Sunday, November 29, 2009

Husbands Take Note: How to Rekindle Your Love Affair in Four Easy Steps

1. On the morning of the thirteenth anniversary of your wife’s twenty-ninth birthday, wake her with kisses and whispers of sweet nothings. Or, feed her chocolate; your call.

2. Take her to dinner at one of the finest restaurants in town. When she orders a third glass of wine, resist the temptation to spout sexual innuendo while waggling your eyebrows at her; the phrase “Looks like I’m gonna get lucky tonight” is a phrase best left for a day not involving the thirteenth anniversary of your wife’s twenty-ninth birthday.

3. Following dinner, take her to see the local community theater’s production of My Fair Lady. Look interested and engaged. Applaud at all the right moments; bonus points for not ditching the theater at intermission.

4. Give her the gift that keeps on giving, a brand new state-of-the-art Kindle.

You might just get lucky after all.

Thanks for a fabulous thirteenth anniversary of my twenty-ninth birthday, Hugh. You are the best gift I ever got.

P.S. The Kindle is pretty amazing, too.

Friday, November 27, 2009

We Made It Out Alive

Black Friday. Just the words are enough to give me the hives, never mind the crowds, lines, traffic snarls, grumpy shoppers and stifling hot, overcrowded stores. No thanks, not for me; I’m more a day-after-Thanksgiving-recluse. So, how did I find myself driving to Neighboring City at seven o’clock this morning for an end-run on the mall? Blame The Teenager who just had to have new pants, new bras and new shoes. Actually, blame it on the growth spurt that brought her to within an inch of my height in the past two weeks.

And, while that doesn’t completely explain why we went today, of all days, the sales were pretty darn good and, assuming she will grow another inch (or eight) in the next two weeks; paying full retail just wouldn’t make sense.

Thriftiness didn’t stop me from breaking into hives the minute we hit Old Navy and saw check-out lines stretching the entire length of the store, however.

As I said, we survived and, I even managed to knock out the majority of my Christmas shopping so, despite the itching, burning and general redness caused by the allergic reaction to the unwashed masses; it was a successful mission (a bra-mission, as the Man-Cub insisted on referring to it despite the fact that his merely vocalizing the word bra, mortified his sister).

Upon arriving home from the not-so-secret-bra-mission, I set about decorating the house for Christmas. I have everything done save for decorating the tree which we will do once Hugh gets home, tonight. In the meanwhile, I am sorely tempted to eat the last remaining slice of my from-scratch-homemade-pumpkin pie, not because I am a glutton, nor because it is the best damn from-scratch-homemade pumpkin-pie-in-the-history-of pie but; because I heard, somewhere, that it pumpkin pie cures hives.

Not a glutton. Not, at all.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Why Are Things Never as Easy as I Remember Them?

My contribution to Thanksgiving dinner at Oscar and Emily’s house is pumpkin pie and, since I’m not terribly fond of canned pumpkin, I chose to bake my own pumpkin for the filling. Right now, there are two sugar pumpkins, cut into quarters, baking in my oven.

It isn’t the first time that I have done this but, for whatever reason, I must have blocked out the horror of cutting and gutting baby pumpkins because, people? It was a bitch.

All is well that ends well, however and, with any luck, my pumpkin puree will be the star ingredient in my pies.

Unless, of course, I’m forgetting some other head-banging stress involved with the making of a pie from scratch and, at this point; I’m not ruling that out.

Pray for my sanity, please.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

And We Waited This Long Because I Am Mean

Hugh and I are taking the children to see New Moon tonight. I avoided the theater like the plague when the movie came out last Friday because

1. I hate lines,

2. I hate crowds,

3. The Teenager was grounded, and

4. I am meeeean.

Although The Teenager is still grounded (til she’s thirty!), we made the decision to let her see the movie with us because:

1. We enjoy spending time with a sullen, morose child,

2. She actually hasn’t been terribly sullen nor morose, surprisingly,

3. We realize the importance of doing things together as a family, and;

4. I need someone to catch the drool when Taylor Lautner’s abs are revealed on-screen and Hugh really isn’t up to the challenge whereas, The Teenager is quite capable of wiping my drool, wiping her own drool and texting her friends about the experience, simultaneously. She’s gifted.

Now, I just hope the movie lives up to all the hype.

Oh, who am I kidding? As long as there is popcorn, soda and Milk Duds, I really don’t care how bad the movie is.

And, you know, abs!

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Kingdom for a Tylenol Caplet

This morning, I switched from my regular two cups of half-caf to decaf and I. Want. To. Die.

I never realized how dependent I had become on caffeine until, when I stepped down from regular to the half-caf about a year ago; I suffered typical withdrawal symptoms, including a raging headache. With that accomplished, I guess I thought the step down from half-caf to decaf would be a breeze and, yet; here I am.

Caffeine is the debil, my friends.

Also, decaf tastes like ass but, I’ll get used to it.

In news unrelated to my aching head, I had a really nice weekend.

As predicted, Hugh and I had a great time at the annual Holiday Festival Friday night; we ate and drank wine and caught up with old friends whom we don’t see regularly. Also, as predicted, the basket that I put together for the silent auction went for a higher dollar amount than the majority of other baskets; there was even a good-spirited bidding war for it between one of my friends from the club and the husband of our club president. My friend won and I have no doubt that her husband will be thrilled to use the fishing gear.

The rest of the weekend was occupied with mundane household chores as well as a visit with one of the elderly citizens of our community, where I installed a Lifeline unit. What was expected to be a twenty minute visit stretched into an hour but, the woman was quite interesting and it would have been rude to turn down the offer to meet her chickens.

You heard me.

Today, as I mentioned, my head is full to the brim with jack hammers and freight trains but; I am young and able-bodied and shouldn’t need a Lifeline unit anytime soon so, I am blessed.

I will take that Tylenol, however.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Suspicious

Earlier this morning, the Man-Cub handed me his letter to Santa so that I may proof-read it and make any corrections that needed to be made prior to him placing it under his pillow on December 5th for the elves to spirit away in the night. In the letter, he asks for a hat from one of the elves. Specifically, a real, honest to goodness Santa’s elf hat from a working elf at the North Pole.

Last Christmas, the Cub left a note on the plate of cookies that we leave out for Santa, begging for a bell from Rudolph’s harness. You have no idea the scramble that followed; finding a suitable harness bell at midnight on Christmas Eve is a bitch.

All of this leads me to the horrible conclusion that the Cub, at age eleven, is beginning to question the validity of Santa Claus and is desperately grasping for evidence of his existence.

That, or his sister ratted out the Big Guy a while ago and the Man-Cub is totally fucking with me.

Could go either way.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I’m Going to Rent a Copy of The Breakfast Club for Purposes of Comparison

So, yeah, The Teenager spent the last three days in a bleak classroom, serving time in ISS (In School Suspension). The transgression leading to the sentence was suitably horrifying from a parental perspective but, I am not at liberty to discuss it as I have promised The Teenager that I wouldn’t.

Suffice it to say, she knows what she did was wrong and she is doing her time without complaint. On the home front, we have unplugged her television and internet connections, limited her texting and phoning capabilities to family only and have taken more strict control over her before and after school free time. In essence, we have pulled the plug on her life support system yet, she seems to be doing just fine; she’s still breathing and everything.

And, that is all I can say about that.

Oh, except, I will say; Junior High girls are evil incarnate.

And, in other news, the Earth is round, the sky is blue and Yoko Ono totally broke up the Beatles.

Moving on.

This weekend is shaping up to be another busy one. I have my woman’s club’s annual Holiday Festival fundraiser tonight and, while I have decorated trees, centerpieces and garlands for it in past years, this year I opted out of the decorating and chose instead to put together a gift basket. The baskets are auctioned off the same as the decorative pieces and, with any luck; the club will raise enough money to fund our charitable works.

A large number of men attend the event yet, the items are generally quite feminine in nature so; I chose to do a fishing themed gift basket. I used a wicker fish creel for the basket itself and then filled it with a number of fishing related gadgets, Power Bait and, a really cute tree ornament that features Santa Claus in fishing waders. I’m guessing the basket will go high, given the dearth of masculine products from which to choose, otherwise.

Tomorrow, I plan to clean my house from top to bottom, a task which I have not accomplished in quite some time. I’m also entertaining the notion of starting my Christmas decorating since the Festival usually kick-starts my holiday mood.

Once the mood has been firmly established, I’m planning to take pictures for our annual Christmas cards. Last year’s card came together so easily and was such a hit, I’m struggling to follow it but, never fear; I has an ideer.

Of course, we’ll end the weekend with a viewing of The Breakfast Club because, as I said earlier, I think a comparison of the movie and The Teenager’s experiences this week is in order. Followed by a written report, naturally.

Punishment, it’s what’s for breakfast.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Bet Dante Was Raising an Adolescent Daughter When He Wrote The Inferno

Just a guess, of course.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Happy birthday, Barbie



When I was two years old, my parents brought my baby sister home from the hospital. While I don’t remember her actual arrival, I have vivid memories of her infancy and toddlerhood. One of my favorite memories of that time is of climbing into her crib during what was supposed to be our naptime; I can’t remember what games we played or how our time was spent but I recall the music from her crib mobile, the small lamp that my mom kept on a nearby dresser and, always, the smell of baby powder.

To this day, the scent of baby powder calls to mind my sister.

She turned 39 today and, while she is across the state from me, she’s never far from my heart. She’s grown up to be a fine woman, kind, generous, loyal and smart. She’s a good friend, a terrific mother and, I can’t say it enough-a great sister.

Of course, it goes without saying that she is beautiful.




I love you, sis. I hope you always receive as much love as you give and that you always remember how special you are. also, please ignore the pinholes in your nose in the picture at the beginning of this post; I believe they were the consequence of one of our many sibling squabbles back in the day. What can I say; I love you now, I loved you then but, yeah, sometimes we got on each other's nerves.

Sisterhood!

Monday, November 16, 2009

There’s One in Every Class

Someone who just doesn’t “get it”. Someone who causes the whole class to circle the airport while she taxis down the airway, pausing at every crack in the tarmac. Someone who meanders off topic to share interesting (to her) anecdotes about subjects unrelated to the class material. Someone who has to ask that one last question five minutes before class ends, that one question that ends up taking twenty minutes for the instructor to answer before dismissing everyone else.

This QuickBooks class was no exception and, while the gabby woman sitting next to me filled the role nicely this time around, I found myself less frustrated with her than I might have been at any other time in my academic history.

At this point in my life, I think I’m just happy that I’m not that Someone.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I was plenty frustrated; I just realize that, you know; there but for the grace of God go I.

Besides, I give it another ten years before I am that Someone. Ten years, tops.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Confirmed: Mountain Dew Does Not Kill Sperm



The question was posed by one of the kids in the Man-Cub’s class yesterday while attending the school district’s fifth grade discussion on puberty. The kid’s cousin had fed him that little gem of misinformation and he was smart-and brave-enough to question its validity, thus giving us hope for the future generation.

While he failed to specify how the soda allegedly killed sperm-via consumption or actual physical contact- I am assuming that he had been schooled in the urban legend of the post-coital Coca-Cola douche, long rumored to prevent pregnancy, because; I seriously doubt that his cousin told him drinking the stuff would impair his manhood although, I wouldn’t stake my reputation on it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there to ask so; I am getting this all second-hand from the Cub.

Who, it should be pointed out, begged me not to attend the presentation so as to preserve his reputation as a tough guy and to avoid any connection to Momma’s Boy Syndrome.

And, yes, I totally made that up although I am told that there are some men out there who suffer from it.

Anyway, the presentation apparently went well and the Cub feels relatively confident in his understanding of both his own impending puberty and that of his female classmates.

Now, a little sensitivity training would be a good follow-up because; should the Man-Cub break the heart of his little “girlfriend”, I will never be able to show my face in the pediatrician’s office again and; finding a new doctor at this juncture would suck.

The end.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday Thirteen, Edition Twenty-Four:
Thirteen Things I Don’t Like

1.  People who say they are going to do something and then don’t.

2.  Driving in snowstorms.

3.  Knowing that; while I am driving in a snowstorm, there is a Texan in a rented SUV on the road with me. A Texan who believes he is invincible and is therefore driving too fast for conditions. SUVs are not magically accident-proof, my southern friends.

4.  Cleaning up after a party.

5.  Watching one of my children suffer through an illness, issue or emotional event.

6.  Watching my children suffer, period. Unless it is at the hands of their father and he is merely trying to get one of them (Man-Cub) to eat a vegetable. I don’t really consider being forced to eat a Brussels sprout as an event one suffers through.

7.  Clich├ęd romantic comedies.

8.  Professional sporting events on television.

9.  Political rhetoric.

10.  People who make fun of the disabled.

11.  Parents who neglect their children.

12. Liver and onions.

13.  Swimming in cold water.

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, November 11, 2009

Herding Cats is a Great Way to Start the Day

Today, our elementary school is celebrating Walk to School Day. I volunteered to walk a group of kids who usually ride the bus from our High School to our elementary, which is a distance of about five blocks.

The Man-Cub went with me and then abandoned me to walk at the head of the line with a friend while I brought up the rear. I forgive the abandonment because I am a loving and understanding mother who recognizes her child’s need for independence; my feelings weren’t hurt at all. The fact that he will no longer hold my hand in public? Also not hurting my feelings at all. Really. Not hurt. At all.

Anyhoodle, the walk went well. Our group started out with forty kids and rapidly expanded to include kids who usually walk, bringing us up to about forty-five. As I watched the group grow; I was reminded of some very good advice: Never let them eat after midnight, never get them wet and, there was one more thing but I forget what it was…

…oh wait, that’s gremlins, not small children. Huh. Same result when you do get them wet or feed them after midnight and, say it with me, people, I digress.

So, once we got the kids to school I was freed from my community service and I walked back home.

The rest of my day will be taken up with work, QuickBooks class and, later tonight; my Pampered Chef party which I am looking forward to for many reasons, not the least of which includes the fact that we are making chocolate mint squares and; I am a whore for few things but chocolate and mint are high on the short list.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

If Only There Were More Hours in the Day…

…I’d find new and creative ways to waste them.

Yesterday’s QuickBooks class went really well, I can see myself using the program despite the fact that I am nine kinds of stupid when it comes to computer programs of any sort.

What the

As I am typing this, the Man-Cub is in the next room playing Madden 10 on his Playstation. As usual, he is talking to himself or, to the television, depending on your point of view. Not two seconds ago, he growled at the game in a voice that I can only describe as Demonic. Yes, Demonic; it totally deserved to be capitalized because, in the interest of full disclosure; I just about wet my pants when he did it.

What?! He’s eleven for crissakes; he doesn’t have a deep voice, we are alone in the house, it could very well have been a demonic presence telling me to get out all Amityville style. You would have moistened your britches, too.

OMG, now he’s growling at television like a bear. Where did we go wrong?

And, I digress.

I know, shocking.

So, yeah, QuickBooks, should be good.

I have the class again tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it despite the fact that it will take up three hours in a rather busy day (work, school volunteering and a Pampered Chef party plus QuickBooks class makes Chelle a very busy girl. And, a very poor planner).

I am, however, envisioning hours of free time at the store, once I have the program sorted out and implemented. Hours of free time in which to listen to my possibly possessed offspring growl at the television.

Does that seem wrong to anyone else?

Monday, November 09, 2009

I Win, I Win!

Last night, Hugh requested grilled chicken for dinner. Two weeks in and I. Am. The. Winner.

I would get more excited about my victory but, my heads hurts and it did all weekend despite spending Saturday on the couch doing absolutely nothing but napping and watching really crappy television. Also, my left eyelid has been twitching for the past week and my jaw aches on the right side; sinus issues much?

Nevertheless, I have a busy day today; I am taking a QuickBooks class at the local vocational/technical college. I haven’t taken a formal class since um…hold on, I’m thinking…and, I can’t remember, it’s been so long.

I just hope my headache doesn’t prevent me from absorbing the lesson, although that would be a really great excuse for failure now, wouldn’t it?

Speaking of failure, Hugh intended to get the rest of the Halloween stuff put back in the attic this weekend. He also intended to hang the outdoor Christmas lights while the weather is still good, saving him from having to traverse the large expanse of our roof in the cold and dark later this month; he failed epically on both counts and, on finishing the winterizing of our boat for good measure.

The fact that he failed to outlast me in the Great Chicken Challenge of 2009 was the cherry on top of his Failure Sundae and, yes, I’m still on that topic because, in case you forgot; I win, I win, I win.

Damnit, it hurt my head just typing that; this does not bode well for the QuickBooks class.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Alas, Poor Romeo Will Surrender Fair Juliet

The Teenager is fighting an ongoing battle with a nasty stomach virus and, this afternoon, I finally took her to see the doctor, where she was diagnosed with…a nasty stomach virus and told to ease up on the French fries and to make friends with Pepto Bismal.

At the clinic, a nurse greeted us with wild enthusiasm and insisted upon introducing herself since she had been and I quote, dying to meet me. Turns out she is the mother of a little girl whom the Man-Cub has been crushing on this year. After her wildly enthusiastic introduction, she told me all about how the Man-Cub is so sweet to her daughter, opening doors for her and writing her poems

I know!  Poems!

As an aside, I would truly love to see the fantastical spelling and grammar contained in those missives and, as usual, I digress.

Anyway, the lovely (and enthusiastic) woman also told me that, while there has been some talk of peer pressure from her daughter’s little girlfriends, her daughter has yet to" hug it out" with the Cub and good thing, too; because she would be very disappointed in her daughter if there was any of that nonsense.

Disappointed, really? ‘Cause I would be just fine with it.

You know, assuming her daughter still finds the Cub attractive once he is wearing one of those fancy Catholic school uniforms.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Thursday Thirteen, Edition Twenty-Three:
Thirteen Things I Like

1.  My mom’s homemade biscuits and gravy.

2.  Watching the birds stalking the food in our feeders. Watching the cats stalking the birds stalking the food in the feeders. Watching the Man-Cub, stalking the cats stalking the birds stalking the food in our feeders. It’s like Wild Kingdom over here.

3.  The first cup of coffee in the morning.

4.  Buying a new bottle of the OPI, my latest purchase was Dear Santa, a sparkly red shade just perfect for the holidays.

5.  Doing a job right the first time.

6.  Cookbooks, I must have forty of them.

7.  Sleeping between clean sheets.

8.  My new white iron guestroom bed, purchased last week at an antique sale for far less than it is worth.

9.  Finding treasures at antique sales.

10.  Exploring I Spy books with the Man-Cub before bedtime.

11.  Cuddling with The Teenager on the couch, watching movies starring leading men whom we both agree are hawt; ogling celebrities, the latest way to bridge the Generation Gap.

12.  Going to plays with Hugh, even when he grouses about them being musicals like, really? A musical? Why?! Why for the love of God?! Whyyyy....(in my defense, he loved Wicked).

13.  Pomegranates, especially this time of year when they are priced-and sized- right.

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, November 04, 2009

The First Sign of the Apocalypse

The Man-Cub asked me what the word horny meant. And he understood my explanation.

Bomb shelters, people; you might want to look into one.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Another Day, Another Trip to the Principal’s Office

This morning, The Teenager made a frantic call to me from her Spanish classroom; we had a Hotdog emergency.

Hotdog is our codeword for immediate extraction from an unpleasant situation and can be used in one of the following cases:

-She can’t think of a polite way to escape from a friend’s house and wants me to order her home, thus reducing the possibility of hurting a friend’s feelings.

-She’s in a dangerous or uncomfortable situation which could include-but is not limited to- drugs, alcohol, peer pressure or chainsaw weilding homicidal maniacs.

-She in imminent danger of a Period Catastrophe.

I don’t suppose that I have to tell you there were no homicidal maniacs in Spanish class, today, chainsaw weilding or not.

It was, indeed, a Period Catastrophe: her Spanish teacher refused to allow her to go to the bathroom and she was loathe to explain her predicament to him.

As I was instructing her to hand the phone to the teacher, I heard him in the background, ordering her to get off the phone which; I completely understand given the fact that using the phone during class is against school policy, and she hung up before I could explain her situation to the teacher.

A Hotdog Extraction Plan was put into action and the situation was cleared up but, not before Hugh and I had to spend half an hour in the Principal’s office, explaining what had occurred and then another fifteen minutes wishing for the earth to swallow us whole as we listened to the Principal describe some techniques for dealing with menstruating teenagers to the poor clueless Spanish teacher who was, no doubt, wishing he had his own codeword for immediate extraction from an unpleasant situation.

Good times, people. Good times.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Two Down, a Shitload Left to Go

Today, I purchased the first two Christmas presents of the season. Some people might read that and roll their eyes like “God, one of those people who start early”. People who know me will read it and think “Damn, girlfriend is behind this year” and, I am; I usually have the majority of my shopping well in hand by now, to be finished up the week before Thanksgiving, leaving nothing but the odds and ends and stocking stuffers to be picked up between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The only excuse for my tardiness this year is, well, I don’t have an excuse; I just kind of said, fuck it. The gifts will get purchased. They will get wrapped. The holiday will be super-celebrated just like it is every year with one slight exception; I’m not stressing over it like I usually do.

And, I’ll let you know how that goes.

In other news, I made grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for dinner. It’s not exactly gourmet but it ain’t chicken.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

….Something Wicked This Way Comes



You all know I love Halloween, right? You know I had a great time decorating the house, carving the jack-o-lanterns, baking creepy treats for the kids and planning the haunted house for The Teenager’s friends, now, I’ll let you in on a little secret; I am so glad Halloween is over.

I’m exhausted, y’all.

I spent the entire day yesterday on my feet. When I wasn’t cooking and setting up for The Teenager’s party, I was helping Hugh set up the haunted house. When I wasn’t doing that, I was grocery shopping or helping The Man-Cub with his costume. When I wasn’t doing that, I was running errands for Hugh. It was enough to tire a younger person and, people, I am not young.

It was all worth it, of course.

The Man-Cub went Trick-or-Treating as a down-on-his-luck hobo. We cobbled the costume together with pieces we found at The Salvation Army, making it, officially; the cheapest Halloween costume we have ever dressed him in.

Since The Teenager was having her friends over, I allowed the Cub to invite a friend to spend the night. The friend’s costume, and this was not planned at all, was a box. He went Trick-or-Treating as a cardboard box.

So, I had a homeless hobo and his box.



Politically correct, I am not.

The Teenager’s friends seemed to enjoy the haunted house almost as much as Hugh, Chris, and several of our other friends enjoyed scaring the beejezus out of them. Since Hugh had gone to all the effort the make the thing; we also allowed Trick-or-Treaters to go through it once they got their candy. We had several older kids who refused to venture in and a couple of brave little people who tried it more than once.



There was, unfortunately, no peeing of the pants, so, while it wasn’t our most successful creation to date; it did ok.

The most terrifying part of the night?



Having this many teenagers in my home. Goddamn, are those kids noisy.

Oh, and I ran out of candy for the first time, ever so, thanks to daylight savings time giving us back that hour; we got to spend extra time worrying over whether or not some freak, denied his Laffy Taffy, would toilet-paper our trees or egg our house, none of which happened but, still, spooooky.

*Full set of pictures can be found here.