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Sunday, October 31, 2004

All-points bulletin

Please study the attached mug shot carefully. These criminals are said to be armed with sugar and dangerous. Last seen somewhere in the New England area, they are guilty of previous tantrums, giggle fits, and all-around hyperactivity. They are particularly dangerous when in disguise, as they then believe they are not responsible for their actions, e.g., "It wasn't me, it was that other knight," and "Well that's what dragons DO, I couldn't help it."

Forced to wait an entire day to launch their latest campaign to rot out all their teeth, tensions are running high and the infighting has begun. Even with the time change, dark cannot come soon enough. The hours until nightfall will be fraught with tension and they are to be considered most volatile until then. Please keep your distance and speak in quiet, calm tones.

Desperation may cause these suspects to turn to cannibalism. The public is warned to stand back and only dial 911 in case of actual bloodshed or fire. Most importantly, do not attempt to bargain or withhold candy. Comply quickly and they will leave you unharmed. Refusing to meet their demands may result in the suspects forcing you to sniff their stinky feet, followed by consumption of your underwear.

Let's stay safe out there, people.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

So dainty

Me: Please spread your legs a little wider so I can get this lotion on you.
Her: You mean like I'm gonna pee in the woods?

I'm so proud.

What a rollercoaster

On the one hand, it's not nice to play on the weaknesses of others.

On the other hand, there's one born every minute. (Corollary: those of us who are smart enough to realize and utilize that fact, are obligated to pay homage to Darwin.)

I just netted over $100 on just a small handful of eBay auctions. My two highest-selling items? Went for three and four times what I paid for them. And one of those was worn by my daughter for over two years before the resale.

Now I am but a shell of my former self, having cycled through all five stages of eBay in a matter of minutes. Friends, I am spent. For the love of all that is holy, can I get a cold drink over here??

Stage 1: Denial
Holy cow. I don't think that cost that much new. Some people are really stupid. Or desperate. Or rich. Maybe it was a mistake. There's no way they're going to pay that. The email will come any minute now, saying that their cat walked across the keyboard and placed the bid while they were busy tending to war-ravaged amputees at the local shelter.

Stage 2: Anger and Resentment
You know, if they try to get out of this I'm going to have to slap them with one of those "your bid is a binding contract" emails because my time is valuable! I don't want to be jerked around and if they think I'm gonna let them off just because they got a little overzealous and now they have buyer's remorse, they have another think coming! I've got my NPB form open RIGHT OVER HERE and I'm not afraid to use it!

Stage 3: Bargaining
If all of that money actually comes in, maybe I could buy myself a little something. Just a little something. Why do I have to use it all for bills? Or to buy more stuff for the kids? A round of fully paid auctions almost never happens, so if it does, surely I deserve a little reward....

Stage 4: Depression
Who am I kidding? I'm already planning on spending money that I'm never going to see? Now we start with a week of hell. I believe "waiting for buyers to contact you, honor their purchases, and actually send fundage" is one of the rings of hell in updated version of The Inferno, actually. I'll get everything ready to ship and it'll all just sit there on the dining room table and I'll never see a single cent. Why do I bother?

Stage 5: Acceptance
It'll work out. Damn, I should figure out a way to bottle Chickadee's sweat. It apparently makes clothing very valuable.

Thank goodness I have the fortitude to ride out these turbulent times.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Half-full, dammit!

I'm working on my positive thinking.

My new glasses are still not ready. Laundry is threatening to take over my home. One child started to disrobe at the Dollar Store this afternoon, and the other one has started saying, "Whatever!" in response to anything I say that doesn't reinforce her need to be Queen of the Universe. Despite my fervent prayers for the six tons of leaves in my yard to perhaps just blow elsewhere, the task of yard clean-up is still waiting for me to get a grip and grab a rake, already.


Our neighbor met me at the bus stop this afternoon, bulging bags in hand. She was kind enough to make some goodie bags up for the kids, saying that she wanted to make sure they got some candy that was safe for Monkey. I was touched by her thoughtfulness. At worst, some people seem to think severe nut allergies are invented by overprotective parents; and at best, most people are bewildered as to why that excludes 90% of popular chocolate candy from being safe. (Although many of your favorite candy bars don't contain peanuts, they are manufactured on shared equipment and have "may contain" warnings.) When the bus arrived and the girls ran over, she added, "I threw a couple of Reese's cups into Chickadee's bag, too."

"Oh, I don't really even like peanut butter," Chickadee demurred.

"Try again, Chickadee," I prompted.

"Thank you, Mrs. Neighbor!" she obliged.

"Better." I tickled her under her chin as we headed for home. "You know," I said, "you probably do like peanut butter. It tastes a lot like the sunbutter we eat all the time. Would you like to try one of the Reese's cups?"

"Nah," she replied. "I had one at Daddy's once. I didn't really like it. You can have them."

And that's when it dawned on me. Halloween's on Sunday. I don't buy foods that aren't safe for Monkey; I don't want them in the house. Much of what he receives trick-or-treating isn't safe, and I buy the contraband from him for a nickel a candy. Chickadee also has the option of selling me some of her candy (just because she hates it when he has more money than she does). He works (ha!) hard collecting the candy, and I pay him real money for it. So I don't just throw it away; that would be wrong on so many levels.

I eat it. Because I don't want to be wasteful. It's a matter of principle, really.

Halloween's on Sunday. I have plenty of nickels. And soon I'll have Reese's cups and Butterfingers and all manner of yummy candy that I never buy anymore.

If that's not a half-full glass, I don't know what is.

More like Frenziedween

Gah. Is Halloween over yet?? It's starting to feel like a month-long extravaganza. I have a huge stack of paper pumpkins and renderings of witches and the like that I've been forbidden to throw away. First we spent the beginning of the month choosing and finding and refining the necessary costumes, and since then it's been an exercise in patience. For me. The children are not patient. The children ask every single day if it's Halloween yet.

And today, what fun! Halloween parties at school! Because heaven knows it's not like they're going to have enough junk food this weekend! Great!

In their continuing quest to convince me that all the hype about our school system is exactly that--hype and no substance--Chickadee's school was kind enough to send a notice home yesterday to inform me that there will be a costume parade today. Way to give advance notice! The parents are supposed to attend this thing. It's a good thing I'm an unemployed slacker, I guess. I won't have a problem getting there. But less than a day's notice? I'd be annoyed, if I had a life. Heck, I'm annoyed, anyway.

Chickadee's costume for this year is... ummmmm... bulky. I managed to talk her into taking last year's Madeline outfit rather than her new costume. I reasoned with her that it's so big, she'd have trouble getting it there and getting dressed on her own, etc. Really, I was thinking more along the lines of "if she spills juice and smears cookies on her new costume before Halloween I'll cry." The added bonus with the Madeline costume, of course, is that it demands a dress and tights and fancy shoes to go with it. Chickadee was all over that action. So that was resolved. My facial tic didn't come out until she spent twenty minutes pulling her tights on, smoothing out every wrinkle and ultimately settling the waistband somewhere around her armpits.

Monkey's school takes a different approach to Halloween. You could call it the "dealing with a buildingful of preschoolers in costume is second on our list of preferred activities right behind plucking out our own eyeballs with rusty tweezers" approach. I can't say I blame them one bit. I was relieved to hear that they would not be hosting a dress-up shindig. In its place, the brilliant teachers there decided on the logical alternative to a costume party.

A pajama pizza party. Of course. That's what they do for Day of the Dead in Mexico, I hear.

So you'd think that would've cut way down on our prep time this morning. Ha ha. It is to laugh! You see, on a regular morning I get Monkey out of bed and remove his soggy pull-up and wipe him down and then leave him to get dressed in the clothes we picked out the night before. On a pajama pizza party morning, he insists that he's ready to go RIGHT NOW and runs up and down the hallway like a lunatic, screeching "PIZZA PARTY! PIZZA PARTY!" while the bottom of his pull-up drags along on the floor behind him on account of being loaded down with approximately twelve gallons of urine. When I try to point out that we still need to get him ready, he will twirl in place like a ballerina, declaring, "I'm already in my pajamas! I'm ready!" After a while, I will lose patience, grab him, throw him down on the floor, and sit on him long enough to remove his pull-up.

"Ewwww, Mama, that's really gross," he commented, as I rolled up the specimen to throw it away.

"I agree. Try peeing in the potty next time." But it was too late; he was off and running down the hall again, this time naked from the waist down. "Hey! Put on your underpants!"

On the next pass he swooped past me, grabbed his Super Grover underwear, and went flying back down the hallway again. "Me and Super Grover are going to a PAJAMA PIZZA PARTEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!"

Oh, well. At least I reasoned that a pajama party is a good place for bed head, and thus was able to skip the wetting and brushing of Monkey's hair.

Finally, everyone was ready to go. We headed over to the bus stop, my hair still wet from my quick shower. The neighbor girls came outside to greet us and the littlest one took one look at me and said, "You look scary in the morning." Isn't that adorable? So cute. I only cried a little. Also I may or may not have told her she looks rude in the morning, under my breath before her mother came out. The bus pulled up and The Coolest Bus Driver In The World (whom we already adore) was dressed head to toe as a wizard: wig, beard, hat, robes, the works. The girls were delighted. Off they went.

At Monkey's school, squarms of little ones in jammies were at the various play areas when his teacher asked me if my shirt glows in the dark. (I'm wearing my dancing skeletons shirt today, naturally.) I said I wasn't sure, but I didn't think so. She suggested I duck into the (dark) bathroom to check. So I did. And guess what? The skeletons glow! I emerged and announced this exciting finding, whereupon I was mobbed by a flock of pajama-ed pygmies, shoving me back into the bathroom so that they could all see, too.

And that's why, when the second teacher arrived, she thought the entire room was empty. She was really confused. I have no idea why it didn't occur to her that I'd just taken the entire class into the bathroom in the pitch black dark so that we could all admire my shirt. Also the look of panic on her face when all the children fled out of the bathroom, screaming (all I said was "boo," sheesh), was unnecessary. Just call me the Pied Piper. Or not.

I'm gonna go dry my hair, now. And maybe turn off the lights and look at my shirt some more.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Name that domain!

I am very seriously kinda sorta maybe almost committing to moving to a real site sometime in the near future. Blogger has pissed me off one too many times. So after that whole thing I'm not thinking about resolves itself sometime next week, I may start taking steps to get off this cheap server and freeload elsewhere. Ha!

The problem is, I very much like my site name. There is really nothing more apropos for my usual state of mind than "Woulda Coulda Shoulda." But--in case you haven't noticed--typing that out as part of a domain name is a gigantic pain in the rear. I need a domain name that's a little easier on the fingertips but retains the spirit of my theme.

So! A contest! Name my new domain! Leave suggestions in the comments. The winner will receive my undying adoration, and maybe some cookies if I ever get around to baking some more. I'm all about incentives, no? So gimme your best shot.

Better than dumpster diving

I was really hoping to pick up my new glasses today, but I called just now and was informed that they're still not ready. "They sent me the wrong lenses! Twice! Well, the first ones were wrong. The second ones were scratched. Hopefully I'll have them done tomorrow." I suspect all of that to be elaborate code for "Tuesday I took the day off, Wednesday I had to sell some other people some stuff, and today I'm mostly surfing Amazon and spending the big hunk of money you gave me on Monday." Hmph. So, tomorrow; maybe. Pardon me while I tilt my head a little like I'm really interested in what you're saying, but in reality I'm just peering at you through the one teeny tiny spot on my glasses that isn't blurry.


But! I am quite cheerful today, nonetheless, because I have friends who are just like me. Camaraderie can come in many forms, but the bond forged over a bargain high is a beautiful thing. Excuse me a moment... there's something in my eye....

I knew it had to be something amazing, because it started like this:

8:40 AM, the phone rings. Caller ID: friend's cell.
Hey! What's up?
Her: ...
Me: Hello? Are you there?
Her: ...
Me: Bad connection. Call me back!

8:41 AM, the phone rings. Caller ID: friend's cell.
You there?
Her: ...
Me: Hello? Hello?
Her: ...
(line goes dead)

8:42 AM, the phone rings. Caller ID: friend's cell.
Bark once for yes! Did Timmy fall down the well??
Her: ...
Me: AAARRRGGGHHHHHH!!! Call me back you dork!

8:48 AM, the phone rings. Caller ID: friend's home phone.
Something is seriously wrong with your cell phone.
Her: I know! I know! I'm sorry! But I was so excited, I wanted to call you right away, and I think my cell battery is dead.
Me: Well what's the big excitement?
Her: I went to the dump this morning!
Me: Wow. That is exciting!
Her: Shut up. Remember how I told you they clean out the Still Good Shed on Wednesdays?
Me: Yeah?
Her: Well it was completely empty this morning except for ONE bag. One lone bag, sitting in the corner.
Me: And the bag contained...?
Her: Oh, just some clothes.
Me: ??
Her: Just some size 4, gorgeous, dry-cleaning-tags-attached Ann Taylor clothes. Gosh, I wish I knew someone who was a size 4!
Me: I'M A SIZE 4!! Pick me! Pick me!
Her: Oh yeah, that's right. There's a couple of purses in here, too. I'm bring it all over to you later.
Me: Yay!

Do you think it's a trap? I mean, it's so hard for me to digest that my town is so full of over-rich people who simply have their expensive clothes dry cleaned before they leave them at the dump like garbage, it's not much of a stretch to believe that the next time there's a PTA function the lights will go out and a black light will sweep the room, illuminating the invisible ink that was used to scrawl "THE WEARER PICKS UP EXPENSIVE CLOTHES LEFT AT THE DUMP" on the front of my blouse. It could be something like that, you know.

Then I realized, all of the rich snooty people around here already despise me, anyway. So what the heck!

My friend arrived with her arms full. Oooohhhhhhh. Pretty, pretty clothes. Silk pencil skirts. Cashmere twin sets. A little black dress. And two black purses. The first is a fun medium-sized leather bag from Banana Republic. Very cool.

The second? Is a satin Kate Spade bag. Not a knock-off. (I looked it up!) Be still my cheapskate heart. The only way I'm gonna get to own a Kate Spade bag in this lifetime is to get it from the dump. I can live with that.

Once I top off my new ensembles with my cool new glasses? I'll be unstoppable. In the sense that I will be making a lot more trips to the dump. Yeehaw!

Real hobbits!

Janet, have you seen this?? Thanks to my friend Mike for the link. What a story!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

It is genetic

The following is an actual exchange I had on the phone with my father this evening.

Me: I'm glad you're feeling better. Maybe now you'll stop coughing up green stuff.
Him: Yeah. If I'm gonna cough up green stuff, I want it to be large-denomination bills!

See? I can't help it. And the kids never had a chance.

Case in point: I present, for your consideration, Halloween of 2003. Chickadee was Madeline, right down to the red pageboy wig. Monkey was Buzz Lightyear, complete with inflatable wings that hindered his ability to walk through doorways. They were cute. They were adorable. They were nearly invisible. Why, you ask? Well, my dad and stepmom were here visiting over Halloween, and were coming out trick-or-treating with us. So they brought costumes!

Take a good look. You can click on it to see it larger. Do you think anyone looked at the kids? Really not. It may be hard to see because it's so dark in the picture, but my father's mask included long, curly, purple hair. They were the hit of the neighborhood. If the picture is fuzzy, it's because I was laughing really hard when I took it. I mean, I thought I was quite the daring sort with my glow-in-the-dark fully-jointed skeleton earrings. Those two put me to shame. My sense of humor pales in comparison. Nobody lost an eye, but the fun and games did sort of come to an end when the little girl around the corner took one look at my dad and burst into tears. Monkey kept patting her and saying, "It's okay, that's just my Grandpa! He's silly!"

[Readers from my father's office: This is the point at which--if I was feeling evil--I would suggest that you rally to have him wear this mask to Friday's meeting. But I would never do such a thing. I'm sure you could come up with that idea all on your own, right?]

"My blog exploded and all I got was this lousy site crash"

If I had spent more than a few minutes reviewing my general luck and Blogger's track record thus far, I could've predicted that as soon as I signed up for Blog Explosion, all of BlogSpot would take a dive.

I couldn't get into my blog all morning, and then this afternoon when pages started loading again, I couldn't get into the dashboard to post.

Welcome, Blog Explosion visitors! This is my blog; chock full of "Page Not Found" juicy goodness. I hope you've enjoyed your visit and... hey! Where are you going??

When my new glasses come in? And I'm irresistable to men? The first thing I'm doing is finding me a nice rich guy who wants to buy me my own domain and Movable Type and perhaps even a pony. Just because. Then he will also sweep me off my feet with his listening skills, compassion, sense of humor, and sexual prowess. Hey, if you're gonna dream, dream BIG, I say.

Last night I had two extremely vivid dreams. In the first one, I was surfing Blog Explosion (GEEK! GEEK! I had a DREAM about BLOGGING because I need a LIFE!) and found my ex's blog. I seriously doubt my ex blogs. He's the sort of person who would view such an endeavor as a complete waste of time. But in my dream, he had a blog, and it was wildly entertaining because it was composed of approximately 120% bullshit and fabrication about what a wonderful guy he is. Now this would be weird enough. But in my dream, he also had my site listed on his blogroll. This is how I figured out it was a dream, and woke up. If he'd found my site, he would've been able to keep it to himself for a maximum of five seconds. It was too improbable; I woke up and laughed out loud.

In the second dream, my one and only post-marriage ex-boyfriend (not to be confused with my ex-husband) resurfaced to tell me how losing me was the biggest mistake of his life, and how sorry he was that he'd treated me so badly. I was very confused, in this dream, as his confessions were gratifying but also served to remind me that I'm not quite over this schmuck. There wasn't any laughing when I woke up from that one. There is something profound but deeply disturbing to be learned from the fact that I am having a harder time resolving the loss of a less-than-a-year boyfriend than the loss of a nearly-ten-year marriage. I don't care to know what that knowledge is. I mean it. If you know, don't tell me. I suspect it involves the word "loser."

Then, of course, all of these exciting things happened to me today, but every time I sat down to blog, Blogger was still broken. All of these thrilling events have since flitted out of my brain to make room for more important things. Like that I have to provide chips for Friday's Halloween party at school, or that Chickadee's hair is crunchy and if I don't get her into the shower tonight, CPS will probably be here tomorrow. Sorry. No tales of my day for you! Bad Blogger!

Plus, you have no idea what I have to put up with, here. Monkey is laying on the floor at my feet, chanting "I'm a Yankees fan! I'm a Yankees fan!" (When I asked him what a Yankees fan is, he said he didn't know. Phew.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


In case I haven't mentioned it--which I'm sure I haven't, on account of I've been so successful with my Great Plan--I have this Great Plan in place. It goes a little something like this: think about anything, anything at all, rather than thinking about the Perfect Job Which I Might In Fact Get But Maybe Not. If I think about it, I vacillate so rapidly between the unfamiliar glow of hope and a dark cloud of deep despair (because if I don't get this job? I give up) that I become very dizzy and need to lie down and also consume large amounts of carbohydrates. Hence the Great Plan. What am I thinking about? Why, lots of things! All kinds of things! But not that whole thing I'm not thinking about that I can't mention because that would require thinking about it! Haha!

See how that works? It's genius.

In the meantime, I am pondering various frustrations of varying levels of pettiness. It keeps me occupied.

Baseball takes too long and is on too late at night. It's like passing a car accident; I want to stop looking, I know I should go to sleep. But I watch. And watch. And watch. And then I am sooooo sleepy. Me so tired.

All of my insurance-related paperwork gets mailed to my ex. He's the insurer, so all bills go to him. So when the dentist figured out that they undercharged me for my fillings this summer and then sent me a notice, I had to get it from him; so I got it late, and I paid it, but not before they sent him a second notice. Which meant I had to explain to him that yes, I really did pay them. And it's none of his business. Except it is. But it isn't. Crap. Can I please just have a couple of fillings in private? Please??

I may have to break up with ELIDEL MAN on account of he's pissing me off. First of all, I am now receiving chirpy happy "Eczemails" from the Elidel people with frightening regularity. Each and every one of those emails assures me that eczema is a very manageable problem, even moreso with non-steroidal ELIDEL! However, we've now had frost a whopping two times--i.e., it's not even winter yet--and not only is my creeping crud back with a vengeance, both children are afflicted as well. We are all slathering on the ELIDEL (as directed) and are still the poster family for scary skin.

I'm not at all sure about this Blog Explosion thing, yet. I mean, I'm digging the new blogs to browse. I hope some folks who come across my site decide to stick around for a while. But then I read things like the guy complaining that "half the blogs" Blog Explosion took him to were housewives talking about exactly the same things. And maybe I was missing the point, but his blog didn't strike me as so unique that he was in a position to cast such aspersions. Anybody can sign up for Blog Explosion. Just like anyone can get on the internet. Likewise, anyone can make sweeping generalizations that make them look like a dumbass. I'm just sayin'.

My eBay auctions are doing really well. Um, Mir, why are you complaining about that? Well, it's all fun and games until the auctions end and I have to see if the buyers actually bother paying me, you see. And right now, many of my leading bidders are newbies. I will not be counting these particular chickens until they're in the bank (makes for an interesting mixed metaphor, there).

I still have not raked the leaves but the next plague has arrived. Oh, lord help me. The pine needles. THE ENDLESS PINE NEEDLES. They're even worse than the leaves. I'm running out of time and yet I just cannot bring myself to tackle the yard. The very thought makes me panic. And time is running out, because the snow will be here before I know it. Hold me.

Blah blah blah blah I hate Microsoft blah blah blah. Remember how excited I was to order more memory for my failing desktop dinosaur? It's installed, but the computer doesn't seem to be running any better. Turns out that apparently Windows 98 can only utilize a certain amount of memory (which I already had). I tried to keep reading about why that is and what it all means but first I got very annoyed and then I just nodded off.

Eloquence cannot be purchased. Apparently, millions of dollars a year is not enough money to guarantee you won't say something like "This is a God-given gift that I have been gifted with" when you're interviewed on national television after the game. That player has a name, but he'll hereafter always be known as Gifty Smurf to me.

Thank goodness I lead such a full life that I have absolutely no time to think about that whole thing I'm not thinking about.

My child, my self

"Are you in your pajamas? I hear you playing, and I know you're not playing if you're not ready for bed."

"Where did you put my pajamas?"

"They're right THERE."


"Right in your room! Don't make me come in there!"

"On the floor?"


"Are they folded in a little pile?"


"Are they my favorite green?"


"And nice and fuzzy?"


"The same ones I wore last night?"


"Hmmm. Haven't seen them!"

(It's really hard to scold when you're fully cognizant of being the source of the culprit's smart-ass gene.)

I prefer being on top

When I paint. Sheesh. You're sick.

A friend of mine has been "in the process" of painting her family room for something like six months. I couldn't take it any more; when I saw her this weekend, I told her to pick a day because it was time to finish painting. She picked today, and I went straight over there after dropping the kids. We sponge painted the entire room. I did all of the work near the ceiling, because she has a bad shoulder and shouldn't be reaching. And really, I find that Zen mood that overtakes me when I paint settles in better when I'm perched on a ladder or a chair. It must be the additional concentration.

Despite my single-minded attention on the task at hand, I discovered myself singing along with the radio. The station we were listening to was an "oldies" station, and many of those "oldies" are from when I was in high school. That made me feel pretty oldie. Wah. But that is not my point. My point is that amongst the Beatles and the Billy Joel and the James Taylor and all the other stuff they played for three hours while we painted, I knew all the lyrics to all of the songs without even thinking about it.

No wonder I can't seem to remember anything or learn anything new. My brain is already full of useless information like the fact that the Pinball Wizard plays by sense of smell (okay, if you must know, for one moment I also wondered how supple his wrist really is) and that sharing a drink they call loneliness is better than drinking alone. I am yours, you are mine, you are what you are... dude, that's profound. It's also an excellent beat for sponging to, which is crucial for a task like this. When "doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore" started twanging out of the radio, we had to stop and have some donuts.

I'll grant you that serenading my friend at the end of the morning with a hearty belting-out of "We are the champions, my FRIEEEEEEEND" is kinda fun, but if I had my druthers, I'd really rather remember to actually take my trash out on, say, the day that the truck picks it up.

But I guess that would be asking too much. No matter. When I'm up there painting the ceiling, anything is possible. I crooned it all directly into my paintbrush--with feeling--so it must be true. I'll keep on fighting to the end. No time for losers, cuz I am the champion of the wooooooooorld!

Monday, October 25, 2004

But I still have all my hair

I'm not sure what it was. It could be my earlier post, or maybe it was just that I'd finally had enough of this constant headache that I get from trying to focus my gaze inbetween the teeny splotches all over my lenses. But today, I bit the bullet, and went to pick out new glasses.

First, I considered all of my options. I could just get new lenses, because I like my frames just fine. But, the earpieces are actually worn enough above my ears that they cut into my head. Also I can't give up the glasses for the time required to get the new lenses cut, on account of I broke the previous pair, and the pair before that has the wrong prescription. So unless I want to wear my sunglasses all day and all night for a week, that's not a fabulous choice. Then I considered going to Ye Olde Optical Cattle Market where they will give me a 20% discount with my health insurance, but the trip itself and the waiting and the crowd and the abysmal selection stands a good chance of sending me over the edge.

Then I spent a moment considering lasik. I'd almost convinced myself that the whole getting-my-eyeball-sliced thing was tolerable, but then I remembered how much it costs. Alrighty then.

I settled on returning to the small specialty optical place where we got Chickadee's last pair of glasses.

Chickadee has worn glasses since before she turned two. We got her first pair at a children's specialty optical shop down in Boston. Two years later, when she was four, we sought a new pair of frames in vain. I was loathe to make yet another trip to the city just for frames, yet the local Optical Cattle Market didn't carry a single pair of frames in a size small enough for her. Not poor selection; no selection. In addition to being astonishingly brilliant and cute, Chickadee has a very narrow face, even for her age and size. In desperation, I had the Optical Cattle Market order an identical pair of frames for her new glasses. This served two purposes; first, it was a style we liked that we knew fit her, and second, it meant that the next time she needed new lenses, we could drop off the "spare" pair for cutting and fitting, and then swap the finished lenses to the newer frames. Happiness all around.

When Chickadee turned six, I had hoped that she had grown enough that she would be able to choose from the array of standard children's sizes at Optical Cattle Market. No dice. Again we searched in vain, and this time, Chickadee was heartbroken. "I've had the same glasses for four years," she wailed. "I want something new!" Fair enough, I thought. I undertook a search of epic proportions in our area, and promised her that if we couldn't find anything locally, we would make the trek to Boston.

It was during this search that I found the small specialty shop. Fabulous selection. Fair prices. And--most importantly--the very best customer service I have ever encountered. They promised to find us something or order new stock until we found something we liked. The owner worked with us, and made Chickadee laugh while he did (no small feat with the Princess of Standoffishness). Chickadee found THE frame she wanted... and they had a small scratch. I asked if they could order new ones. Nope, sorry; that's a discontinued style. But that means we can offer you a heckuva deal. They didn't lie. That was the cheapest pair of glasses I've ever purchased for her. They were ready in record time. He did the honors with the sparkly nailpolish (our solution to the scratch). He's already fixed them for her twice. And at last count I think she had about three cases from there, as well as a Hello Kitty bracelet.

Good service is becoming an endangered species in today's world. The last time I was there, I told the owner: I don't have much money right now, but when I'm ready to replace my glasses, I'll come back.

I still don't have much money. But I went back, anyway, because he earned my business.

And it's a good thing he did. Because once I told him I was ready to look for new frames, he told me what he really thinks about my current frames. Ouch. Did you know? These are boring. They do nothing for me, they drag my face down, they are old-ladyish! Um, these are the most hip frames I've ever had, I insisted.

That may be, he answered. But that doesn't mean they are hip.

Good thing I have all those oodles of extra self-esteem laying around so that this encounter slid right off my back. No, really, I'm fine. I am just curled up in a fetal position in the corner because, um, I'm basking in self-love. I'll be done in a few minutes, if you want to come back later.

Anyway. He made me try on all sorts of frames I never would've picked up. What with how boring and old and face-draggy I am, and everything. But he totally respected my caveat that I couldn't even look at the expensive frames, and only offered me choices from the lower-priced lines. One pair? Was orange. OR. ANGE. Have mercy.

I was the only one in the store, and we quibbled over styles for quite a while. I don't know about these, I would venture, peeking into the mirror at my foreign-looking reflection. (As anyone who wears glasses knows, part of the problem with picking frames is that--hello!--you can't see without your glasses on, which renders the whole evaluating the new look thing kinda difficult.) Those are fabulous, he would answer. You look younger, and thinner, and totally sexy. I must say, they did sort of grow on me when I happened to catch my reflection laughing hysterically. I mean it, he insisted. Great! I said. I'll take two pairs of those, and a couple of pairs of the "very rich" and "getting laid on a regular basis" frames, too!

Now, you'd think that exchanges such as these would've been the highlight of my trip. But I am here to tell you that they were not. The best part of this visit came shortly after I walked through the door, when I was explaining that the reason I need new glasses is because I am a horrible person and I wipe my glasses on my shirt, and this has caused the anti-reflective coating to peel off in a bizarre spotty manner. The optician took my glasses, cleaned them with official spray and a special cloth, and then held them up to the light for inspection.

"This isn't from being wiped on your clothing," he said, "so don't worry about that. It's corrosion."

"Oh, good. Huh?"

"Corrosion. I've seen this before. Do you use hairspray?"


"See the pattern, like a fine mist of dots? That's hairspray that was allowed to settle on the lenses and wasn't cleaned off promptly. It eats through the coating after a while."

Let's just break that down, shall we? I spray something on my head that is capable of corroding my glasses. Once that had properly sunk in, I stopped being pissed off about my glasses, and started being really grateful that I'm not bald.

After about 45 minutes, I picked my new frames. The price was fair, I guess. (That is to say, I need to take a second mortgage to pay for them, but such is life with lousy vision.) Best of all, I was assured that I will just love the new, daring me! I'll take a picture when they come in, maybe. But if my hair looks crappy you are not allowed to say a single word. I had to promise to throw out my hairspray.

But wait! There's more!

It occurs to me that my mind isn’t the only item that’s gone AWOL around here. If you spot any of the following, could you please return to me? I would offer a reward, but what could be more rewarding than my undying appreciation? Okay, fine. I’ll give you a cookie.

Amongst the missing:

My patience. The way to express to me that you love the dancing skeleton placemats and appreciate my having both purchased them on clearance last year and remembered to put them out this year is NOT to attempt to fill in all the little cut-out holes with bits of your breakfast. This results in you not eating your breakfast and a gigantic mess. Also, it angers the undead, who will now come kill you in your sleep. Yes, really. Well, you should’ve thought of that before, I guess. Stop crying.

75% of the anti-reflective coating on my glasses. You know how they tell you only to use the special little cloth they give you with your glasses? And never dry wipe them, and don’t use towels, and all that stuff? They weren’t kidding. It turns out that after three years of misuse or so, most of the coating will wear off, yielding a bizarre sunburst pattern across the lenses. It’s hard to see through. So I will wipe them on my shirt hem, trying to improve their clarity. Oops.

Even the slightest head-nod to fitness. I hate to exercise. Sometimes I try to overcome that hate. Other times, I decorate my elliptical trainer with clothing that I’m too lazy to put away. About half my closet is hanging from the trainer right now.

The lids to half of my Tupperware smidgets. Destroyed in the dishwasher? Left at school? Thrown away by accident? Carried off by elves? The world may never know.

My ability to share. Honey graham Life cereal? Oh, you don’t like that. Trust me. Have some Froot Loops, instead. Yeah, that other cereal tastes horrible. I had a coupon, but it’s nasty. I should probably just throw it away. Or eat two bowls of it after I take you to school.

Five or so gloss sticks. I have a whole bunch of those lipsticks that come with one stick of color and then a stick of gloss to apply after you’ve used the color that doesn’t come off for several weeks. (Oh, look! I’ve still got a little “forever fawn” on my lips from my interview two weeks ago!) At last check my make-up bag was chock-full of lipsticks with nary a gloss in sight. That would almost make sense, if I wore lipstick a lot. But I hardly ever wear it. Where have all the glosses gone?

Any desire I once had to finish cleaning out the basement. Hey, you can walk around down there, now. And I can find most of the stuff I actually use. It no longer stinks of dead mice. What more do you want?

The good thermometer. I suspect it to be colluding with the smidget lids. Now I am left with the thermometer that insists my temperature is around 96 degrees. It’s possible that I’ve been sending Monkey to school with a fever, but how would I know?

My illusion of being a mature adult. I should not laugh upon hearing that someone painted most of Daddy’s kitchen with blue paint. First of all, it’s not nice. Second of all, the children need to understand this is serious business. Third of all, karma is a bitch. (But it was funny.)

The box of staples. They’re here, somewhere. I bought them. I refuse to buy more when there is a perfectly good (and mostly full) box lurking around. They can’t hide from me forever, you know. Don’t tell me how much a box of staples costs; this is a matter of principle.

My tact. Just kidding! You can’t lose something you never had. Good lord, your ass looks HUGE in those pants. Do you even own a mirror?

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most

There was a commercial break in the baseball game, just now, so I went into my bathroom to take my nightly meds.

I picked up my cup and turned on the water. Then I noticed the cup was wet.

I have no recollection of using that cup today, save for when I brushed my teeth this morning.

But the cup is wet. Which probably means I already took my pills. More specifically, it most likely means I just took my pills within the last hour or two.

No recollection.

So. Which is the more logical course of action? Assume that I am old and senile, already took them, and miss a night if I'm wrong? Or wonder if I have gremlins or poltergeists who were thirsty, and risk a double-dose by taking my meds now? Gah.

I guess it's time to start using one of those weekly pill container thingies. From there it's only a matter of time before I start stuffing dinner rolls into my purse at a restaurant, you know. But given that that's likely to happen if I screw up my meds a few days in a row, anyway, what the heck.

Gone Hauntin'

I want to tell you all about how I haven't blogged because I'm having this fantabulous, exciting, and productive weekend. The weekend's been okay, but mostly I haven't blogged because I am lazy.

Last night I found myself trapped in a room full of Yankees fans. Oh, the horror. Watching those poor misguided souls cheering for St. Louis just because they're sore losers... it was so pitiful. I assuaged my sadness with copious amounts of french onion dip and the occasional caring observation, such as, "You know the Cardinals are going to lose, right? I mean, you've prepared yourself for this eventuality?" Sure, I had a few things thrown at me, but at least I had the good sense to head home to watch the final inning in peace. That probably saved me from an actual beating.

Today I had to pick from amongst various invitations and ultimately did what everyone knew I was going to do--went to church and then came home and took a nap. I'm not going anywhere else. I'm all social-ed out for the weekend. It's time to tend to all of the things I should've done during the week, and try to get them done before the kids get back tonight. I'm thinking--for example--that maybe I should put out the Halloween decorations. Of course, at this point, I'm so far behind that if I wait another week I don't have to deal with them at all, and that's tempting. But neither do I want to listen to an entire year of how I am the world's most negligent mother because I never cleared a spot in the yard for the witch who rides the broom with a pinwheel at the end, either.

Yes, a witch with a broom that sports a pinwheel. Scary, no? We're a regular house of horror.

We also have a little skeleton dude named Mr. Freaky. Mr. Freaky has light-up red LED eyes in his skull, and he dances and sings "Superfreak" with slightly modified lyrics. I'm a very spooky guy / The kind you don't take home to mother. Monkey and Mr. Freaky are special friends; Monkey likes to imitate his dance and sing along, especially on the part where he goes, "Hey hey HEY HEY!" It's a thing of beauty. And really, Mr. Freaky is the most normal guy I've ever had in the house, so I'm pleased to be able to provide a positive male role model for my son.

If you need me, I'll be trying to pull apart my bagful of "scary eyes" window clings.

Saturday, October 23, 2004


I went back. Spent the whole morning doing it, actually. And now? I'm so afraid. Hold me.

What does it say about me that--upon reading people saying perfectly nice things about me--I turn around and deliberately insert myself into a situation where people are going to make me cry? There is something very, very wrong with the self-preservation portion of my brain. I suspect the bill-paying portion of my brain has taken it hostage.

I had a bid on my first item before I'd finished putting my listings up. The bidder has 0 feedback. And it gets better! She registered... yesterday! I'm just waiting for the email. "Hi!!! I live on Venus, and was wondering if you might ship to my friend's cousin's daughter's baby on Neptune, perhaps even before I pay you??? Also, do you accept barter payments like roosters?" With any luck she'll be outbid before it comes to that.

Friday, October 22, 2004

My fragile psyche

Verily, I am a delicate flower.

Stop laughing.

My therapist seems to think I need to spend some time journaling about my strengths and the things I like about myself. And she didn't seem all that amused when I agreed, but asked what I would do after that. (What do you mean? she asked. Well, I said, since that's only going to take about thirty seconds....)

It's a funny thing. When my children are wonderful, I give thanks to God. When they're demonic, I'm right there, ready to accept the responsibility and ample helping of guilt for being an inadequate mother. When things in my life go well, I'm lucky. When times are tough, I'm reaping what I've sown. Somewhere I've erred--I'm always sure--and so today's hard times are the result of some indiscretion(s) on my part in days past. So I should just suck it up.

When I write it out like that, I know it's stupid. But it's a hard habit to break. Also, I think because some people in my life eschew responsibility so completely *coughcoughexcoughcough* I am loathe to accept events as "just happening." I see some sort of perverse dignity in assuming culpability for even the most mundane annoyances.

Now imagine Dr. Phil drawling at me, "And how's that working for ya?" Then please imagine me smacking him, because he needs a good smack and if I could be the one to deliver it, I could die happy.

Anyway. Yeah, it's not really working for me. There's got to be a more constructive way to handle my assessment of life, one that will lead to a happier me. And I don't know that it starts with figuring out what's positive about my life and myself, but stay tuned for a future Mir-themed lovefest. It promises to be a really riveting thirty seconds, I promise.

However, today is not that day. Today, as I was driving home from my appointment, wondering if I was really up to the task of trying to loooooove myself and all that sort of stuff, I began to wonder if I could even cope with a marginal level of self-esteem, so foreign would it be to all that I'm accustomed to. Right before my brain popped a gasket, my cell phone rang. It was a friend, wanting to go shopping.

You don't have to love yourself to go shopping. Sweet relief. Hey! Know what I like about myself? I like when I find signs that say CLEARANCE. Also? I like when I buy things for other--more worthy--people.

The kids and I have begun accumulating our supplies for our shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. My favorite part of Christmas is doing the shoe boxes; bar none. We pick out the largest shoe boxes we can find (because it has to be a shoe box, but big ones are okay) and then cram every single corner full of stuff. These boxes go to disadvantaged kids all over the world and are, in most cases, the only Christmas presents they receive. Chickadee packs a box for a girl and Monkey packs a box for a boy. And they love it. And I imagine that the children who receive our boxes truly appreciate what we've done, unlike my spoiled rotten overprivileged American children who have too much crap already. Furthermore, I imagine my children are learning something about generosity and compassion (and I rather enjoy this fantasy so if you disagree, hush up).

There are "recommended" lists for what to pack. Please include basic hygiene items, they ask. Also school supplies, for the older children. Small toys and non-perishable candy are good choices. I will take the kids to the dollar store and have them pick out some items, and there are certain things (like bars of soap) that I just have lying around. And then there are the things where I say to myself, Self, if I were a child in a third-world country, what would I really need?

And on days like today, I answer: Self, if I were a child in a third-world country, what I would really need would be a Pez Jungle Mission Survival Kit Candy Dispenser. Children everywhere deserve a safe place to live, clean water to drink, nutritious food to eat... and Pez. I just believe Pez to be a basic, inalienable right. All the better if your Pez happens to come in a combination flashlight/magnifying glass/compass/clip/ruler/dispenser. And better yet when I find these beauties on clearance. Ah, the joys of democracy.

Of course I got packs of Pez refills, too, because you can't have your Jungle Mission Survival Kit running out of candy. And then I went looking for toothpaste and toothbrushes, and found toothbrushes that giggle when you shake them. Really. Suddenly a heartwarming scene flashed in my mind... children opening their shoeboxes, oohing and aahing over the contents, and then... being terrified of the enclosed, cackling toothbrush. Hmmm. Well, they'll get over it. I bought two of them. And bubblegum flavored toothpaste, which I refuse to purchase for my own children. Because I am mean. Unless you are a disadvantaged child, in which case, I will buy you all manner of things.

That lifted my spirits considerably.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Um. Yeah.


So, either everybody died or my last post was my most boring yet. Okay.

The school meeting went well. The ex had the good sense to not say much, other than to agree with things I'd already said. So that went well, at least. I'm not sure we have any concrete answers, but at least we've set the stage for improvement and if it doesn't arrive, it will be easier to enact change (I think).

I know some folks took issue with the vitriol in prior posts, so let me clarify something. My hackles go up when I feel my kid isn't getting the best. I fully understand that her teacher is a person--most likely a wonderful person--and further am quite cognizant than any problems to this point are likely the result of oversight or incompatibility, maybe not even laziness, and certainly not malice. I get it; I do. In today's meeting the teacher spoke very kindly of Chickadee and I do believe her when she says she adores my daughter.

That may or may not make her the right teacher for my child. That remains to be seen. But no; I did not rip her a new one or otherwise behave inappropriately. I vented here, then I went there and smiled and spoke in unthreatening "I" statements and all that good stuff. I'm very good at playing grown-up when I need to.

Not the point of the meeting, but: my 6-year-old has been "informally assessed" as reading at a 4th-grade level. It's nice to hear at least they're not going to argue with me about her being advanced....

Gathering acorns

There is something about Fall that causes my brain to present the image of squirrels hoarding acorns to accompany my every task. Perhaps this is because I am so poetic and metaphorical! Or perhaps it's because there are about four hundred squirrels in my yard, fighting over acorns. No matter. October is the month for battening down the hatches, readying for Winter, and gathering (figurative) acorns.

I've just finished walking around my house and lowering all the storm windows. One of the things I love about my house is that it is very well-lit. One of the things I hate about my house is that it possesses no less than six thousand windows, all of which are original to the structure (circa 1970). If you don't live in a house with old-fashioned windows, allow me to enlighten you. My house is a typical colonial for this area, which is to say that I have double-hung windows with storm inserts. The main window runs on a track of metal imbedded in the wood. This track probably performed marvelously for a week or two after installation. Since then, each and every track has experienced one or all of the following: 1) bending of the metal due to mishandling of the window, 2) warping of the surrounding wood due to age, 3) stickiness due to being painted shut one or more times. Opening the main window is a task in and of itself. Also, I don't know who invented the concept of the double-hung window, but I would sincerely like to meet him, and slap him. Hard. Should I manage to get the lower pane where I'd like it to go (either up or down), the upper pane invariably slips down a few inches and then refuses to budge.

Assuming that I am able to master the opening of the main window, the fun begins. First I need to raise the screen on the storm track. Depending on how many gazillions of insects have nested, mated, and/or died along the edges of the track, this may or may not be an easy task. Once the screen is raised, I am faced with determining which of the two storm panes is the one I should lower. Ideally, one pane is already fitted to the top of the frame, and one is a bit further down, and the lower one is the one to be brought down. But if I'm very lucky (and with so many windows, I am always lucky), both storm panes will be at equal height, and I will subsequently choose to lower the one that was, in fact, keeping the entire shebang in place, and my attempts to move a single pane will result in all three pieces (screen and two storm panes) crashing down on my unsuspecting wrists. Bonus points, of course, if the resulting crash also causes the top pane of the main window to slip a few inches and then get stuck!

The very saddest part of my annual window wrangle? While this is not the draftiest place I've ever lived (that honor goes to my first "independent" apartment post-college, which was not only roach-infested but so drafty the wind could move the metal venetians a full four inches from the window at a gust), lowering the storms is an exercise in futility because every single window sash is so warped, there's a steady breeze under each window, regardless. I should invest in some weatherstripping, I know. But, Jesus wept, did I mention the six thousand windows?

Next on my list is the switchover to flannel bedding. Each child has a flannel quilt courtesy of Grammie, the Mad Quilter. Grammie (my ex mother-in-law) may hate my guts and I may have a few not-entirely-kind opinions about her, but she makes a heckuva quilt. I was able to keep the kids' Winter quilts here on the logic that they sleep here most of the time, which saved me the fun of pointing out that--as far as I can tell--the ex hasn't actually changed/washed the kids' bedding at his house since he moved in. Ahem. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. Flannel quilts. Gorgeous, they are. And warm. Once we get those out, it's time to break out the flannel sheets, and even The Children Who Hate Sleep cannot resist the lure of the fuzzy snuggly stars-and-moons sheets and the fuzzy snuggly snowmen sheets.

The one bone of contention around The Time Of The Flannel Sheets? The kids fight over which sheets go on my bed. On account of, I am a tremendous dork, and my two sets of flannel sheets are the same as the flannels for their beds. So Chickadee argues that I need to have the stars-and-moons like her, and Monkey counters that I really want the snowmen, like him. Heh.

Once we hit the time change, it will be time for me to get out my lightbox. I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which I'm sure is a huge surprise given how you have just never seen a mood more stable than mine. Hahahahahahaha, I crack me up. Hee. Yeah. Anyway, SAD is a great thing where as soon as the days get shorter, I more or less find myself locked in a constant debate about whether I would rather jump off a cliff or just sleep all day. But some cool scientists figured out that people like me with this little brain glitch could be "reset" with the application of more light! So they invented these incredibly expensive lightboxes (thank you to the person who invented eBay, for those of us with SAD who are, nonetheless, cheap). My lightbox is a big rectangular thing which gives off light at a level of 10,000 lux or something, which is science-speak for "pretty damn bright." I park this baby on the desk and sit in front of it for twenty or thirty minutes each day during the cold, dark Winter. Although I remain pasty white and my retinas are somewhat singed, the end result is that I do not end up as a headline like "Woman Snaps: Squashes Children, Then Self, In Storm Windows."

In a little while I will head out for the last elusive piece of Winter gear: snowpants for Chickadee. Once those are acquired, both kids will have everything they need. Then I can look forward to the first blizzard with only the usual amount of dread, rather than the panic that accompanies knowing that there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth and accusations of neglect because I have not assembled all twenty-six pieces of outerwear required for a New England storm! (Why do I live here, again?)

This afternoon is our Big Meeting with the teacher and the principal. This, too, goes along with my mental acorns, as I am eager to have this situation squared away before we're into the additional stressors of Winter. We had friends join us for dinner last night under the guise of my having cooked too much and being friendly. Truly, I was being selfish; I was dying for some adult cameraderie, first of all, and also I needed someone to go over things with me, pre-meeting. The children ran amock while my friend helped me organize my thoughts and prioritize the salient points. I'm ready. I'm calm. I have a complicated child, yes. Her needs are not being met. Here are my ideas/suggestions, and here are my expectations. Let's come up with a plan.

I'm happy to be making progress, but once I get all of this other stuff done, you know what that means. I'll have to rake the leaves. *sob*

I'm melting

"Mama, you must be made of blankies, cuz you're so soft and warm!"

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

In which groceries give me a headache

Wednesday is usually a good day to play Meat Lottery. The "Manager's Special" coupons abound, as the previous weekend's rush is over and the stocking up for the coming weekend has not yet begun. Today I didn't spot a single coupon. Perhaps my fellow Lottery lovers beat me to the butcher's case.

But! No matter! Because I was armed with my coupons. Oh yes. Not just my regular coupons--which I carry in a stupid little accordian-style cardboard case like the geek that I am--but additional coupons that came in the mail because I am so special. Every so often my store sends out four weeks' worth of coupons, with identical dollars off coupons slated for each week. And $10 off of $100 is found money, baybee. The cupboard was bare when I set out this afternoon, so I was ready for some serious shopping.

Did you know that Wednesdays are now "Cheap Chicken Wednesdays?" Well they are. Doesn't that just make your whole week? I know it does for me. Not just because I'm happy to get a nice rotisserie chicken for $3.99, but because "Cheap Chicken Wednesday" makes me giggle. Perhaps because I am something of a cheap chicken, myself. I am still waiting for someone to give me my own day, however. Anyway.

I spent about fiften minutes figuring out the relative cost/benefit ratios of the various granola bars, while simultaneously remembering that I had neglected to pack Chickadee a snack. Oops. Perhaps it was because my mind had blown a circuit when she requested--in all sincerity--a cup of mandarin oranges be included in her lunch today. I'm sure she lived. Anyway, I did recall my oversight and experience the appropriate guilt while I tried to compare prices, and coupons, and keep straight which bars come 8 to a box and which come 6 to a box. I think there should be an International Granola Standard, by the way. It would make things so much easier.

Then--head still throbbing from Granola Calculus--I found myself facing the Popcorn Debacle. Pop Secret was buy one, get one free. And I had a coupon. Great, right? No! The coupon was for $1 off 3. And it was buy one, get one. My head almost exploded right there in the snack aisle, I tell you. I finally settled on buying 4 boxes, but there were no less than thirty-seven varieties of popcorn from which to choose, so that took another 15 minutes.

Oh! Look! Hummus is on big sale! So cheap! So delicious! I could send it in the kids' lunches instead of ranch dressing, to dip their carrots in. Yes, it was there in front of the six different varieties of hummus that I officially lost my mind. Have you met my children? Hummus?? What exactly was I thinking? Well, the good news is that I will happily be eating hummus for months.

Onward I forged. Salad dressing. Juice boxes. Milk. Bread. Cereal. All that good stuff. In no time at all, my cart was full, and I was really having to throw my weight into it to make it around the corners. Excellent. Time to check out.

Total Bill: $105.44. Woo! Except: $24.74 in Rewards Savings, and $5.00 in Manufacturer Coupons. Bringing my total to $75.70... too low to use my $10 off coupon.

Yes, I briefly considered how many more chickens I would have to buy to get up to $100. Alas. These are the trials and tribulations of being on a budget; I wanted to save that $10, but I just didn't need that much more stuff. Hmph. Such is life as a cheap chicken, I suppose.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

And for my next trick, I will make Dr. Atkins cry

Well, technically, Dr. Atkins is dead. But I figure that I lay claim to making baby Jesus weep so often, and so many regard Atkins as a man of similar stature, and--oh, look, I just made them both cry--anyway, if he was alive, or if he can cry from beyond the grave, I single-handedly devastated Dr. Atkins today.

Also? I keep typing Arkins. Is there a Dr. Arkins? A vet, perhaps? Oh dear lord, I am babbling. Which is, as we all know, a common side effect of Carbohydrate Poisoning.

There is one of those humorous lists that circulates the internet which includes the item: "I hate it when some skinny woman tells me she 'forgot to eat.' I've forgotten a lot of things in my day, but you have to be a special kind of stupid to forget to eat." World, I have a confession. I am a special kind of stupid. I forget to eat. Often. When I am stressed out, it's not unusual for me to stop eating. I'm a freak.

However, this is generally because there is nothing in my house that I want to eat. The corollary to my special kind of stupidity is that if there is that ONE magical food which SPEAKS to me when I'm stressed, I turn into a puppy. Which is to say, I eat and eat and eat some more and try as I might to leave that food source alone, and no matter how many times you smack me on the nose with a rolled up newspaper, if that food is anywhere that I can get to it, it will soon be history.

The rest of this story is--of course--redundant. But I'm going to tell you, anyway.

Yesterday, Chickadee and I stopped at the store for a few things. I found a loaf of challah on the "Oops, we baked too much!" rack. The incident with the bread pudding still fresh in my mind, I knew better than to set my sights on a cooking project. I was just buying it, I told myself, because it was cheap, and would give us some bread with dinner, and it was no big deal.

Go ahead. Ask me where the challah is. Ask me.

I've been a very naughty puppy.

God, I love challah. It was an act of love, really. Um, yeah, love. All day long love. Which sounds so much more interesting than what it really was. Which was complete and utter gluttony; non-nutritive eating spurred on by an attempt to soothe my brain with delicious, fattening simple carbohydrates. And butter. Mmmmm, butter.

And now? I'm so ashamed. Also full.

But if there was another loaf around here someplace? I wouldn't be typing right now, I can tell you that much. Ow. Stop that. Mmmmm, bread. Ow!

Apologies all around

I'm having a day of retreat, reflection and general penance.

I'm sorry that it's raining today. Monkey is on his first ever school field trip and I'm hoping the excitement of riding the big bus will outweigh the fact that he's likely to come home with pneumonia.

I'm sorry that after an extended breakfast-time detailing of today's plans my daughter still felt it necessary to insist to school officials that I was picking her up today, necessitating a phone call home to verify that no, she is to take the bus. Mostly I'm sorry that I have so little grip on how to communicate with that child.

I'm sorry that I inadvertently hurt someone's feelings on a discussion board this week when I neglected to choose my words carefully. I'm not sorry that I tried to fix it, but I'm sorry that the person in question has decided there is nothing I can say that changes the fact that the world has somehow now been shaken to its core. I feel bad, but I'm just walking away and hoping it becomes clear that no one (especially me) is that important.

I'm sorry that I've not been able to respond with greater enthusiasm to those who are checking up on me. It's ungracious and ungrateful and I am not fit to lick the shoes of those who love me, so I'll just be happy that I'm kinda like nicotine... gross and horrible for you, yet addictive.

I'm sorry that I've been crawling into bed early and missing my nightly chats with Kira, because she is just so darned cute. Damn you, Mountain Time Zone!

I'm sorry that my ex felt the need to tell my children to keep something stupid from me, not sorry that they told me anyway, and oh-so-sorry that I tried to discuss it with him. No secrets. Secrets bad. Don't do it. His response? "I didn't know it would upset you." Look! It's the POINT, sailing right past you! Grab it, quick!! That entire discussion made me more melancholy than I've been in ages, for reasons too complicated to articulate. I am not surprised, no. But it still makes me sad.

I'm sorry that 1) someone felt the need to do this search, 2) my site was a match, 3) my site was on the last page of search results, and 4) that person followed the link hoping to find this very important piece of information. Sorry, dude. Also? Seek help.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Feed me

It should be impossible to be as cranky as I was, yesterday, for longer than a day. Theoretically, I mean. But as we've previously discussed, I am quite gifted. At least when it comes to spectacular bottoming-out of the moods. My funks may modify and adapt here and there, but I'm pretty good at the sustained grumpiness thing.

So! This morning was spectacular. I don't even remember what happened. All I know is that one minute I was bellowing "EAT. YOUR. BREAK. FAST!" for the forty-seventh time, and the next thing I knew I was standing there with a little cup of Del Monte mandarin oranges in my hand delivering a sermon of epic proportions. It would have been a thing of beauty if I wasn't more or less venting my spleen in a batshit crazy manner. The children fell silent and listened to my missive in awe... not so much because of the power of my words, no, but more because they correctly surmised there was a excellent chance of my head spontaneously combusting.

"You BEGGED me to buy these for you. These were your FAVORITE FOOD in the ENTIRE WORLD and you CRIED when I didn't buy them so I bought them and I stocked up when they were ON SALE and now you DON'T LIKE THEM?? What does that even MEAN? One day you loved mandarin oranges and the next day an alien landed here from MARS and sucked all of the orange-liking brain molecules from out of your HEAD? So now I packed them for you for snack and instead of eating them you ASKED YOUR TEACHER FOR FOOD like I had just NEGLECTED to pack you something? FINE. FINE. I will NEVER pack you mandarin oranges EVER AGAIN. Pardon ME. But PLEASE don't tell me you want something SPECIFIC from now on because I am NEVER buying you something SPECIAL since you can apparently just RANDOMLY DECIDE not to LIKE it any more!"

Yep, that's pretty much how it went. I doubt you'll be able to find it in the Annals of Excellent Parenting so be sure to get a good eyeful, here. Insanity caused by snack cup. I'm sorry, Your Honor. It was the oranges.

That, of course, set us up quite well for what followed, which was a post-breakfast sibling skirmish wherein I declined to hear either side but reprimanded them both; and then both of them were crying by the time we struggled out the door and caught the bus already waiting. Yay!

After dropping Monkey I decided that--to help lift my spirits--I would go get a cup of real coffee. The coffee place right near his school is inexplicably closed, so I drove further down the road to a relatively new, hip coffeehouse. Perhaps if it was a pick-me-up I was seeking, I should've known better than to walk into such a place in my usual "bus run" outfit (polarfleece top and sweats). Oh well. I'm sure all those dirty looks were just because those people lead horrible lives, and not because I wasn't wearing a bra. The paralysis that overtook me when faced with the Big Board O Drinks led me to blurt out an order for chai when I really wanted coffee, but without caffeine in my system I wasn't quick enough on my toes to rectify the error. No matter. I got my nice frothy steamed milk in there, so that was fine.

Once home, I sipped my chai, ate some toast, and started getting ready for my interview. At which time my computer decided to have a complete nervous breakdown. I entertained the idea for myself, as well, but instead spent two hours getting my resume to print while thinking up new swear words. That's a great way to get the blood pumping, by the way. Yeah. I showered, I dressed (all my clothes fit today, thanks for asking), I assembled my things. I hit the road.

I got lost. I drove past my destination. I did make in there in time, but between the computer problems and my scenic route I suspect my eye was twitching just a little. Not that anyone would've noticed that because I was looking so fabulous! And my pants were staying on so nicely, and everything! And... and... my earrings! Are so SHINY!

In a rare moment of clarity, I paused in the car before I headed in to my interview. I took a deep breath. I reminded myself that--current mood notwithstanding--this was an opportunity not to be taken for granted. Let the rest go, do what you came here to do. If all else fails... blind them with the shiny earrings. Yes.

Given the nature of the position and the fact that this is neither horseshoes nor hand grenades, I won't say much. What I will share is that I learned there were over 70 applicants; about a dozen were granted interviews; as of my slot (and I'm not sure where I fell in the mix) only one other had been granted a final interview. I was also asked to return. If you are so inclined, please do think fluffy bunny happy rainbow thoughts, but quietly, so as not to rile the fates who have nasty senses of humor. It may be a few weeks before I have more news and until then I will be tiptoeing around trying not to spill any bad karma on myself.

I've already gotten a head-start on pleasing The Powers That Be with my incredible maturity and restraint because of this exchange after my interview:
Chirpy Voice: Welcome to Taco Bell, would you like to try a value combo today?
Me: No thanks, can I please just get a chicken quesadilla?
Chirpy Voice: Chicken quesadilla? Would you like that in a value combo with a taco and a drink?
Me: Nope, just the quesadilla.
Chirpy Voice: Very good, any sauce with that?
Me: No thank you.
Chirpy Voice: And would you like to buy a Border Somethingorother Card that gives you money off with the purchase of each value combo?
Me: No thank you.
Chirpy Voice: Anything else?
Me: No thank you.
Chirpy Voice: Please have $2.58 ready at the window.
Me: Thanks.

A weaker woman would've screamed "GIMME MY DAMN QUESADILLA!" by the second sentence, you know. I so deserve that job. I am a saint.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Little Miss Can't-Be-Right-Ever

During church
You know how hard it is when you're learning to ride a bike?
Monkey: Yeah! One time I was riding my bike and my wheel FELL OFF! Mama should FIX THAT!
Pastor: This week marks the beginning of our annual stewardship campaign, so it's time to start thinking about your financial commitment for the coming year...
Me: Let's see, 10% of nothing is, wait--don't tell me--

During fellowship
What? No, I haven't found a job yet. Thanks for asking.
Me: What? No, the Family Festival falls on a weekend when I won't have the kids, so I probably won't be coming.
Me: What? Oh, thanks. TAKE THAT OUT OF YOUR MOUTH!

And then
Does Chickadee want to come hang with us during the party?
Chickadee: Can I please do that instead of going to the Little Kid party?
Me: Hmmm, okay, I think that'd be alright.

At the party
Where's Chickadee?
Me: I let her accept this other invitation because I am a poor excuse for a mother and you only invited her out of kindness and pity on my single mom status, and rather than taking this as a golden opportunity to teach about honoring commitments I was mostly just happy she didn't ask me for a pony this week.
Everyone: Blah blah blah my husband blah blah blah couple-things blah blah blah money money money.
Me: Look! Coffee! In a shiny pot!
Everyone: Dance lessons horseback riding soccer library group enrichment shopping my husband blah blah blahbity blah.
Me: Mmmmm coffee.
Random Woman: Blah blah blah new to town blah blah I think the whole dump phenomenon is so charming, and the Still Good Shed is such a great idea!
Me: Don't tell anyone in the Junior League that you took stuff from the Still Good Shed.
Other Random Woman: My best friend is president of the Juniors.
Me: Oh. Wow. That's great. I need some more coffee.

Back home again
Candy? Can I eat this candy?
Me: No, you've had enough sweets for today.
Me: Go change your clothes.
Chickadee: Monkey won't give me--
Monkey: Chicky took my--
Me: Give it to me, whatever it is.
Me: Head. going. to. explode.
Me: Dinnertime!
Chickadee: Meatloaf? I hate meatloaf!
Monkey: What're these green things? I don't want them.
Chickadee: I hate ketchup.
Monkey: I'm not hungry.
Chickadee: Why do you make us such gross stuff?
Monkey: Yeah, Mama.
Me: Did anyone here make anything else for dinner that we can eat, instead?
Them: *blank stares*
Me: Right. Then it appears this is all we have. Eat it or don't.

It's like being a hermit. Except with a lot more driving around. And responsibility. And whining. And feeling like a misfit. But other than that, exactly the same. Sort of. (Even my metaphors suck, today.)

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Saturday night's all right

What I should've done today: Rake leaves, put away the deck furniture, rake leaves, take down the shade cabana thingie on the deck, rake leaves, mow the lawn, and rake leaves.

What I ended up doing today, on purpose: Vacuuming the entire house, dusting the first floor, washing Monkey's school bedding, sorting through piles of papers and mail, wrapping birthday presents for a party we're going to tomorrow, giving Monkey a haircut, patching and painting a wall that has needed some attention for longer than I will admit, letting my ex take apart and diagnose my computer, doing dishes, sorting children's clothing, mopping, and talking on the phone with a friend about how we should get together but our (respective) children really seemed to be enjoying a lazy day at home.

Things I did today, but wish I hadn't: Sliced open my thumb while trying to open the paint can, cleaned up half a bottle of liquid soap that mysteriously attacked the bathroom counter (suspect still at large), removed an entire handful of pebbles from the dryer's lint trap, killed three houseflies upstairs, and recycled all of the pretty catalogs tempting me to buy things.

What I have bought today since receiving the (late) child support check: a big-ass bucket of Legos and a memory stick for my limping computer. See Mir recklessly squander cash. Squander, Mir, squander!

What my children are doing right now: Sitting fed, scrubbed and pajama-ed in front of the world's most annoying video, having a grand time.

What song I could happily live the rest of my life without hearing again: Whoop, we found it! Whoop, we found it! Whoop, we found it! How about YOU?

What I will do tonight after the kids are in bed: Finish reading the book I'm working on, admire my clean house, feel guilty about not raking the leaves (maybe), start some more laundry, make a pot of tea, watch Trading Spaces, pay bills, balance my checkbook, and vow to do the raking tomorrow.

Important morals of this story: Raking is possibly my least favorite task in the entire world, being handy does not preclude being clumsy, my life is dull, and I probably won't rake tomorrow, either.


Chickadee: Our phone number is XXX-XXXX and your cell phone is XXX-XXXX.
Me: Very good, honey.
Monkey: Yeah, well, MY phone number is seven eight nine eleven STINKY BUTT!

Friday, October 15, 2004

The tides of change (via telephone)

What he said: Let's set an up interview as soon as possible, here are the particulars, here is what we're looking for, can you come in Monday?
What I heard: This is the job you've been waiting for; right salary, right hours, people who give a damn. You are perfect for this. Can you come in Monday?
What I said: Let me check my calendar... why yes, Monday would be fine.

What she said:
Thank you so much for your letter, and have I ever told you that last year I had a little girl name Bumblebee? Well I did, and Chickadee reminds me so much of Bumblebee, but I certainly apologize for the occasional mistake with her name, there. And I think you may have misunderstood some of what we talked about yesterday, because I am very fond of Chickadee and she is just delightful and I'm sure that things are going well. But I've checked with the principal and we're a go for that meeting next week and I know everything is going to be just wonderful.
What I heard: Backpedal, backpedal, backpedal, oh shit I really stepped in it good, the principal yelled at me, I remembered what this job is about and realized I've totally bungled the care of your child and please God don't sue us or make a ruckus. Cuz BUMBLEBEE and CHICKADEE are so similar and that's an honest mistake. And everything else I said? Well ignore that, it wasn't what I meant. Did I mention please don't sue?
What I said: Thank you for keeping the lines of communication open. I look forward to our meeting. I'm sure we'll be able to reach an appropriate resolution so that we can refocus our efforts on Chickadee's needs.
What I thought: Keep paddling, bitch.

What she said:
Fill me in on what happened... okay... I think you did all the right things. Well, this may explain quite a bit of Chickadee's sudden school aversion, huh? Go have the meeting and let's follow-up afterwards. I can step in if need be.
What I heard: You're doing okay. And I'm here to help.
What I said: Thank you so much for the support.
What I thought: It's going to be okay. Thank God.


Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for indulging the release of my inner Mama Lion yesterday. I received so many supportive comments as well as the rushing in of my beloved contingent of cyber-soulmates to check on me. I am so grateful to have so many compassionate friends in my life.

This morning was hard. Chickadee was up early. She came down the hall to cuddle with me, then retreated to her room with a book. Rather than lash out upon the intrusion of Bouncy Little Brother, when I peeked in after some giggling I found she'd tucked him into her bed with her favorite stuffies and was reading him a story of his choosing. All was bliss until I announced it was time to get ready for school... and then yesterday swooped down in on her and the peace shattered. She was tired, her stomach hurt, her back itched, she didn't want to go.

We huddled up; we talked about what it means to do her best in class (listen, be polite, follow directions); we talked about how sometimes, maybe, her teacher might be wrong, and how we will deal with that (she will continue to behave, and strive to use her words appropriately, but also come to us for feedback/help). I let her know that I am her champion no matter what, and I expect that she will continue to do her best while we work out the lumps. She gets it.

She's brave, my girl. Woe unto the person who tries to squelch that out of her.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

How to raise my blood pressure

Want to make me furious? Here's a simple how-to guide:
  • Call me on the phone about my child.
  • Call her by the wrong name. Repeatedly. Do not apologize when I correct you (on the third mispronounciation).
  • Ask me WHY today's "incident" occurred, even though I wasn't there, and you were.
  • Ask me how to handle said incident, even though you have been teaching for...? What? Forty years??
  • Speak of my child as though she is making your job so difficult, and you are weary of trying to bend her to your will.
  • Complain about how much work it is to adapt the curriculum to meet her needs because she's so much further advanced than the other students. (I really love this one. Because, I'll be the first to tell you my kid's exceptional. But I don't believe for one second that she's the only child this teacher has ever encountered who's this smart. Puhleaze. Hello? Your job is to TEACH. Try it.)
  • Ask me questions about her "condition" and "history" in such a way that makes it clear that you are hoping I'll tell you none of this is your fault, but something inherently wrong with my child that no teacher could possibly manage.
  • Point out--several times--that my child announced that I don't have a job and we don't have much money. Don't show any sensitivity whatsoever to my embarrassment therein or the fact that "I AM SCREAMING FOR ATTENTION" is the only more attention-grabbing thing she could've chosen to say.
  • Fumble to find something nice to say about my child. Come up with a feeble, "She reads all the time." Less than a minute later, tell me that she reads too much.
  • After we get off the phone and I call the ex and get my kid's side of the story, let me find out that in the midst of this battle of the wills my child cried and the other children taunted her and called her a crybaby and you did NOTHING to stop them.

Yeah, I know you're close to retirement. I know you probably picked first grade because it's generally easy. My child deserves an education as much as every other child in that room, and she deserves for you to KNOW HER NAME and treat her LIKE SHE MATTERS. She doesn't like you much and I don't blame her one bit. Get off your lazy rear, put away your cookie cutters, and do your job! Maybe if she stops getting the vibe that you find her exasperating, she'll behave for you.

By the way? Check her folder for the letter I just wrote you. I look forward to our meeting with the principal. I suggest you bring a lot of duct tape with you, so that you can later reattach your head. Or is that your ass? It's just so hard to tell.

Warning: Steep learning curves ahead

I like to consider myself a person of above-average intelligence. But every now and then I come face to face with the realization that I am full of crap. Woe is me.

Today I am expecting a couple of Very Important Phone Calls. So I dutifully puttered around all morning, sans shower, so that I would be available for these calls. Naturally, the watched phone never rings (except with a telemarketing call from Florida). Before I stepped into the shower around lunchtime, I placed the phone on the bathroom counter so that I wouldn't miss a call. But Murphy's Law clearly dictates that if I want the phone to ring, I have to be in the shower, shampoo in my eyes, with the nearest phone at least three rooms away. My carelessness cost me those calls. Was it worth it? Was it??

I shaved my legs again, today. (Wow! Twice in one month, not due to weather or sex! It's a record!) Which is to say, I sliced my legs open in multiple places. I've been shaving my legs for 22 years, people. TWENTY. TWO. YEARS. You'd think I'd have gotten the hang of it, by now. My legs haven't changed shape; I don't have Parkinson's Disease or some other sort of tremor-producing disorder. What's my excuse?

Now I'm looking around my computer desk. It is covered in a thick layer of dust, which I am writing about instead of eradicating. There are bills here in a stack that I am trying to will out of existence (it hasn't worked so far, but I'm no quitter), and also a couple sets of file folders that I bought for getting myself organized. The files are still empty. Rather than get organized, I'm going to sit here and be pissed at myself for buying them in the first place. Because that's productive.

There must be something else I should be doing, right now. I'll be sure to screw it up and report back.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Fringe benefits

I have a confession to make. I blog for the goodies.

Sure, it didn't start out that way. But since I started blogging? People have sent me all kinds of things, for no reason other than that I have been on their blogs at the right times or answered some silly question or entered a contest. I love to win things. And I love to get free stuff. And the LOVE, people! I'm feeeeeeeling the LOVE!

Nothing says love like free stuff. That's a fact.

I'm sorry... I'm just a little verklempt... hang on... I'm okay....

Just look at what I got in the mail today! For no reason!! I ask you: what is better than chocolate? Why, chocolate you're not expecting! From Harry and David! Just because! When Sheryl offered to send me something for being her bazillionth (I think) commenter, I figured it would be a "little something." I did not figure on a box of macadamia shortbread chocolate-covered hearts. Hearts! They are almost too beautiful to eat! But not quite, because it would be against the laws of nature for anything involving chocolate to be too gorgeous to eat. So eat I have, and they are delicious. And I love Sheryl and her generosity so very much, that you must all now go to her site and share the love, because I am not sharing these delicious treats with any of you because they are MINE.

Uh, I mean, if you were here, of course, I would willingly share, but, oh well, you're not, so, um, sorry about that. But I will think of you while I'm eating them. Honest.

And it was with great compassion and a touch of sadness that I answered the children's inquiry about my package with, "OH WELL, these have NUTS in them and that means they are POISONOUS and you can't have ANY. Darn!"

Because I'm sensitive, that way.

Woulda Coulda Shoulda: second-guessing my every move, and digging the freebies. Now with even more gluttony!

Flu shot with a side of guilt

As I'm sure you're aware, unless you live under a rock or something, there's a huge shortage of flu vaccine this year. I don't really understand the particulars, on account of I didn't pay any attention. What I heard was "vaccine shortage" and from there my neurotic Mama mind spun into overdrive. The details are unimportant. What is critical is this: if I have to live through another Year Of The Flu, I cannot be held responsible for my actions.

Three years ago, we all got the flu. But not at the same time! No! Because that would've been manageable. No, that would've been a picnic. Chickadee got sick first, then my ex, then Monkey, then me. There was slight overlap between each of us. The end result was a solid MONTH of flu in our house. And three of the four of us suffered secondary infections as complications; nothing that killed us, obviously, but it was pretty grim. And I'm sure you haven't noticed this from reading my blog because I am so loathe to talk about myself... hahahahahaaaaaaaAAAAA... where was I... oh yes... um, anyway, you may not have noticed that my immune system and I are not on such good terms. There are probably a few things I'd like to do this year even less than go without a flu shot, but right now I can't think of any.

So when I found myself, this morning, slanting my way into the doctor's office for my sinus malady that has set my world a-spinnin', I asked if they had any vaccine. Turns out that they'd just gotten some. And on account of my exalted status as both an asthmatic and general frequent flyer at their establishment, I qualified to receive a shot. Huzzah! Except, then the guilt came rushing at me from all sides. I explained to my doctor that our pediatrician hadn't been allotted any vaccine yet, and as Monkey is also asthmatic, and younger, he probably needed the shot more than me. Could they give my dose to him? Well, no, because he's not a patient there, and blah blah blah policy blah blah blah you need to stay healthy blah blah blah call the ped again next week. Oh. Um, okay. I guess.

To take my mind off of this moral conundrum, the doctor set about examining me for the true purpose of my visit, which was to spend some time shining a light up my nose and remarking that it was really quite amazing that I could breathe at all. I was treated to a description of my nasal passages that is too disgusting to reproduce here because it's just gross and not even funny. But! Do not despair! Because then the doctor started talking to me about nasal lavage, which--as luck would have it--my dear Jilbur and I were discussing, just yesterday. Except yesterday, it went like this:
Jill: You just boil some water and add some salt, and use a bulb syringe to shoot it up your nose, and tilt your head way back and it runs down your throat and out your mouth.
Me: That would make me puke.
Jill: No, really, it's great for your sinuses.
Me: No, really, I would vomit. I'm gagging just thinking about it.

And today, it had the added dimension of true medical wisdom and techspeak:
Doctor: So you can just boil some water and add some salt and use a bulb syringe to shoot it up your nose, and then you can either tilt your head to the side and let it come down the other nostril, or tilt your head back and it'll run down your throat and out your mouth.
Me: That would make me puke.
Doctor: Hmmm, well, I don't know if vomiting is a common side effect, but if that sounds too complicated to you, you can actually buy a special kit with a bottle and a tube *at this point she started gesturing with her hands* and the tube can be placed just so and then if you like, you can tilt forward so it runs out your nose instead of down your throat.
Me: A bottle with a tube?
Doctor: Yes, and a nozzle.
Me: A bottle with a tube and a nozzle?
Doctor: Yes.
Me: Do they actually market that as The Amazing Nasal Douche or do they call it something else?
Doctor: Erm...
Me: Brings a whole new meaning to that "not so fresh feeling," dunnit?
Doctor: *laughing* Well, don't try it with Massengil....

I elected to take my chances without the benefits of sinus douching. I may take longer to recover, but at least I'll still have my dignity.

And anyway, she gave me an entire bagful of goodies, steroid nasal spray (yay! more steroids! I'll be posting pictures of my beard, soon!) and all different kinds of delicious medicines designed to make the damn floor hold still. She swears I'll feel better by Friday.

On the way home, I called the pediatrician's office again to see if any progress was being made on getting vaccines for the kids. It seems that Monkey is on the "short list" but they're still waiting to get a shipment that may or may not be coming. They'll call me back in a few days with an update. I hung up and again felt that wave of guilt for having gotten my own shot. It's not rational; my getting a shot doesn't affect whether they do, one way or the other, but there you have it.

What in the world did I used to do for entertainment before I had kids and all these delightful health concerns?

UPDATE: Many thanks to Dawnie for providing this informative link. It has pictures!!