Some people never learn

You would not believe the number of horrible things I need to do.  For example, I’ve taken on the insane responsibility of providing 12 years of education for my children.

What was I thinking??

I wasn’t even supposed to have kids.  For a lovely decade of married life, we lived breezy lives filled with dinners out and dusty houses (dusty because we were always out at dinner) and superior looks directed to those people with their noisy, messy children at the next table over.

And then insanity struck and we had children.  Willingly! And if that wasn’t crazy enough, we decided to homeschool them.  For crying out loud!

All the curricula (whoa—watch out for that fancy pluralizing!) is sold at fairs in April and May.  If you buy at the fair shipping and handling is free.  Hot dog!  Free shipping and handling?  Sign me up!  But that means I have to plan the school year rightnow in time for the fair.

I also have to clean out the attic before it gets hot enough up there that the few remaining brain cells I have left after having kids melt out through my ears.  Wait…can your brain melt out through your ears?  Tomorrow’s anatomy lesson: watch the Mythbuster’s episode of brains melting out of your ears and find out.

I also have to tidy my messy, messy house.  Instead of tidying it yesterday when it was still almost under control, I visited with friends and we ate salsa and Chinese food and cakes and lazed around watching Doctor Who episodes.

And on top of all that, I need to edit a bunch of pictures.

And am I doing any of that?  No!   I’m writing a blog.  I’ve been wanting to write this blog since Saturday night at about 7:36.  Actually, I’ve been wanting to write before that but there was no time and, honestly, not a lot of material.  But on Saturday night I finally had some awesome material.  There is nothing more tantalizing to a writer than real live material.

And time.  Time to write is important.

Most professional writers say that you simply must carve out time to write every single day.  Can you imagine trying to carve out time to write every single day?  Like, for a year or something?  And maybe throw in a picture every day, too?  Who has time for that?!  I’m sure I don’t know.

Let me tell you about Saturday night and the Stars.

There’s a program at church for the girls.  They go to classes every Thursday night and at the end of 6 or so years of classes from preschool to 5th grade, they can opt to take a test involving lots of memory verses and such, and if they pass, they are crowned.  Their class is called the Star class when they reach the 5th grade level.

The crowning is a big event for these girls.  They wear fancy dresses and get their hair done by Sandy, and if she can make my rat’s nest hair look good, then you know she’s an amazing hairdresser, there’s a big long ceremony with speeches and dinner afterward.

This year, my friend Kris’ daughter was being crowned and she asked me to take pictures.  She asked me to get a shot of each girl in her dress, and also one of the girl with her parents.

I took the pictures of the three other families and saved Kris’ family for last.  Why for last?  Because I know better.  I know better than to try to get anything done photography-wise with Kris and her family.

Here’s what happened:

First, her husband Eric did not cooperate.  Eric is the sort of man who would turn feral without the taming influence of his wife.  He’d be out in a tree hunting deer every single day of his life if he could, living in a hut decorated wall to wall with dead deer heads.

So the fact that he’s in a tie is a victory for civilization.  And the fact that he’ll even pretend to try to get his picture taken is astounding.  But a man can only take so much:

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And apparently, a girl can only take so much:

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We tried again, but the Sabotage of the Pictures wasn’t over yet:

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And then the whole thing just fell apart.  Apparently, there’s only so much an entire family can take:

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I’m not sure what Kris was thinking.  I mean, I warned her last time when I published this picture (below) for the fourth (and now the fifth!) time, not to make silly faces at a photographer with an armed camera:

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Kris will be glad to know that I won’t be using that above picture any more.  I’ll be using this one, all cropped and lookin’ good:

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In the end I did manage one nice picture of the family. But I don’t have time to post that now.  That’ll have to be on a post another day.

Fork in Ketchup, Spilled Milk, and an Almost Obscene Phone Call

Mouse funeral today.

Poor little Wendy Snow didn’t make it. We had a funeral in the backyard. The kids picked the burial plot and we dug a hole. It’s a good thing it snowed yesterday because the ground was somewhat muddy and easy to dig. I was scared it would be hard as an ice cube and then what? We’d have had to put Wendy Snow in a glass jar.

Because glass jars work really well to preserve a body. And I should know. Because we’ve had a dead mouse in a glass jar sitting on our dryer for a year and a half.

The same day that Ninja Bug Guy came to exterminate our bedbugs (yes, you read that right! Bedbugs!) a rogue mouse got electrocuted in our dryer. We put him in a jar so we could watch him decompose. But he didn’t decompose because the jar is airtight, and so he just sits there. Dead. In the jar.

What am I even talking about? Oh yeah. Burying Wendy Snow. It was sad. We said words. We dug a hole. The boys’ sadness was alleviated by the digging of the hole. Somewhat. They were pretty upset and Boy6 cried.

 

Other than the funeral, not much happened today, but that’s not gonna stop me from writing about it.

When I asked Boy9 to put down the inflatable spiked ball and chain he was playing with instead of doing his math, he tossed it across the room, where it knocked over a glass of milk and landed in the pancake syrup from Boy6’s breakfast.

When I tried to peel an egg, half the egg came off in the shell. I really hate when that happens. I wonder why? I don’t even like the white part. I only like the yolk. So what do I care if half of the white part peels off? There’s just something about a well-peeled egg that’s aesthetically pleasing.

I like to dip my egg in ketchup, but you can see that the handle of the fork landed in the ketchup. I really hate the fork in ketchup* scenario.

Especially now that I have to hand wash the dishes.

This hand washing of dishes is not fun, particularly when the dishes are covered in ketchup. I’m thinking of serving all our meals cold, right out of the container. And using a sharpie to mark each person’s carton of milk so we can drink right out of the cartons.

Later in the day some man called me on the phone. “Hey. Can I come sleep at your house this weekend?”

What?! Who is this?”

“Your nephew.”

OooOOoo! He’s 13. Apparently I haven’t talked to him on the phone since his voice changed…

That was my uneventful day.

*This play on words brought to you by Scott. Who insisted on getting the credit for it. So if you’re offended by the play on words, it’s all his fault.

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Star Trek Stats of the day:
Number of cast in badly done wigs: Waaay more than should ever be allowed.
Number of times Bones said, “She’s dead, Jim,”: Once
Number of Kirks in a vest without a shirt, so we can see his arms/chest: One

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Song stuck in my head: “Yooooooooooooou Decorated My Life” by Kenny Rogers.

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Watched while cooking/cleaning kitchen:
Malcolm in the Middle

Boredom averted, The Swedish Chef, and Stinky Men

Oh, you slob!  Why don’t you do your dishes??  That’s just disgusting.  I’m never coming to your house for a dinner cooked in your filthy kitchen.

But I did do the dishes!  Honest!  Half of the dishes in this picture were washed in the dishwasher, but came out dirty!

Did you read that??  They came out dirty!

Nooooooooooo!  Something’s wrong with the dishwasher and I had to handwash them all!

But as you can see from the picture, I watched a few Twilight Zone episodes while I washed.  Whew!  That was close.  If I didn’t have that TV in there, I would have been bored.  And is there anything worse than being bored?  No.

Unless it’s getting obnoxious songs stuck in your head.

For example, today I’ve had “Like a Prayer” stuck in my brain all day long.

Why is it always songs like that?  Why can’t I get one of the songs known for their haunting beauty stuck in my head, like, “O, Danny Boy” or “Ava Maria”, or “O Holy Night?”

I tried to find a hauntingly lovely version of “O Danny Boy” and found this one instead.  It’s comedic genius.  (Those little turtlenecks really get to me.)

While we’re watching old Muppet Show clips, here’s my favorite Sesame Street clip.  Can you picture the bored-out-of-their-minds parents watching Sesame Street one evening, and then this comes on?  What a treat!  They should show this clip during PBS pledge week.  I’d send money.

And just for fun, here’s that horrible, hilarious version of O Holy Night.   It starts a little slow, but then gets better and better as the notes get higher and higher.

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Along with Twilight Zone episodes, I finished watching “I Am Number Four”, which wasn’t exactly what I expected.  I didn’t know it was a teenager movie.  Whatever.  I’m not particularly picky about movies, so it was ok.

(Speaking of Whatever and Teenagers, here’s another song that gets stuck in my head more often than I’d like to admit.)

I started watching “Cowboys and Aliens” while making dinner, and that’s not what I expected either.  I knew it wasn’t a comedy, but I had hoped for a little  levity.  So far it’s just blood smeared on windows and lots of dusty men who look like they have some serious body odor issues.

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Didn’t watch any Star Trek today, but when I called The Boy a “dear” he said, “I’m a boy, Jim, not a deer.”  Atta boy!

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If you’re a serious-type person (and if you are, then what are you doing reading my blog?), then here’s a truly gorgeous version of O Danny Boy.

And a lovely version of Ave Maria

Please Rent My Neighbor’s House (as long as I like you) and How to Obtain the Proper Dip-Veggie Ratio

Went to watch the Super Bowl with some friends tonight.  Not sure why.  Before going, I asked Darling Husband who was even playing and he said, “Well, the donuts at the grocery store had red and blue frosting on them, so I’m guessing they’re teams with red and blue colors.”

Ah, that clears that up.

Mostly I went to hang out with B.  I haven’t had a lot of time to talk with her one-on-one, so while everyone else was conveniently distracted by the game, I had my chance to chat with her.

Note the cleverly applied dip to S’s vegetables in the picture.  If you put dip on the veggies, instead of in a pile on the side of your plate, you get just the right amount of dip.  This works especially well for the cucumbers.  You know how slimy they are.  If you try to dip, the dip won’t stick to the cucumber, so you have to scoop, and you end up with too much dip.  But if you dollop some dip on each vegetable, there are no inequalities between dip and veggie.

(If you try to dip, the dip won’t stick….If only I had more time, I know I could rework that last paragraph into a Dr. Seuss like poem.)

Here’s a picture of my house as seen through my neighbor’s window.  He’s going to be renting out his house for about a year.  He let us look at it today so that we can tell people about it.  It’s very nice inside.  Light hard wood floors.  Anyone want to rent a house?  You’d have some lovely neighbors…

It’s a boring picture because I had to snap it reallyfast.  My neighbor doesn’t know about my picture of the day, and I didn’t feel like explaining it to him, so when he wasn’t looking, I snapped the picture.  (Don’t tell anyone from Photo Club, but I’m pretty sure I had it on the auto setting–I just didn’t have time to fumble with the manual settings and the dilithium crystals were running out of power, Captain.)

Keeping it short today.  Just got home a little bit ago and it’s already 11:30.  I have my own little personal goal of getting the picture of the day posted before midnight each night.

P.S.  Guys, I’m getting a bit upset.  The mice have had the medicine for 2 days now, but I found little Rose lying on her side looking pretty bad.   In fact, I kinda thought she was already gone, but she wasn’t.  I will never, ever get pets ever again.  (And yes, Kayla, she’s named after Rose.)

Invisible Friends, Chick Flicks, Red Sauce and White Shirts

No dead cats today. I promise.

Busy day.

The day started at 9:30 with Photo Club.  B finally showed up.  I am so glad she did.  Not only because I enjoy her company, but because the other members of Photo Club were starting to think I was making her up.  I kinda think they didn’t want her to come, just so they could continue to make fun of me about my invisible friends.

You can tell which one’s B because she has long hair.  It’s a good thing G cut his hippie hair a few years ago, or you might have been confused.

At Photo Club we were supposed to be taking pictures of things around the church.  I decided to take a picture of every cross I could find in the church.

Here are crosses on the lights hanging from the ceiling.

Wow!  In the top picture, the church is well lit!  How did you make the background look black?

I have no idea!!   I focused on the lights and BAM! they turned out like this!  I think it had something to do with white balance or light metering or something.  I dunno.  But aren’t they cool?!

Same thing happened here!  Look in the top picture. Waaaaay up on the platform there are two flags.  One of the flags has this cross as a topper.   I was standing at the bottom of the stairs that lead to the platform and zoooomed in…and it turned out like this, with the black background.   Sometimes photography is a mysterious alchemy and I’m the sorcerer’s apprentice trying to keep up.

The stained glass window:

The communion platters:

The communion table:

A hymnal:

The side of  a pew:

Photo Club got out a little early, so B had some free time.  She didn’t want to break the number one rule for a mother with alone time:  Do NOT come back earlier than expected.

So, we headed out to the park so she could practice some of the stuff she learned at Photo Club.  I don’t know if she managed to concentrate on her pictures, ’cause I sure didn’t.  I can’t chit-chat with someone and focus on photography at the same time.  So here’s a boring picture from the park:

After the park I took the kids to see Beauty and the Beast in 3D.  I had to do some fancy talking to get them to go.   They were suspicious it was a girl movie.  It is a girl movie, but I’m a girl, and Beauty and the Beast was always my favorite fairy tale.  Besides, they might as well get used to going to chick flicks while they’re young.  It’ll make them good husbands one day.

At the theater they show free kid’s movies in the summer.  Mean Theater Lady used to work at the theater.  One week they showed The Wizard of Oz.  Mean Theater Lady waited until the opening credits, flicked on the overhead lights, and then barrelled through the theater snatching candy right out of the children’s hands muttering about, “Free movie…bring outside food…ungrateful…buy some stinkin’ popcorn…”

Speaking of light switches in movie theaters: after the movie, Boy9 realized he’d lost his DS in the theater.   This is the 5th time he’s lost something in the theater.  I’ve learned where the light switch is so that we can crawl around on the sticky floor looking for whatever it was he lost.  You’d think I’d learn not to let them bring in outdoor stuff…

After movie, we went to P’s 40th Birthday party.

During the drive, Darling Husband asked the boys to be quiet while he did his homework .  For some reason the Pirate Flag that’s been stuck to our car window for four years suddenly because The Toy that both children just Had To Have rightnow.  I actually had to use the words, “Don’t make me pull this car over!” during the drive.  I love saying stuff like that!

The birthday party was in a private room at a restaurant.  It was pretty packed and hectic at the party, and the crab dip was really, really, really, really good.

Here’s where I tried to get an artsy picture of the crab dip, but every time I took the picture, the table got bumped.  I looked up to find two small children beating each other about the head with rolled up menus.

Boy9’s burning hot cheese slid off of his pizza onto his lap.  He smeared it all around his pants trying to get it off because it was burning him through the cloth.

Boy9 has got to be the messiest eater in the world.  Except for Darling Husband.  Darling Husband spills food on himself every single day.   Sometimes I can catch him before it happens.  The other day I made spaghetti.  Darling Husband picked up some naked noodles and dipped them in the sauce.  And then…while wearing his dressy white shirt…he started lifting the red-sauce-dripping noodle above his head so he could lower it into his mouth.  I managed to shriek out, “WHAT are you DOING?!” and he stopped just as a big blob of red sauce splashed back into the pot.  After 19 years of this, I’ve learned to mostly ignore it, but about twice a year, it suddenly becomes unbearably hilarious.  What’s funny is that he is always shocked.  He never sees it coming.  Ever.  And that’s just funny.

Here is Pam’s cake with the black frosting.  We all had black teeth.

Throughout the evening, it snowed.

Here is my brick walkway in the snow.

And that was my day.

The end.

Saying Good-Bye to Pets

This is the pet store.  We got some medicine from there today because the mice are sick.

They were sick a few months ago, but they got better with the medicine.  But about 2 weeks ago, they got sick again.  The pet store had a different medicine, and it didn’t help.  Now that they have the original medicine available, I’m hoping this cures them.

I’m a bit nervous about how sick they are.  I have had five pet cats and I’ve had to take all five of them to the vet to have them put to sleep.

For Catherine, there was an unfortunate miscommunication.  I intended on holding her while she died.  The vet didn’t understand.  He said he would take her back and get her ready, and did I want to hold her afterwards?  I said yes, meaning that after she was injected, I would hold her until she was dead.  I sat in the waiting room and heard Catherine give an angry yowl.  A bright-eyed, chatty woman was sitting there too, and piped up, “So, what’s your pet here for?”  Honestly, I didn’t want to crush the poor woman, but as soon as I answered, “To die,” I burst into noisy, blubbery, shoulder shaking tears.  That poor woman.  She must have felt like such a heel.

When I went back into the room and my sweet Catherine was already dead, all I could think about was her yowling as the poisons were injected into her and the fact that she was alone, wondering why I’d left her with the vet who was killing her.

I held her little body and it seemed to weigh more than normal.  Usually when I held her, she would press her little body against me and put her fuzzy arms around my neck.  But this time, she just dangled there.  Dead weight.  I felt so hollow.  It took months before I could walk into the apartment without bracing myself.  It was empty without her.

For the other four cats, I made sure to hold them as they died.  It is heart-wrenching and painful, but the pain of knowing Catherine’s last few minutes were alone and terrifying was worse.

They fight against the injections.  They are scared and don’t want to be at the vet.  You hold them and tell them it will be all right, but it won’t.  Because you know they have every reason to be scared.  This time, they really will die.  I couldn’t let them face that alone.

The moment of Peter’s death, his body gave a shudder, and he was gone.

Sophie and Clara got more and more still and I wasn’t sure of the exact moment when they were gone.

Richard went into a diabetic coma and never fully came out.  I found him at the bottom of the basement steps, lying on his side. I thought he was already dead, but when I said his name, he rolled his eyes at me.  It was all he could move on his own.  I don’t know how many hours he had been lying there, unable to move.  I carried him to the vet.  I didn’t know whether or not he was in pain.  His poor body was so far gone they wouldn’t have been able to fix him.  Instead of letting him linger any longer, unable to move, I let them end his life.

I can’t imagine holding a person while they die.  I’ve learned enough by now to know that there are some things that you think you can imagine, but when it actually happens, you realize the experience is unimaginable until you’ve lived it.  This is one of those things.  I know that I truly can’t imagine holding a person while they die.

All this to say; I hope the medicine works.  I wish I’d never gotten these mice.  Not because I don’t love them, but because I do.  Even though these are mice that we’ve only had a year and a half, and not the cats who I loved and cared for for 14 years, I still love them.   When we got them I fooled myself into believing that the mice would die peacefully in their sleep from old age and wouldn’t get sick.

Not everyone who reads this will understand.  I have a number of friends who never understood my love for my cats.  They certainly don’t understand my love for the mice.  They’re just mice after all.

They might not understand me, but I don’t understand them.  No, I don’t love the cats more than the people in my life, and I don’t love the mice as much as I loved the cats, but it’s still love.  And it still hurts to see the mice hunched over and having trouble breathing and knowing they’re in pain and that they could die.

It’s certainly not as all-encompassing as loving or  losing a human, and I would never even suggest that it is, but does every bit of love have to be ocean-deep in order to be called love?   And does every bit of sadness have to be soul-wrenching in order to be called sadness?

Telling time, Parking tickets, The Talk, and an Oedipal Complex

Today was a grueling homeschool day.

Boy9’s math took an hour today. He had only four problems to do.  Four.  They were all cruelly long long-division problems.  Like 585,034,753 bazillion million divided by 344,946,129 gazillion trillion.  The pencil flew across the room only once.  And that was only after I burst into uncontrolled, maniacal laughter halfway through the lesson.

Oh, don’t judge me, people.  You know you feel the same way when you help your kids with their math homework.  It’s just that our “homework” takes 5 or 6 hours every single day.  I deserve your pity, not your disdain.

Boy6’s math took half an hour.  A few days ago he begged me to teach him how to tell time.  Below is a picture from a different lesson, but is a good pictorial image of how our Time lesson went today.

Have you ever tried to teach someone to tell time?  It’s not easy folks.  Especially for me.   I didn’t learn how to tell time until I was well into my twenties.

Before I knew how to tell time, J and I were out getting our wings from Wings to Go and J parked at a metered spot.  She said, “Is it after 6:00 yet?”  (After 6 you don’t have to feed the meter.)  I looked at my (Mickey Mouse) watch and said, “Yep!  It’s 6:30!”  She said, “Are you sure?” because she knew I couldn’t tell time.  And something didn’t feel right.  Hadn’t it just been 5:15 a few minutes ago?  Did time really fly by that fast?   And instead of simply double checking my watch to be sure, I didn’t want to admit that I might be wrong, so I said, “Absolutely!” and even managed to look a little hurt.

Incidentally, if anyone says, “Absolutely” to you—they’re lying.  I used to have to sit in the sales department at my last job, and they used to say “Absolutely!” to the customers on the phone all the time and they were LYING.

We got our wings…and came back to a police officer writing out a parking ticket for J.  Because it was only 5:30.  She tried to explain that her loser friend (me) couldn’t tell time and it was an honest mistake, but he just gave her that “Sister, I’ve heard it all and I’m not impressed” cop look, and handed her the ticket without another word.  I offered to pay for the ticket, but J wouldn’t let me.  I would have felt much better if she’s just let me pay.  As it is, I have this black stain of time-telling guilt that won’t go away.  Thanks a lot, J.  Some friend you are.

The one thing that’s worse than teaching a kid how to tell time is teaching a kid how to tie his shoes.  My friend W is my inspiration.  Her son is 11 and still doesn’t know how to tie his shoes.  Who am I to say that I’m better than her?  I say, “Lead the way W!”  I’m not even going to try teaching them to tie their shoes until 11.

I mean, how much frustration can one woman handle, people?!  I already have to teach the kids how to speak Latin, how to divide numbers in the bagillion millions, and the difference between the War of the Triple Alliance versus the Crimean War.  Don’t make me teach them how to tie their shoes, too.  That’s just not fair.

(Patti, maybe next year at the co-op, one of the other mothers will agree to teach a How To Tie Your Shoes and Tell Time class.  I’ll pay double.)

I’m kind of hoping that one of their friends will teach them how to tie their shoes.  Sort of like how kids learn about …you know…from their friends at school on the playground.  Of course, when you learn it that way, there’s a lot of misinformation passed around.  So to keep up the “stuff-you-learn-on-the-sly-and-not-from-your-mother” analogy, then perhaps tying shoes ought to be something that their father sits down to teach them.

If anyone can teach the children to tie their shoes, it’s Darling Husband.  When they were babies and I’d pop out to the store to grab a gallon of milk, every time I’d come back, Darling Husband would have taught the baby it’s next milestone.  “Hey!  While you were gone, I taught Junior how to talk!”  And there’s Junior, conjugating Latin verbs, “Amair, amat, ameri.”

I don’t know what that means and I’m sure it’s spelled all wrong.  It’s just what Socrates says at the end of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.  (Which was a lot more clever than it’s given credit for.)

When I saw that movie (in the theater, in 1989) I was with my then-boyfriend.  There’s a line where Sigmund Freud is psychoanalyzing Bill and says that Bill has an “Oedipal Complex.”  My then-boyfriend laughed at the line and asked me if I knew what Oedipal complex was.  The only appropriate response to such a impertinent question is, “Of course I know what an Oedipal complex is!  Like, duh!”

Of course I had no clue what it meant.

Incidentally, it was impossible to find out what Oedipal complex was in 1989 if you didn’t know how to spell it.  There was no internet and there was no spell check.  And there was no “edipal” “ettipal” “eddiple” in the dictionary.  We’ve come a long way!

The picture of the day is of a clock because of all the time-telling in this house today.  I set the camera to a 15 second shutter speed to capture 15 seconds of the second hand.  I’ve done this picture before, but last time I only captured 5 seconds.  This time, I turned out all the lights and used a flashlight to control the amount of light on the clock, so that the 15 second exposure wouldn’t overexpose.

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Star Trek Quote of the Day:

Kirk, while holding a Tommy gun and wearing spats:  “Ok, Spock-O.  Cover ‘im.”

This is the Enterprise that we saw yesterday at the Air and Space museum.  They’re getting ready to move it to Washington, so there were guys there from NASA on lifts checking it:

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P.S.  Popcorn and pink milk are good.

Perfect Days = Boring Blogs

Went to the Air and Space Museum near the Dulles airport in Virginia today.

We went with these friends.

They are the nicest people in the entire world.  I told them that if Jesus had been born this year instead of in the year 0, God would have picked this couple to be his parents.

Everything was perfect today.  How can one write a funny post about a perfectly lovely day?  One can’t.

1.  The museum was practically empty.

2.  The museum was almost silent.

3.  It was lots more interesting than I’d anticipated.

4.  The weather was great so we could eat outside.

5.  The Imax movie was awesome.

6.  I got to take 184 pictures.

7.  We got to hang out with Mary and Joseph all day long.

Sorry for the dull post.  Hopefully something ridiculous will happen tomorrow and I’ll be back to normal.

For now, all I can say about today is that it was just about as perfect as a day can get.  And since blog posts about perfect days are perfectly boring, I’ll stop blogging.

Hungry Like the Wolf, Mucus, and Tin Foil.

Look at the outside temperature on that thermometer!  It’s January 31st in Pennsylvania, for crying out loud!  It’s not supposed to be 61 degrees!

Why are you complaining about nice weather?  What’s your problem?!

My problem is that no one told me there would be nice weather today.  I wasted the whole day.  I could have sent the kids outside for recess at lunch and had a few blessed minutes of peace and quiet.  Or at least a few blessed minutes of tv.  Whatever…

Yeah, I could listen to the weather reports on the radio, but if your only options were the abysmal radio stations around here, you wouldn’t listen either.  You can choose from among 500 country stations, 1 pop station, 1 classic rock station (read: all bad 80’s), or fuzz.   If I have to hear “Hungry like the Wolf” one more time….

Since I can’t tolerate country music, and am forced to listen to pop at the skating rink, I resort to the classic rock station.  And they play weird stuff on that station.

For example, right in the middle of a normal lineup, without even the slightest hint of irony, they played “Ghostbusters.” Ghostbusters?  Really?  Out of all the music ever performed, they play Ghostbusters?

I’ve given up on music.  Soon I’ll be listening to Chinese classical music like Darling Husband.  Now there’s a man with some unusual taste in music.

Back to the weather:

Darling Husband has a special weather radio.  When there’s bad weather in our area, alarms will go off and a voice comes on telling us, “This weather advisory is to alert you that there is a horrible disaster coming your way.  Don’t you wish you’d taken it seriously when they told you to have 40 gallons of water per person on hand, along with your fully stocked pharmacy and fully loaded automatic weapons?  Too late for you, you lazy bum.”

Along with the dire advisories, I think the weather radio should give out fair weather advisories.

That way, when I gather up the boys and stuff them into their winter coats, only to walk outside to a balmy 61 degrees, I won’t have to rail at the heavens demanding my customary rain, sleet, or snow for grocery shopping day.  The day was taunting me with its warm sunniness.  It knew I wasted the whole day inside.

When I was in high school a classmate from China used to say, “Sixty degree, you wear short!”  I’m not trying to make fun of her accent, but whenever it’s in the 60s, I can still hear her voice, “Sixty degree, you wear short!”

In China they don’t add an s to pluralize words.  Our word for deer is like that.  One deer, 10 deer.  So, for her, one degree is the same as sixty degree.  I’m not sure why the musician 50 Cent calls himself 50 Cent, because it’s supposed to be 50 Cents.  And yes, it bothers me.  I take it personally.  I wonder if his agent ever tried to tell him that he’s saying it wrong, and how that conversation went down.

Today at Walmart, I learned that “the real problem isn’t always the mucus.”  It’s good information to have.  That’s why I’m passing it on to you.

I learned that little nugget from those tvs they have stationed around the store.  I resent those tvs.  I take them a little personally, too.  Especially when they tell me about mucus.

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Watched while cooking/cleaning the kitchen:

The rest of “The Last Man on Earth.”  It followed the book almost exactly, but the book ending was slightly better than the movie ending.

Malcolm in the Middle.

Star Trek stats:

# of women in tin foil costumes: 1

# of shirtless men, including Kirk: 2

# of kissing scenes: 4.  The kids were appropriately disgusted.

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Helpful hints (and not about mucus):

If your grapes are a little sour, dip them in cool whip.

If you get tired of standing around while the kids inspect every toy in the toy department, sit in one of these kiddie carts.  They’re way fun when the kids push you around in them.  As long as you don’t get caught.  Then it’s a little embarrassing…

Logic will get you Shrimp Fried Rice

Today I finally finished this series (in the front of the picture) that I began reading back in 2004.  Seven years ago.  That’s how long it took for the author to write the series.  When I finally got the last book, I had to re-read the first 3, just so I could remember what happened.

It’s the picture of the day because I’ve spent the last couple of weeks brushing my teeth and reading these books.

The books in the back of the picture are another series.  You can see five books in the picture.  I’ve only read the first four books.  Why?  Because the author took six years to write the fifth book.  Six years! 

The author says that he can complete the story in seven books.  But at one book every six years, he won’t be done for twelve more years!  He’s 63 years old!  In twelve years he’ll be 75!  He could die and no one will ever know how it ends!   Oh, the horror!

If he does finish all seven before he dies (in 12 years), I plan on reading the entire series all in one sitting.  The kids will be out of the house by then.  I’ll only get up to go to the bathroom and open the door for the Chinese takeout delivery guy.  In 12 years I’ll have been married for 32 years, so I’m sure Darling Husband will know to leave me alone for those couple of weeks.

(My reading was a source of much tension when we first got married.  Watch this video. It’s one of my favorite songs and it pretty much sums up our first year of marriage.*)

Speaking of Chinese takeout, I had shrimp fried rice for dinner tonight.  (Not Li’s.)

I called Darling Husband and said, “I’m not cooking dinner tonight.  I want shrimp fried rice.”

And he said, “Didn’t we just get Chinese food on Saturday?”

And I said, “I fail to see the correlation between a meal that I ate two days ago and my current craving.  How are these two events related?”  He couldn’t come up with a rebuttal and I got my shrimp fried rice.

I’m finding that raising an eyebrow, speaking in measured tones, and pretending to be a Vulcan is effective.  Especially on the children.  Now that I’ve made the kids watch Star Trek, they finally understand logic.

For example, sometimes my son will ask for something and I’m not sure if I want to say yes or no.  “Can I have that donut?”  I might answer, “Hmmm.  I don’t know.  We’ll be eating dinner in an hour.  You should probably wait.”  When he hears that, he will become whiny and generally unpleasant until I tell him to knock it off.  And then he gets mopey.

But this time when he got whiny and mopey and unpleasant, I said, “It is illogical for you to behave so emotionally.  It is a medical fact that eating a donut one hour before dinner will cause you not to be hungry enough to eat your dinner, resulting in a deficiency of necessary vitamins.  Furthermore, experience should tell you that behaving in this manner is ineffective.  A more logical course of action would be to state your case to determine whether we can come to a mutually beneficial understanding.”

He gave me a confused dog stare…and then stated his case.   He got to eat a few bites of donut and saved the rest for after his meal.   And no more whining!

*For those of you who wondered:

In the house by his window, he’s reading The Nanny Diaries.

Pulled over in the car is Marley and Me.

(I know because I recognized the covers.)