Saturday, February 28, 2009

I LOVED It! But Not for the Prices.

I am constantly being guilted by some of my friends because of my not so politically correct shopping choices which happen to provide the best prices. OK, WalMart. There. I said it. I shop at WalMart. Oh, and it has ruined me something fierce.

I would love to find someplace else to shop where the weight of the evil mega corp isn’t pressing down on my soul, where I would get the thumbs up approval from my well-meaning and awesome friends, and where the prices are equally as alluring as those I have sadly become accustomed to at EvilMart. In my search, I have tried several places. First, Winco. People RAVE, seriously RAVE, about Winco! I hear, “I LOVE Winco!” or “I drive all the way to your side of town JUST to go to that Winco!” Apparently the planets haven’t been aligned properly when I go because I. HATE. WINCO. I don’t like the overcrowded long aisles or the über crabby shoppers. And frankly, the price is NOT right.

Which leads me to today, to yet another attempt to wiggle free of the gripping claws of the evil mega corp. I had a significant amount of grocery shopping to do, so I thought I would try someplace new (to me), Sac N Save. I’m a bargain hunter through and through, which is why overpriced places like Safeway and Raley’s just don’t do it for my thrifty self. I thought the little bit of extra gas to get there would be worth the kick-ass discounts I would find. And plus, I’d RATHER bag my own groceries, thank you very much. I blame my slight case of OCD for that.

OK, so some of my observations may make me seem like some middle-class, privileged white lady, but just know they are just that, observations. Or just go ahead and think that I’m some middle-class, privileged white lady. Fine. Whatever.

First observation, I arrive in the parking lot to find many taxis waiting outside. Interesting! I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many taxis in one place in this town that wasn’t an airport or a casino.

Second observation, the produce was priced to sell! Hot damn I was happy about that! Unfortunately not a whole lot else lived up to my EvilMart pricing. Boo-hoo.

Third observation, the merchandise was eye-brow raising. I have never seen a larger selection of Catholic style candles for sale in one place. Seriously, I felt like the entire Bible was there to represent. And they were scattered throughout the store too, like they were watching me.

Lastly, and OH MY GOD, the clientele. First, there was the family of five with the patriarch using every four letter word in several languages around his young children. He was doing this extremely casually, so apparently it was no big deal to him or his kin.  Interesting! Then there was hacker lady 1 and hacker lady 2. Cover your mouths already! Hacker lady 2 was so horrendous I swear I saw bits of lung flying out of her mouth with every cough. She looked like she had been smoking (something) since she was two, so her coughing was most likely a result of that, but just in case I held my breath as I passed through the air space previously fouled by her. I didn’t want to come home with greatly priced Red Delicious apples AND a case of Black Lung Disease.

But the clincher for me today was the a woman I saw in the produce section as I was leaving. In order to visualize her, please take this mohawk (only a little shorter and completely white):


With something like this skull tattoo:


And put it on this body:


I’m so not kidding. Mohawk, tattoo sporting granny looked like one not to mess with. And honestly if I thought the guy she was with wasn’t capable of breaking my kneecaps with his pinky, I would have whipped out my phone and taken a picture. I couldn’t have been sneaky about it either. I already risking being caught as a looky-lou with my glaringly obvious gaping mouth and bulging eyes.

So, did I find my new grocery stomping grounds? Sadly, no. The price just wasn’t right. Did I completely enjoy myself today? Absolutely! I mean what’s not to love about a sale on Red Delicious apples and grandmas sporting tattoos on their mohawk-laden heads?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

It’s Quiet Time

Last week we had a rather unpleasant experience, the repercussions of which are still lingering for me. I made an appointment to take the dogs to get their vaccinations on Presidents Day. I was surprised they were open but was also thrilled because this meant GREG COULD TAKE THEM on his day off. Why is it such a big deal that Greg take them instead of me? Oh, well, let’s see. I just couldn’t bear taking all the fun for myself! I just had to share. I mean, come on! How much fun is this:

  1. Get two kids into the car. (A major feat on most days alone.)
  2. Wrangle two dogs into the same car. And, oh, did I mention neither of them really like the car?
  3. Back out of the driveway, and just get the car into drive before smelling that gawd-awful smell of dog poop because Charmin FREAKS OUT in a moving car and loses her bowels EACH AND EVERY TIME. (Just ask Greg about trip home from the animal shelter.)
  4. Listen to the kids complaining, whining, and crying about the poop smell.
  5. Roll down the windows IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER to aid with the smell.
  6. Listen to the kids complaining, whining, and crying about how cold they are.
  7. Drive while keeping your fingers crossed that the dogs aren’t leaving poop footprints all over the back of the car.
  8. Arrive at the vet’s office.
  9. Carefully and slowly open one side door of the van so that no dogs can escape.
  10. One dog does try to escape and succeeds in putting a not-so-great-smelling paw print on your freshly laundered jeans, the ones you usually get three or four wears out of.
  11. Get both dogs out of the car with a firm grip on their leashes with the one hand that isn’t trying to unbuckle the kids.
  12. Do a little dance because both dogs and both kids are out of the car.
  13. Open the door to the vet’s office and have Koko turn into Captain Contortionist and somehow gets her big head through her collar as she backs up like Speedy Gonzales on hot pavement. And escapes.
  14. Get kids and the one non-contortionist (but trying to be) dog into the vet and ask tell the staff to watch them. Please.
  15. Whistle and say “Koko! Come here sweetie!” so sweetly through gritted teeth to try and coax her back to you.

So, being the thoughtful and giving person I am, I thought I’d share in the fun with Greg. Oh, but I’d lend a helping hand and keep the kids at home. At least there would be four less feet to worry about leaving poop prints in the car.

Greg, being the gracious dog-lover he is, agreed to take the dogs for their check-up. To sum up the beginning of the trip: poop in car, escaped dog in parking lot, poop and pee in vet’s office. See? How fun is this?

Oh, then the thing that has been gnawing at me for the last week and a half happened. Koko bit the vet. Koko, the docile one. Koko, the one who we knew we wanted to adopt right away when we saw her just look back and do nothing at the kid who ran over her tail with his tricycle. Koko, my favorite. Koko. The vet wasn’t even touching her at the time, but as he started to reach to her stomach, she gave no warning and just turned and bit. Our poor vet was upset. Yes, he had been bitten, thankfully not bad enough for stitches, but it was the third time in a week. He was a little grouchy about it. Occupational hazard, I suppose.

When Greg got home and told me what had happened, I was completely devastated. And I cried. A lot. For in my mind, she had to go. HAD. TO. GO. After all, I did not want a dog who could do that, maybe next time to one of our kids, in our house.

Greg and I have always been of the belief that we would never keep a dog that bit. BUT. But what if she was so terrified of the entire experience that her natural survival instincts kicked in? It seems plausible and most likely possible that the wrangling into the car, the chase through the parking lot, the dragging into the vet’s office, the being hefted up onto the examination table, and the crazy plethora of scents in the room made her panic. And bite.

Koko is still here, and I’ve started to pet her again. I seriously started to detach myself from her for several days after this happened. Keeping her but not leaving her alone with the kids is completely impractical. I mean, seriously. I have the bladder the size of a thimble and am always running to the bathroom. I’d have more accidents on our floors than the kids AND the dogs combined if I had to run to the door and let them outside first each time. Am I watching Koko’s actions around the kids more? Absolutely. Have we taught the kids not to hug her? YES! Am I still agonizing over this? *Sigh*

I will undoubtedly continue to worry. It IS me we’re talking about after all. But during this agonizing process, I am enjoying moments like these:


I mean, just look at those two. A quiet time. Indeed.

Monday, February 23, 2009

But I Want One!

While I was out garage saling (yes, it IS a verb) last Saturday, the first for this season, Greg took the kids to get donuts and to get himself a much needed Saturday morning cuppa joe. As is the case on many a weekend morn, getting the kids into their clothes and out of their pajamas and into the car and out of the house is A. MAJOR. FEAT.

To relish in the achievement of getting two dressed children strapped in their car seats, Greg did what every father wanting to enjoy the peace would do and drove to the furthest Starbucks possible, which required him to drive through some older parts of our downtown. The destination is a Starbucks that is in a building that used to be a fire station, and the architecture is really cool. However many of the businesses leading up to it, well, let’s just say they are a tad eyebrow raising, especially to inquisitive young minds. For example, the building directly across from the furthest possible Starbucks from us is a strip club. A few doors down from that is the hottest piercing place in town. And yet even a few more doors down there are several, at least three, tattoo parlors.

Braedyn has a mind like a steel trap; he forgets NOTHING; and he will often relentlessly question something you’ve said until you are making up a story in an attempt to make the answer one you think he’ll find acceptable. Kind of like the time he kept asking me how Hot Wheels were made. He really didn’t like the boring but truthful answers I gave him like: machines make them, they are made in factories, the cars are designed on a computer, machines put all the pieces together. Yeah, none of this worked for him, so I finally told him that little tiny people made them and that’s how they got all those tiny pieces together so perfectly. That answer appeased his unrelenting inquiry, and he stopped the firing of questions my way. Phew. It wasn’t until months later when we were all in the car and Braedyn started talking about the little people that were building the Hot Wheels that Greg gave me the stink eye, and I had to confess that there were no little people that made Hot Wheels. This seemed to be a tad disappointing to Braedyn, but he quickly moved on to something else TO. OBSESS. ABOUT.

So on this fine day as they travelled to the furthest possible Starbucks, Greg made the observation that there were quite a few more tattoo parlors downtown than he remembered there being. His mistake was making this observation OUT LOUD. With all of the kids “tattoos” that are available these days, everywhere from the place they get their haircuts to birthday party gift bags to their stockings at Christmas, Braedyn, in true unrelenting form, started in on how he wanted to get a tattoo. Greg did said no, in case there were any question, but Braedyn wouldn’t let up. Over and over again he declared he wanted a tattoo! Um, no. No. And no. He didn’t like the answer he was getting over and over again AT ALL but the arrival at Starbucks finally distracted him. For now.

That night over dinner, Greg was telling the story of their morning adventure and I proudly boasted about my kick-ass garage sale finds. Once Braedyn heard the word tattoo during Greg’s recounting of the morning, he once again declared that he wanted one! He even mustered up a big lower lip and down turned mouth to help plead his case.

Greg looked at me like, “Agh. Make it stop.” And I was all, duh, “Did you tell him they use NEEDLES when getting a real tattoo?” Greg, light bulb ablaze over his head, “No! No, I didn’t.” And then to Braedyn he said, “Buddy, they use NEEDLES when putting on real tattoos. Did you still want to get one?” If you listen hard enough, you might still hear the reverb of the sound of his head shaking so feverishly that very moment.

So, for the time being, my kids are rebels in their own right, just without the needles, thank you very much.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Moyle Family Has The Worms

Ok, they aren’t worms per say, and we don’t have them in a bad way.

Emily received a Butterfly Habitat for Festivus and we received the caterpillars in the mail sometime over a week ago.  I have to say I was shocked at how TINY they were.  I mean we are talking a grain of rice.  Well, in a matter of days they have ballooned to an incredible size and now they look as though they are settling in for a long winters nap.  Ok, maybe a short one in a chrysalis.

From 2-18-2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Hit of the Day When You Are Ready to Play

After being told that “Daddy is a good fixer; he can fix it,” I had to give fixing the Slinky a try. And I’m good.


But not THAT good.

My Child is Driving Coffee Bean Sales

My husband is relentless with his jabs about my coffee drinking these days. That’s right. I’m a coffee addict. Not a snob, just an addict. To that I have two things to say. First, thank goodness our friend Marc told us about the 2.5 pound bag of freshly roasted coffee at Costco that is available at an extremely reasonable price. Second, blame Emily. That’s right. Blame her. For the first two years of her life, she did not sleep through the night. That’s 730 straight days of irregular, interrupted sleep. SEVEN HUNDRED AND THIRTY DAYS. Not traumatic sounding? That’s 5,840 hours of a little sleep here, a little sleep there, a lot of dragging my ass out of bed to feed or comfort her, and a painful amount of time trying to get back to sleep. So, because of her, I am addicted to coffee in the morning, more than I ever thought possible. Sue me.

And then something happened, something amazing happened! Emily turned two, and she finally started sleeping through the night. By then I had a full-blown case of insomnia, but hey, she was sleeping and I had a husband who’d let me sleep precious extra minutes in the morning and only come to wake me up bearing my vice of choice, a glorious cup of aromatic coffee with just the right amount of sugar-free French Vanilla creamer.

And then something happened during the last month, something exasperating happened! Emily, who has been potty trained for months now, has started to wake up in the night to go to the bathroom. Sounds ideal, right? You’re thinking, no more night-time diapers, hooray! Yeah, not so much. You see, Emily is tiny. She’s just now in her “run around the house and turn all the lights off” phase because she has finally reached the height that allows her to do so. She’s not quite to the “run around the house and turn on all the lights” phase. At least another two inches of growth is in order first. This translates to her waking us up in the night again to help her go to the bathroom, turning on all the lights along the way. Plus, we’ve been cheap and kept her in traditional diapers instead of moving her to night time pullups. She couldn’t put her diaper back on herself if she even wanted to try. Oh wait, she DOES try, which adds to the length of time I am not horizontal in the middle of the night. She tries until she gives up in defeat. But there is no helping her until that happens, lest the stubborn monster rear its ugly head. Trust me, that isn’t pretty, especially at 2 a.m. Oh, and it doesn’t matter that we stop giving her liquids early in the evening, the kid can eke out a thimble full on demand, I swear.

As much as I’d like to go in her room and beg her to just do her business in her diaper, I don’t think she’ll do it. So, we’re back to getting up in the night with her. And I’m back to groggy mornings and many, many cups pots of coffee. Rather than feel sorry for me, I suppose you can be grateful to Emily for helping our economy by driving up coffee bean sales.

Now if I could just get her to pour…


Monday, February 9, 2009

Twitter Me This, Batman

Occasionally I like to play a digital version of connect the dots, but in my case the dots are people. For example, I sometimes like to see who some of my Facebook friends are friends with and then who they are friends with, and on down the digital line.

  • FB friend –>
  • FB friend –>
  • FB friend

When I follow a blogger, I will go to some of the blogs they follow and then check out the websites of some of the people who comment on those blogs.

  • Blog I follow –>
  • Blog they follow –>
  • Random comments by other bloggers –>
  • New blog

On Twitter I will see who else is following someone I follow, and who follows them, and I keep connecting the dots until I have found someone new to follow or in super special cases like that of Tee, Greg and I have her and her fiancé over for dinner.

  • Twit I follow –>
  • Twit they follow –>
  • Twit THEY follow –>
  • Dinner

Yeah, I guess Greg and I troll online for friends, but it is fun, and we have certainly expanded our virtual circle of friends this way (Uh, can you say I, Rodius and Libby Logic?)

I know Greg and I are not the only people who do this. Someone started following me on Twitter who follows someone I follow. So through this common denominator, she found me. Her Twitter page looked interesting, so I figured I’d follow her too. Um, not always a good idea. This morning, she twittered a link to an article that was clearly anti-Obama. So, I twittered back something that may not have been the nicest thing. You know, being the ObamaMama that I am, I couldn’t help myself. Oopsie.

Twitter me this, Batman. Could her twitter have been tongue-in-cheek? Maybe, but probably not. You know how I know? Because I played some more of digital connect the dots. I went to her Twitter page and looked at some of the people that follow her. All I have to say is EEK!

  • Her Twitter account –>
  • Twitter accounts of random people that follow her –>
  • EEK fest

Moral of the story? Make your husband comfort and feed the kids at night so you can play digital connect the dots with a clear head.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

DANGER: Sleeping Poses Unknown Hazards

If you have known me for any time in the last two years, you have have seen me write or talk about my “sleeping injury”. At the encouragement of my wife I decided it was time to expose the truth about my bad feet.

The truth is I did not survive a failed parachute while skydiving. I did not hurt them jumping from the second story burning building to rescue a baby/cat/dog or any other variation of the same story I may have told. No, they do not bother me after surviving frostbite on a failed attempt at scaling Mt. Everest. It is time for the truth to come out.

I hurt them sleeping.

Ok, I wasn’t sleeping, but that’s how this all started.

Over two years ago during the early Emily years, there were many late night feeding and comforting sessions. On one particular night I got up to feed/comfort Emily (I cannot even remember now), and as usual I fell asleep sitting in the glider holding Em, my knees up in the air with my feet propped up on the edge of the ottoman.

I don’t know how long we slept there, but when I came to one of the lower levels of sub consciousness, I realized it was time to go to bed.

In a haze of sleep I magically stood up. Not only did I magically stand up, but I stood up and took a step to the side. This placed me standing next to the crib, between it and the glider. Think of the gap between the glider and the crib as a small narrow alleyway.

I say I magically stood up for a reason. You see when I woke up I realized that one of my legs had fallen asleep. I could FEEL that it had fallen asleep. Once I was standing, cradling my sleeping daughter in my arms I realized that my left leg was more than a little asleep, it was unable to hold my weight, so I attempted to shift my weight to my right leg. This was my biggest mistake.

My right leg might as well have been removed from my body. There was no sensation, no control, no feeling whatsoever.

This is why I use the word magic to describe the process of my standing up. I have no idea how I got vertical in the first place.

So, there I am standing there with two useless legs when the magic fades and gravity took over. I was falling and I was going straight down to my knees.

I managed to prevent Emily from hitting the crib by inserting my elbow between the crib and her head. Because I had no control of anything between my waist and the floor my feet stayed planted to the ground as if they had been glued there and I went straight to my knees and fell forward landing on my elbows. I was doing everything to protect the baby I was holding in my arms. When I hit, I was able to gently roll Emily to the floor and she started screaming. She screamed because she was scared. She escaped the fall without so much as a bump.

The time from my magical ascent to a vertical stance to my rag doll crumple took only a matter of seconds.

During this plunge I felt and heard something snap in my feet and yes, I yelled in pain, loud. I thought, “Oh, FSM! I woke Susanne. Now I am going to get it.” I did. She came in, freaked out by the sight of Emily and I on the floor, and as I lay crying in pain she yells “Oh my god, is Emily ok?”.

If I only had the ability to be sarcastic while in pain, I would have let her have it.

So over the next few days my feet turned purple. I had them x-rayed and nothing was broken. I should have gone to a foot doctor, but I didn’t. I wobbled and hobbled and limped about for almost a year before they hurt less and impacted me less. Just when I thought they were getting better I did something to them at the gym. I don’t know what and it doesn’t really matter.

So now they bug me. Quite often my toes are numb, and often they bother me. That’s that. I have orthotics, I have had cortisone shots. I live with it. I am not telling this story for sympathy, but now when someone asks me why I am limping or why I don’t want to go for a run I can say:

“Sorry. I have a sleeping injury.”

And I can point them to this blog post so I don’t have to explain the hidden dangers of sleeping.

Moral of the story: Make your wife feed and comfort the kids at night.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ah, Venice Beach

Up until college I was pretty much a mousy girl – I didn’t argue with teachers about grades, I did what I was asked to do, I was home by curfew, I didn’t question authority, and for crying out loud, I thought I was a Republican because that’s what my parents were (and are).

When I arrived at Fish Camp prior to my Freshman classes at Texas A&M, I knew no one, and more importantly no one knew me. Alone in this foreign, and by foreign I mean strange, place allowed me to explore myself without the self-imposed constraints that come chained to a personality that doesn’t (or didn’t) like to rock the boat. In high school, people knew me to be one thing, so I was that one thing.

Well into my first semester of classes, I was enjoying my new found friend, my voice, that came with my new self-exploration. I started telling people what I thought, what I REALLY thought. All the time. Which is probably why I only made one friend during my third and last semester at TAMU, which also happened to be her first and last semester there too. We didn’t fit in; we didn’t even feel like trying.

Oh, and how this fledgling voice of mine could have gotten me into some serious trouble! During my first and only bonfire at TAMU, there were a group of guys yelling out racists remarks about the members of the football team who were being introduced during the festivities. What was more shocking than the statements themselves were the smug and proud attitudes of those making them. Sadly I had heard racist comments before, but those making them generally did so in their own homes or under hushed breath. These guys were hooting and hollering and proud. PROUD! Even though my red neck roommate was enamored with the one she swore looked like Clint Black, and I was all “Who?”, I could not squelch my new found voice, and I let her rip! I waltzed up to these three or four guys and told them that what they were saying was wrong in so many ways. And then the crazy arguing ensued. Me. Against them. I don’t remember how the battle ended or even who “won” because it didn’t matter ultimately. I fed my need to speak up, to stand up for what I believe in, and to let them know that everyone doesn’t agree with their bigoted beliefs.

Oh boy, then came Freshman English. In preparing for the long research paper that had been assigned, the teacher went around the room and asked each of us to tell the class what our paper was going to be about. And no shit, the girl next to me was doing her research paper on why people with AIDS should be forced to wear specific “identification bracelets.” I told you! I didn’t fit in, not even a little bit. And for that, I make no apologies.

My turn to disclose my research paper topic came, and if I could have captured the energy of the dropped jaws upon my announcement, I could have sold it and paid for my college education outright. I decided to explore the reasons why hemp should be legalized in our country. As if my cut off shorts and Birkenstocks didn’t already give it away, my paper topic solidified me as…an outsider. And you thought I was going to say something else, didn’t you?

And write it I did, and again I make no apologies. The following summer I took a trip to southern California, a part of which was a day hanging out at Venice Beach. I can’t speak for how it is now because I haven’t been since, but for anyone who has been to Venice Beach in the early 1990’s knows this is the antithesis of east Texas. And wow, was it fun! As I strolled down the lane, one brimming with street performers, artists, and a plethora of eccentric peeps, I saw a huge banner hanging from a table that read “HEMP”. Uh, of course I checked it out! I started to chat with the fellow behind the table while munching on his roasted hemp seeds about all the injustices with the enthusiasm that only a young college student with a newly discovered voice can. I talked to him about a book called The Emperor Wears No Clothes that I used in my research paper at TAMU and how the author had been arrested after many years of growing hemp in his house. His response? “Yeah, I did.” Hot damn, I was talking to Jack Herer himself.

I don’t remember what grade I got on my paper, but I got to hang out with the author whose book I used during the writing of it. I may not remember the girl, but I do remember the stink eye I gave her in class when she announced her paper topic of mandatory AIDS ID bracelets. I may not have made friends, but I was true to myself. I may not have always had a voice, but I do now. I do have to admit to one major change that comes with age, um I mean experience, and that’s my ability to better choose my battles. Well, sometimes.

Monday, February 2, 2009

It’s Always Dress Up Day at Our House

She’s getting ready for the playa.