Goodbye Christmas, Hello Chicken

Some friends invited us to dinner on December 27th.  What are they, crazy?  Of course I said no.  I have to get this Christmas Crap out of my house!  Like, right now!

From November until December 25th, it’s a wild love affair with Christmas: parties and presents and cookies. December 26th, things start to cool off and then BAM! December 27th hits and it’s over. Get outta my house, Christmas!  Make way for the birthdays!

Darling Husband’s birthday is today and mine is tomorrow.

Switching a house from Christmas back to Non-Christmas is a horror show when your house is teeny, tiny.  Look:

Messy Christmas

The switch-over got done in time (sigh of relief) and we took Darling Husband to see The Hobbit for his birthday today.  He isn’t talking much about it and I think he didn’t much like it.  He’s a stickler for the book version and all he could blurt out was, “They took liberties!  By gum, they took liberties!”  I’m thinking this was a Bad Thing.  He didn’t look happy.

On the way home Darling Husband could not figure out what he wanted for dinner. He was still mourning all those liberties, you know. We ended up getting Royal Farms fried chicken and eating it on trays in front of the TV.  Chicken from a gas station on a tv tray and a movie that takes liberties on your birthday. Well, better luck next year.  It can’t be giant laser tag parties every year.

A Wild Night on the Town

I have brand new friends–Tim and Shannon.  Which means I have a whole new set of their stories to tell you.

Here’s one about Tim.

One Sunday a long time ago Tim was in church with his girlfriend.  He put his arm around her shoulders as they listened to the sermon.  It was a long sermon.  Somewhere in the middle of the long sermon, his arm fell asleep.

It was the sort of sleep that made his arm turn entirely numb and he didn’t know it was asleep.  It was so asleep that it flopped off the back of the pew and onto the leg of the woman behind him.  Tim didn’t feel it.

From the woman behind him’s point of view, a young man was randomly groping her leg in the middle of the sermon.  She was having none of that.  So, without bothering to keep her voice down too low, she leaned forward and said, “Young man!  You will remove your hand from my leg right now!”

Tim was startled, having no idea what was going on.  Slowly he became aware that his arm was not around his girlfriend’s shoulders, but was draped down the back of the pew and lying on a woman’s leg.  He tried to move his sleeping arm, but it wouldn’t respond.  He ended up having to use his whole body to swing his arm up and over the back of the pew where it thumped down next to him.

I heard this story last night on the way home from celebrating Shannon’s birthday.  Our friendship with Tim and Shannon is so new that I don’t even know how old Shannon turned, but we still had fun celebrating.

We had planned to eat dinner in a cute little restaurant in Gettysburg, but right now it’s the 150th anniversary of the battle at Gettysburg.  It’s a teeny weeny bit crowded in Gettysburg right now.  Here’s a quote from the Baltimore Sun:

“Gettysburg officials are expecting 250,000 visitors to visit the small south-central Pennsylvania borough of about 7,700 residents for the anniversary.”

We figured that we can go to cute little restaurants in Gettysburg any time we want to.  Let the 250,000 visitors have their turn at them and we’ll go somewhere else.  We’re very gracious like that around here.

So, we headed to boring old Frederick, Maryland and went to a chain restaurant—Macaroni Grill.  Dinner was great but afterward we wondered what to do.  Frederick isn’t necessarily bristling with culture, you know.  And that’s when Darling Husband sat up straight and blurted out, “We could go to Wegmans!”

Yes, the grocery store.

Tim said,  “Er…the grocery store?”

Darling Husband said, “Yes!  It’s great!  Let’s go!”

Ok, so we’re friends with Tim and Shannon, but as I said, it’s still a relatively new friendship.  We’re not quite at the point where we can say to each other, “Are you out of your mind?  I don’t want to go to a grocery store on my birthday.  That’s a dumb idea.”

So, Tim and Shannon said a carefully polite, “Okay,” and we headed to Wegmans.  They did their best not to drag their feet through the parking lot and when we got in the entryway Darling Husband said, “We might need a cart,” and grabbed a small cart.  Tim and Shannon looked mildly bemused.

But before we even made it past the cart storage part of the store, Shannon said, “Ooo!  Look at that!” And popped a bag of trail mix into the cart.

And then we entered the store.

Now, you need to know something.  Shannon is an amazing cook and has vast knowledge of all things culinary.  She took one look at all the obscure mushrooms and exotic cheeses and swooned.  We ended up spending an hour and 45 minutes in Wegmans.  We were so wide-eyed at all the wonders of Wegmans that our eyeballs were drying out.  Darling Husband bustled about like a happy mother hen, so tickled with himself for suggesting a trip to the grocery store for Shannon’s Birthday Bash.

For the more particularly yummy looking treats, Tim would say, “It’s your birthday!  Let’s get it!” and pop it into the cart.  The cart was stuffed with saltwater taffy and pasta sauces and cheese crisps and fruit tarts and trail mix and truffles and, and, and…

We got to the register and their bill totaled up to $195.51.  Darling Husband said, “Wait!  I have a Wegmans card!”  We used it and the total dropped down to…$195.51.  Ooooo.  No discount for you.

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We had a new person at photoclub this morning–Rose.  Gerhard helped her learn her (Pentax!) camera settings.  She got the usual warning:  If you come to photoclub, you will be photographed.  Here she is:

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The rest of us played with our project for today:

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It’s easy:  tape two colorful pieces of paper to something sturdy—like the lid of a pizza box.  I used double sided tape so it would be nice and flat.

Fill a glass with water and place it where the colors meet.   Move about a bit until you see the water refract the colors making a checkerboard effect.

Hannah used 3 colors of paper and different angles and had all sorts of crazy circus tent looks going on with her water bottles.  Good job Hannah!

No Naked People at the Peep Show, Eggs of Doom, and A Drop In

Today, Boy6 became Boy7.  Birthday—woot!  Here he is opening a present.  This year, he’s raking in the dough more than presents.  Lots and lots and lots of cash.  We’re hoping he’ll treat us to Li’s Buffet this weekend.

Money money money

(No, I don’t know why he turned out so pinky-red.  I had the white balance on automatic.)

Yesterday I made a point of calling him Six all day long so that today I could call him Seven.  He asked me, “How old are you, Mommy?”  “Thirty-nine.” And all day long, when I’ve called him Seven, he’s called me Ninety-three.  Thirty-nine, Ninety-three, eh, close enough.

Boy7’s birthday is near Easter.  One year, when Easter was especially early, I was trying to come up with goodie bags for his guests to take home with them.  Number one priority: they have to be cheap.  It just so happened that while I was trying to come up with cheap gift bag ideas, the boys had gone to an Easter Egg hunt and brought home 5000 Easter eggs.

And thus, the annual Birthday Egg Hunt was born.

So, today I gave the boys the job of filling 220 Easter eggs with candy for the Birthday party tomorrow.  They started out gamely enough, filling a few eggs and laughing and asking if they could sample the candy.  But then they started whining about how hard it was to close the eggs and they started poking at each other and wrestling and scattering eggs all around the room.  I showed no mercy.  “Boys!  You will fill these eggs.  You’ll just have to figure out how to close those eggs.  The more you do it, the easier it will become.  No excuses!  If you don’t fill the eggs, you don’t have a hunt.  This is your responsibility.  Get cracking!”

I’m pretty sure all they heard was “Wah wah wah eggs, wah wah wah eggs, wah wah wah eat the candy out of the eggs.”

Three hours, more wrestling, and banishment to separate rooms later, all the eggs were filled and the boys were sent to clean out the attic, where they’d tossed their Iron Man toys all around.  “If you don’t clean up those Iron Man toys, your friends are going to get all the little pieces lost at the party tomorrow.  This is your responsibility.”  “Wah wah wah wah, spend the afternoon playing with the Iron Man toys, wah wah wah.”

While they were in the attic, I saw that they missed an egg.  The candy was in it, but it wasn’t closed.  So I went to close it.

The Egg of Doom

I couldn’t.  Kept trying.  Couldn’t.  Tried some more.  C’mon.  If two kids could close 219 eggs, surely I could close one?  Nope.  Started timing it, and after five minutes of sitting there trying to close the stupid egg, I gave up.

At 3:00 Mom picked up the boys to help her with yard work.  For two hours, in the 80 degree hot sun, they picked up dead branches from all the trees and shrubbery in her 50 acre yard.  She brought them home at 5:00.  They earned $5.00 each.  That’s $2.50 an hour.

So….on Boy7’s birthday, he got some money, had to close 110 impossible to close eggs, cleaned the attic, and was paid $2.50 an hour to do yard work in the boiling sun.  Poor little kid!

A little before 5:00 Scott stopped by to help me with Photoshop Elements getting a picture ready for the Peep Show.  No, there were no naked people involved, get your mind out of the gutter.  Just naked marshmallow peeps.  (I’ll tell you about the Peep Show another day.)

Shorty after Scott arrived, Janet and Gerhard came by for a Drop In.  Oooo!  So much fun.  I think I can really get into this Drop In thing.  I showed them the picture for the Peep show and they loved it.

I was pretty sure Scott would be gone by 5:30.  Yeah.  Silly me.  He left at 9:30. I remembered to take a picture this time.  Not like when Melissa helped me with Elements and I forgot her picture and had to do that ghastly dramatization of forgetting to take the picture of the day.

And I’m starting to learn people’s quirks with pictures.  For example, Melissa doesn’t like it when I let her bald spot be seen in the picture and Scott wants his skin airbrushed just a touch.  Or is it the other way ‘round….?

Birthday Cupcake. Yum!