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2007 January

It is true

January 31, 2007

Rob called me from work today with the news. My computer is finally fixed.

What was wrong with it?

I heard, “Wahwahwah defrag wahwahwah megabytes wahwah gigabytes wahwahwah more memory wahwahwah hard drive…”

But it is fixed.

Of course he forgot to bring it home to me. Forgot to bring it home to me.

What did I say?

“I told you that you were an asshole.”

My daughter is such a bad influence.

Posted by Chris @ 11:08 pm | 23 Comments  

i have no more titles left in me

January 30, 2007

This Friday Rob and I are going into NYC and spending the night for his birthday. I was invited to attend a fashion show*, not participate in as my mother-in-law initially misunderstood, god love her, and also attend a party. At night. Without children. With celebrities. Where I can feel shorter and frumpier than usual. I am almost giddy with anticipation.

The fact that it falls on Rob’s birthday is pure coincidence. But it worked in our favor when asking my sister in law to babysit. She has babysat once for us in 12.5 years. I am not really sure what else to say about that. But she changed her work schedule so that she could do this for us this time, and for that I am very grateful. Though apart of me keeps thinking that she is going to change her mind at the last minute. I am a pessimist like that.

So instead of doing any of the productive things that I had originally planned for this week, like brushing my hair and getting dressed, I have been busy cleaning random things in my house. Because my sister in law is a cleaning freak. Yes, a freak. She may not be able to cook a turkey, but damn she can clean. She cleans her windows with q-tips to get in all the grooves. Which is fine for her. I never worry about catching germs when I go to her house. In fact I worry that when I take off my shoes, that my socks are going to tarnish her perfect floors.

Have you ever looked around your house and realized that there are some really disgusting things that you just never noticed? Like the way the backs of the children’s chairs are caked with gunk. Well this week in anticipation I have noticed. Yesterday I spent 40 minutes cleaning my baby monitor with a toothpick, bleach, and a razor blade. A 12.5 year old baby monitor. Clearly I am also insane.

I am not sure why I even care. My house is perfectly clean for any normal person. But it bothers my husband, who in turn drives me nuts until I care.

Today I organized my tupperware drawer and threw away 14 lids that have no bottoms. Where did the bottoms go? I know the tops and bottoms all came in pairs when I bought them. Perhaps they ran off with the stray socks. The yogurt containers seemed to have multiplied in the same time period.

Then I set up a diaper changing area on my laundry room counter. Because I know my sister in law would die if I told her that I just grab the diaper and wipes and change him on the floor. You know after I chase him through the house and wrestle him into submission.

I hope that she can overlook the dirty stove burners, the toothpaste splattered mirrors in the bathroom, and the fact that the sheets on the kid’s beds haven’t been changed in, well…how about we say 2 weeks, because by the time I finish alphabetizing my spices and folding all my towels into perfect 12″ x 18″ rectangles, there will be no time left. I have to prioritize.

*I’ll blog more about this later as it deserves a post all of it’s own.

Posted by Chris @ 11:26 pm | 48 Comments  

a small favor

January 29, 2007

My dear friend, Jody, is raising money for a great cause. A non-profit foundation that was started by a family who tragically lost their 3yr old son when his booster seat failed. The foundation provides 5 pt carseats to families who can’t afford to buy them.

Jody is donating $3 for every comment she gets on this post. So if you have a few minutes won’t you go and just leave her a comment. Tell her I sent you.

Thanks. You may now resume your life and I promise not to post again today, because good lord I am sick of hearing myself.

Posted by Chris @ 9:40 pm | Comments are closed.  

next up on today

I have something of a potty mouth. I enjoy a good swear word when the occassion calls for it. Unlike my husband who never swears. (As an aside, why doesn’t he swear? I feel like I have to do it enough for both of us.)

The kids mostly don’t imitate the swear words. They have been taught that some words are only for grown-ups to use, and when they grow up they can swear to their hearts are content. Sort of like drinking alcohol. It’s one of those things that adults can do. Unless they grow up and decide to become Mormon. Or Janet Taylor.

This weekend, while I was out, my 3 yr old daughter went up to Rob with this little maze game that she has. You know those plastic ones with the little silver ball inside that you have to move through the maze by gently tipping the toy back and forth? Well apparently Rob was having some trouble with it. And three year olds being what they are, she was growing impatient with his obvious incompetence.

When he finally finished it and went to hand it back to her, he dropped it on the floor.

She looked him, right in the eye and very seriously said, “I told you that you were an asshole.”

Rob tried not to laugh and said, “That’s not very nice to say to Daddy!”

She put her hands on her hips and said, “Well, it’s true,” turned and walked out of the room.

And really, how do you argue with that.

Posted by Chris @ 6:24 pm | 42 Comments  

Buying my timeshare at the retirement village

Yesterday I went shopping and discovered that I have unusually fat arms. Honestly that is the only explanation. Every shirt or sweater I tried on was tight on my arms. I hate that constricting feeling.

Also, I hate shirts that are tight enough across the back to show where your back fat plumps out around the bra straps. It is not an attractive look.

Before I left to go shopping my husband said, “Buy something nice. You know, not a frumpy housewife outfit.”

Words I probably took to heart more than he intended. But I am a frumpy housewife, so by definition any clothes I wear would be frumpy housewife clothes.

I learned some things. Or more accurately was reminded of some things.

As I was browsing through the clothing I realized that petite clothing manufacturers think that short people have no taste and want to wear the equivalent of leisure wear for the geriatric set who enjoy wintering at Boca Raton.

That I do not need to see my body from all angles, ever. Especially in flourescent lighting.

Unless you are under 14 and rail thin you should not wear those flowing peasant tops, unless you want everyone to think you are pregnant.

That my color of choice to wear is black. I love black. Also, I hate red.

I am still without my computer. I am just sharing because I know you all care as much as I do.

Posted by Chris @ 10:31 am | 32 Comments  


January 27, 2007

The thing about having a wood burning stove is that you need to clean it out frequently. I didn’t realize how much I would hate doing this. It means I have to turn the stove off, wait for it to cool completely, then clean the entire thing out, and the restart it. It means that it is off, and not heating us, meaning my ass parked two inches from the flames, nice and toasy, for several hours.

This past week it has turned really cold. As in -15 degrees cold. Schools were closed because it was too cold to heat them, though I personally think everyone was just itching for a snow day.

So this week I ignored the stove cleaning job. I stood in front of it, warming up my backside and my frontside, admiring my new wood floor that is so shiny. I thought, “What is the worst that can happen? Is it going to catch on fire?” Insert hilarious laughter here, because it is always on fire.

Turns out, that yes it can catch on fire.

And when you decide to turn it off because it is completely backed up with soot, the smoke will billow out of the stove and fill the house. Forcing you to open every window and door, AND put a fan in the window. And suddenly it will occur to you that you are much colder now than you would have been if you cleaned the stove out when it needed it.

After awhile of this I grew impatient and decided that I must get all those embers out of the house RIGHT NOW! It was very smokey and my eyes were burning. And so when Rob was in the other room I began vacuuming up the soot and embers that were in the stove. My back was to the vacuum when Rob came running in screaming. The vacuum ( NOT the Dyson thankfully) was on fire and shooting flames out the back of it. All I could think was I hope it doesn’t burn the new floor.

And then I thought, What would Meredith Viera say (WWMS)* ? “How would you feel if your babysitter did this? What is the difference between you and a babysitter? Huh, you rotten negligent mother? How would you feel if your house burnt down? Are you drunk right now? Are you?”

And I would have to answer, “No, but my 10 yr old can make you a mean drink. And frankly, Meredith, I think you need one.”

Also, I wish I could have been outside the Today show window. I would have had my at least one of my children wearing this creation from last year:

My Mother drinks because of me t-shirt
My Mother drinks because of me
Get this custom t-shirt at Zazzle

In the end my house didn’t burn down. The wood burning stove is fine and cleaner than it has been in a long time. All my newly painted walls had to be scrubbed clean. The vacuum didn’t survive. But hey, all of my children did. And most importantly the floor came out unscathed. And if that doesn’t call for a celebratory drink, I don’t know what does.

Updated: A few people have emailed to ask me what Meredith Viera has to do with all of this. Here is the link to the segment on the Today show.The lovely Melissa Summers interviewed by Meredith Viera, where Melissa is vilified for daring to admit she occassionally has a GASP alcoholic drink GASP in front of her children at get togethers with her girlfriends, thereby leading those poor children down the straight road to eternal damnation and drunken homelessness. Also possible death because WHO WILL DRIVE THE CAR IN AN EMERGENCY?!?

Posted by Chris @ 10:33 pm | 51 Comments  

another pet peeve of mine

January 26, 2007

I am still without my computer.

I have pretty much taken over my 10yr old son’s computer. I have the internet password protected on it, which basically means that he is unable to go anywhere on the web without my approval. It is a pain in the ass. But considering that he is really into Houdini and various escape artists, and has tried to google websites about “being tied up in chains,” it is for the best.

My husband brought my laptop to the IT guy at his office who fixes computers in his spare time. For a tidy sum of money I might add. Rob asked him on Monday morning when a good time would be for him to look at it. He said, “Any day this week would be fine.”

Maybe it’s just me, but I take that to mean, “I am free to work on it whenever you bring it to me. No need to specify a day. I have nothing else going on this week.”

He has had it for four days now. As of right now, the laptop has not left his office.

Now he says he won’t be bringing it home this weekend. And asked Rob if I’d like it back for the weekend.

Uh, no. If it still worked it wouldn’t be there with you. It would be back here with me. In my loving arms.

I demanded that Rob ask him exactly what he is doing this weekend that would prevent him from working on my computer. I am sure I could rearrange his schedule accordingly. I do it for my husband all the time.

Posted by Chris @ 1:41 pm | 24 Comments  

in the interest of full disclosure

January 24, 2007

Yesterday my 2 and 3 yr olds were feeling a bit under the weather. And it reminded of me of things that are much MUCH better about 12 yr olds.

1) They don’t cling to your leg, pulling on your pants until they almost come clean off your body, whining, “uP! uP!”

2) They can articulate exactly what hurts or feels sick on their body.

3) They can take their own tylenol, in pill form.

4) They usually don’t shake their head around and try to spit it out as soon as it touches their tongue.

5) They will willingly sprawl out on the couch and watch television.

6) They will not contaminate everyone else with their germs as they like all family members to respect their minimum 10ft circumference of personal space.

7) They will throw up in the toilet, or at least in the same room as the toilet.

8) They don’t wear diapers.


10) They don’t wipe their noses on your shoulder.

11) They don’t climb all over you the second that you sit down, elbows and knees poking into your squishy parts, and head butting your chin so that you bite your tongue.

12) If they ask for a snack, they will eat every last crumb of it, possibly licking the plate. They will not crush it it their hand and then grind it into the floor. And then demand a new and different snack which you don’t have.

Posted by Chris @ 9:31 am | 42 Comments  

exposing myself as the tyrant I really am

January 23, 2007

Parenting older children is hard. They don’t really have those moments of overwhelming cuteness, the kind where you want to grab them and bite their cheeks, so great is their cuteness. At least with toddlers you have that. That is their survival mechanism; toddlers have evolved to be so cute so that parents won’t throttle them or drop them off in the wilderness.

I was musing on what the survival mechanism of a preteen could be. I came up with the fact that they are now the same size, or larger than you, that alone would make the throttling difficult. And forget about dropping them in the middle of the wilderness. They know how to get back home. Probably before you.

A friend of mine told me once that teenagers behave the way they do so that you won’t be too sad to see them move out.

Yesterday my 3 yr old daughter clutched the tivo remote to her chest and looked up at me with such happiness, the sort I would have if someone told me I won a million dollars and chocolate cake had no calories. “Mommy, tivo loves me.” She had just discovered that tivo had saved a Little Mermaid cartoon unasked by us.

Her joy was the only thing that I stopped me from blurting out, “No, I think tivo hates me.” Her joy is also what stopped me from deleting it after the 50th viewing and saying, “Guess tivo saw you hit your little brother, huh?”

Compare this to the way the encounter would go with a twelve year old. Twelve year olds are more apt to wave the remote control around in the air in front of you while demanding to know what happened to that show. When questioned about what that show is called, they will roll their eyes and something coherent like, “The one I am talking about.”
Finally the encounter will end with much eyerolling (theirs), exasperation (both of you), and confusion (yours).

This past weekend I had to wear my I AM THE MOM hat; the one which co-ordinates perfectly with my BECAUSE I SAID SO t-shirt. I hate wearing those.

My son wanted to buy a huge lego set he saw on ebay. A huge set that had an opening bid of $250 plus another $50 for shipping. A huge set which is comprised of many smaller sets that he already owns. And while, in theory, I generally believe that he can do what he wants with his own money. This one was not one of those times. Much like if he told me he wanted to spend $300 on some crack or for a hooker. This was one of those times that I felt I needed to stand up and say, “No. You may not have this.”

To say he was mad would be an understatement. I tried to be understanding. I was gentle but firm. I sympathized with his plight as a poor sufferring oppressed child. The parenting books would have been proud of me. But after awhile, after hearing the “You can’t tell me what to do” and the “You aren’t the boss of me” and the “It’s my money, not yours” arguments, which oddly did nothing to change my mind. Finally I had to pull out my trump card.

“You aren’t getting it because I SAID SO.” End of the discussion. At least for me. He continued to “discuss” for a long time afterward. And I ignored him.

Give me toddlers any day. They rarely brood for hours over some perceived injustice.

“I can’t believe you washed that drawing off the wall. I worked on it so hard. I loved it. Why do YOU only get to decide how to decorate the walls in this house. It isn’t fair. You’re so mean. It’s my house too, you know.”


Posted by Chris @ 10:33 am | 52 Comments  

A weekend in bullet points

January 22, 2007

because who has time for developed paragraphs, punctuation, and segues.

–My computer has decided it hates me and now freezes up constantly. Oh it will tease me and zip along for 30 seconds before deciding that it needs a rest.

–We installed our new hardwood floor on Saturday, after spending the entire day encouraging the kids to just sit down and watch some tv already with unprecedented unfettered access, which they were not interested in, OF COURSE. Much more fun to ask when we will be finished every 3.5 minutes.

–Discovered that once again those will any ability to help are not the ones who want to help. My 2 and 3 yr olds were more than happy to “help” and throw random boards to me, usually when I wasn’t looking. And as annoyed as I was, watching them trying to help so earnestly was too cute.

–Some people say that they know there is a God, feel His presence when monumental things happen in their life. Like the birth of their children, near death experience, or the like. I had my moment this weekend. When we disovered that laying our wood floor across the 24ft and an inch or so room, that we never had to make a cut. (except for around the platform where the wood stove is located) We were able to to just lay the boards down. I turned to my husband at one point and said, “There is a God. And he loves me.” To wit he replied, “No, maybe he loves me.” Eh, whatever. I still reap the benefits.

–Today we kept smelling something that was really horrible. We could not pinpoint what it was.
We had moved the couch into the breakfast room and the smell seemed to be around it… or the kitchen sink… or the layndryroom. We couldn’t decide. Finally, I lost my ever loving mind, or what was left of it, and demanded that we get rid of the couch, RIGHT THEN AND THERE. The kids wanted to see if there was some sort of dead mouse inside the couch, so I flipped the couch over and let them slice open the bottom with knives. I stood a safe distance away on top of the benches in case there was some sort of mutant half decomposed, yet still alive, animal in there waiting to lunge at the first throat it saw. We found lots of crumbs, lots of change, a few small toy pieces, but no decomposing animals. I didn’t care, the couch smelled. Out the back door it went.

A hour or so later my husband discovered that it was the sponge in our kitchen sink that smelled. I threw it out the back door on top of the couch.

–The family room is completely empty. I keep going in there and staring at the shiny floor. I have never had a brand new shiny wood floor. We have only had the refinished 100+ year old floors, which while nice, are not the same. This floor shows every crumb and fingerprint, or foot print. Therefore I have made a new rule. The children are not allowed in the room unless they wear those furniture/chair pad things on their feet. Or maybe I can invent some sort of swiffer slippers… they can clean as they play. Not that they are allowed to play with anything or do anything in there, except perhaps make shadow puppets.

– I had said that once the floor was down I would roll around on it naked, that was how happy I would be. But it is way too cold for that. I told Rob to just imagine that I was doing it. And also imagine me looking like I did 15 years ago.

– Rob kept giving me “helpful” instructions on the way that his friend, let’s call him Steve, paints. Apparently Steve is some sort of painting “expert” Steve is full of good advice and suggestions. After a day or so of hearing this “helpful” advice, I finally said that he was free to take Steve’s advice and paint the damn rooms himself. Steve doesn’t “let” his wife paint. I wish I was as smart as she is and could figure out how to get my husband to not “allow” me to paint.

— If you are waiting for an email from me, I’ll get to it one day. My computer is going to work with my husband where his IT guy will bring it home and work on it, for a tidy sum. I know I promised to get to everyone who left me a comment on my delurking post. I was really good at the beginning… and then really good at the end.

Those of you smack dab in the middle are just like Jan Brady. Overlooked and seemingly ignored. But loved just as much. The beginning of the comments I was all excited and over anxious. Then I had to get back to my life and shower and stuff. Oh yeah and take care of all those kids. The the last hundred or so commenters were all, “I know you’ll never reply to me because I am so far down on the list” and I was compeled to email and say, “Yes, Yes I will! See!”

– I’d love to share photos, but see the first bullet point.

Posted by Chris @ 9:10 am | 28 Comments