Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Please, Don't Ask

The way I see it, there are basically two kinds of shoppers. Those who strike up conversations with their cashiers at check out and those who don't. You know what I mean. The person ahead of you has all of their bags filled and in the cart, their bill is paid, and it's clearly the appropriate time to take your rightful place at the head of the line. But this person is so convinced that the cashier is hanging on their every word about their recent bout with the flu that they start to throw in the story about how their Aunt Ruth ruined their wedding day when in a moment of drunk weakness she tried to convince the groom he had made a mistake. You move up slowly, trying to close the gap and send a clear message that their time is up while making mental notes such as, "Dude, I think your Aunt Ruth was on to something."

I am not a question asker or a life story revealer in grocery lines. I'm more of a get in, get out, don't ask, don't tell type. But the stores and gas stations are making it increasingly difficult for people like me. The other day I had to go to Wal Mart and the gas station back to back. (Spare me the envy over my exhilerating life.) At the checkout I was asked, as usual, "Did you find everything okay?" to which I was incredibly tempted to reply, "There seem to be no Dove chocolate IV drips in the candy aisle. I mean, are you SUPER WAL-MART or NOT?" Instead I said, "Yep." Because that's how I work once I have reached this part of my shopping journey. I am committed to getting out. Even if it's a lie and I did not in fact find everything I needed, because if I say "No" then the mananger gets paged, and she is either at lunch or in the middle of her "English as a second language" training class, and people are waiting.

And they are adding more questions all the time.
Before I even swipe my card the machine already wants to know, "Did your cashier greet you today?" I know it only takes two seconds, but I am annoyed by this manipulation of my time. I answer "yes" whether it's true or not because as crazy as this makes me, I don't want anyone getting yelled at.
"Would you like to donate a dollar to the Children's Miracle Network?" A delightful organization and worthy of at least one if not more of my dollars, but really, I just came for milk.
"Were you happy with your overall service?" It's a yes or no question. There is no room to write how nice it would be to actually have the blue vested employees know how to answer my burning questions about the location of ice melt, chicken bouillion, and Trivial Pursuit. I answer "yes" anyway. On to the gas station where the display at the pump asks more questions than a first date:
Will this be debit or credit?
Are you paying inside or outside?
Would you like a car wash?
If so, what kind? Please be prepared to distinguish between deluxe, ultimate, and "the works".
How about some hot coffee?
What's your zip code?
Would you like a receipt?
How about fries?
Click here to link to match.com where we can hook you up with other awesome customers who get gas here too!


At the end of it all, I ironically wish for one more question that asks, "Would you like us to leave you the heck alone?" to which I would answer a resounding, "yes", and for once it would be the truth.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It's my secret recipe

The conversation went something like this:

Friend: "Hey, I'm living in denial today and I'm celebrating at Mrs. Field's. Wanna come?"
Me: "Duh! I OWN denial."

And that's how I make friends. Perhaps I should let the Amish in on my secret. I could save them a lot of time and a lot of money on pudding.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday

7:00 am Cory has to leave for meetings. He kisses me good-bye. I mumble a groggy response.
I sleep.
9:16 am The kids are jumping on the bed making requests for a hot breakfast. There is flour and milk and eggs and blueberries and whip cream. They beg for pancakes.
I cook.
10:04 am A roomful of teenage girls at critical stages in their young and impressionable lives will be waiting to hear from me in three hours. My efforts to wrap it up on Saturday were fruitless. I get out my lesson, my scriptures, and rack my brain for an object lesson.
I prepare.
12:43 pm I am fifteen minutes late for choir practice. I jump in the car and drive.
I sing.
3:00 pm I am staring at my roomful of beautiful, amazing girls. I never did get a firm grasp on this lesson, but they are forgiving, inquisitive, and quick to participate.
I teach.
4:15 pm I've been asked to participate in a quartet to perform in church in two weeks. We needed to practice. We met after church.
I sing.
Again.
4:16 pm The soprano in this group has a voice I imagine will be what I hear when I pass from this life and ascend to the heavens. I have a voice that is best reserved for large groups where perfect pitch is optional. Why, exactly, would we be singing in the same company?
I question.
7:32 pm Samantha's throat hurts. This crud has been plaguing her for almost two weeks. I grab the Dimetapp.
I medicate.
7:46 pm I have sent Samantha to bed, Drew wants to talk. And by "talk" I mean he sits next to me on my bed and shows me how he can make himself burp. Really loud. And then brags about his friend Braden who can burp "all the way to 'J' without stopping."
I listen.
9:06 pm I am not tired. The Oscars are on, as well as Ace of Cakes. Helen Mirren's red dress is positively stunning, and Duff is hiding from the 600 girl scouts begging for his autograph where he has delivered a Girl Scout cake. In my next life, I want Duff to be the boyfriend of my college roommate so that our social circles will overlap.
I watch.
11:42 pm I have been tossing in bed for over an hour. I can hear rain on the rooftop; I pull the covers tighter. It is no use. There is school in the morning and cabinets to finish painting and a treadmill to torture me, and I need my sleep. But it isn't coming.
So I blog.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I’m thorry, did you thay thomething?

It’s been a really long time since I’ve had a cavity, but today was the beginning of the end of that party. As a result, for the next several hours this computer will be the only place I can talk without slurring my speech as a result of the tranquilizer dart Novocain. Much like all mundane tasks in my life, I did not endure this experience without observation. As one who has admitted to wearing decade old underwear and once upon a time memorizing all of Lionel Richie’s songs, you should know I wouldn’t lie to you. Plus, I appreciate knowing that you can’t personally witness the drooling from where you sit.

First, a little advice. I highly recommend that anyone who is about to commit to an hour in a dentist’s chair take a quick inventory of the amount of fluids already consumed that morning. In fact, just to be safe I suggest a quick visit to the little girl’s room before surrendering your vocal orifice as the dentist’s playground. This is even better advice when the restroom for this office is not actually located in their office, but down the hall. Otherwise you may discover 20 minutes later that your bowels are filled with anything but mercy, but figuring that you were already this far into the procedure you tell yourself you can hold it, which you do. For another 20 minutes. But he is still drilling, only now you have cotton and wires sticking out, and you are praying to the God of Public Humiliation that if he loves you he will help prevent you from being the first grown adult to urinate in the dentist’s chair. Finally, you may become so desperate that you try to cover it up with humor and ask your dentist if he can see your back teeth floating in there, which you will follow up with nervous laughter until he gets the message and takes out the most obtrusive foreign objects and sets you free. And yes, I really did ask him about the floating teeth.

Second, a word about drilling. If R2D2 were on Jerry Springer and was told by his momma that his brother was sleeping with his fiancĂ©, and that she wasn’t even sure about his real daddy because he was actually a bastard robot from a seedy one night stand she indulged in while visiting the Death Star, I think he would get angry and yell several consecutive robot curses and derogatory proclamations at the top of his radio frequency voice.
And I think it would sound a lot like the drilling on my teeth.

Third, a question. Where exactly are you supposed to focus your eyes when another human being is staring at you from three inches away for over an hour? There’s only so long that I can stare at the brand name printed on the overhead light. Just once I think it would be amusing to stare into their eyes the entire time.

Fourth, a lesson learned. I will never be comfortable with another person being that close to my face wielding sharp objects. And finally, there’s just something about feeling a needle in your gums, seeing smoke wafting up from your mouth, and feeling your lips inflate like Lisa Rinna's after a collagen injection for the rest of the day that inspires you to reconsider your commitment to flossing. I think it’s time I take it seriously.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Wondering...

How is Maury Povich still on television?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Friday Night Fights

I've been stuck at home all day, so I wanted to get out and do something tonight. Cory was gone, so it was just the kids and I. I suggested bowling; Samantha shouted "Yes!" Drew groaned, "Do we haaaave to?" I announced Chipotle for dinner; Samantha placed her order and Drew begged to stay in the car while we went in. I made him get out, he pouted through the line and walked like he had ten pound weights in each shoe.

After getting home I called the bowling alley but there was a long wait. Instead I made the kids turn off all electronic/video game related devices and threw out suggestions of board games. They called all their friends to tell them what a fun mom they had Drew said he just wanted to read his book, then Samantha announced that she wanted to play her flute, after which Drew changed his mind about the sitting still quietly while indulging in positive brain activity thing and decided instead to burp the alphabet in her ear while she played. She LOVED that. I made him stop, so he switched over to another game called Put The Thin Mint Cookie Across The Front Of Your Teeth And Pretend To Be A Gorilla. I lectured Drew on the concept of personal space, and again he reacted with the calling of all his friends to discuss how wise his mom can be. I approached bedtime with bribery: "get it done in 3 minutes and you can play Nintendo DS in bed." With lightning speed they ascended the stairs as if I just barely started speaking a language they could understand.

I never did get out. Thank goodness we have plans for tomorrow.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

How funky is your chicken, how thin is your mint?

Girl Scout cookies were delivered yesterday. I had the privilege of being visited by not one, not two, but three blond haired puppy-dog-eyed girl scouts whom I could not refuse. My cupboards overfloweth. As one who eats Thin Mints by the sleeve, I felt validated by this guy. Consider it my online Valentine.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wondering...

If Drew's older sibling was a brother instead of a sister, would he still have asked for a Webkinz for Christmas? And would he have named it "Snowball"?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Step It Up

I was in college. She was my friend. She had the kind of personality where words like "spunk" and "energy" flowed freely when trying to describe her, and was the kind who always had a tan. She was also an aerobics instructor at Gold's Gym. Now in my defense (you'll soon see why it's necessary) I was very active in college. In fact, if it wasn't for co-ed intramural basketball I can't promise that Cory and I would have kindled a relationship. (Seeing him in shorts helped move things along.) But it was definitely intramural sports where I invested my physical time, and not the gym. So when my friend asked me to come to the step aerobics class she taught, I thought, "What the heck? I'm in good shape. How hard can that be? Except I should probably not wear my INTRAMURAL CHAMPIONS t-shirt to class. I don't want to be too intimidating on my first visit."

We walked in, I set myself up with the equipment, and then I took mental note of all the pledging sorority sisters around me. My defense mechanisms quickly sensed a need to express themselves and I thought, "Yeah, but can you do a reverse layup?" I think that's when I knew I was in trouble.
You should know that when I am working out really hard, my face gets really red. And when I work out to the point of public shame and embarrassment, it's not uncommon for my complexion to reveal hues more akin to the plum and eggplant families. This was definitely an eggplant day.
May I suggest to anyone out there that I still have power to save that if you have never done step aerobics before it would behoove you to start with something other than an advanced class? May I also alert you to the fact that attempting such a feat in a group exercise room constructed entirely out of windows that face the rest of the gym in simulation of a shark exhibit might cause you psychological harm.

It's been over 15 years now, you'd think I could let it go. The good news is that I didn't give up my attmepts at mastering that class, and it was particularly evident to me today as I listened to my instructor yell out commands such as "6-count mambo shasay with a double knee over shuffle turn straddle ham repeater" and I didn't miss a beat. The challenge is when I see someone come in that I don't recognize and I suspect it's their 1st time. The music starts, we begin the warm up, the new girl already doesn't get it, and I am way too familiar with how she feels. The worst part is that she probably doesn't even realize that this is just the warm up, and her journey to blinding humiliation has just begun. Hopefully being surrounded by a bunch of moms instead of aspiring Laker Girls will soften the blow.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Prep Time: 30 min. Ready In: 9 Days, 40 min.

It started with a visit from a neighbor who brought me three things: a paper of instructions, a ziploc full of goop, and some cinnamon bread. Pleasantries were exchanged on the doorstep after which I shut my door and shifted my eyes to the baked goods in the palm of my hand. Not even bothering to take the walk down the hall to the kitchen I took a bite, closed my eyes, and exhaled while leaning back against my wall. Crusty, cinnamony on the outside, moist and delicious on the inside. I eventually made my way to the kitchen where I finally took the time to survery the other items in my hand.

I flipped over the paper where the bold print across the top explained my delivery as "Amish Friendship Bread". My cursory glance at the rest of the directions revealed a list of ingredients and numbered instructions for how to recreate this culinary masterpiece using the bag of goop conveniently supplied for me. A more in-depth look also explained that this procedure would only take me approximately a week and a half. This was a problem, you see, because I sort of wanted more of that bread like, right now.

Day 1: Mush the bag. Sounds easy enough.
Day 2: Mush the bag.
Day 3: Mush the bag.
Day 4: Mush the bag.
Day 5: Mush the bag. I'm starting to feel ridiculous about this process. I imagine a couple of girls in black dresses and white bonnets peeking over my windowsill and giggling while whipering to each other, "She's actually falling for it!" and then running off to a barn raising to tell the rest of the village.
Day 6 is big: Add 1 cup of flour, sugar, and milk. And then mush baby, mush! Except the Amish didn't say baby. Or use the exclamation point.
Day 7: Mush the bag.
Day 8: I'm supposed to mush the bag, and in all seriousness it is a challenge to find the time. I have to go to the gym, run to Costco, make food for a youth activity, take Drew to piano, take Samantha to flute, drop off fundraiser money so my daughter can have something delivered to her on Valentine's Day in the middle of class, shop for snow boots, insert 73 self-deprecating references about how I'm not measuring up, make dinner, and campaign for world peace. I mush the bag with hostility and wonder if this is what the Amish had in mind.
Day 9: The Amish have been screwing with me for over a week now. Mush the bag.
Day 10: It is the last day. I finally get to make the bread!! I'm supposed to add a bunch of ingredients, and then divy up the batter into four separate bags to deliver to friends along with samples of the bread, and thus the cycle continues. Except this is not a good day. It's a day with no promises of any kind of 2 hour block of time to accomplish this task and I wonder if the Amish ever considered that. I'm beginning to think they don't care about me at all, but I've invested over a week of my life at this point and so I fit it in. It isn't until the bread came out of the oven and I took my first bite that I began to forgive. I conclude, "Tobias, Rachel and I? We're like THIS."
Day 11: Doesn't Betty Crocker have a recipe for cinnamon streusel cake that tastes just as good and only takes 45 minutes?
Day 12: Am I really supposed to believe that this bag of fermented slop resulting in baked nirvana started with a girl in Pennsylvania named Rebecca who wants me to widen my social circle? I google Amish Friendship Bread and this is what I get.
Day 13: Betty Crocker, page 74, "Cinnamon Streusel Cake". Prep time: 10 minutes. Ready in: 30 minutes. Giddy up.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Just because I'm cheap, doesn't mean I'm easy

Stripping is seriously hard work. Uhh...let me rephrase that. Stripping paint off my cabinets is not for sissies. My sister tried to warn me; I didn't listen. I should have. Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

False advertising

I was serious when I've mentioned that I have underwear older than my oldest child. She is 11. How can I be sure these underwear are older than she is? Because they are maternity, and I wore them through both pregnancies, which means I purchased them with the first. And yes, sometimes I still wear them. Because what was a cute little pooch over a decade ago as a result of creating another human life is now a not so cute little pooch as a result of what that did to me. And possibly too many Oreos when we go camping. Whatever, I am so giving myself 1,000 blogger points for all that.

I am the same way with bras. I was listening to the radio the other day and they were talking about women and their bras and for the love of all that is good why do they have so many??? They went on to say that the average woman rotates through approximately 5 or 6 bras throughout the week and that they are only built to last around six months. SIX MONTHS?? Are you kidding me? My thirteen-year-old sports bra might have something to say about that. Then again, that bra is about as effective as wrapping cheesecloth around my chest with dental floss, so maybe there's something to that.

The point is, I'm just one of those people who doesn't think about buying new undergarments regularly. But a few weeks ago I found myself in the women's lingerie department and thought, "Huh. New underwear. I think it's time." I was so excited; I brought them home and unwrapped the package and held them up. Confused, I double-checked the packaging and verified that these were indeed intended for a full grown adult and not pre-pubescent Barbie. While it's true that I didn't spend the eight hours necessary to read all the different labels for the kinds of bun encompassing options available to me, I still thought I had made a somewhat educated choice. But recognizing that I do not speak panty language fluently, I studied the packaging to try and discover where I went wrong. It seems only right to pass this on to any others who lack the fluency as well.

Here's what they SAY:
"Fabric-wrapped ComfortSoft® waistband is our most comfortable waistband ever!"
Here's what it MEANS:
Elastic is overrated. The all day wedgie is our friend.
What they SAY:
"Soft cotton-rich knit stretches for flawless fit."
What it MEANS:
"You're too fat. We've decided to work with it while throwing in the word 'flawless', hoping you don't catch on."
What they SAY:
"Cute hipster cut combines low-rise waist with non-binding brief-style legs."
What it MEANS:
"Really, these are mainly for people like the hired models we feature on our packaging. If that isn't you, we hope you still somehow believe that if you buy these panties you will be tricked into thinking you look like that when YOU wear them."
What they SAY:
"Sexy bikini styling makes the most of your curves."
What they MEAN:
"Curves" is the new "Big-boned". We hear the Dove campaigns are making a killing on this and we want in.
What they SAY:
"Classic brief cut offers full coverage, front and back."
What it MEANS:
"Your Grandma called. She wants her underwear back."

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Rock Star

When you are talking on your cell phone to your husband on your way home and he says, "Hey, honey? Remember when you saw that sideboard green thing with the two doors on the front and the paint job that you say gives it "character" and you came home and said you just HAD to have it and I was so supportive of you?"

"What did you buy?"
"Well, I was thinking. And don't you think that should go both ways?"
"Yes, but see I actually talked to you about it first."
"Well, yeah...but...it's just that I really wanted it, and I was on the way home from work, and...."
"What did you buy?" And then it hit me. With it's best shot.
Heart.
KISS.
Guns N' Roses.
It sounds like a Valentine's Day gone terribly wrong, but in fact these are all 80's rock bands featured on the new video game Guitar Hero. He discovered it at Christmas, and has longed for it like a 12-year-old trying to save up his allowance ever since. Except he's not 12. And he doesn't get allowance. But his salary is the reason we have food on our table and a roof over our heads and a sideboard that brings me happiness on a daily basis.
"Sooo, when I walk in the door in a few minutes am I going to see you with a Guitar in your hand jamming to the Rolling Stones?"
"Maaaaybe."
Which meant "yes". Which means we are officially rock stars. At least our living room knows no difference. But there's more good news, because not only is this a modern day exercise in eye/hand coordination, but they give really good advice. Allow me to share a nugget we received today after a raucous rendition of "Bang Your Head" by Quiet Riot:

"When you become famous, your assistants can help you off with your leather pants. In the meantime, we suggest talcum powder."

Of course, this advice doesn't always work for everyone.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Evil Eye Baby

This is so awesome! Thanks to my brother Greg for sending it to me.

At least "funny" will still be cool even when I'm in a rest home

There's a couple of people in my life that I don't tell often enough how much I love them. The first is an 18-year-old girl I took to lunch the other day who was shocked when I told her that I was 37. She said she thought I was younger than that. The second was a real live adult peer I was talking to the other night who was shocked when I told her that I was 37. She said she thought I was younger than that. So there it is, according to two people I still look younger than I am. Oh, how I love them.

I've been feeling kinda old lately. Not so much in a "better write out the last will and testament" kind of way, just in a "holy crap, all those jokes they make in greeting cards about saggy boobs are actually based on real events" kind of way. I used to think those were just created by women who liked whining for a living. Then I put two oranges in the bottom of my pantyhose as a joke and thought, "Hey, wait a minute...."

In the midst of feeling way past my prime, I attended an activity the other night with some of our young women at church. It was one of those warm and fuzzy get togethers where everyone takes a turn as an awkward centerpiece while everyone goes around and says something nice about that person. (I find these practices to be generally horrible and uncomfortable.) There were just as many adult leaders as girls, so we all had to endure equally. I didn't intend to take mental notes of the comments, but I did. About Leader #1: she runs marathons, she's pretty...Leader #2: she's really organized, she's so stylish, she's pretty...Leader #3: really nice, has cute kids, she's pretty...Leader #4: she's fun to talk to, she's pretty...Leader #5: she's so pretty, statuesque, so pretty, did we mention how pretty she is? And then they got to me. Judging on the pattern of previous comments, the 14-year-old version of me thought that maybe somewhere among this group of Seventeen Magazine readers somebody might think I had at least looked good at church once. I am Leader #6: "she's funny, she's fun, she's nice, she's funny, THE END." So I guess I'm not much to look at, but I might be good company on a road trip.

The whole experience brought back a memory of playing Barbies with Samantha when she was around 4 years old. She put a bow in the Barbie's hair and said, "See Momma? How does that look?"
"Ohhh...it looks cute!" I replied.
Then she ripped the bow out of her hair with bionic strength and yelled, "I don't want her to be CUTE! I WANT her to be BEAUTIFUL!!"
"Well then," I said. And then I got too curious. "So Samantha, is mommy CUTE? Or is Mommy BEAUTIFUL?"
She paused for a second to think and then said, "Uhhhhh....you're just funny."

I can just see the rest home yearbook now. They'll vote on Cutest Couple, Most Popular, Looks Most Like Her Original Yearbook Photo, Still Using the Restroom without Assistance, Most Likely to Cheat at Canasta, and Ward Clown. I think we all know where my future is headed.