Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Zorro says....

Stay safe.


The Dread Pirate Not-Roberts says...



Arrrrg, listen to Zorro.


After all, you wouldn't want to lose your head.








Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It’s Alll Good

I just finished my second day at the hardware store, a day that consisted of approximately three and a half hours of work;. I could totally get used to this.

Tonight Hugh and I are taking the kids to a haunted house run by a local non-profit group. I doubt it will be terribly scary but it should be fun, nevertheless. After the haunted house, we are planning to carve pumpkins.

Every year, Hugh carves an artificial pumpkin into some ridiculously elaborate design. This year, The Girl got to chose the design and she picked a witch stirring a large cauldron; it should be awesome.

While Hugh masters his pumpkin with his Dremel tool and the kids gut their pumpkins, I rinse and season the seeds for roasting. I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin seeds but am in the minority in that regard among my family members.

Now, I am off to the school to help sort and organize frozen pies; I fear for the health and welfare of my fingertips but I’m still looking forward to helping.

I know, I find it shocking, too.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Cruising Along on the Learning Curve

I started my training at the hardware store today and was pleased to find it less overwhelming than I originally feared. That isn’t to say that it wasn’t at all overwhelming, just not quite as overwhelming as I had feared. Of course, it will take some time to learn all there is to know but I think I will enjoy the ride.

The Man-Cub had his last flag football game this evening and his team won, handily. That makes them undefeated (except for two tied games which, how do you count ties? I do not know). I am proud of the Cub and relieved to have the season over and done with; sitting outside in the cold is not my idea of heaven. I know; I am such a delicate flower.

Speaking of delicate flowers, The Girl will be attending her first school dance this Friday and she has made it quite clear that she is not interested in having her father or me at the event. You have no idea how much fun it is to tell her that we are going to be there just to watch her head spin. You know, delicately.

On the topic of head spinning, Halloween is just around the corner. I have already told Emily that I won’t be working at the hardware store that day because I have committed to judging costumes at the community pre-school costume contest as well as to supervising the Man-Cub’s class party. I’m looking forward to the latter and dreading the former; do you have any idea how hard it is to pick a favorite costume among hundreds of adorably costumed infants and toddlers? It. Is. Hard.

Halloween night, Jana and the kids are joining us for dinner and trick-or-treating and to hand out candy to the rest of the neighborhood children so at least I have something to look forward to after breaking the hearts of all those kids (and their parents who, let’s face it; made all those freaking adorable costumes). Anyway, we are all looking forward to it.

Right now, I’m looking forward to watching the latest episode of Heroes before falling into bed and sinking into a coma.

The learning curve done tuckered me out.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Nobody Said It Would Be This Hard

I am a failure at the caramel apple thing, y’all. Oh, I know what you’re thinking; how hard can it be? Really, it’s simple, right? I mean, you melt the caramels, shove a Popsicle stick into an apple, dunk the whole deal and, voila! Caramel apples, easy peasy. Come on, Chelle, what is your problem?!

Scary how well I read your mind, isn’t it?

And, yes, in theory, caramel apple dipping is simplistic but in reality; it’s haaard! I mean, the damn caramel has to be just the right temperature or it will refuse to stick to the apples. Too hot? Melts right off into a puddle of goo. Not hot enough? Sticks to the apple in globs without actually coating the apple. See? Haaard.

(On a side note, testing the temperature of the caramel by accidentally dribbling it on your son’s hand is not advisable. Umm, I’ve heard.)

Anywaaay, after much trial and error, we succeeded in adequately coating coat ten apples. It took a good year off my life but the children seemed to think that it was a fair trade.

And I’m going to remember that when they start making their Christmas lists.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

No, not Christmas although, that is a wonderful time. I’m actually talking about my annual Stay-at-Home-Mother Project. Every year I take a week off to spend Halloween and the days surrounding it with the kids. This year, I toyed briefly with the idea of not taking the vacation time what with the whole I’m-quitting-my-job-and-people-are-freaking-out thing but, in the end; decided that the freaking out was precisely the reason to take the vacation and, I’m glad I did because one of my Board members pulled something so utterly ridiculous recently, I’m convinced he is mentally ill. I’m actually hoping for mental illness, so frelling insane were his actions.

And, I digress.

So, here I am.

Jana and the kids are coming over later this afternoon for a sleepover. With Hugh still in Atlanta and New Hubby away on a hunting trip; Jana and I decided that a grown-up sleepover in conjunction with the kiddie sleepover was in order. We have movies, pizza and caramel apple supplies for the kids and two choices of wine for ourselves. Let the fun begin!

Despite being on vacation, the rest of the week is pretty much scheduled with errands, volunteering at the school (Halloween parties, organizing and distributing three thousand pies sold at the recent fundraiser, you know; all the fun stuff), housework and a few hours a day spent at the hardware store training for my new life.

I do anticipate having some fun what with all the pumpkin carving, trick-or-treating, and decorating the front porch in the most ghoulish manner, though. In addition, I get to spend five days not thinking about the bullshit going on back at the office.

This just might shape up to be the best Stay-at-Home-Mother Project ever. Which is only fitting since it will be the last because technically speaking; I will become a permanent stay-at-home mom on December 14th. Or, at least as stay-at-home as you can be with a part-time job and two kids.

Hey, I'll take it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Man-Cub-isms

Certain things that my son says crack me up and, recently, he has been on a roll. Take for example this little gem uttered at last night’s football game against the kids from the local private Catholic school:

"Great. They brought nuns. We are doomed."

The delivery was so dry; you would have sworn he was a comedian with years of training behind him but, nope! Just a kid making an observation (about which he was wrong, by the way. They won regardless of the presence of the nuns).

Speaking of observations, this little ditty in the car following the game perfectly illustrates the firm grasp that my son apparently has on US currency.

Man-Cub (surveying a five dollar bill): Mom, who invented money?
Chelle: Um, the Romans. I think?
Man-Cub: So, why doesn’t it say Made in Romania on this dollar?
Chelle: Because that is American money which is obviously not made in Romania. Or, in Rome, Italy, for that matter.
Man-Cub: I get it. So, it’s probably made in China.

A future degree in Economics from a prestigious university? Not likely.

Which means, a career in stand-up is looking better and better.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Mundane

Not much going on here in Chelleville. The children are anxiously anticipating a long weekend thanks to school being dismissed for Parent/Teacher conferences on Friday. They are extremely excited because we have a play-date scheduled with Jana and the kids on Saturday and promises of caramel-apple dipping and movie viewing may or may not have been made.

Ok, promises were totally made.

In fact, I’m banking on the presence of caramel apples to sweeten the injustice of my having to attend Parent/Teacher conferences alone tomorrow evening since my usual PTC Wingman is abandoning me for the Fall Market in Atlanta.

While I’m fairly certain that the children are doing well in their classes and that I won’t be subjected to anything even remotely unpleasant, on the odd chance that I am; I will be handling the unpleasantness alone. And me no likey unpleasantness.

Which segues nicely into things on the work front (imagine that!). Since announcing my upcoming resignation I have been demoted to Lame Duck status here in the organization hierarchy. This has both its advantages and disadvantages as one might guess. I am powerless to effect change or to fight changes that are being proposed yet still expected to keep my Board on an even keel which is difficult, unrealistic and unpleasant. It is perfect fodder for a migraine and the only reason that I have dodged that bullet is because I have chosen to take the good advice offered to me by Very Wise People (AKA, the Parents) and just let it go.

Seriously, just lay that burden down, sister. Back awaaay from the burden. Let go and Let God and all that.

Now, on to pleasant things, me likey pleasant things.

I entered seven photographs in the annual photo show and I found out this morning that five of them placed. I took two ribbons for Fourth Place, one for Third Place, one for Second Place and one for First Place which ain’t too shabby considering the show had over four hundred entries this year, at least a third of which were in black and white category, which is where I compete. Hey, maybe I should go pro!

Or, not.

See, last night, the Man-Cub’s scout troop presented the flags at the School Board meeting held at our elementary school. They did an awesome job and I would totally share the pictures of the event had I not forgotten to take my camera. Call me crazy but, I don’t think a pro would forget her equipment.

Also, call me if you would like to hear any more of my stellar 101 Parenting Tips for Making Your Children Resent Your Very Existence.

But, let’s do keep it pleasant.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Children of the Corn

The weather this weekend wasn’t entirely perfect although, it had it's advantages. For one; it included gusts of wind strong enough to pick up the neighborhood’s vast collection of stray tomcats and hurl them across the street.

Ok, not really, the wind was strong but the cat-flinging was obviously just wishful thinking on my part. And, please, before you get all PETA on my ass; know that I lost a good hour of quality snooze time last night, thanks to the antics of the furry bastards engaging in the wooing of their female counter-parts. An hour, people! Honestly, can't they take a lesson from humans, skip the foreplay and get right down to business without all the yowling?

Anyway, we braved the wind to make our annual trek to the pumpkin patch on Saturday and I’m glad we did. The kids enjoyed themselves, as usual; they each got to pick a couple of pumpkins, one large and one small, and we spent an hour navigating the corn maze. Which, you would think I would have one decent picture to show for an hour of fun, now wouldn’t you? Alas, no. Instead, I got shots of the children dashing helter-skelter into the rows and some nice blurry shots of them whizzing by us as though Hugh and I were standing still.



On the other hand, they didn't rise from the rows armed with bloody scythes, either so, it's all good.

Plus, the effort of running around like they were high on crack or something left them exhausted and they were in bed earlier than expected that night which gave Hugh and me some lovely adult time.

Mmmhmm, you know what I’m talkin’ about.

Ben & Jerry’s and a good movie, like duh.

I’d say it was a quality weekend, weather be damned.

Although, note to Mother Nature, in the future if you could do something about those damn cats? That would be swell.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Where Is That Thicker Skin I Ordered?

Things here at the place of my (temporary) employment are spiraling down the drain faster than you can say boo.

It seems the power vacuum created by my resignation is compelling parties with vastly divergent agendas to step forward in the effort to plug the hole that will be left in the wake of my imminent departure. It’s all political and all bullshit and not at all the way that I wanted to spend the last two months of my tenure with this job.

On the bright side, it is only two months and, were I to take advantage of all the vacation time that I have accumulated; half that.

I’m tempted.

I am.

Because, the prospect of starting my new life with a bleeding ulcer just does not appeal.

Think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts…..

The weather has finally shaped up. I hope it stays nice through the weekend because Hugh and I are hoping to take the kids to the pumpkin patch tomorrow. Also, Hugh would like to winterize our sprinkler system on Sunday. And, the annual amateur photo show is late next week and I’m about three entries short of what I usually contribute. Unfortunately, I’m also fresh out of inspiration for new and dynamic photos.

Hey, I know! I’ll swallow a camera and take some lovely shots of my rapidly deteriorating stomach lining!

Oops!

Think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts……

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Rumors Were True

Frozen drowned rat is even less attractive than plain old drowned rat. You heard it here first.

But seriously, the weather could not have been worse for the Man-Cub’s football game last night. It ran the gamut from slight drizzle to pouring rain to sleet to hail all in the course of one brief hour. And, by brief I of course mean never ending, longest hour of our collective parental lives as we sat on the sidelines and cheered our boys to victory. Not that we complained.

Ok, maybe I complained but the other moms seemed to be hanging in just fine. Perhaps I need to grow a thicker skin. Or, develop warmer blood or something.

Speaking of needing a thicker skin, the fallout resulting from my resignation has started in earnest. No one wants to believe that I am resigning to a life of leisure and sex-with-the-boss. Instead, they are all pointing fingers at each other in an effort to determine who pissed me off enough to quit so; I will have to spend the next two months putting out fires where none should exist.

I am leaving public servitude not a moment too soon. You know, for my sanity.

On the topic of sanity (and those lacking it); my Board member/friend just entered the building. My spidey-senses tell me that she wants to go for another walk. Currently, there is yet another giant black cloud hovering menacingly over our fair city.

So, my question to you is this: Is it wrong that I am typing this from underneath my desk in the hope that she can’t find me?

I didn’t think so, either.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A New Look Isn’t Necessarily a Good Look

I went for a walk with my Board member/friend earlier today. When we left my office the sky was clear following a morning thunderstorm. The ground was wet and and the air was a bit cool, but we were undeterred from our exercise since we generally walk the five mile route at a brisk pace and, in doing so, stay warm.

And, also, because we are freaks who don't own treadmills that would allow us to exercise from the comfort of our own homes. Well, she does, actually. So, I am the lone freak without a treadmill. Which makes her just plain crazy, I guess.

And, I digress.

So.... halfway through the walk, the temperature dipped even lower. Our brisk pace became a combination walk/jog or wog, if you will, and still; we were cold. Then a giant hail storm kicked up. With like hail and everything and, since we were in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone between the two of us (brilliant!), we had no choice but to continue the walk. Needless to say; I arrived back at the office looking every bit like a drowned rat.

It is not such a good look for me.

I hope it warms up a bit before the Man-Cub’s football game this evening because I hear frozen drowned rat is even less attractive.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It’s Official, I’m Sleeping with the Boss

My resignation went as well as could be expected and much the way I had anticipated. My boss was supportive and excited for me as was the majority of my Board of Directors. I got the reaction I had planned on from my chair and co-chair which is to say, they were pissed. And, asshole-ish (new word, alert Wikipedia!). On the bright side, the rest of the Board stepped up in unusual fashion to put them in their place for their boorish behavior at today’s planning retreat and I was impressed, very impressed.

Following the retreat, I made a stop at city hall to confirm an appointment with the City Council and, in true small town fashion; my resignation was already the talk around the water cooler. When one of the employees asked me what the best part of my new position will be I said; "Well, I’ll be sleeping with my boss. And this time, it won't get me fired."*

Oh how I wish I could be a fly on the wall at tomorrow’s water cooler conversation.

Speaking of sleeping, last night, I had the best night’s sleep that I can remember having in I don’t know how long. Maybe there is something to this mind/body connection thing after all.

Huh. Those hippies were onto something.

*Um, you know I was kidding, right?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Highlight Reel

As expected, last week was busy. In fact, it was so busy, the details have become a bit blurry. I do remember that the key-note speaker at one of the lunches was this guy, though. Because, the image of him sawing his arm off with a pocket knife is understandably hard to forget. And, you know, totally unacceptable as lunch conversation no matter how inspirational the tale of his ultimate survival. At least, it is as far as I'm concerned.

The weekend was memorable (and a lot less mentally damaging), however. The kids and I met Emily for the three-mile Bosom Buddies Cancer walk on Saturday morning. Joining us were over eight hundred additional people and at least a hundred dogs. By the end of the hour-long walk, the Man-Cub was on a first-name basis with at least half of those dogs and had been tongue anointed by at least a quarter of the remaining canine population whom he came to know only as “hey, pup!” His sociability transcends the special divide, obviously. He should run for office.

While we were sweating for the cause, Hugh was antelope hunting in a remote area of the state. While I was thrilled for him getting to spend some quality man-time with his father and friends, I wasn’t hoping for him to actually kill something but, he did and I now have a freezer shelf full of meat which I have no earthly idea how to prepare. I’m sure Google with have some thoughts on the matter.

In news of food items that I do know how to prepare; one of the local farmers graced me with a bushel of roasted green chilies yesterday. I have three gallon-sized bags of whole peppers as well as ten Tupperware containers of diced chilies that will be joining the antelope on the freezer shelf. Maybe they can chat and come up with something delicious to do together.

On a totally unrelated topic, today is D-Day at the place of my employment. I will be dropping the “I’m quitting! Have a nice day!” bomb on my boss right after lunch and just before I am scheduled to meet with the chair and co-chair of my Board of Directors. The rest of the Board will find out at tomorrow’s annual planning retreat.

I’m a little bit sick to my stomach.

I blame that on the remaining mental image of that guy hacking off his arm.

Ok, not really.

Think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts……

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

To Whom It May Concern

Dear Woman Ahead of Me at School Drop-Off This Morning:

Honey, ignore the blaring horn of the asshole behind me; we have all had those mornings when the kids won’t cooperate, when a missing backpack has sent us over the edge, when an emotional melt-down of epic proportions can no longer be delayed and our obviously distraught kindergartener just needs one more hug from mom no matter how many cars are waiting behind us.
It’s ok.
Empathetically Yours,
Chelle
P.S. I hope tomorrow is better.



Dear Asshole Behind Me at School Drop-Off This Morning:

Shut the fuck up.

That is all.
Chelle

Monday, October 08, 2007

Excuse Me If This Entry is Cheesy

I am blogging from the comfort of my own home today, thanks to good old Christopher Columbus. And, you know, the Board of Directors who decided that we should be closed today. Either way, three-day weekend, yay!

And, so far, it has been a great weekend!

Friday evening, we kicked it off with a trip to a local model railroad show with the Man-Cub’s Boy Scout troop. The boys had been doing a unit on trains so the timing of the show could not have been better.

Although my organization sponsors this event when it is held in our community (once every couple of years), I had never attended so, I was surprised to see what a big event it really is. These train enthusiasts; they get excited. The largest display included a mile of track; it was amazing. The detail in the landscapes was awesome and the boys enjoyed the guided tour and Q & A session afterwards.

Most importantly, nothing got broken, thanks in no small part to the dedicated efforts of the parents who spent the majority of the evening chasing the boys around the event center screeching, “Don’t touch! Stop running! Back away from the bridge display!”

Good times.

Following the show, the kids and I visited with Older Sister and her family who were in town for a Little Britches rodeo. It was nice to catch up a little, as always.

The rest of the weekend included the usual activities, tons of housework, laundry, etc. However, I got out of the house with Jana on Saturday evening to attend a Taste of Home home d├ęcor show, which was a nice change in my routine.

Last night, the Cub spent the night with a friend so, Hugh took The Girl and me out for Chinese, saving me the labor of cooking, which was nice.

This morning, Hugh left for work quite early and, as I type this; The Girl is still sleeping. The Man-Cub, my early-bird compadre is at the sleepover, as I mentioned so I am alone with my thoughts. It is somewhat nice and I am taking advantage of it by watching a documentary on cheese making on the Discovery Channel. I like to live large.

This quiet moment is a welcome respite since the rest of the week will be busy. I am attending a three-day conference in a neighboring town and, since the Cub has a football game on Wednesday night and The Girl has a few things going on, I am going to drive back and forth rather than staying in a hotel at the convention center.

I am also taking the time to alert certain members of my Board of Directors about my imminent departure prior to giving my official notice on Tuesday, the 16th at our annual Board Retreat. I have already broken the news to the Board member whom I walk with every Friday because I consider her a friend first and a colleague second. For the record, she was thrilled and could not be more supportive. I am not sure how the remainder of the Board will take it; I am guessing an equal split between the supportive and the completely horrified.

And I am gleeful with anticipation.

For now though, I must return my attention to The Discovery Channel. Up next: mozzarella!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

In Which My Father is Scarred For Life by a Visit to Our Home

But, first! Photographic evidence that my son is physically incapable of keeping his hands out of his mouth during football. Yes, I know; he is still getting used to the mouth guard and yet, I am perturbed.

But, not as badly perturbed as The Girl was upon seeing a grown man’s plumber-butt at last night's game. Well, not if her reaction to it was an indication, anyway.

Which is to say, there were not enough thoughts of rainbows, puppies and unicorns in this world to erase that picture from her mind's eye.

Equally perturbed by the display however, was my father who-along with my mother-made the trip from my hometown for the sole purpose of watching the Man-Cub’s game (the peep-show was a bonus).

Also, I’m pretty sure they neglected to read the fine print on the Grandparenting contract. Particularly the section that specifies grandparents must endure, without complaint, any eye trauma caused by vicious displays of butt-crackery when observing an activity in which their grand-spawn are participating. Because, my father, he complained.

But, as only my father can which is to say, humorously.

As compensation for witnessing That to Which No One Should Be Subjected, I treated Mom and Dad to homemade French-dip sandwiches for dinner. And, while I am aware that it failed abysmally as adequate compensation; it was either that or frozen fish-sticks so, work with me, here.

Besides, they just got back from a relaxing vacation to Hawaii; I wouldn’t want to add further to their spoilage. Although, I must point out they had no such regard for my children; showering them with gifts from the islands, not the least of which included the gift of a coconut which immediately sent The Girl into orbit.

On a related topic, if I hear “Can we split the coconut open yet? Can we? Can we?” one more time before the weekend, I will scream.

Or, you know, subject the child to a marathon showing of America’s Funniest Videos, the Plumber Butt Edition.

That’ll learn her.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

And He Still Found Time to Make a Touch-Down

While standing on the sidelines at last night’s flag football game, the Man-Cub could not keep himself from fiddling with his new mouth guard which, quite frankly, perturbed me and; led to the following conversation:

Chelle: He needs to keep his hands out of his mouth, already. That is disgusting.
Hugh: He’s just getting used to the mouth-guard.
Chelle: Well, it’s unsanitary.
Hugh: It’s normal. It's just going to take a while for him to get used to wearing it. Just like it took him a while to get used to wearing a cup during baseball.
Chelle: Oh god, remember how he used to have his hands in his pants, fiddling with that thing?
Hugh: Yep. And he’s older now; we should be happy he doesn’t have his hands in his pants, fiddling with another piece of his equipment.
Chelle: True, he is your son, after all.
The Girl (running away): Eewww!! Gross! Gross! Think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts! Unicorns! Puppies! Rainbows!
Hugh: And she is soooo your daughter.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Huh.

Britney Spears just lost custody of her kids.

I'm shocked, y'all!

Shocked!

Not.