Friday, November 28, 2008

Woe is me

Everyone get your tiny little violins ready for this story. Trust me, you'll see why after you read the next sentence.

Our housekeepers didn't show up today.

Told ya. It's tragic, right?

Anyhoo, the bummer behind that sentence is that we hosted a lovely Thanksgiving feast last night. Which included good friends, obscene amounts of food and apparently every dish, pot and pan in the house. And since the housekeepers were unfortunately due to arrive shortly after dawn today, we had a ton o' cleaning to do to prepare. Yes, I realize cleaning before the cleaners is a long-standing joke. But if they cannot find the counter beneath the pile of dirty dishes, how can I expect them to clean the counter? And should they go to the effort of cleaning underneath the dirty dishes, eventually their filth will come to rest on the clean counter thereby erasing any prior work.

So, we stayed up late loading and unloading the dishwasher. (And by "we", I mean Jeff.) We also woke up early and ran another couple loads. (Same definition.) Despite our his best efforts, one counter and two sinks were filled with dirty pots and pans. Out of time, he headed out the door to go hunting and I grabbed the kiddo and jumped in the other car. (We don't like to be home when the cleaners are working. Besides being in the way, it makes me feel very lazy.) After a quick errand, I decided to swing by the house to see if the cleaners had arrived yet. That would help me gauge when to return. Seeing no car in the driveway, I decided to give them a call. They lost their cell phone with their client numbers and were en route to our house to ask if it was okay for them to come Monday instead. I know, right? That's a lot of effort to re-schedule when our number is listed in the phone book.

The bottom line, we did a lot of rushed cleaning when we could have taken our time. But at least it's done. And I discovered a few more things to be thankful for. 1) That on a whim, I swung by the house to notice the cleaners hadn't arrived. 2) That I called them to confirm before wasting three hours with a 10-month-old in the car. 3) That I have a hubby who does the dishes. 4) That I have housekeepers even if they're not always reliable.

I know, my life is sooooo rough.

On a related note, I discovered the place to shop on Black Friday is Babies R Us. At 8:30 this morning, there were only 3 or 4 shoppers in the whole place. I can't vouch for any great deals as I was there returning something. In fact, I may be the only person in the US that actually netted out with money back on Black Friday. How bout you? Did you brave the Black Friday rush? Find any great deals? Find any empty stores?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Crafty toy company big-shots

Remember that scene in "Father of the Bride" when George is in the grocery store ranting over the different number of hot dogs in a package compared to hot dog buns in a package? Let me refresh your memory...

STOCKBOY Excuse me, sir, but what are you doing?

GEORGE I'll tell you what I'm doing. I want to buy eight hot dogs and eight hot dog buns to go with them. But no one sells eight hot dog buns. They only sell twelve hot dog buns. So I end up paying for four buns I don't need. So I am removing the superfluous buns.

STOCKBOY I'm sorry, sir. But you're going to have to pay for all twelve buns. They're not marked individually.

GEORGE Yeah. And you want to know why? Because some big-shot over at the wiener company got together with some big-shot over at the bun company and decided to rip off the American public. Because they think the American public is a bunch of trusting nit-wits who will pay for everything they don't need rather than make a stink!

Aaaaaand, end scene. But not before George is arrested for this rant and learns a valuable lesson. Don't mess with the bull or you'll get the horns.

Well I have a rant of my own that hopefully won't land me in jail. I'm beginning to suspect that some big-shot over at the toy company got together with some big-shot over at the battery company and decided to rip off the American public. Why else would a toy say "goodbye" minutes after it's been abandoned for another shiny object?

We already purchased the toy so the big-shots at the toy company have no motivation in ensuring it's actually being played with. Yet moments after some far-too-happy song has FINALLY ended and my child has moved on to quieter entertainment, that darn toy reminds him that it's still there. And the music begins again. Why? WHY?! To run down the batteries, that's why! So we'll have to buy more batteries. So the toy can remind our kids that it's over heeeeerrrreeee. So that they'll run down the batteries. So we'll have to buy more batteries. So the toy...

You get the picture.

And to complicate matters, the big-shots at the toy company don't tell you their toy has this handy little feature until after you've purchased it, assembled the fortygillion pieces, given it to your child and recycled the box. They're crafty, those toy company big-shots. I'll give 'em that.

So what's a mom to do? How do we show them that we are on to them? How do we protest the blatant manipulation of America's youngest consumers?

No seriously, I'm asking what to do...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bigger isn't always better

As much as I hate to air our dirty laundry, this story entails dirty laundry so here goes...

To celebrate the completion of our bathroom remodel last year, I foolishly bought these amazing over sized spa towels from Costco. Though it seemed innocent enough, this one little decision started a domino effect that will haunt me for years to come. But back to the beginning, my shame must wait.

Apparently bigger isn't always better.

A certain someone who does most of the laundry in our house, says my spa towels are too big. You can only wash 3 or 4 of them at a time. They take up ridiculous amount of space on the towel rack. They're cumbersome to fold. Blah, blah, blah. They're just...excessive.

Isn't that like saying a puppy is too soft or a cake is too rich? Impossible I say!

And so the Great Towel Strike of 20-aught-8 began. The help My hubby has refused to wash nor use these massive towels opting instead to dry off with hand towels to prove his point. The strike left me with two choices. 1) Start doing the laundry. or 2) Buy new reasonably sized towels. I did what any lazy sane person would have done. I opted for #2.

At first I saw this as a tremendous opportunity to buy some organic cotton or bamboo towels as a sort of eco-trade-off for decommissioning perfectly good towels. Then I saw the price. $32 for ONE towel? Fortunately or unfortunately, I'm cheaper than I am green. Time for a new plan.

After a few weeks of procrastination and consequently a few weeks of doing the laundry, the answer to my problem arrived in my mailbox. No, the good people at Gaiam did not read my mind and send me a set of organic cotton towels at $32 a piece. Darn it all. Instead, I got a little postcard informing me that Linens N Things was going out of business. As the sun shone down and the angels sang, a new plan was formed. A cheaper plan where I stick it to The Man while making my man happy with properly proportioned towels.

After speeding to my local LNT, I loaded Ian in the Ergo in order to have plenty of room in the cart for lots and lots of fluffy yet demure towels. But oh, there are sheets over there. We need new sheets for the guest room. And hey, new shower curtains. We could use a new shower curtain. And oh my goodness, we have been wanting those rain shower heads. The cart was getting full and I hadn't even reached the towel department yet. But who cares, it's a Going Out of Business Sale! Look at all the red signs. They must be giving this stuff away.

Finally I mounded up a new set of bath towels and made my way to the counter. The sales associate repeated her script in monotone as Ian began to fuss in the Ergo. All sales final? Sure, whatever, JUST RING ME UP so I can get out of here. And with a swipe of my card, we were headed out the door. As I loaded bag after bag of new goodies into my car, I imagined the joy on my hubby's face as I proudly displayed my petite purchases and announced their even more petite price. I drove home smiling like the Cheshire Cat.

Until suddenly, the smile fell. Stopped at a red light, I grabbed the receipt hoping to find something other than what I knew was there. But alas, the cold hard facts stared me in the face.

Linens N Things great Going Out of Business discount was 20%. The same discount they send me every week in coupon form. So basically...I paid regular price. Dang it, DANG it, DANG IT!

Sure I now have acceptable towels. And yes, the Great Towel Strike has ended. But where is my deal? What about sticking it to The Man? After all my years in retail, I should have known better than to get caught up in the hype. And I think that's what kills me the most. But as is printed on my receipt, all sales are final. So for the next however many years, I'll be reminded of the shame of paying full price at a Going Out of Business sale as I bitterly dry off with my tiny towels.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mrs. Dad

I've been playing Mrs. Dad* since last Friday when the hubs left for an extended weekend o' hunting**. As a parent who works outside the home, I think it's always good to do the stay-at-home gig periodically. It's like an accelerated parenting class where there are many valuable lessons to be learned. Here are my top 3:

  1. Manage your time - You can get a lot done when your child takes two naps a day! Speaking of which, did you know Bonnie Hunt has a talk show? On the flip side, you cannot get anything done while the child is awake. Including, but not limited to, showering, preparing meals, answering the phone, answering the door, running errands, cleaning and going to the bathroom. I recommend planning accordingly and avoiding all beverages.
  2. Videotape everything - As soon as you implement a man-to-man instead of a zone defense, your child will get sick. The child will instantly feel better when the zone defense is reinstated. This means your spouse will not believe you when you tell him how crabby the child has been.
  3. Count your blessings - Eating a hot lunch at your desk while answering the phone and typing an e-mail is not so bad. It's better than grabbing a handful of Cheerios between diaper changes and bottle feedings. Similarly, reading the same book for the elentyhundredth time is not so bad. Especially when you've got a sleepy little baby snuggled in your arms.
And now, I'm back at work with these new lessons tucked away in the ole memory bank until I get to play Mrs. Dad again. Of course the lessons are never ending so I'm sure my next accelerated parenting class will come with a whole new set of learnings. But I'm looking forward to all the classes on the road to my parenting PhD. And then, you may call me Dr. Mom.

*They've made movies and recorded songs about Mr. Mom. Where's the equal love for Mrs. Dad? Fair is fair. I'm calling Gloria Steinem.
**Vegetarian married to a hunter = proof that opposites really do attract. Also, no animals were harmed in the writing of this post which means the Hubby is very grumpy but I am oh so happy.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Stupid Murphy and his stupid laws

That darn Murphy, he's done it again. Why is it that Ian falls a million times a day but ONLY damages his face on picture day?

He was sitting right in front of me, playing on his knees when he leaned forward and sort of dribbled down the Leap Start table in slow motion. When I picked him up, I saw a drip of blood tinged drool and the start of a fat lip. How on earth could that much damage occur when he was less than a foot off the floor? Sitting mere inches in front of me? Surrounded by fluffy pillows atop a cushy rug? LESS THAN TWO HOURS BEFORE OUR PHOTO SESSION? It can only be Murphy and his stupid laws.

Then the photographer reminded me that we have this fancy new invention called Photoshop. So there will be no official record of my parental negligence combined with Ian's baby clumsiness.

Uh, except this post. Darn it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

One big happy family

I totally admire the Duggars. Is that odd?

First things first, if you don't know the Duggars by name, you've probably heard of them. They have 17 children and the 18th is due in January. They've had a few television specials and now have a reality show on TLC called "17 Kids and Counting!"

So why do I admire this super-sized family? Because they seem to handle it all so darn well. They manage a family of 19 better than I can juggle life with just the 3 of us. I'm sure they have their moments but a cousin even mentioned that she has never seen Michelle (the mom) raise her voice. And this week's episode shows Jim Bob (the dad) teaching one of his 7 daughters how to drive a stick. WITHOUT SWEARING! There was even giggling involved. C'mon, that's just not normal.

I guess there are some people who have the temperament and personality to parent a large family. I am not one of those people. So I watch those who can do it successfully with a kind of fascination usually reserved for zoo animals and train wrecks.

While I enjoy watching "Jon & Kate Plus 8" on occasion, it's for much different reasons. Jon & Kate are normal. They get mad. They act stupid. They breakdown. And God bless em for it...and for letting me watch! Because through all the crazy nutiness, they obviously love their kids and are doing the best they can.

The Duggars are just in a whole other league. Life appears easygoing and joy-filled in the Duggar home. And as if that wasn't amazing enough with 19 people under one roof, prepare to have your mind blown...

  • They don't believe in debt.
  • They built their 7000 sq ft home as a family.
  • They don't watch tv and limit internet use.
  • They homeschool all the kids.

Sure their carbon footprint is probably a burden on the planet. And I probably wouldn't have my four year old operating a floor sander. And there is no question that Michelle needs a new hairstyle. But through it all, they seem to be successfully raising a family that is in this world but not of this world. And that's worth admiring.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Stupid Pound

My weight can fluctuate 1-2 lbs in any given day due to factors completely outside of my control. And some within my control. Ahem.

But when I get my heiney out of bed in the pitch blackness, trade my comfy jammies for sneakers and creep past my sleeping family for an extra hard workout, I DEMAND to lose a pound. Just one, that's all I ask.

Okay, I'd settle for holding flat.

Wait, no I wouldn't! Assuming my diet remains the same, I expect to lose a pound.

So when I stepped on the scale this morning with sweat running down my face and discovered that I gained a pound, I was pissed.

I'm still pissed.

And I miss the days when we didn't have a scale. Of course those were also the days when my weight began with a 2 so I don't miss them too much.

Whatever. Stupid pound.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Holy Moley

Have you voted? I sure hope so because this post has nothing to do with politics. Frankly, I for one need a distraction from this frenzied anticipation. And nothing shouts "distraction" like a good skin abnormality story. Right?

Once upon a time, I shared my oh-so-lovely varicose vein with you. (Stupid exercise.) And now I bring you another installment of "what the heck is that?" Yes kids, it's time to share another of my...uh...unique features.

Okay, here goes. I'm moley.

There I said it. Although if you've seen me in person, this is not exactly breaking news. Whatever.

For the rest of you, I'm not moley in a cute Cindy Crawford kind of way. No, mine are more like the creepy talking variety...

Somehow I managed to escape my childhood without getting teased about the handful of moles on my face. I guess when you're tall, gangly and acne-ridden, there is plenty of other material to grab hold of. Or maybe they didn't appear until I was older. Or maybe they're not that noticeable. Nah, that can't be it.

Regardless, no one has ever really commented on them and since I see them everyday, I generally ignore them as well. That's not to say that they don't bug me. Just not on a daily basis.

That is until Lillian came along. Actually I think my nephews noticed them first. Those innocent little cherubs would look at me intently, extend a chubby little finger and try to twist the moles right off my face. Lillian did the same thing. Obviously these wise children realized those bumps didn't belong there.

After the initial hey-that-doesn't-belong-there response comes the next phase: acceptance. Like most children, around 18 months, Lillian began pointing and listing my features.

"Ears." point.
"Nose." point.
"Eyes." poke (defensive maneuvers are recommended)
"Mouth." point.
"Mole." point.

Wait, what?

Yep, the moles became just another bump on my face for her to point out. And suddenly, I noticed them. And I wanted them gone.

Well, life managed to take priority over vanity and I haven't done anything about it. But suddenly I find myself bracing every time Ian looks at me intently. Someday soon he's gonna reach out a chubby little finger and try to twist one of those little buggers off my face. I wonder if that will be enough to send me to the dermatologist for a little slice and sew appointment. Or maybe I'll manage to move to the next phase: acceptance.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Oops, sorry kid

You know that scene in "Legally Blonde" where Elle Woods shows up to a party in the bunny costume and nobody else is dressed up?

Um, yeah. Well, Ian kinda had that moment today at his Gymboree play class.

No, not in a bunny costume. What kind of a mom do you think I am?

In my defense, the teacher told us last Friday that this weekend the kids should wear their costumes to class. She even asked us what type of candy we wanted. And in prior years when we went with Lillian, other kids wore their costumes to class around Halloween. So it didn't seem unusual that Ian would wear his costume the day after Halloween.

When Ian woke up late from his nap, I grabbed him out of the crib, threw him in the car still in his pajamas and raced to Gymboree. When we arrived, I glanced in the window and thought I saw another kid in a costume. So I quickly changed him into his lion outfit in the lobby. The receptionist commented on how cute he looked and I dashed inside and sat him on the floor while I hung up my purse. Then I turned around and realized that NONE of the other kids were wearing costumes. Gulp.

Fortunately I brought a change of clothes and in a flash he was one of the gang again. But not after everyone had a good long look at his expense. Sorry kid, I have a feeling this is just the first of many embarrassing moments your mommy will cause in your lifetime.

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