Friday, October 30, 2009

By the Twitching of My Thumb…

Happy day before Halloween! As you can see, I have already gotten into the spirit of the holiday. Today, I am playing the part of the ugly-yet-good witch, handing out candy to the children from the learning center up the street from the hardware store.

Even though I am a good witch, I made Neecie, our variety store manager and friend extraordinaire, dress up, too because; even good witches can do mean things.

She was a super good sport about it, though.

On a totally unrelated topic, look! My natural haircolor. You know, if I weren't on such good terms with Ms. Clairol, that is which, have I mentioned lately; thank god for Ms. Clairol?!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday Thirteen, Edition Twenty-Two:

Thirteen Favorite Halloween Memories

1. When my sisters and I were younger, my parents took us to a haunted house put on by the local Elks club. Or, maybe it was the American Legion, whichever. The point is; it was the first haunted house that we had ever been to and it was awesome. Back then, there were no Jason, Freddy Krueger or chainsaw wielding psychopaths, only good old fashioned werewolves, vampires and, if I recall, one very tall Frankenstein’s monster. Good times.

2. While in college, my friends and I attended the town’s street party. The party was a Big Deal, with several city blocks closed off to traffic, a band on each block and hundreds of people milling about in costumes both outrageous and fabulous. One year, my roommates and I went as the seven dwarves, our Snow White was a male friend who braved the teasing of his macho friends to don a dress and a black wig; he was, hands down, the ugliest Snow White in the history of fairy tales.

3. When I was quite young, my parents attended a Halloween costume party with friends. My sisters and I were left behind with a sitter but I will never forget my parent’s costumes; my mom dressed up like a pregnant bride and my dad dressed up like a redneck with a shotgun, in search of the bastard what got his little girl in trouble. Awesome.

4. One of my duties as an employee of the Parks and Recreation Department in my hometown was to stage a haunted house for the youth of our community. My staff from the swimming pool helped with the house and we recruited kids from the High School to help as well. One of my best memories of the holiday is walking through the haunted house during the day when no one else was around. Even in the daylight, it was creepy enough to raise the hairs on the back of your neck.

5. One year, the haunted house was so terrifyingly well done; we managed to make a girl from the Middle School pee her pants. It was alright; she went home, changed and came back for a second trip through. That, my friends, is the sign of a successful haunted house.

6. That same year, my costume consisted of a prom dress I had found at the local thrift store. One of my lifeguards fashioned a wooden stake with a leather belt that wrapped around my waist, allowing the stake to protrude through a hole in the front of the dress. A little fake blood, a tiara and, boom! I was a dead prom queen. My nephew, who was around three at the time, was not a fan of that costume in any way, shape or form.

7. The first year that Hugh and I were dating, he helped with the haunted house. At that time, our location was an abandoned horse stable and it was quite cold. He stuck it out through the building of the house and helped run it all three nights that it was open. I think that is when I decided that he was a keeper.

8. The Teenager’s first Halloween, my mother sewed a fuzzy lamb jumpsuit. It was perfect for Trick-or-Treating because it had a hood and because both her hands and feet were covered. Unfortunately, she came down with a wicked virus the day before Halloween and ended up in the hospital. Not wanting her to miss the excitement of her first Halloween, the nurses took her Trick-or-Treating for popsicles at each nurse’s station in the hospital. The costume may have been a tad bit hot for that particular form of Trick-or-Treating but, she had a blast.

9. The Teenager’s second Halloween went off without a hitch; she dressed as a medieval damsel-in-distress, complete with pointed hat and long, flowing gown. My niece and nephew were with us at the time and my niece dressed as a pink and lavender unicorn so; the damsel had her favorite steed. My nephew was a bat. Not quite sure how that fit with the fairytale theme but, the three of them had a ball.

10. My niece and nephew came to visit years later and my sister and I dressed the whole clan as the characters from The wizard of Oz. My nephew as the Tin Man and the Man-Cub as the Scarecrow are easily two of my favorite costumes to date.

11. One year, when I was around eleven or so, my mom let me wear her old poodle skirt for Halloween. I’m sure she had to pin me into it and, I can’t remember how challenging that must have been but, I still remember the way the skirt would twirl around my ankles as my sisters and I walked through the fallen leaves on Halloween night.

12. When I was a teenager and trick-or-treating was no longer “cool”, my friends and I would wander the neighborhood, playing ditch ‘em which, was like hide and go seek only spread out over a much larger area and played in teams. Back then, the neighbors didn’t mind if you cut through their yards or hid in their bushes. I’m guessing now; that would get you shot.

13. This year. I’m betting this year will be one for the memory books. Fingers crossed.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

View More Thursday Thirteen Participants

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cupcakes, Snow and Vomit. Not Necessarily in That Order

I was tired yesterday but, not too tired to kick ass at Bunco, winning the pot for Most Wins for the first time in the history of my Bunco career, all seven months of it. Jana and I carpooled to the game and she won the pot for Most Buncos so, between the two of us, we were practically rich if you consider each having $20, rich.

While we were rolling dice, Mother Nature was visiting upon us the first snowstorm of the season, making our drive home slightly less pleasant although, not terribly bad. This morning, the trees and grass were thickly frosted with wintery icing and the roads were wet and slippery. By noon, the roads were less slippery and the snow had tapered off enough to allow the melting to begin but; I understand we are expecting a second storm tonight.

Friday and Saturday are supposed to be warmer and dry so, with any luck, Hugh’s haunted house will still go on as planned and I won’t be forced to dress the Man-Cub in so many layers that his Halloween costume becomes less skinny destitute hobo and more over-dressed sumo wrestler.

The Teenager, who spent the day in bed with what I am hoping is just a wicked stomach virus and not a slowly mutating variety of appendicitis, still refuses to entertain the idea of a costume of any sort. She is, however, willing to “check” her brother’s trick-or-treat haul for suspicious candy; she even has a plan for disposing of anything that looks remotely dangerous. I told her not to worry about that; her father and I are seasoned pros at ferreting out the good bad stuff.

Which reminds me, I need to bake cupcakes for the Man-Cub’s classroom party; I tried to use my new-found Bunco fortune to purchase unfrosted cupcakes from the bakery at the Hellmouth so that I could decorate them like mummies and pass them off as homemade but, the Hellmouth has a strict policy against selling naked cupcakes.

A pox on the Hellmouth, says I.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tired, So, So, Tiiiired

I sleep well at night. I get enough vitamin D in my diet. I don’t have thyroid issues and I’m not being woken every hour on the hour to feed a newborn, chase away a closet monster or to check the driveway to make certain my teenager has come home from a rave so; why so tired, lord?

Why. So. Tired?

On a subject sure to exhaust me even more than I am already; the pies from the Man-Cub’s school fundraiser come in today and I have to pick up our order and distribute them to our friends and family who were kind enough to contribute to the effort.

I hope the PTA moms won't hold it against me if I unintentionally fall asleep on a box of Boston Creams while they are checking out my order.

Because, people; that could totally happen.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Title Would Be Nice But, I Got Nothin'

As predicted, we had a very busy weekend. It started early, with the photo session I did for my massage therapist on Friday afternoon. The Teenager and the Man-Cub joined me for the shoot because I wanted to pick up groceries once I was done and, since they were out of school for Parent/Teacher conferences, I allowed them to tag along.

The Man-Cub, as usual the more social of the two, leapt out of the car the second we pulled into the park where I was meeting my therapist and her family and introduced himself. He then proceeded to busy himself on the playground equipment.

The Teenager stayed in the car, texting and listening to her iPod until one of my therapists’ teenaged sons commented that she didn’t look very happy to which I replied “She always looks like that; she’s thirteen”. He then told the Man-Cub to get his sister out of the car and asked him to tell her to “Get a life”.

As one would imagine, that lit a fire under The Teenager and she joined us in the park where she proceeded to flirt shamelessly with the boys and, really, who can blame her; they are really good looking young men.

Telling them that made them turn fifteen shades of red, by the way.

The pictures turned out great, it took a little over an hour and a half and we were on our way to the grocery store where we stocked up on snacks for the weekend.

Saturday, the Man-Cub’s game went pretty much the way all of the Man-Cub’s games have gone this season-they lost. But! They had a good time and, after the game, the team was invited to one of the coach’s for a party wherein they ate hotdogs, rolled pumpkins down a hill and staged an epic battle of Seek and Destroy amongst the many haystacks. The Cub had a great time and, despite not winning a game all season, he enjoyed the holy hell out of football.

Later Saturday evening, after a delicious (non-chicken) dinner, we set up the crafting table in my mudroom and we carved pumpkins. I cleaned and roasted at least a million seeds and we enjoyed each other’s company.

In keeping with the Halloween theme, Sunday evening we dipped caramel apples and, we are now officially ready for Halloween week to begin.

What? You don’t celebrate Halloween for a whole week at your house?

Anyway, it was a good weekend but, hands down, the best conversation we had took place in the car on the way to the Man-Cub’s game Saturday morning when The Teenager pointed out some dog hair on the Cub’s uniform.

The Teenager: You have hair on your pants. Ewww, it’s probably pubic hair!

Man-Cub: You mean the hair that grows around your belly button?

The Teenager, Hugh, Chelle and the Cub: BA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA!

For the record, while the Cub knows exactly what pubic hair is, he is loathe to voice the word penis in front of anyone. I told him he had better get over that ASAP since the fifth grade puberty talk is right around the corner.

Also for the record; he thinks the prospect of that talk is scarier than anything he might encounter on a dark street this Halloween.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Great Chicken Challenge of 2009

While driving to the Man-Cub’s football game yesterday, Hugh and I had a lively discussion about what I should make for dinner that night and, by lively, I mean that; I threw out ideas and he noncommittally went “yeah”, “whatever”, “sounds great” and “whatever you think”.

Believe it or not, it was a typical conversation between the two of us that is, until he threw out the opinion that I depend too much on the chicken recipes in my culinary arsenal. The gauntlet, as they say, was thrown down.

I vowed to go for as long as possible without resorting to a meal featuring chicken; I'm betting I can make it three weeks, to which Hugh says- and I quote-  pee-shaw.

It’s going to be tough but, I can do it and, thus; The Great Chicken Challenge of 2009 started last night with a dinner of Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes.

Tonight, we are having lasagna with italian sausage and, tomorrow, who knows? But, you can rest assured it damn well won’t be chicken because, once a challenge is issued, I have no choice but to kick. It’s. Ass.

Oh, yeah, game on. Game on.

Friday, October 23, 2009

As Often as We’ve Done This; You Would Think I Would Get Better at It

Parent teachers conferences were yesterday and, no matter how well I think the kids are doing or how high I believe their grades to be; I am always nervous about sitting down with their teachers for the discussion. I don’t know why.

Our first conference was with the Man-Cub’s teacher. The Cub’s grades are pretty decent with the exception of a rather low-though not failing-grade in spelling. His writing grade, on the other hand? Quite high. My children are nothing if not unique in their ability to surprise.

The teacher suggested that the spelling grade has more to do with the Cub choking on the tests than not actually being able to spell. I disagree; I’ve studied his spelling lists with him and, frankly, he just is not retaining the information. We have tried having him write each word ten and fifteen times to try to get the information to stick but, no doing. Granted, the words are harder than any spelling words he has encountered before but, still; there is work to be done and, his teacher had some great ideas for us as well as some strategies that he is going to institute in the classroom.

Otherwise, the Cub is doing great and we all had a round of applause at his recent graduation from vision therapy.

The Teenager’s conference followed and I am blown away at the glowing description we got of the child from her teachers. I’m fairly certain they had the right file and realized whose parents we were and, still, glowing accolades about how well she is doing both academically and socially. One teacher commented on her ability to put her schoolwork before the quest to be popular and, I have to admit, Hugh and I both looked at each other like WTF? The Teenager? Are you sure you have the right file? But, in the end, we have to take the teacher’s word for it since they see a very different side of the child than we do. Obviously.

In addition to her grades being good (with the slight exception of a C+ in P.E. You know, like usual), she was also commended for her work on her Science Fair project (although they did not make it to the final round, she and her partner placed in the top ten which, when you consider how many projects there were, is quite impressive) and on her recently discovered talent for creative writing.

Talent for writing.

Pardon me while I bask in the moment...

….aaand done.

Today, the children are out of school and we are planning something fun this evening to celebrate their hard work and stellar achievements but, first, I have to take photos for my massage therapist. As I sit here, the weather is clear and sunny. Ten bucks says, by two o’clock this afternoon, we have a hurricane or some other freak experience of nature.

Because I used up all my good luck on having awsome kids. I'm not bitter; it's a fair trade.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thursday Thirteen, Edition Twenty-One:

Thirteen Things I Plan To Do this Weekend

1. Attend the Man-Cub’s last football game of the season.

2. Take the kids to our town’s annual Punkin Chuckin’ event just to see how far the volunteer firemen can launch a pumpkin with their new-and improved-hydraulic pumpkin launcher.

3. Follow the Punkin Chuckin’ with a trip through the corn maze, in the dark. Rumor has it the firemen have made a scarier maze than last year’s and, we had a pretty good time last year.

4. Dip caramel apples with the kids. In the past, I have proven somewhat dipping-challenged but, this year; I scoured the internet for the secret to perfect caramel apples and I think I found it. Unless, of course, I fail in which case; damn you, internet….damn you.

5. Pull down all thirty boxes of outdoor Halloween decorations that Hugh and I have amassed over the years.

6. Determine which of the decorations will be pressed into use on our haunted house for The Teenager’s friends on Halloween night.

7. Make a list of new things we need in order to make the haunted house as scary as possible.

8. Fret over the possibility of the haunted house being lame, thus ensuring the embarrassment of The Teenager for the rest of her life.

9. Carve the pumpkins that we picked up at the pumpkin patch last Saturday.

10. Find either the time to clean the house or the patience to bear the dust.

11. Bake cupcakes for the Man-Cub’s school Halloween party.

12. Till fertilizer into the garden, spread a layer of grass clippings over it and call it good for the season.

13. Remember to place a towel under my head in case of obnoxious drooling once I finish everything and fall into a coma on the couch riiiight about 7:00 Sunday night.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

View More Thursday Thirteen Participants

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Your Tax Dollars at Work

This morning, a nicely dressed young couple entered the store pushing a nicely dressed baby in a very nice stroller. They spent a few minutes browsing the contents of the cosmetics aisle, where the young woman found a tube of mascara that was to her liking. At the register, she happily informed me that they were going to have their family pictures done at a studio that I am quite familiar with but do not frequent due to the photographer’s prices being significantly out of my budget.

Unfortunately, the young woman said, she had forgotten her mascara and, now she needed to purchase some because her eyelashes just do not stand out without mascara, a predicament with which I am, sadly, personally familiar.

Then, she handed me a Colorado Quest Card and told me to charge the purchase against it.

The Colorado Quest Card, for those of you unfamiliar, is a card issued to the indigent for purchases of food; electronic food stamps, if you will.

I declined to accept the card and the young lady was most put out with me. She argued the point for several minutes until I casually tossed out the words benefit fraud and she and the young man hustled out of the store in a hurry.

And, I realized that, this is what is wrong with our society today; people bent on taking advantage of services they don’t deserve.

Unless she planned to eat that tube of mascara in which case, my bad.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Busy Weekend, a Frantic Monday and One Perverted Conversation

Monday, Monday, why must every great weekend be followed by a crazy Monday? Ah well....

….so, yeah, the busy weekend started with an early visit to the local corn maze so that we could partake of the Search for Ourselves as a family before Hugh went to town to work a security detail. I suppose we could have skipped the corn maze this year but, with the sands slipping through the hourglass of my children’s youth, I said, screw that and, off we went.

For the record, while The Teenager texted away for roughly half of the journey, she also appeared to have a good time. I counted only two eye rolls and one “whatever” the entire two hours that we spent in the maze. Personal record!

The Man-Cub was delighted by the maze, as any boy of eleven years would be, and we allowed him to carry the map and to lead the way. Despite half his genetic make-up coming from my direction-challenged side of the double helix, he led us out in under an hour, never took a wrong turn and could tell us exactly where we were in the maze at any given time. Cub Scouts did him right, I’m thinking.

After navigating the maze, we picked pumpkins from the neighboring patch and then went out to lunch. Hugh left not long after for his stint as a rent-a-cop and The Teenager, the Man-Cub and I headed to town for the Cub’s football game where, thanks to some miscommunication on the part of the new part-time activities director; we spent roughly an hour waiting at the wrong field for the opposing team to show up.

After a few frantic cell phone calls from the director, we made our way to the correct field where we were pummeled by what looked to be a Junior Varsity football team but was, in reality, fifth and sixth graders just like the Man-Cub’s team except ginormous. Anyway, the boys played as well as they could and, since the weather was absolutely gorgeous and I could think of far worse ways to spend the afternoon, all was well.

After the game, the kids and I made our weekly offering to the Gods of Commerce and then settled in to watch scary movies on DVD until Hugh came home.

Sunday was filled with the usual chores, laundry, cleaning, eating my weight in cinnamon rolls and apple cider donuts and cooking. I actually made the pot of butternut soup that I had been planning to make last weekend and it turned out quite well.

While the soup simmered on the stove, I convinced The Teenager to pose for some pictures for me. I claimed that I needed the practice since I will be taking pictures for my massage therapist this week but, between you and me, I just wanted some pictures of my daughter who is becoming more and more beautiful every day, if I do say so myself.

Today, I spent the usual amount of time catching up with my work at the store. Since it was Monday, I had two days worth of money to make deposits for plus payroll to make out and bills to pay. When I get this busy, I don’t generally answer the phone, allowing the employees to take the calls but, at one point I was between writing checks and so picked up the phone on the second ring. The man on the other end asked if we serviced rigid tools which, damned if I knew so, I had to put him on hold while I found someone to ask.

Chelle: Hugh? This guy wants to know if we service rigid tools. Is he serious or is this a dirty joke?
Hugh: Oh. My. God. It’s a brand name. Yes, we service them. We sell them, too.
Chelle: Well, I only service one rigid tool so, how would I know?
Hugh: Oh. My. God.

And he looked just like this

when he said it.

For the record, my new euphemism for intercourse is; “Dear, I think it’s time to service your Rigid tool.” 


Friday, October 16, 2009

You Rub My Feet, Me Love You Long Time

I just got back from a fabulously relaxing hour and a half long massage. I am limp like a noodle and I like it.

After the massage, my therapist made me an offer I could not refuse; free massages in exchange for my taking photos of her kids for her to give away as Christmas gifts. She has three absolutely gorgeous children, wants a casual setting and more candid shots than posed photos so, in short; just my thing.

We agreed to do the shoot next Friday and now I have to cross my fingers for good weather since those three gorgeous kids playing in the fall leaves in our local park is just the scene I’m going for.

This of course means Mother Nature will be sending a blizzard our way riiiight around this time next week.

Mark my words.

On the other hand, three gorgeous kids playing in the snow would work out just as well. Ha! Take that, Mother Nature!

Um, you totally know I was kidding, right Mother Nature? Please don't smite me.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursday Thirteen, Edition Twenty:

Thirteen Places I Have Been

1. Seattle/Gig Harbor, Washington. I went to visit my sister Barbie shortly after my nephew was born. Gig Harbor is absolutely beautiful and Pike Place Market in Seattle was a fabulous place to experience, especially with my sister whose company I enjoy.

2. Nova Scotia. Hugh, the kids and I visited my brother and sister-in-law for our nephew’s baptism while brother-in-law was stationed in Canada. The Teenager was probably seven or eight at the time yet managed to eat a lobster roughly half her size there.

3. Honolulu, Hawaii. Family vacation when I was a senior in high school. Hawaii is gorgeous and amazing and breathtaking but, it was my mom who made the trip memorable.

4. Mazatlan, Mexico. Spring Break 1990. My college roommates had managed to finagle a practically free trip for the five of us and, from what I can remember, we had a great time. Oh, there was that minor incident wherein we accidentally dropped one of my roommates on her head in a fountain but, she was unconscious before she hit her head so, it was all good. I love Girl Trips.

5. Washington DC. Our nation’s capitol and a must-see for every American.

6. Portland, Oregon. I was on a business trip and my sister Barbie drove from Washington to spend a couple of days with me. We shopped, ate bad things and drank enough Starbucks coffee to float a boat. Good times.

7. Key West, Florida. When The Teenager was six months old, we flew to Florida to introduce her to Hugh’s grandmother who lived in Ft. Lauderdale. While we were there, we borrowed Grandma’s car and drove to the keys. Driving across the Intercostals highway was a neat experience.

8. Sante Fe, New Mexico. New Mexico was practically in my back yard while I was growing up and after Hugh and I were married we would take weekend trips to Sante Fe or Taos. The art galleries alone were worth the trip but the food was to die for.

9. Bridgetown, Barbados. Hugh and I spent our anniversary on the island last year, swimming in the warmest water I have ever felt, drinking afternoon tea sweetened with syrup and snorkeling with sea turtles. I want to go back again one day.

10. New Orleans, Louisiana. We’ve actually visited The Big Easy twice now, once pre-Katrina and once after. It’s a gorgeous city and the people are quite interesting. No wonder Brangelina bought real estate there.

11. Brunswick, Maine. Hugh’s brother’s family settled there once his time in the service was up. It’s a quaint little town and I can see why they love it so much.

12. Sedona, Arizona. If red rock formations, dessert sands and price gouging are your thing, Sedona is the place for you.

13. Chicago, Illinois. Hugh’s sister and her family live in a suburb of Chicago and we have visited them a number of times over the years but my favorite visit was one I took without Hugh. In October of 1994, Emily and I flew out to attend my sister-in-law’s bridal shower. We got to attend one of the fittings for my sister-in-law’s dress, did some shopping and sight-seeing and spent time with my sister-in-law’s girlfriends who were gracious and entertaining. It was a neat trip and, in case I haven't mentioned it before, I love Girl Trips.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

View More Thursday Thirteen Participants

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I’m Calling It Holy Shit, He’s Eating a Vegetable

Behold the power of the spaghetti squash; a child so finicky about vegetables he asks me to strain the chunks out of his spaghetti sauce and yet, here he is eating a squash, voluntarily. I have no words, I think I might cry.

Oh, wait, it's just something in my eye.

In related news, I might have been a tad bit premature in offering to give away all of our spaghetti squash at today’s women’s club meeting; back-pedaling to ensue forthwith.

Monday, October 12, 2009

And You Thought I Was Kidding About All That Spaghetti Squash

I harvested the garden as planned this weekend and my squash haul was impressive if you consider having enough spaghetti squash to adequately feed a small army impressive which, I don’t ; I was hoping for at least half as many butternut squashes but, you know, you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit. Or, you throw a fit and hope that no one is watching.

I did manage to salvage that one itty-bitty butternut from the evil clutches of the spaghetti squash but, alas, it was far too tiny to provide enough pulp for butternut soup and I was forced to purchase butternuts from the local farmer’s stand. Then, in a move so classically me; I fell out of the mood to cook butternut soup and those butternuts will sit on the countertop in my kitchen until such time as I feel the mood returns. I’m a fickle bitch that way.

When I wasn’t tearing squash out of the garden or bemoaning my lack of motivation to puree, I was driving. For instance, I drove over an hour each way for The Teenager’s final volleyball tournament. Her team went into the tournament in the championship bracket by virtue of having a near-undefeated season, I believe they lost one game, and; our hopes for a first-place finish were high. Unfortunately, t’was not to be; the girls lost their only game in the single-elimination tourney and we turned around and drove home.

That sounds sad, huh? Ok, it wasn’t really but, only because my parents and my niece had made the trip to the tournament from their side of the mountain and The Teenager got to spend some time with her cousin whom she worships like a goddess. This naturally put her in a terrific (for a surly teenager) mood which I took full advantage of; we spent the rest of the day together, visiting the hair salon and shopping. It was great. Mother-daughter bonding! Rainbows! Unicorns!

Then, I helped her clean Audrey’s cage and I drove her to her science fair partner’s house for a sleep-over and so they could begin their Hamster Trials (not to be confused with Witch Trials although, if it were me and one of those rodents escaped in my house, a burning at the stake might very well follow).

To recap: A full day with The Teenager, in a good mood (and the heavenly choir sang JOY to the world! All the boys and girls, joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea and joy to you and me!)

That is, until one o’clock the following morning when she called from her science fair partner’s house to tell me that she was throwing up and that I would have to pick her and Audrey up, right away.

And, as I was driving to her friend’s house in my sweats and fuzzy slippers, I had a total flashback to every Friday night in college when my boyfriend would call me from a bar or party to pick his ass up and drive it home. Which, in hindsight, totally prepared me for parenthood; I guess I should probably take back every nasty thing that I said about him in the years since.

But, I digress.

The Teenager’s stomach flu lasted the normal twelve or so hours and, while she slept it off, I bonded with my other child by decorating the house for Halloween and working in the yard which is where we spied this guy

who has been making regular visits to the feeders for the past week or so. I’m guessing he is a teenage runaway because, the last time I checked, parakeets weren’t indigenous to the Colorado Rockies. I hope he lives through the winter or that he finally wises up and heads back home; it’s tough living on the streets and we wouldn’t want to see him get hooked up with some lowlife drug-dealing sparrows or something sinister like that.

And, yes, I’m sure he is a teenager because, at one point, he fluffed up his feathers and looked at me like I was the lowliest piece of dirt under his feet even though I was feeding him. Also, the eye roll totally gave it away.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Does This Look Like a Kid Who Would Kick a Dog?

We had some major drama go down this week, I wrote about it at Rocky Mountain Moms but here are the Cliff Notes:

The Man-Cub was verbally assaulted by a drunken asshole while coming home from school on Wednesday. Hugh and I went a little nuts. The police were called. I yelled. Hugh yelled. The cops told the drunken asshole that, for a grown man, he was acting like a child. I was delighted to make the acquaintance of two young girls who witnessed the whole messy affair and who gave their testimony to the policeman with exaggerated head bobbing and finger waving the likes of which would make a drag queen proud. My son is more sure now than ever before that Hugh and I will always have his back and that he should probably leave maybe-stray dogs to fend for themselves in the future.

In totally unrelated news, the weekend cometh! Hugh and I are once again splitting duties-he will attend the Man-Cub’s football game while I travel to a neighboring town for The Teenager’s final volleyball tournament of the season.

The rest of the weekend will be filled with fabulously entertaining activities such as cleaning out the garage and doing laundry. Oooh, and let’s not forget tearing up the last remaining vestiges of the garden; I have a ton of spaghetti squash to harvest as well as one lone butternut squash and a few acorn squashes to pull. And did I mention the field trip to the Hellmouth for groceries? Yes, my weekend is shaping up to be that of which people dream.

On a less sarcastic note, I am planning to make a big pot of butternut squash soup so, the weekend won’t be total drudgery. Oh, it probably won’t be as exciting as yelling at drunken assholes but, you know; those opportunities are few and far between.

Thank goodness.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Thursday Thirteen: Edition Nineteen
Thirteen Random Songs on My iPod

1. Your Arms Feel Like Home, 3 Doors Down

2. Epiphany, Staind

3. Second Chance, Shinedown

4. Stay, SafetySuit

5. I Think I Love You, The Partridge Family

6. I’d Come For You, Nickelback

7. Breathing, Lifehouse

8. Have a Little Faith in Me, John Hiatt

9. Thing for You, Hinder

10. Ungodly Hour, The Fray

11. Letters from the Sky, Civil Twilight

12. On Fire, Switchfoot

13. Shattered, Trading Yesterday

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Yes, Well, He’s Still Color Blind

Guess what the Man-Cub and I didn’t do today? We didn’t drive forty miles to a vision therapy appointment, that’s what. We weren't ditching, either, instead; the Cub’s been cleared for take-off so to speak. The therapist believes that he is as improved as he is likely to get and, that if we continue to work at home, his eyes will only get stronger and stronger.

Granted, he has one final evaluation with the ophthalmologist but, if he tests at the appropriate levels on all her tests; he will no longer have to do the therapy.

I’m happy about this on a number of levels; one, his eye tracking, converging and diverging have all improved which should help with his reading. Two, no more sitting in road construction after pulling the child from school an hour early every week and, three, no more weekly payment (hallelujah! Now we can spend it on the Teenager's braces!).

Most importantly, I’m happy with the progress the Cub has made on standardized tests at school (and, yes, I still spit on the concept of standardized testing but that is a rant for another day); his recent test scores were anywhere from 4-11 points higher than his scores on the spring tests and, while 4-11 points might not seem like a lot, Jana assured me that the mere fact that his score increased at all is a huge accomplishment since most of the other student’s scores remain static or drop over the summer break.

Obviously, the vision therapy has to take the credit for the increase.

Also, the Cub is reading a lot more at home and I’ve seen the improvement so, Vision Therapy: Money Well Spent.

And, it’s not like I expected them to cure color-blindness anyway.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You if She Rises up and Kills Us All in Our Sleep

The Teenager and I made the trek to Petco yesterday to replace Honey the mouse. We originally planned on purchasing an identical (what? Don’t they all look the same?) mouse but plans changed when The Teen’s science fair partner received word from home during the school day; her mouse, purchased a day after The Teen’s at the same store, had just died in her cage for no apparent reason. The Teen and her partner had a quick conference with the science teacher and the decision was made to use hamsters instead of mice.

Having had some not-so-pleasant experiences with hamsters in my youth, I was less than enthusiastic about the idea but, being a weak and pathetic supportive parent, I got on board with the plan fairly quickly.

The first hamster The Teen picked was a Dwarf hamster which seemed innocuous enough a name for a hamster breed; it wasn’t until the Petco Guy stuck his hand into the cage to retrieve the hamster and it proceeded to gnaw his finger off up to the second knuckle that we decided that maybe that wasn’t the right hamster for The Teen.

The Petco Guy suggested that we choose from a cage of Roborovskii hamsters which he assured us are docile and non-biting and, I don’t know about you but I look for non-biting as a feature in all my pets so, we ended up with a Roborovskii named Audrey (I suggested Natasha or Irina or something more Russian-sounding but, The Teenager’s mind was set as is often the case with that one).

Audrey seems docile enough. She is somewhat cute and pretty quiet save for the noise she made running on her exercise wheel last night. All night.

This reminds me to have Hugh look into greasing that godamn wheel before it ruins another night’s sleep for me. And, I digress.

With any luck, Audrey will live a long (at least until the day after the science fair please, oh please, oh please) life, filled with happy moments with The Teen.

With any additional luck, she will not prove to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing, intent upon escaping from her cage and killing us all in our sleep.

What? I said I’d had some bad hamster experiences in my youth.

Sure, she looks cute and cuddly but that's what they said about Ted Bundy.

Monday, October 05, 2009

You'll Never Roam Alone

Hugh and I returned from Salt Lake City last night. Upon our arrival, we encountered some major domestic drama but, I'll get to that later. Meanwhile, let me tell you how much we enjoyed our trip.

First of all, I have to say that the city of Salt Lake is one of the nicer cities that we have visited. It is clean, easy to navigate and the people are extremely friendly and courteous so, good job Salt Lake City, keep up the good work!

That said, I should also mention that the toilet paper in public restrooms in Salt Lake City is the thinnest toilet paper I have ever encountered in my life and, people, I have used a lot of toilet paper. Seriously, in Salt Lake City? You could read the newspaper print through the toilet paper. I'm just saying.

I forgive SLC for that, however because I can also honestly say that I got carded in Salt Lake City!! Carded! Like an adolescent! Granted, it was in an adult lingerie store and not in a liquor store but, carded is carded, people!

Also, yes; I was in an adult lingerie store, what of it? Hugh was with me and, for the record, while he also got carded (silly state law), I have no doubt that they were just doing it to make him feel good about himself whereas they carded me because I look far to young to be perusing crotchless panties and titty-tassles (which is in no way, shape or form what I was looking for, I was looking for a particular brand of shaving cream that one of our employees told me about; the cream is rumored to prevent nicks and razor burn. I swear, that's why we were there. Also, the store was right next to our hotel and we had some time to kill. And now you are thnking, "mmmhmm, I think she doth protest too much"so, shutting up now).

Anywaaay...Salt Lake City is nice.

Also nice was the outdoor decor vendor at the market who gave Hugh this fabulous roaming gnome

Jerome, the roaming gnome, to be precise. Jerome, Hugh and I had many fabulous adventures in Salt Lake City. Here he is waiting for Hugh to finish up some business at the market so that we can all go sight-seeing.

And, here he is enjoying the Mormon temple. Notice how his hat mimicks the shape of the tower-thingies on the temple? Yeah, he though that was cool, too.

Here he is posing with a few of his favorite celebrities who happened to be in town for some fashion event.

(Don't tell Kelly but, this is really his favorite.)

After dragging Jerome away from his idols, we did some in-depth shopping for Halloween, specifically for the haunted house that Hugh is planning and then, we grabbed a quick lunch at a local greasy spoon.

Jerome waited in the car like a good little gnome.

Lunch provided us with a conversation that I found rather humorous; Hugh, as many people know, is a devout hater of all things blue cheese so, when I ordered a salad with blue cheese dressing, he was less than impressed.

Hugh: Gahhh!!! Gross!
Chelle: I'm going to eat this blue cheese and then I am going to kiss you. With tongue.
Hugh: And I will proceed to vomit in your mouth.
Chelle: Which will, in turn, cause me to vomit into your mouth, thus causing you to taste the delicious pleasure of blue cheese twice.
Hugh: You suck.

Aaand I win.

After lunch, we headed home where we were greeted by the children who, despite numerous texts and phone calls this weekend, still seemed to have missed us (the feeling was mutual).

Sadly, just as the kids were getting ready for bed, The Teenager discovered that Honey the mouse was  not doing well. Within minutes of the discovery, Honey was dead and we had an emotionally distraught child on our hands.

Godamn mouse.

We consoled The Teen as best we could and I promised a trip to Petco today for a replacement mouse and the bastard had better live long enough to see the spring science fair which, can't come a moment too soon, as far as I am concerned.

Hey! You know what would pick up The Teenager's spirits? A photo of Jerome in a cage full of mice!

Yeah, I might just have to look into that.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Thursday Thirteen, Edition Eighteen:
Thirteen Things to Love About October

1.  The leaves have changed but have not yet fallen from the trees. The color in our neighborhood is amazing; now, if the damn wind will just quit blowing...

2.  Homecoming. Our High School is celebrating this week and it has been fun to see all of the kids dressed up for the various theme days (Pirate Day, 80's Day, Toga Day), showing their school spirit. Unfortunately, Hugh and I will miss the parade since we will be out of town.

3.  Taking the kids to the local corn maze. This year's maze is rumored to be harder than ever which means we may actually get our money's worth this time.

4.  The maze on Halloween night, haunted by the volunteer firemen, now that is how you enjoy a trip through a corn maze.

5.  Starbucks pumpkin spice latte. Sounds gross, tastes great.

6.  Fall produce, butternut squash, acorn squash, pumpkins, local honey; love them all.

7.  Speaking of butternut squash, October is a lovely month in which to cook a huge caldron of butternut squash soup.

8.  And, speaking of cauldrons, October is the month for witches and witches' brew, namely apple cider simmered all day in a crock-pot with cinnamon Red-Hots.

9.  Which is fabulous when consumed during our annual pumpkin-carving party. This year's party will carry a unique challenge-craft the scariest jack-o-lantern you can design for our first-ever Neighborhood Haunted House.

10.  And, pumpkins, did I mention pumpkins? Taking the kids to the pick-your-own patch is the highlight of my autumn.

11.  Back to the topic of the first ever Neighborhood Haunted House, this year; The Teenager has decided that she is too old for Trick-or-Treating and would prefer to do something different. She managed to convince her father to build a haunted house for her and her friends in our garage and, since we are going to be going to all the trouble to build the thing, we figured we might as well open it up to the other children in the neighborhood, friends of the Man-Cub, friends of friends, etc. Should be interesting.

12.  Lighting the gas fireplace as it is chilly enough in the evenings to warrant it.

13.  Decorating the house for Halloween and, later, for Thanksgiving. I love fall decorations, the color pallet of autumn and the warm memories they trigger from my childhood.

What about you? Any favorite things about October?

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!  Want to play?