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Thursday, April 30, 2009

I Chickened Out, Not Pigged Out

I ran out of there screaming.

OK, I didn’t run. And I wasn’t exactly screaming. But I was bawling like a baby.

See, I have a cold, a nasty one that is clinging to my lungs and nose right this minute. It sucks, and all I want to do is crawl into bed and sleep. As a stay-at-home mom though, that desire has to take the back burner. I was doing my best to get through the day by letting them watch as much Pokémon and Madeline as they could stand while I curled on the couch and tried to rest. Being the little bundles of energy they are though, it didn’t nearly last as long as I needed. So, I trudged on.

Greg, being the super man he is, came home after lunch so that I could go to the doctor. I really only wanted to go burrow myself into my bed, but since he took the afternoon off for me, I figured I should go get checked out to make sure I didn’t have some lung gunk that needed antibiotics to be fully exorcised from my body. I headed off to the closest Urgent Care.

Queue scary music.

I walk in and was pleased to see that I was the only one in the lobby. Cool, I thought, I can get in and out quickly. We’d been hearing stories about the cities where swine flu has been found to be overrun with sick people, some waiting upwards to 6 or 8 hours to see a doctor. My city is one of the places where swine flu was reportedly found in a two year old girl, so I considered myself lucky to be alone in the lobby.

In walks mask-boy number one and two others, all of whom get called before me which is something I still don’t get. None of them were bleeding from the ears or any other visible orifice, so what gives? Now, I am not panicking about this swine flu, but I do consider myself cautious, especially when it comes to my children. For example, I don’t let them stick their mouths on grocery carts or put their hands in their mouths after touching wild bores.

Since everyone gets called before me, I start wondering if I am going to end up in a room that one of the others called before me had occupied. Would I end up in mask-boy’s room? Phew. My name gets called before anyone else has been released, so I stop playing the little nightmare in my head and follow the masked nurse to my room. She begrudgingly takes my temperature and blood pressure, and then leaves suddenly. She walks back in and asks me to wear a mask since I coughed. Once. Into my elbow. So, I put it on feeling like something out of Outbreak, and wait. I have now been there for over an hour, and I just want to sleep.

Queue scary music.

The doctor outside my door talking to his colleagues must be a distant relative of Greg’s. His booming voice has to be a DNA-traceable trait tied to Greg’s lineage somehow. Then I start listening to this said booming voice. And then I started to cringe. This doctor, the very doctor that I am going to see today, is THE doctor that diagnosed the little girl with the swine flu yesterday. He starts talking about how sick she was and how they tested her two-month old sister too. He continues that the mother was there to be tested. Today. There. What are the frickin’ odds in a city of 250,000-ish, I would go to the same Urgent Care where the swine flu was reported and be seen by the same doctor that diagnosed it?

All I can think is holy crap, I don’t want to come home with something worse than I came in with. Did the doctor catch it and not know he had it yet? Has he unknowingly passed it on to all of the patients he has seen?

I am not proud of this next moment, but it is what it is. Two nurses came in to get something out of the cabinets, and I started to cry. I said that I just wanted to go home and that I didn’t want to be seen by the same doctor who has been around the swine flu. OK, so I panicked a bit. I flew out of there, ripped of the mask, raced home, stripped off all my clothes that will later be washed in a hot cycle, and took a shower. Then I crawled into bed, and slept.

Queue lullaby.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Thanks For Almost Nothing

April is one of those crazy birthday months.  Mine is on XX and then I know people who have birthdays on the 22, 23, 24, and the 25.  Nuts huh?

Well one of those birthdays was my mother-in-law’s and Susanne made a super yummy cake with chocolate frosting.  Yes, I had some, and yes it was divine.

Saturday night rolls around and I am in a bad way.  Meaning I just want to eat dammit, I don’t care how fat I get.  This is a similar feeling as “I want to get drunk tonight and I don’t care HOW crappy I feel in the morning” except when I binge, it’s a week before I can lose the weight.  At least with a hangover, a Sausage McMuffin with egg or a McGriddle (or both) and a couple Advil usually gets you through the one day of retribution for over binging.

I open the fridge and realize there is a tub of frosting in the fridge.  Oh my dear reader, I love to eat spoonful after spoonful of frosting straight out of the tub.  I love this even more than eating a spoonful of Nestlé's quick with a swig of milk (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it).

So I am thinking, oh yes, just one large spoonful and I will stop.

I pull it out of the fridge, pop the lid, and what do I see…

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Now this is almost as bad as water boarding if you ask me.  Torture, just plain torture.

When I ask my wife why she saved the frosting, she replied “there was still some in there.” 

I called her a tease, and I meant it.

I guess it could have been worse.  It could have been leftovers. 

Oh, and yes, I scraped the bastard clean.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Secret Life of Trees

A friend of my mother’s is a semi-retired landscape designer. We asked her for some tips on what might work well in our backyard, and to sufficiently answer the question, she had us fill out surveys and cut out pictures from magazines we liked, and she came over and took pictures of our yard. Several weeks later we received a bill, and a beautifully laid out plan for our backyard, one that, if followed, will help take us out of the Nevada desert and into a lush Oregon-feeling haven.

We decided we’re going to stick to the plan as much as possible, and in order to actually allow something to grow in our dog infested backyard, we had to start with the big stuff they can’t just trample all over. The trees.

Anyone who has ever lived in Nevada knows that you actually have to pay for good dirt. Since our first batch of compost isn’t quite ready, we’re adding in some purchased tree/shrub soil with the existing soil, which is a highly generous term for what is currently in our backyard. At one point, Greg had to pull out his drill and accoutrements to break apart the hard clay. No joke.

Some of the locations were slightly easier than others, but there were big rocks and construction debris to be found there:

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Teenage sons definitely come in handy during working weekends such as these, and Jacob was such an amazing sport about it. OK, it helped that the day before he and I played racquetball, and I told him that for every time he hit me with the ball, he had to plant a tree. After a hit to the face and a hit to the knee, he owed us the planting of two trees! Yay! If it didn’t hurt so much, I would have considered some kamikaze moves to up that number.

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Occasionally during excavation, Greg would find a worm, and the kids thought it was a holiday. They were so excited, and so were we to think there were actual places in our yard where a worm could survive. As is the way with our children, you show them one worm, they want another. And another. And another. It became so distracting to our tree digger, that I promised them we’d go get worms from the store tomorrow just to get them off of the hunt and Greg back to digging. So, the next day we actually bought fishing worms for the kids to play with. Hey, it’s cheap entertainment! And if they didn’t die from the handling by a 5 year old or a 3 year old, they’d actually do our yard good.

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Late afternoon on Saturday, I ran to The Home Depot for some fertilizer and came home with two more trees. I honestly thought Greg was going to hand me the shovel AND divorce papers. But being the awesome and amazing guy he is, he just smiled and said a few things under his breath that I couldn’t quite make out. Lovely things, I am certain.

After a long, tiring, and physically exhausting weekend, all but one tree was planted. That makes the total of 11 new trees to our landscaping, one existing tree dug out and discarded due to rotted roots, and two existing trees dug up and relocated. Now all together, repeat after me, “Greg is SUCH A MAN! GRRRRRRRR”

With two rambunctious dogs, two equally rambunctious and curious kids, and the awful Nevada “soil” we have, I just hope the trees survive! Keep your green thumbs crossed for us? Yes, please.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

He Said by She Said

So, Greg has not blogged about something that happened almost a month ago, so I am going to try something new. I’m going to write for him in the first person. Here is his tale, written by me as if I were him. Hell, I might even drop a couple of apostrophes just to make you feel like it is actually him that is writing it.

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Several weeks ago Susanne headed up to the snowy mountains with three of her friends for an overnight getaway, a getaway from everything but each other, some wine, amazing snacks, phenomenal meals, some dominoes, and the beauty of the snow falling.

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Being the marvelous father that I am, I thought I would do something really cool with the kids, something we normally couldn’t get away with while Susanne was home and something the kids would talk about for weeks on end. I built our 8-person tent in our living room and let them “sleep” in it overnight.

tent

As you can see, it barely fit! Yeah, pretty cool of me, huh? Only the kids had a difficult time with the concept of “sleeping” in the tent. They finally, FINALLY, crashed around 11:15 that night. Considering they are usually in bed by 8 pm, all I could do is pray to the flying spaghetti monster that they sleep in and not wake up at the same time they normally do with a serious case of the crankies.

Well, not only did they not sleep in, they woke me up at 4 am to go potty and then wouldn’t go back to sleep. By 4:45 am, I couldn’t take it anymore and I hollered at them to settle down or they were going to have to go back to their rooms. They took the seriousness of my tone to heart and finally collapsed. And then so did I. I fell asleep so hard and fast (something Susanne is completely jealous of me for being able to do) that the following hour is a complete blur. I awoke in a complete panic from this deep slumber, absolutely certain that the kids were each waiting in their respective rooms for me to put them to bed. I was completely convinced that they had never settled down, and I had made good on my threat to put them back in their own beds. Only in my stupor I believe that I never put them in their own beds and that they are each waiting in their rooms for me to do so. I leap out of bed quicker than Flash Gordon and run into Emily’s room. She’s not there. I run into Braedyn’s room. He’s not there! I am completely panicked at this point and start hollering for them.

With one foot still in the dream state, and one foot in reality, I raced through the house yelling for them. I finally get to the tent and as I am unzipping it, both feet land firmly in reality and I realize right then that the reason they hadn’t answered my calls was because THEY WERE ASLEEP IN THE TENT. “Were” being the operative word. After I barged in on them, they awoke and were full of piss and vinegar from that point on. Let’s just say 5:30 am is not pretty for any of us. Braedyn crashed around 9:30 and Emily crashed after lunch.

Their early awakening ended my Super Dad stint that weekend. I promptly turned into “Where’s-My-Flippin’-Coffee Dad.” It is a slight consolation that the kids still ask when they can do it again.

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So, there’s my rendition of what happened to my awesome husband that weekend. It’s hard not to laugh at his misery, huh?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday: “If it were a snake…” – Part 2

The prior post's (Easter Sunday: “If it were a snake…”) references to snakes became a reality today. What are the odds that the day I sit down to blog about Easter and my father's snake phrase would later that day become a reality.

No, nobody got bit, but get a load of this.

We went to my Aunt's house (or Auntie Momma’s as she prefers to be called by the kids) for Easter brunch. We traditionally do an egg hunt for Cadbury Creme Eggs (oh, they are to die for) and plastic eggs with candy. We do this in both the front and back yard. Today I was making the usual “If it were a snake it woulda bit ya” jokes throughout the egg hunt. The kids scored a plethora of candy as well as toys.

They boys got little bug jars and as is fitting for a boy of five, and both my nephew, Chase, and Braedyn were out hunting for spiders. I agreed to assist. Whilst combing the fence line where earlier the kids had been searching for eggs and I had been shouting about snakes, I see something move and move fast.

I’m pretty quick for an old guy and managed to catch the garter snake. It was a huge hit with the kids (click the photo of me to see all the pics of the snake and the kids). Emily was particularly fascinated and wanted to hold and touch the snake more than any of the other children.

After all the children had time to touch and hold the snake I thought it was time to let him go. All the kids were fine with this. With one exception. Emily.

Goodbye snake.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!
I DON’T WANT TO LET IT GO!!!!!!

I think maybe she hadn’t had enough chocolate and sugar.

Easter Sunday: “If it were a snake…”

Easter is one of those funny holidays for me.  I am not a religious man, so Easter to me will always be a holiday of egg coloring, toys, candy and the traditional egg hunt in the backyard.

Growing up in Carson our family always had a strong tradition of egg coloring and early morning egg hunts in the backyard.  This usually involved lots of running egg dye because the grass was always wet from either:

  1. spring rain
  2. spring snow
  3. dad forgot to turn off the sprinklers

This is how our egg hunt usually goes:

Last Year…
Susanne: How many eggs were there?
Me: Seventeen…I think.
Susanne: Do you remember where you hid them all?
Me: (Full of confidence) Of course.

15 minutes pass while the kids find the eggs.

Susanne: The kids have found 15 eggs, where are the last two?
Me: ummmmmmmmm
Susanne: You don’t remember?
Me: (wandering around the yard showing my age then yelling) OHH… THAT’S RIGHT…I REMEMBER!

The fact that I cannot remember where the eggs are is fodder for jokes about my age - Am I sure I counted right? Will we find them rotting? How could I forget because I just hid them 20 minutes ago?   So much abuse that I should probably go to a shelter.  So this year, it was Susanne’s turn to hide the eggs.  I was tired of the abuse and I was just not going to take it anymore. 

This year it went like this…
Me: How many eggs were there?
Susanne: Seventeen…I think.
Me: Do you remember where you hid them all?
Susanne: (Full of confidence) Of course.

15 minutes pass.

Me: The kids have found 15 eggs, where are the last two?
Susanne: ummmmmmmmm
Me: You don’t remember?
Susanne: (wanders around the yard showing her age then yells) OHH… THAT’S RIGHT…I REMEMBER!

Paybacks are a bitch aren’t they.

This holiday brings great memories of my father flooding back. I remember he would just light up watching us hunt for eggs.  He would put money in plastic eggs for us to find, and he loved to hide eggs above our line of site.

I would walk under the egg’s hiding place, and he would smirk his little smirk and say “If it were a snake, it woulda bit ya!”  He liked to hide “snakes” in the yard.

So this is a tradition we continue to carry on.  Here are a series of images where “If it were a snake, it woulda bit ya” still rings true.  The kids did NOT find these eggs on this or several other passes.

She actually touched this one as she put her hand here (blue egg just behind her hand).

This one was JUST above his line of sight.

In the vast desert of our side yard, this egg was passed by many, many times.  I finally had to point it out.

As they get older, its going to be a bit more challenging to find good hiding places.  I’m up for it.

My dad was a great teacher. And to prove it, this year I forgot to turn off the sprinklers.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Count to Ten Slowly? Or Punch You in the Face?

It was a tough decision too, let me tell you.

I had finally fallen asleep once the kids were snuggled in their beds for their quiet time. After a restless night of sleep last night, I was grateful for the break. And then. BANG! BANG! BANG! Someone was knocking LOUDLY on my front door. I jumped up from the couch whispering “Shh! Shh! Shh!” to the dogs, in a pleading attempt to keep them from barking and waking the kids, if the banging didn’t do it already.

Through the peep hole I see two young women with some sort of lanyard around their necks. And, PFFFT! (That would be the sound of my feathers ruffling.) I have written before about my No Soliciting sign that I put on my door that has worked ever so effectively. Until today. I crack the door open and stick my knee out to prevent the dogs from escaping, and this act was so marvelously done I’m not sure they even knew there were dogs inside, which to them would have made me seem rather crazy. As any cranky, or what the hell, crazy, woman woken from some much needed sleep would say, eyes wide, “YES?”

“Hi,” the woman on the left said in a high-pitched, and irritatingly grating voice.

I simply point to the No Soliciting sign and say, “My kids are sleeping, and I’m not interested in anything you are selling.”

“We’re not selling anything.” The second one tries to hand me a flier.

Again, I squeeze my arm through the crack I’ve made in the door and point to the sign.

Pointing to my wooden welcome sign hanging from a hook on my door, Queen Annoying Voice says, “Well, you also have a Welcome sign on your door, so I was confused.” I swear the bitch even grinned at me in a smirky, what-are-you-going-to-do-about-this kind of way.

SERIOUSLY? “That’s for friends and family” I say, knowing that in 10 minutes I will have thought of the perfect witty thing to say to such an obtuse statement.

“Well, then it should say, ‘Welcome, Friends and Family’.” Finger nails on a chalkboard.

OH. MY. FLYING. SPAGHETTI. MONSTER. She didn’t! I rolled my eyes and shut the door. I have yet to check to make sure my No Soliciting sign and my Welcome sign are still there and not vandalized. I’m wishing now that I had taken one of their fliers and raised holy hell with whomever I could reach at whatever organization they were pushing.

So, I counted to ten, slowly. Then I kicked myself for not saying something more witty to the nitwits. The upside? Koko and Charmin listened to me and were quiet! THEY LISTENED TO ME! Do you understand what that means? It means there might be hope for our backyard yet!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Hooray for Jock Boys Holding Hands

Greg played racquetball with Jacob today, and during the pummeling (who won? I’ll never tell), Jacob told a story that I would like to share with you.

That stupid, morally-inept group of ignorant fucks that do things like protest at funerals happened to show up at Jacob’s high school this week. I’m not even going to mention the group’s name because they don’t need any more publicity, however small the addition here may be. They showed up to protest the presence of the GSA, the Gay Straight Alliance, at the school. They held up their signs proudly professing their hate and their god’s hate in their typical fashion, and interestingly enough, the words were actually spelled right, unlike some ignorant folks.

The media got wind of it because, oh, the witless twits called them personally. I really wish the media would just tell them to go to their hell, but that is not the type of world in which we live, so the media showed up. The kids at the school were told to ignore them, but once the media showed up, it became an “event.”

What I am most intrigued and proud of is how some of the students at the school handled it. Four male jocks held hands and strutted in front of this group. Two lesbian students made out in front of them. Hoo-effn-ray. I am proud of the students at Jacob’s school for standing up for themselves and others. It wasn’t THAT long ago that I was in high school, and I can’t imagine the same set of circumstances occurring.

What a world we live in that personal freedoms are such an issue for some people. If the quiverfull has their way, we’ll all be outnumbered soon, so let’s hurry up and pass laws allowing same-sex marriages and subsequent adoptions, and get them pumping out the kids to make it a fair game.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

FW: did you have 0.15 seconds of fame.

Such was the subject line of an email we received recently. As the sender suggested, yes it did sound like a spam email, but it was in fact not.

My wife and I ran an online tea business for several years. It never made us rich, but I do have a nice color laser printer and her laptop paid for via www.izadra.com. Alas as I was promoted to Supervisor at my job it became more of a drag than the “fun” it provided at the start.

We did try very hard to make it successful, even to the point of being exhibitors at the Women’s Expo in 2007. There was a lot of buzz, we were busy all day long, we made sales and had people raving about us. Yeah, that lasted till the end of the day and I learned that I suck at running a tea business. So in January of 2008 we shut her down.

Yesterday we get an email from a friend with the attached screenshot captured from the 2009 Women’s expo TV spot. If only .15 seconds of fame could make us rich! Oh, and it's 2 years too late.

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She looks good in an apron, don’t you think?