Dirty Teeth, Hell is Cold, and Kittens

So, it’s a Tuesday afternoon at 3:11. My kitchen hasn’t been cleaned in 3 days so it looks like I haven’t touched it in 71 years. Kitchens are the Lamborghini of rooms. 0-60 in 2.8 seconds. Sparkling clean to health hazard before your last bite of Cap’n Crunch at breakfast.

So, it’s a Tuesday afternoon at 3:11 and I’m elbows deep in the freezer. If you know me then you know I’m completely miserable. Freezers are cold. You ever watched Scrooge? Not Scrooged. Just Scrooge. It’s a version of A Christmas Carol. During the Ghost of Christmas Future scenes we find out that Scrooge dies next Christmas. The movie shows Scrooge dead in hell being forced to work like Bob Cratchit in a freezing cold room. Freezing cold for eternity? That’s hell, people.

So, it’s a Tuesday afternoon at 3:11 and I’m elbows deep in hell the freezer and the phone rings. Well now I’m not only cold and miserable but I’m also annoyed because I hate talking on the phone. Send me a text message. I will not return your calls. I won’t. Stop trying to make me. I paused to listen as the answering machine picked up the call just in case it was important.

“Hi, I’m calling from Dr. Rodger’s office…”

Eyes fly wide open, lunge for the phone scattering frozen hamburger patties all over the kitchen floor.

The dentist! The boys had dental appointments at 3:00.

So, it’s a Tuesday afternoon at 3:12 and we’re flying down the road dodging the elementary school kids on their way home from school. Get out of the way! And that’s when I remember that I left all my frozen hamburger patties scattered all over the kitchen floor. ARGH.

Drop kids at the dentist, head back home to stuff everything back in the freezer, head back to the dentist.

But hey–the reason I forgot the dentist today is because we unexpectedly took the day off from school to go get a new kitten. Two hour round trip. Totally forgot about mundane things like dental appointments.

I’ll be doing a newborn kitty photo shoot soon so you can see him.

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My Home is Showcased in a Major Magazine, Sort of

So the other day a friend posted a link to an estate sale.  Here’s the link.  Oooo.  Fun!  I settled down to look through the pictures and gawk at all the stuff. Most of it was pretty bad.  I mean, there were framed pictures of hobos and teddy bears.  No, I’m not kidding.  See pictures #48 and 51.  Framed pictures of hobos and teddy bears, people.  That’s pretty bad.

Hobos and teddy bears aside, there was something pretty amazing in one of the pictures, right at the beginning.  Look at picture #1.  I’ve copied it here for you:

Do you see that awesome piece of furniture in the front right?  Oh, I love that piece of furniture.  Why can’t I have amazing furniture like that?  I sat there and just drooled over that piece of furniture for a good, oh, 10 seconds.

Until I realized…uh…wait.  Wait.  I do have amazing furniture like that.  I mean, really just like that.  I have that exact same piece in my dining room right now.  See:

photo (1)

Wow.  Silly me!  I didn’t even recognize it at first.  Huh!

A couple of days later I was reading my HGTV magazine and this ad caught my eye:

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It’s all about dust triggering your allergies.  Ok, whatever.  What I was interested in was those books.  Look at those books!  Aren’t they just lovely?  Old beat up, dusty books, you just can’t get any better than that.  I would love to have those amazing books.

And then I realized…uh…wait.  Wait.  I do have amazing books like that.  I mean, really just like that.  I have one of those exact same books.   The green one.  The Thousand and One Nights–see:

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My copy isn’t as beat up as the one in the ad and the greens look different because the books are in different lighting, but look!  My bookcase is covered with dust, just like in the ad, and it even has a cobweb, just like in the ad.  I shined a little flashlight onto the book from beneath so you could read the title.  Look at what a lovely job it does of showcasing that cobweb.

But, silly me.  I’ve been saying things like, “My home doesn’t look like the homes in HGTV magazine,” yet it does.

This has got to be one of my proudest moments.

Two Things I am NOT Thankful for

Two things I have NOT been thankful for today:

Thing 1:

All the horrible singing that goes on when you listen to To Hobbit on an audio recording.  OH MY WORD.  People who read books out loud are not the same people who can compose Dwarf Music on the spot.  There we were trying to soothe ourselves while doing the dread task of Cleaning The Playroom by listening to the Hobbit.  I mean, cleaning the playroom was bad enough, people, but when the reader started warbling the dwarf song at the start of the book, Boy11 ran from the room screaming and Boy8 just crumpled to the ground and wept.  Why, oh why couldn’t the reader have just said the Dwarf song?  Why did he try to compose a tune on the spot and then sing it?  Thank you, thank you, thank you Peter Jackson for hiring a real live musician to come up with that really cool dwarf melody in The Hobbit movie.  Thank you.

Thing 2:

THIS clothes hanger.  THIS CLOTHES HANGER!  I hate this clothes hanger.

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You all know how cheap Darling Husband and I are.  We rarely use our clothes dryer.  Dryers are wasteful of both energy and money.  Everything gets put on clothes hangers which are then hung on extra shower curtain rods in the shower stalls to dry for free in the air.  For free!  Ha!  Free!  I love it!

However, without fail, WITHOUT FAIL, every time I try to hang a hand towel on a hanger, I inadvertently reach for THIS clothes hanger.  Do you see the problem?  What’s up with those little plastic columns on the inside edges of the hanger?  I can’t stretch the towel out on the full length of the hanger so that it can dry smooth.  No.  The edges bump into those plastic columns on the inside edges and leaves my towel bunchy and wrinkly.  I have about 70,000 hangers and none of them except this one have those little plastic things that get in the way.  You’d think that the odds would be low that every single time I dry those towels, this hanger pops up again.  There I am hanging smooth towel after smooth towel on all the normal hangers and then BAM! I run into this hanger.  Do I run into that hanger when I’m hanging shirts?  No!  When I’m hanging underwear?  Never!  Only with the towels.

It’s concrete shoes and the river for you, Hanger. 

Homeschool, Spanish Inquisition Style

Boy10 went to Karate Day Camp this week.

Whose idea was it to give the kids karate lessons anyway?  That was probably the dumbest parenting decision we’ve ever made.   The benefit of children being smaller than you is that you can fling them around and pin them down and tickle them.

But now, because of dumb old karate, they can defend themselves.  Now when I try to tickle them all I get for my trouble is a poke in the kneecap.

Pennsylvania homeschool laws state that we have to teach our kids physiology, which is:

phys·i·ol·o·gy

/ˌfizēˈäləjē/

  1. The branch of biology that deals with the normal functions of living organisms and their parts.
  2. The way in which a living organism or bodily part functions.

As part of my end of year portfolio I’m going to include a video of the kids demonstrating their knowledge of physiology.  They could show exactly how body parts function when you bend back a person’s finger or poke your fingertips between their ribs.  Karate teaches physiology, Spanish Inquisition style.  Did you know it takes the same amount of pressure to snap a person’s finger as it takes to snap a carrot in half?  I’m sure that knowing how much pressure it takes to snap a person’s finger is not what they meant when they wrote “must learn physiology” into homeschool law.

Or maybe it was.  I’ve told you before that they close the schools on the first day of hunting season and I personally know children who have driven tractors to school on Drive Your Tractor to School Day.

Back to karate camp.

Boy8 didn’t want to go to karate camp so I took him to visit with a new friend while Boy10 was at camp.

And oh, the stress.

Friend8’s mom invited me to stay while the boys played since we don’t know each other.  The problem? Friend8’s mom is sweet.  Truly sweet.  Not fake out your coworkers sweet to aggravate Mike, but a genuinely gentle soul.  And, oh, the pressure!  Boy8 really likes her son and I didn’t want her pegging me as a Bad Influence, so we had to be on our best behavior.  It was rough, people.  I was afraid that at any moment I’d temporarily lose control and bark out a disgusting snot joke and that would be the end of the friendship.  I was exhausted by the time I got home and had to lie down and play Candy Crush on the ipad.

And what made it worse was that Friend8’s mom is clean.  Noooo!  Not both sweet and clean.  Her sweetness compounded with her cleanliness was Stressing Me Out.  I’m going to show you why but if you are easily frightened you should stop reading now and most certainly do not scroll down to the picture.

You’ve seen blog posts in the past making fun of my dust, but you’ve never, and I mean you’ve never, seen dust like this.  This is dust to make one’s mother proud. This is the sort of dust that is so thick you can pick it up with chopsticks and put into glass cases to show as a Wonder of the World in the local traveling circus.

The other day I moved a long row of books that have been on top of a bookcase for a number of years, well above my eye level.  I don’t dust anything above my eye level so the dust has been accumulating, as dust does.

But this dust was different.  This went well beyond your normal dust accumulation into something spectacular.  There comes a tipping point when the sheer volume of dust brings a tear to your eye, and not just because of all the pollen.

Here it is:

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On that first The Magic of Oz book, you can see that there’s something stamped on the pages but it fades away into the murky depths of the dust and you can’t make out all the words.

Here’s another part of the stack at different angle with different lighting.  It’s slightly blurry.  It’s hard to focus on dust.

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So, there I was in my new friend’s house and it’s spotless.  Just neat as a pin.  And she apologized for the mess.  Why do neat as a pin people always apologize for the mess when there is none?  Neat people have super laser vision, because I never see all the dirt they see.  All I could think about was my lovely dust and how proud I am of it and how sorry I was for her that she didn’t have a dust collection like I do.

And no, I didn’t keep the dust.  I took the books outside and used the leaf blower to clean them off.

The Queen of England, Perfume, and Permanently Deleted Files

So, I decided to shoot all my pictures in RAW today.  What’s RAW, you ask?

I wondered the same thing.

From what I understand if you shoot all your pictures in RAW, no matter what the picture, even a picture of yourself taken in front of the bathroom mirror, late at night, with two of the bathroom light fixture light bulbs burned out, your mortgage will be paid off by an anonymous donor, you’ll be chosen to be the first (insert your career here) to walk on the moon, and an official from Parliament will knock at your door, blow a shiny golden horn, and announce that after thorough investigation of your family tree, you are actually the rightful queen/king (circle one) of England and you simply must drop everything and head directly to Buckingham palace, posthaste.  Shooting in RAW is just that amazing.

But really: shooting in RAW makes your picture files reeeeeally big.  The benefit of that is when you go to edit the pictures, you can make more adjustments which makes for a better image.

But, it makes your picture files reeeeeeally big.

So, before I started editing today’s pictures, I deleted the ones that didn’t turn out.  Bam!—into the recycle bin.  And instead of letting them sit there until the end of the evening, like usual:  BAM!—“empty the recycle bin.”  “Do you want to permanently delete these files?”  Yes!  Yes, I do!

And about two seconds later, “Noooooooo!”

I deleted the picture that I wanted.

Oh, I had the most beautiful picture.  If only I could have shared this picture with the world every puppy would find a home, the sky would be continually filled with rainbows, and perfume would last all day long, even the cheap stuff.

Fortunately, I was able to crop down a different picture to recreate my deleted picture.

Here’s the picture that needed to be cropped.  I needed the sign that’s sitting on top of the dishwasher.

Here’s the crop.

Of course, this picture is just dreadful.  The original that I took, and deleted, was breathtaking.  I was planning on contacting National Geographic about it first thing on Monday morning.  Alas, it’s not to be.

Read it carefully.  Carefully.  See it?

Yes, folks, today we bought a dishweasher, and oh-ho aren’t you jealous?  Wouldn’t you like to have a dishweasher?   Even the staff at Sears was delighted and giddy with joy when Darling Husband pointed out that they were lucky enough to have the honor of selling a Real Live Dishweasher, nestled in the sea of ho-hum dishwashers.

Our new dishweasher will be delivered on Wednesday.   After 9 months of handweashing our dishes, our little bundle of joy will finally arrive.  I’m thinking of having a dinner party for 12 on Tuesday night, just so that my entire set of dishes will be waiting to be weashed on Wednesday.  Well, a dinner party of 11, since Boy7 broke one of my plates a few weeks ago.

I’ll serve lasagna and grits and let them adhere to the plates overnight.  No worries, I just know my new dishweasher will be able to handle it.

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Obama Chia is enjoying his sauna.  (Obama Sauna.)  He should be able to come out of his bag/greenhouse/sauna in a few days, when his grassy hair takes root.  I’ll keep you updated.

A Piercing, A Near Drowning, Vodka, and My Russian Basement

It was a really rough day all around for everyone.

First of all, I arrived at the homeschool co-op to find that the Hands On Science preschool teacher called in sick–and so did all her helpers.

Except for me.

And the Dr. Seuss preschool teacher was MIA, as were the helpers.

Except for me.

Huh?? Wait a minute…I thought my gig as a preschool teacher was done.  Grrrr.

While I was hastily and bad-naturedly cheerily coming up with a completely lame brilliant craft project involving brown paper bags and broken crayons, the Dr. Seuss preschool teacher arrived.  Yay!  She made us eat green eggs and bacon.  They tasted better than I thought they would.

But when I went to pick up Boy7 from his class, I found that he’d lost an eye and gained a piercing.  Those homeschoolers are so weird.  Leave your kid alone with them for a minute and this is what happens!

Apparently, raising an Obama Chia Pet is much like raising a toddler.  You know how they say to keep buckets of water covered because toddlers will fall in them?  Yup.   Here’s where we found the Obama Chia: in one of the buckets of hurricane water.

You know how plastic bags are This is Not a Toys and need to be Kept Out of Reach of Children because they’re Suffocation Hazzards?  Yup.  Obama Chia got into the bags today, too.  Sheesh.  I didn’t realize it would be such hard work keeping an eye on him.

Somewhere in the middle of all the drama today, I made my way down into my Really Creepy Basement that’s Full of Million Leggers to hang up some laundry.

It’s impossible to walk into that cold cinderblock basement with those holey rags without breaking into a Russian accent and asking for a vodka.  From what I could tell from the Anti-Communism propaganda reports on 60 Minutes in the 80’s, this basement would be high livin’ in Russia.  Except they’d probably have a Rubik’s Cube in there somewhere.  I remember a 60 Minutes about how Russia was getting a few things from the West, but mostly it was just Rubik’s Cubes.

Speaking of vodka, did I tell you about the time my dad was getting up to go to the kitchen and I said, “Can you bring me a drink when you come back?” and he brought me a glass of “water” but really it was vodka?  I was about 10 and took a big gulp.  Parents are so bizarre.

Ended the day at Barbetta’s house for a Non-Soup Day.  Instead it was a Grape/Orange/Candycorn/Danish Night.  I got a picture of it on the iPad, but I can’t figure out how to get it from the iPad into this post….

It’s mere minutes till midnight!  Done writing!

Trying to Trick the Blind Guy, My Dirt is Prettier than Your Dirt, and Butter Spray is Evil

Check out this spam comment I got on my blog:

“I think that everything published was actually very reasonable. But, think about this, suppose you wrote a catchier post title? I am not suggesting your information isn’t good., but what if you added something that makes people want more? I mean Girls Fart, Men Cry, and Where is my Sock? dustylizard is kinda boring. You should look at Yahoo’s home page and watch how they create news titles to grab people to click. You might add a video or a pic or two to grab readers excited about what you’ve written. Just my opinion, it might make your posts a little livelier.”

Gee, they’re right!  “Girls Fart, Men Cry, and Where is my Sock” is such a boring title!  I’d never read a post with a dull title like that.  I’d better pop right over to Yahoo’s home page and learn something about snazzy titles for my blog posts.  And I’ll get right on that bit about adding pictures to my blog.  I’m so glad they sent me this message.

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While I do a pretty good job of maintaining the cleanliness level of the home, and will even sort through paper piles that would make a less stalwart woman pack up and move back home, when it comes to mindless and thankless out of the ordinary cleaning projects that will take longer than 3 or 4 minutes, I tend to wander off in search of a good book before all the cleaning supplies have even had a chance to be gathered.

Wow.  That was a long sentence.  I really should go back and edit it, but I’m too scared.  If I try to shorten it, it’ll turn on me and attack.  It’s like a sentence from Baltimore Sun newspaper.

Darling Husband and I used to have a volunteer job reading the newspaper over the radio for blind people. The guy who headed up the radio station was named Bob and he was blind.  He could do that thing where he could tell who you were by your footsteps.  You would walk in a room and he’d say, “Hi, Jackie,” before you said a word.

Darling Husband used to try to trick Bob into thinking he was someone else by hopping into the room, or dragging one foot behind him, or tip-toeing.  But, obviously, no one else would ever do something like that, so Bob always knew it was Darling Husband.  And Darling Husband would pretend to be shocked and say, “How did you know it was me?”

At the radio station, Darling Husband and I would read from the Baltimore Sun, whose articles had the longest sentences ever.  The Sun reporters challenged each other to see who could write the longest sentence each week.   They would each throw a dollar into an old Styrofoam coffee cup every morning and whoever wrote the longest sentence by Friday would get the cup of money.  No, I don’t have proof of it, but I did read their articles on live radio for a couple of years, so I know.

Anyway.  I’ve digressed yet again.  I meant to write about cleaning.

We’ve been using cooking spray every single day with giddy recklessness, while making pancakes for our picky children.  The tiny globules of oil have been gleefully flying around the kitchen in a rodeo free for all, and then massing on the stove and sticking there with bulldog tenacity.

I wanted to get a picture that would give you a small insight into the overwhelming nature of the task, so you would understand how horrifying the job was going to be.  But the stove looks so disgusting in the pictures that I don’t want to terrify any small child that might be walking past the computer while you read this, so I’m not going to post the more revolting pictures after all.

However, the below picture of the globbed on fuzz turned out delicate and beautiful.  There’s a thick layer of lint that got stuck in the oil globules and made the stove hood fuzzy.  To see the fuzz in all its glory, I needed to take the picture from the side, but it was too dark in the kitchen to do it properly.

Then I remembered how we learned at Photo Club that if you don’t have enough light in a room, you can add light with a flashlight.

Look at the stove from the side, zoomed in nice and close, lit with a flashlight I’m holding in one hand, and focused on one little band across the picture.  The lint looks like a delicate snowflake.  It’s like a work of art.  Such a shame to clean off such beauty.

But I did.  And I have now banned cooking spray from the house.  We’ll use old fashioned butter from now on.

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One more picture of the day.  Look at my calendar.  I circled the one day in the entire month that didn’t have anything scheduled on it.  Today.

Gerhard and Bridgette and Mom:  I couldn’t bear to answer the phone today, on the one day without something on the calendar.  Last time I had a somewhat free day, I made the mistake of answering the phone.  Never again!  I’ll call you guys back tomorrow.