Sunday, September 30, 2007

Balloons to Heaven

Yesterday’s fundraiser went better than expected given the fact that we woke to a most nasty wind. We were worried that the weather would keep people away from the fifth and sixth grade boys’ football game where we intended to hold a hamburger fry and bake sale but the people in our community are a hardier lot than I would have imagined and they showed up en masse.

Following the game, the principal of the elementary school gave a fabulously warm speech about Brandon and his teammates then presented his mother with his jersey and a plaque explaining that the jersey was being officially retired from the school program.

The committee who planned the fundraiser had asked The Girl if she would then present Brandon’s mom with a scrapbook that the kids have been working on in their grief class and The Girl was honored to do so. She got through it a lot better than I thought she would, too.

After the presentations, we launched over a hundred balloons and, for just that brief amount of time, the wind settled down.

The parents, grandparents, teachers and friends of the football boys made for a decent lunch crowd and, as luck would have it, two high school teams from communities on opposite ends of our side of the state met on our field for their league game. This brought even more parents, etc. and we grilled burgers for three hours, making enough money to fund this year’s scholarship in Brandon’s name.

I’m so proud to be part of this community.

I’m proud of my daughter.
I’m proud of my husband who stood in winds up to thirty-miles per hour, cooking hamburgers with a smile on his face (he has a lot less hair on his arms, from being singed by the flames but, he never much cared for hairy arms, anyway).

It was a good day.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Things at Random

-While the Man-Cub practiced football last night, I ran a mile around the high school track. And, no, nothing was chasing me; I simply felt the urge to run. In the future, when I feel that urge, I will instead beat my legs with a baseball bat; swinging the bat will require less energy and the resulting soreness will pale in comparison to that which I am feeling today.

-Each of the children has a friend spending the night, tonight. This is not an infrequent occurrence in our home and I actually enjoy wrangling four children at a time. In fact, when Hugh and I were planning our family; I initially wanted four children. Hugh did not and, our finances at the time supported his position so, we stopped at two. Now, Hugh likes to point out that, had we actually had four children, we would most likely spend the majority of our time entertaining eight children, total. Even I must concede that that would be more than I could handle. Plus, I would have to get a mini-van which, no.

-While the kids enjoy the companionship of their friends, I will be in the kitchen; baking twelve dozen cookies for a bake-sale that we are having tomorrow to raise funds for a memorial scholarship in Brandon’s name.

-The chance of me not eating at least one dozen of those cookies is equal to that of me running a mile again anytime soon. That would be zero.

-I am craving bagels with cream-cheese. I do not know why. I am also craving pomegranates but refuse to pay almost three bucks for one fruit.

-It has been ten weeks since my last haircut. I tell everyone that I am growing it out but in reality, I have been too lazy to make an appointment for a cut. I’m pretty sure that’s how Cousin It was born.

-Speaking of Cousin It, I’m getting excited for Halloween. The kids already know what they want to be and I’m toying with the idea of making costumes for Hugh and myself-Gomez and Morticia Adams costumes, to be exact. I'll be Morticia, in case you were confused.

-Hugh already started planning his Halloween decorations for the front porch; he purchased an animatronic man who lifts his own head off at the neck. It’s really hard to describe but totally cool.

-Back in the days when Hugh and I were first married; the aquatics facility that I worked for hosted a haunted house each Halloween as a scholarship fundraiser for the City’s different athletic programs. I was responsible for the design of the house as well as for purchasing the materials, props and costumes and over-seeing the two-day event. My staff, made up mostly of teenagers, provided its skill as “horror thespians” and, the kids were most talented. One year they were so successful in their mad Scare Skilz, they made a teenage girl pee her pants. That is the epitome of haunted house success right there.

-There is a pink frosted donut in the break room and it is calling my name. I’m going to answer that call and make that donut wish it had kept its hole shut. I ran a mile last night, I earned that donut.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Another Sure Sign of the Season

If the aspen tree in my front yard turning bright yellow over the past several days wasn’t enough to signal the return of autumn; this week’s return of prime time television programming certainly sealed the deal.

I actually think I might stick with a few of the new shows, Kid Nation, for example. Once you get past the initial premise of the show which is basically the abandonment of forty kids in the New Mexico dessert, it’s really quite enjoyable. Plus, I can watch it with my kids and I get a huge kick out of comparing notes on the cast with The Girl. For the record, Greg, the fifteen year old who can both kill chickens and lay out a perfect water-line, reminds us both of my nephew, The Rebel Without a Pause which, gives us the Warm Fuzzies.

Note to Greg, you better not turn into a surly ass over that stupid gold star; do not throw away the Warm Fuzzies for $20,000, man!


Then, last night, I watched the series premiere of Bionic Woman. Not THE Bionic Woman, since she isn’t the only bionic woman on the show (Spoiler! Sorry!), but, whatever. It was meh. I might try to stick with it or I might not. I guess it all depends on whether or not they bring back Max, the bionic dog. Now that show, I would watch.

I’m pretty sure I will continue watching Journeyman, however. I will admit, at first, I thought it was going to be a big rip-off of The Time Traveler's Wife, which I loved, loved, loved and; I wasn’t interested in seeing it. But! At work this morning, I got bored so I watched the premiere online and, I like it. I really like it. Of course, it will take a while for me to get over seeing Lucius Vorenus without his toga but, I’ll get there.

I am planning to watch the premiere of Moonlight tomorrow night. I typically enjoy vampire shows and, since there is nothing else to watch on Friday nights, I hope I’ll like it.

Of course, I’m also anticipating the return of my favorite old shows; Grey’s Anatomy, CSI (The Girl is dying to find out if Sara Sidle kicks the bucket tonight. I’m secretly hoping she does), Desperate Housewives and Battlestar Galactica (which, why the wait? Where for art thou, Battlestar Galactica? Oh! You’re waiting for Jamie Summers to kick Starbuck’s ass, well, let’s get with it Bionic Woman!).

While I’m at it; I should probably admit that I also plan to watch this season of Survivor solely for the purpose of seeing which happens first; the chick from the WWE getting voted off or her bottom lip falling off due to her lip rings getting infected. Either of which would be perfectly acceptable.

All of which means that; I may need a hobby other than television.


Also, if I'm missing anything terrific, do please feel free to share.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I’m Listening…Wait, What?

I met a very nice woman at the Man-Cub’s football practice yesterday. Her family is new to town and she hasn’t met very many people yet so; I’m thinking of inviting her and her son to join Jana, the kids and me when we start our annual fall activities. That way, we can corrupt her before the Mean Mom clique gets a hold of her.

Yes, we have a Mean Mom clique, doesn’t every small town?

Speaking of cliques; I have been a terrible member of my woman’s club lately. I have missed more meetings than I have attended and I’m feeling a bit guilty about it. Not guilty enough to volunteer for the annual highway clean-up project next weekend, but guilty enough to attend today’s meeting. Although, looking at the agenda; it appears the District Governor will be speaking so; maybe I would rather clean up trash along the highway, after all.

Nothing against the Governor (doesn't that word just cry out to be said in an English accent? 'allo govnah! No? Just me then?), it’s just that, lately, I have been restless and I seem to be having trouble sitting still and focusing on an activity for any length of time. Also, I have noticed that I’m not pulling my weight in conversations, tending instead to zone out and go shopping for lipstick in my head (did you know that orange is one of the season's hottest colors? What is up with that?). I probably have Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. Or, you know; I’m preoccupied with other thoughts. Either way, it’s annoying.

You know, to the people around me.

I’m not annoyed by it at all; plus, I’m certain that it will prove to be a temporary condition. And, if not; that’s ok, too. I have no problem embracing my inner ditz. She's purty, she would never wear orange lipstick. Why would anyone buy orange lipstick? I mean, does that color look good on anyone?

Wait, what was I saying?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Cub Is Born

Sooo…what was I doing on this day nine years ago? Well, right now I would have been wrestling the Girl (Baby Girl, at the time) into her car seat for the trip to my gynecologist’s office for my weekly check-up. I was a week away from my due date but had been dilated to five cm. at my appointment the previous week so; I was hoping for a report of additional progress.

And, as hoped, there had been progress; I was dilated to a six and was instructed by my doctor to head to the hospital where my water would be broken in an effort to get things moving.
My friend, Jules, came to watch the Girl for us while Hugh, my mother and I made the three-block trip to the hospital.

I was admitted and shown to one of the newly remodeled birthing suites where I drooled with envy over the beautiful hardwood floors; floors that would not be quite so beautiful once I got finished with them.


Hugh called Emily, who promised to drop what she was doing to make the two and a half hour trip at which point I grabbed a nurse who was passing by and begged her make haste with the crochet hook; time was of the essence!

I wanted to get that ball rolling, if you get my drift.

My doctor arrived about an hour later, the crochet hook was duly inserted I felt a distinctive pop and….

I proceeded to drench the doctor, the bed, the assisting nurse, a wall seven feet away and, to my horror, the beautiful hardwood floors, in about two gallons of amniotic fluid. My doctor eyed me and deadpanned “Did I forget to mention that I already HAD a shower, today?” Completely horrifying.

Well, almost.

Two or so hours later, after the bed had been changed, the floors mopped and the doctor dressed in dry scrubs; I shifted on the bed during a routing cervical check and another huge gush of water came bursting forth, soaking the bed, the doctor, the nurse and, of course, the hardwood floors. At the precise moment, that Emily walked in.

Horror. Complete.

Cue the contractions. Considering the horrible epidural experience that I had with the Girl; I had chosen to forgo pain medication so, the contractions were, well, painful. But, ultimately productive and, in no time at all I was due for another cervical check, before which; my doctor inquired as to whether or not she should try to find a snorkel before “going in”.

Hugh swears, to this day, that I actually gave the thought some consideration. I don’t remember that, though because, in the next minute, she was “in” and she said something that made my heart stop.

What the?!....”

I don’t know about you but, when a professional goes into a place that is supposed to be her area of expertise and says “what the?!...”, I tend to lose a little confidence in her skills. And, you know, panic.

In fact, if I recall correctly; I sat bolt upright and said something like “What the WHAT?!!! What?! What IS it?! Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod!”

Or, something like that.

“Whew! Nothing to worry about! It’s just a hand!”

Right. Because everyone knows that babies CRAWL out of the womb (and it’s a damn good thing that movie, The Ring, had not yet come out because that freaky kid creeping out of the TV would have been the FIRST thing to enter my mind, fucking Japanese film makers and their freaky long haired crawling kids) .

Anyyywaaay…nothing to worry about, la dee da, de, da.

And, of course, she was right, everything came out just fine (pardon the pun). The Man-Cub was born hand-first despite some righteously aggressive “intra-uterine manipulation” by the doctor- a procedure, I might add- that I had seen performed once before, by my brother-in-law.

Granted, that time it was done on a cow and, I do distinctly remember hoping that the doctor had paid close attention to her elbows when she scrubbed up, earlier.

Good times.

And, good outcome. The Man-Cub was a dream come true. I had secretly hoped for a boy and I have thanked God everyday since that we got the boy that we did. He lights up my life on a daily basis and I am enjoying every moment of watching him grow up.

I just wish he wasn’t doing it quite so fast*.

Happy Birthday, Man-Cub!

*Seriously, where did my baby go? Where are the chubby cheeks , the screw-on hands and the rollly-polly thighs? He's like, all angles and long legs and shit. That just ain't right.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

If Pictures of Kids' Birthday Parties Annoy You, Move Along

Day Two of Birthday Footballapalooza was a giant success. I can tell because, I am exhausted.

Pictures with a minimum of exposition will have to take the place of my usual witty repartee, see above; exhausted.

The cake. Fashioned to look like a football stadium filled to the brim with spectators; Bronco fans, according to the Man-Cub. Gah. Also, football shaped ice cream. Becasue I am insane, obviously.

Hugh preparing the field for the touch-football game. Say what you will about him but; how many dads do you know who will spray-paint their lawn for their child’s enjoyment? Without huffing the fumes.

The football hero sandwich. Just because I am so freaking proud of the fact that I baked a loaf of bread shaped like a football. And I don’t even like football.

Requisite photos of the actual football game, because it just wouldn't be a football party without a football game, donchaknow.

And, the throw-the-ball-through-the-hoop contest. First Prize, a poster of the Denver Broncos, thank god the Man-Cub lost that particular contest.

Presents! It’s.….a Bronco jersey and the Cub could not be happier (the irony, it burns! It burns!)

Blowing out the candles on the cake. It was the perfect ending to the perfect party. Of course, I was the perfect hostess as usual; never losing my patience or feeling the stress (it's a gift, really) as I enjoyed the company of ten adorable little boys.....

Wait a minute, how did that get in there?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Sometimes, We Must Embrace That Which We Despise

I took today off from work to allow myself adequate time to decorate the cupcakes that I am taking to the Man-Cub’s classroom later today. In doing so, I got a little taste of what it will be like once I quit my job and start working for Hugh at the store.

I think I like it.

For one thing, I got an extra twenty minutes of sleep.

Then, I exercised for an hour and therefore will not have to do it this evening.

Plus, I got my grocery shopping done at the Hellmouth and I did not have to fight crowds. While at the Hellmouth, I ran into the Cub’s Scout leader and I got to have a friendly conversation without rushing.

Then, at the checkout line, three genuinely cheerful employees, who had no problems bagging my groceries in my canvas bags, assisted me. They didn’t even look at me funny.

Once I got home, I decorated the cupcakes while watching Martha Stewart.

Moreover, I did all of that before 11:00, which is the time that I will be starting my workday at the store. If this is what it will be like, I do believe it will be perfect.

And, won’t you all please remind me of that when, after working together for a while, I confess an overwhelming desire to choke the living shit out of my husband?

Thank you, in advance for your cooperation.

Now, back to the topic at hand. The Man-Cub has been very much looking forward to his classroom party. As luck would have it, today is the last day of the High School’s Homecoming week so; the elementary school will be dismissed to watch the Homecoming parade shortly after the cupcakes are served. Convincing the Cub that the parade was not actually in honor of his birthday posed more of a challenge than you might imagine.

Since we are doing a football themed party anyway, this turn of events has proven quite fortuitous; I decorated the cupcakes in the school colors and Hugh plans to take both children to watch the football game at the High School tonight, freeing me to decorate the football-shaped birthday cake for the party tomorrow.

Sunday afternoon, there will be a Bronco game on television and, since Sunday is his actual birthday, I’m sure the Cub will want to watch it while eating leftover cake and yelling obscenities at the television (he gets that from his grandfather).

All of which means that, by bedtime Sunday night; the child will have celebrated three solid days of football-themed birthday bliss.

People who know me in real life will appreciate the irony in this. In fact, certain people will be wondering how many cupcakes I will have to consume in order to kill the bitter, bitter taste of irony in my mouth and, to those people I say, apparently more than two.

But I shall keep you posted.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Must. Stop. Eating. Hershey’s. Kisses

I bought a huge bag of the tinsel-wrapped temptations for a trade show that I did a while back and, when I ended up with more than half the bag left over; I shoved it to the darkest most recesses of a filing cabinet drawer, convincing myself that out-of-sight meant out-of-mind.

A strategy that might have worked for a regular simpleton but, not for me. I’m no regular simpleton, after all and, now, my mind has some ‘splaining to do to my waistline.

On the other hand, if I were an alien-slash-government-conspiracy theorist type of person who believed that aliens can control our thoughts on behalf of the united states government; I would have more than enough foil from which to fashion a most lovely brainwave-blocking hat. *

Or, I could recycle the foil, thus saving our planet from additional pollution and doing my part to reduce the effects of Global Warming. You know, if Global Warming actually existed.

Kidding! I totally believe in Global Warming regardless of what the aliens and our government would have me believe. Otherwise, I might just need that aluminum hat.

*And, yes; these types of people actually exist. And, no; I'm not linking them. They kinda freak me out. But, do feel free to Google aluminum hat to your hearts content.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Bread of the Amish Will Not Defeat Me!

I did it, I managed to take the care and feeding of my Amish friendship bread starter to the desired ending; I baked it last night. And it was….ok. Not the fantastic wonder-bread that I was expecting given the massive amount of stress involved with the care and feeding of the starter, but; good enough for me to divide the batter into three bags to give to friends so that they, too can lose sleep at night, wondering if they remembered to squeeze the air out of the bag that day or if they forgot and will therefore wake to find that it has burst all over their new kitchen cabinets. You're welcome, friends!

In other news, it has been busy, busy, busy at Casa de Chelle. Friendship Bread babysitting, not withstanding; I have also been busy baking cakes and cupcakes for the Man-Cub’s birthday this weekend.

And, speaking of the Man-Cub; flag football started last night so we now have practice two nights a week and games every Monday and Wednesday night, starting October 1st. The Cub is really excited about football, hence his request to have a football themed birthday party, the planning for which has also kept me occupied.

Then, of course, there is my day job which has been stressing me out, not so much because of the work required of me but due to the knowledge that I will be giving notice in exactly four weeks. I’m not exactly looking forward to breaking the news to my boss as she is rather dependent upon me, but; I’m totally looking forward to the changes that will follow my resignation.

And, speaking of changes, the leaves are beginning to turn colors. Fall is definitely my favorite time of year and I’m looking forward to cooler weather and pumpkins and Halloween and Thanksgiving and everything else that comes with the season.

Except for early snow, that is; snow can just stay the fuck away.

On a totally different subject, Hugh flew to Chicago this morning (and, boy, are his arms tired! Ba-dum-dum! Thankyouverymuch! I’ll be here all week!) so; it will just be me and the kids for a couple of days. I’m thinking of letting them do things that their father (and, possibly, Social Services) would frown upon, like eating nothing but Friendship Bread for dinner and watching re-runs of South Park. Then, we'll laugh about how last night's finale of Big Brother was just like that South Park episode where the town had to vote for either the Giant Douche or the Turd Sandwich because; the choice the BB jury had to make between the Donatos was just like that! And, omigawd, isn't that funny?

I'm kidding, of course. I mean, what kind of a parent do you think I am?

I'll totally make the kids eat a well-balanced and nutritious dinner.

Then, we'll watch South Park.

Monday, September 17, 2007

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring, I Should Be in Bed, Snoring

A series of obnoxiously loud thunderstorms made their way through the area last night, shaking the house and lighting up our bedroom with every bolt of lightning. In addition, Hugh is suffering from a head cold. So, between his snoring and flailing about, the storm front moving through and the sudden appearance of the Man-Cub at my bedside at around three o’clock; I had a rather restless night. As you can imagine, I am exhausted.

At least the storms had the good grace to wait until after our tea party to make their appearance. The Girl and I were quite looking forward to the party and it would have been a shame to have to move it into the house rather than hosting on the porch, as originally planned. As it was, we had a lovely time. I spent the better part of the morning in the kitchen; baking a cinnamon-streusel coffee cake, individual strawberry shortcakes and lemon bars as well as assembling pin-wheel appetizers and a hefty meat and cheese tray. It seemed like a lot of food at the time but I am pleased to report, the girls went through it quite rapidly.

Of course, Darren and the Man-Cub helped. Every once in a while, they would tear themselves away from their game of Monster Truck Mud Bog, storm the porch and raid the tea table while the girls shrieked at them about not putting their grubby little paws all over the shortcakes. Which, in the girls' defense-they were grimy; we are talking mega-level filth, here. Of course, in the boys' defense-shortcakes. I mean, really, who could blame them?

Actually, I’m not sure who enjoyed the party more; the girls and their dolls, the boys (and their grubby little paws), or Jana and I. And, really does it matter? I think not.

While the tea party was the highlight of the weekend, it is certainly worth mentioning that I also managed to get in a bit of relaxation. There may have been wine. Possibly, an entire bottle.

It was good. Not quite good enough to make up for the sleep deprivation caused by spending the night sandwiched between snoring and nocturnal kung-fu fighting, mind you but, good.

God, I’m tired. Have I mentioned how tired I am?

Have I mentioned that it is still raining?

And, you know; that I should be in bed?

Also, that I am whiney? Of course not; that part hardly bears mentioning at all.

Since you know that about me already.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Fromage de parole!

Today is picture day at the middle school and The Girl spent a good deal of time in her closet this morning debating the merits of several outfits before settling on one that she felt was acceptable.

She was even more twitter-pated over how to do her hair and I was forced to share bathroom space with her which, considering the child has her own bathroom, should never happen. I guess I should be flattered that she wanted my opinion, though; even if she did hog my mirror and spray me in the eye with hairspray. My hairspray.

The two finalists for Hairstyle of the Year went to The Fountain, which is a lovely pony-tail positioned on top of the head with the hair cascading down in three directions; a hairstyle which The Girl heartily congratulated herself for having invented.

Although, 1985 would beg to differ.

Finalist number two, a nice side-swept pony-tail with long bangs, emerged victorious however so; 1985 decided to forego the pursuit of patent infringement.

Once the last hair was in place, The Girl skipped off to school, no doubt practicing her most photo-worthy smiles the entire way.

I joke, but in all honesty; she looked precious and, the chances of her having to hide her sixth grade school picture behind her second-grade school picture to avoid any embarrassment when future boyfriends browse through the family album are practically nil.

Not that I would know anything about that.

In other news, I am hosting a tea party this weekend. Jana and I decided that we better get in at least one more before the girls decree themselves too old for such nonsense and start wearing black lip liner and lobbying for tickets to heavy metal concerts.

Although, now that I think about it; a tea party with a Goth theme would totally kick ass.

Next year.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ten Bucks Says I Get on the Scale Tomorrow and Cry

I just ate half a bag of Hershey’s Kisses and I don’t even feel bad about it. See, they were Hershey’s Kisses with almonds and I’ve read all about how almonds are good for you. Ooh, chocolate, too! I read that chocolate contains powerful antioxidants and, we all need more antioxidants in our diets, now, don’t we?

I should totally finish the bag.

And, you know, not get on the scale tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My Parents Went To Hawaii and All I Got Was This Crappy Post

Mom called me the night before last to assure me that she and Dad had made it safely to Maui. I pretended to be all blasé and “how nice for you” about it but; you know I was begging her not to forget to bring me bring me chocolate covered macadamia nuts and a grass skirt before the call was over.

I’m not jealous, though.

My mom retired from her job as an office manager at the end of August, thus ending twenty-some odd years of indentured servitude so, I think she deserved a vacation. My dad has been retired for a number of years now and, while I guess he also deserved a vacation and was looking forward to it; I think he is most excited about having someone to keep him company while he sits around the house doing nothing the rest of the time.

You know, as retired people do.

This will be the third time my parents have visited the islands together. The first time, they got caught in a hurricane and, the second time; they took my younger sister and me along with them. Hopefully, the third time will be a charm and they will actually be able to enjoy the trip.

I’m kidding, of course. Obviously, there is no possible way that they could have as much fun this time as we had when we all went together because I’m not there to mercilessly tease my mother about every sentence that comes out of her mouth. Or, to torment her with my embarrassment every time my younger sister tries to get out of on the elevator on the wrong floor and my mother throws her arms open to prevent the doors from closing, thus clothes-lining the tiny Asian woman behind her; the tiny Asian woman who was just trying to reave the eravator, you crazy rady! Plus, what fun is a vacation without my succinct-and LOUD- diagnosis of elephantigo; screamed in the Honolulu airport upon the discovery that her knee-high stockings have slipped down her calves and settled into a flesh-colored puddle around the tops of her shoes? Not fun. Not fun at all.

(On a side note; I do believe I have pinpointed the exact moment in time when Karma said, Oh, snap! I’ll be seeing you in twenty years, six months and three days. Just so you recognize me; I’ll be in the form of a pre-teen. See you then!)

Ah, well.

I guess they’ll just have to make their own fun or, you know; do the usual boring touristy things like sunning themselves on the beach while sipping a fruity drink with an umbrella stirrer... snorkling among colorful fish.... taking in a luau while the sun sinks gently into the Pacific, trailing a vibrant wash of purple and orange in its' wake....yuck!

I’m telling you; I almost feel sorry for them.

Not. Jealous. At. All.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Last Sentence of This Entry Just Begs Fate to Screw With Me

Sunday afternoon, in an effort to raise my spirits following the whole Tooth Fairy ordeal, Hugh took the children and me to a nearby sunflower farm because; what could be more mood elevating than sunflowers?

Prozac comes to mind but, I digress.

So, yes; the sunflower farm. In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that; it isn’t technically a sunflower farm; it’s an RV park whose owners just happen to grow giant-ass sunflowers in an effort to shield their guests from the unsightly mess of a junkyard next door, a strategy that has worked quite well for them, by the way.


….. the elderly couple who owns the park bought cabinets from Hugh a while back and, like a lot of old people do; they took a liking to Hugh.

Seriously; I have no idea what it is with Hugh and the old people but it happens ALL THE TIME.

And… upon hearing of his liking for cucumber salad and okra (blech); they have been more than generous with their garden bounty, keeping us in vegetables for most of the summer. When the sunflowers began to droop recently; they suggested that Hugh bring the children out to cut some seed-heads for drying which, is how we found ourselves doing this:

And, I’ll be damned if it didn’t make me feel just the tiniest bit better.

We left the park with six giant seed-heads which will provide us with more than enough seeds to eat as well as some to plant ourselves, next year. We also left with a bag of Amish Friendship Bread starter that the couple insisted we take and, I say insisted because I was quite reluctant to accept. Why, you ask?

Because, in case you don’t know, there is a lot of pressure involved in the care and keeping of Amish Friendship Bread starter. Don't believe me? Allow me to educate you.

The starter resembles baby puke and comes in a Ziploc baggie with a list of instructions that you follow each day for, oh, ten days or so. On days one through five, you “mush” the bag, on day six, you feed the starter a cup of flour, some sugar and, I forget what else. Then, you continue to “mush” the bag on days seven through ten at which point you divide the starter into several additional baggies, one of which you combine with some other ingredients and bake. The left-over baggies; you give to your friends along with the recipe; hence the name of the bread.

Yes, I know; it sounds simple.

That's what I thought when I tried it about seven years ago. For the record, following too many consecutive days of my forgetting to "mush" the bag appropriatly, it exploded all over my kitchen. And, by exploded, I mean EXPLODED!

See? Pressure, people!

Also, the bag warns that, should you, for any reason, mess it up; you are screwed because only Amish people know the top-secret recipe for the original starter. So, if you want to taste the delectable goodness that is the Friendship Bread; you better have an Amish friend with a forgiving nature, willing to make your pathetic ass a new batch.

That, or, you know, Google.

Not that I’ll need that link, though because, this time, I got smart; I scheduled the “mushing” schedule into my day planner.

So, what could possibly go wrong?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Maybe It Should Have Been the Final Nail in the Tooth Fairy’s Coffin

The Man-Cub lost another baby tooth at school on Friday and I forgot to leave money under his pillow that night.

Parent. Of. The. Fucking. Year. People.

And, I have no good excuse, Hugh had taken the kids to a football game at the high school, leaving me to enjoy a quiet evening alone and, I fell asleep on the couch. When they arrived home and woke me up, my throat was sore, my head ached and I decided to take myself to bed; totally spacing that the fact that the Cub had even lost a tooth that day.

The crest-fallen look on his face then next morning as he came down the stairs clutching the small zip-lock baggie containing his tiny little tooth is an image that I will carry with me until the day that I die. Seriously, I might as well look up the number for a good therapist right now because I will never recover.

At the sight of my obvious emotional fragility; Hugh took the reigns by assuring the Cub that there had to be a good explanation and that he was sure we would hear from the Fairy that night. That seemed to mollify the Cub somewhat and, you can bet your ass; I was on the computer in record time, printing out an apology letter.

I thanked God that I had saved the template that I had made for Tooth Fairy letterhead during that whole tooth buy-back debacle with The Girl a few years back and I printed that bitch off in record speed, not realizing that it would come back to bite me in the ass harder than a pitbull with distemper.

Because, Sunday morning when the Cub found the letter rolled up and tied to a five-dollar bill, he seemed to feel better about the whole thing. And, so did I, until; he excitedly pointed out that the Fairy was kind enough to include her email address on the letterhead. Email! Now he can totally write to the Tooth Fairy and, naturally, she will write back! Pen-pals, mom! Awesome!

Clearly, this is the punishment I get for going to such great lengths to perpetuate a lie.

Kill me. Kill me now.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Why Is There No Space For “First Phone Call From the School Principal” In the Baby Book?

Right, so; I got a phone call from The Girl’s principal yesterday. You heard correctly. Phone call. From. The. Principal. The horror!

Now, for all the evil that the child exudes at home (see previous entry), she is, according to her teachers; quiet as a church-mouse in school. So, the call was unexpected, to say the least. Thankfully, the call wasn’t to inform me that she was in trouble and would have to leave the school, immediately! But, merely, the principal calling to let us know about an incident that she was semi-involved in.

And, I was like wha? Semi-involved in? What is this semi-involvement of which you speak? Because I was caught off guard at the whole being called by the school principal thing, obviously. I mean, I’m used to being called by the school nurse but, the principal is a whole new ball of wax and, when I was in school, a call from the principal meant that someone was about to get whacked with a board.

Also, I walked to school. Uphill. Both ways. And, I digress.

Anyhoodle, the principal proceeded to explain the incident which basically consisted of a boy in one of The Girl’s classes making some sort of derogatory statements about Brandon’s death upon which an argument between the boy and a friend of The Girl whom, for the purpose of anonimity; we shall call Pippi, ensued. The fight ultimately resulted in Pippi socking the boy in the nose, causing much blood and a few tears. A trespass for which all three of the kids were called into the office for a scolding although, the principal assured me, repeatedly; The Girl was blameless and, therefore, merely a witness to the scolding. In the interest of full disclosure, however; he felt that a call to me was in order and, rightly so.

I wasn’t terribly upset, after all; The Girl was merely in the wrong place at the wrong time and her friend was defending the honor of a dead kid. Which, what kind of a heartless delinquent makes fun of another kid’s death?

The kind that then gets beat up by a girl, apparently.

A girl who, by the way, looks a lot like this...

And, now I can cross this particular parental Rite of Passage off my list even if I do have to make my own space for it in the baby book.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

This Too, Shall Pass

Dear Girl,
Contrary to what you and your girlfriends obviously think; you did not introduce a new trend in fashion when you decided to pair tights with a miniskirt. Your mother is right; the world has Madonna to thank for that particular innovation.
Sincerely yours,

Dear Girl,
Can I give you a piece of advice? For every time you roll your eyes at your mother, snort dismissively at her (quite good) suggestions, stomp up the stairs after being asked to do something, say “gah!” when you are corrected, mutter obscenities under your breath (yes, we can hear you), and generally behave like a Neanderthal cave-child; you will be visited ten-fold by your own children.
Love, Karma
P.S. I’ll see you in twenty-five years or so.

To the Parents of The Girl,
Thank you for allowing your daughter to compete in our recent (and, ongoing) competition. Her scores were amazing as indicated by her ranking in the following events:
Foot Stomping, a perfect 10! This is no small feat given the five-point degree of difficulty for this particular event. First Place!
Door Slamming, another perfect 10!
Eye Rolling, a 9.5. The panel agreed that The Girl could do better on this particular event; perhaps she was having an off day? We have no doubt that she will live up to her true potential at the next opportunity to compete.
Wailing “It’s not fair!”, the panel also agrees that it is a shame that a perfect 10 is the highest score attainable in this particular category as we feel The Girl far exceeds even that high standard but, anyway; perfect 10.
Free-Form Competition, The Girl combined Foot Stomping, Door Slamming, Eye Rolling and Wailing “It’s not Fair!” for a truly momentous performance for which she was awarded the Over-all Gold Medal.
You must be so very proud.
Omi Gawd,
Brat Olympic Committee

Dear Hugh and Chelle,
It is with great regret that I inform you that the Council of Cardinals has refused our request for an officially church-sanctioned exorcism of The Girl. Perhaps, if you just spray some holy water her way and say a few Hail Mary’s; all will be resolved.
Hopefully yours,
Father X

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Hugh,
We regret to inform you that your recent application for admittance of your daughter to our fine institution has been denied. We here at the academy take a hard line on discipline and have noted failure after failure in the conditioning of pre-adolescent girls, thus our policy of non-admittance. Our exemplary record cannot be jeopardized by making an exception in your case.
Kicksass Military Academy

My Friends,
I sympathize with your dilemma for I; too, have encountered such rebellion amongst my people. Make no mistake; you must crush this rebellion before it gets out of hand. My suggestion to you would be that you withhold basic essentials until such time as you break the spirit of the rebel in question. My friends, I could wax poetic about the issue for hours but, I have a date with my wife; we are meeting at a shoe store.
Yours in Dictatorship,

My Children,
Your prayers have been noted and shall be answered in due time. In the meanwhile, please remember that I give you no more than you can handle, that I carry you through the worst times and that strict adherence to Commandment number six (Thou Shall Not Kill) is vital no matter how badly you want to snap that child in half.
Your heavenly father,

I'm telling you; it's a damn good thing we love her so much.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Fourteen Years Ago Today

Happy anniversary, Hugh!

Our weekend away was a perfect analogy of our life together; there were hills to climb, occasions to coast, sunshine so bright it hurt our eyes and, of course, a few dark clouds. And, through it all; we had each other.

We spent Saturday driving to Glenwood Springs which usually takes about two and a half hours. Since we weren’t on a schedule, we took our time, stopping at Sam’s Club to stock up on bottled water and snack foods that we could take with us on the bike path. We also saw this :

Six foot tall animatronic skeleton pirate

The fact that Hugh fell in love with the idea of having it on our front porch for Halloween and thus immediately vowed to make it ours, is reason one hundred and ten that he is the perfect man for me.

Once we got to Glenwood Springs and got checked into the hotel, we jumped on our bikes and rode to a nearby Mexican restaurant for dinner and then on to a putt-putt golf course where our children proceeded to kick our asses in a mere eighteen holes. The Man-Cub got the first hole-in-one and did a showy little touch-down dance right there on the putting green. The Girl’s hole-in-one was accompanied by a scream so high in pitch; every dog within a three-mile radius quaked in fear. My own eardrums have not fully recovered and I’m not just saying that because I am a sore loser at the putt-putt.

Sunday morning, we got up quite early to have breakfast before catching the 8:30 shuttle to the trailhead at Dotsero. The sixteen mile ride took us through some beautiful country where we were treated to a view of the river, people rafting the rapids, a variety of small wildlife and a plethora of other bikers; people of all races, age and physical condition. Since I brought up the rear of our small entourage; my view was mostly of this:

Following our three hour ride (my butt is still a little saddle-sore); we refueled with lunch and then spent five hours soaking in the hot springs. Miraculously, Hugh and the children still had energy enough to run up the four flights of stairs to the water slides several times but I was exhausted and so spent my time on a chaise lounge.

Upon leaving the hot springs, we grabbed a quick shower and biked back to the putt-putt golf course for round two of parental humiliation at the hands of our children. Although, in all honesty; Hugh didn’t do too badly.

By the time we got back to the hotel, we were starving, so we ordered pizza. The pizza had not even been delivered before the Man-Cub succumbed to exhaustion and fell asleep. We were kind enough to wake him when the pizza did arrive but I noticed it didn’t take him two seconds to fall back to sleep once he had eaten his fill.

Since we were all fairly tired, we slept in on Monday before packing up and heading home.

It was, by all accounts, a totally great time and the children have already expressed an interest in doing the entire thing all over again next year.

I could see us doing that; it would be a nice way to celebrate our fifteenth year together.