard from a bad Saturday morning cartoon, and your visitor's eyes will get wide and they might ask if they have caught you at a bad time. Those Who Currently Have Small Children are confused by this, because this kind of activity is happening with such regularity that their senses no longer recognize that anything but Chopin is playing in the background. Because in the world of young mothers everyone knows that the real sign of catastrophe is not noise, but silence.

The opposite is true with cars. Now, I'm not gonna lie; despite my heretofore mentioned minivan issues, I love our new van. But so as not to disappoint, I'd like to share some of my outstanding issues. Namely, the safety features. My van, you see, does not trust me to buckle my seatbelt. If I so much as attempt to drive out my driveway without buckling up, it will beep at me. Six times, actually. In a row. As in *beep*beep*beep*beep*...you get the idea. Also, my van does not believe I am capable of remembering to close my doors. They are automatic, you see, so sometimes they take a while to fully shut. We can actually be sitting in the car, everyone fully buckled and ready to go, doors closing, but if they are not completely closed and I start to move the car, again with the incessant beeping until the doors are fully stopped. Know what else? My car does not trust me to come to a full stop while dropping my kids at school, so it requires me to be in "PARK" before I am allowed to open the doors. And if I try to open them prematurely? You know the drill. I will get beeped. And they will not open. UNTIL I AM IN "PARK". Essentially, my new car doesn't believe that I am capable of doing anything right and so it has to do it for me.
Holy crap.
My van is a democrat.

So here's the deal. Much like the mother of young children, I have started to tune out the noise. In this case, the beeping. I drive from my mailbox (located around the corner) to my house without buckling up and when it beeps at me sometimes I yell back in defiance. When I drop my kids at school in the morning, I start to drive off before the door is fully shut. It is my own special way of taking charge of my own life and not letting a huge mesh of metal and parts and digital technology tell me what to do. And it has only backfired on me once.
Like, Saturday.
When I was backing out of the garage and it was beeping because one of the doors was still open, but it was closing and so I ignored it. Except in this case, there were actually TWO doors open. And the other one crashed into the side of my garage which will now cost over $1200 to fix.
Sooo...that's kind of a bummer.