Monday, July 27, 2009

The source of my sore muscles, bad attitude, and pessimism

We’ve been toying with the idea of putting our house on the market for over a year now. Truth be told, it isn’t because we have specific alternate plans concerning our residency. The only definite we have is the feeling that this house likely isn’t in any potential plans. We met with our realtor in May to get an idea of just how pathetic the market currently is and when we could expect to see some improvement. We learned that while the market is currently at the highest level of suck, it is likely that next year it might be like suck on steroids, and the following year projections included forecasts of posting your house on Freecycle.

We did what any irrational couple unwilling to postpone moving for four years would do, we decided to put our house on the market. Such a simple statement. Such an ineffable undertaking considering the house was about 90% renovated and 10% organized at that point in time.

Heading into June, I told Craig that we’d likely have the house ready in a couple of weeks. That is sort of like me saying, “I’ll be ready in FIVE minutes”, which really means crack open a beer and turn on a re-run of Two and a Half Men and I’ll be down in 45 minutes. Incidentally, a couple of weeks meant seven; seven weeks of nonstop work. Spending seven weeks of summer subject to such torture should be illegal.

Those weeks enriched my brain in the following ways: Helpful hint #1: If it is still in the box from when you moved in 5 years ago, just throw it away because you obviously haven’t missed it or the other 15 boxes just like it. Helpful hint #2: Washing the outside of your windows is overrated. Learning how to use a combination of a pressure-washer and dish detergent = priceless. Helpful hint #3: It is a sign that you’ve neglected your fridge too long when you find a jar of pickles that expired in 2007. Helpful hint #4: It is amazing how much a playroom gets used when you take the treadmill, itinerant furniture, and boxes of clothing out of it. Helpful hint #5: Hiding mountains of paperwork in Tupperware bins and labeling them “office supplies” only sounds like a good idea until you have to move said bins.

On Friday we officially put our house on the market. A co-worker looked at our listing online and couldn’t stop exclaiming over how clean, organized, and show-room perfect our house looked in the pictures. I’m all, NO SHIT, that is because I got so delirious I donated, Craig’s Listed, or threw away most of what we owned.
Oh and whatever you do, don’t look in the closets until some time next week.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

That's what friends are for ...

Recently I was having a conversation with some relatives about horror stories of the automobile variety (what do you mean I have to change the oil? Why doesn’t it come with a warning sticker?) and I immediately thought of my dear friend Megan. Megan not only had a series of very unfortunate cars, but stories about those cars that were unrivaled by anyone else I know. As I was taking this mental journey down memory lane, one particular memory beckoned to me, begging to be shared with the blog world.

So, I did what any respectful friend afraid of retribution would do, I sent Megan a text and asked if she would mind if I wrote about her on my blog. Innocently enough, Megan wrote back that she would be “honored” to be written about on my blog. Perhaps I should have clarified that if it were a glowing tribute, or testament to her fantastic character, I likely wouldn’t have asked for permission. Whoopsy daisy.

I digress. But the memory is just too good to keep to myself.

Some time in early high school, Megan and I were having a deep, philosophical discussion about things that surely were important at the time. As the conversation evolved, I took the opportunity to lament upon my irritation with the gas gauge in my car and how inaccurate the “1/2 full” marker really seemed to be.

“I swear, from empty to half lasts forever, but once it hits halfway, that second half seems to go twice as quick.”

Megan eagerly agreed with my proclamation and said, “I think you must have a hole in the bottom half of your gas tank.”

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Am I on candid camera?

Kate’s been protesting naps like she has been hired by some toddler lobbyist to be their spokesperson. This is not boding well for me, as I happen to enjoy the quiet and productive moments that are only afforded to me during nap time. I also think she’s been secretly viewing the DVD series on how to argue with anything that her mother says, the advanced version. If I told Kate that Dora the Explorer was hiding out in our basement with Boots and they had smuggled in a case of elicit Fruit Roll Ups, Ice Cream, and Tootsie Pops and I would like nothing more than for her to go down there and play for hours past her bedtime, she would contemptuously glare at me and say, “I am NEVER going to want to do that.”

So this unique combination of events has made coercion at nap time near impossible. As such, I’ve resorted to tactics that my pre-child self most assuredly would have protested against ever using on her child. It was so much easier to be a smart and judgemental parent when I didn’t have children. I digress; but yes, I moved on to threats and bribes about things she would forgo if she didn’t nap. I think that worked for a day. Immediately Kate would start to respond with comments like, “I don’t want to go to the park anyway.” It hasn’t been working so well since she caught on to my approach, so I stopped with the ultimatums. While I haven't figured out a new approach, that hasn't kept her from working to stay one step ahead.

“Kate, you need to nap.”
“I don’t want to nap.”
“I’m sorry, but you need to take a nap.”
“No, I’m NEVER going to take a nap. And I don’t want to do ANYTHING either. I just want to stay at home forever and NEVER leave.”
“Umm, okay.”
“And I’m going to stay home and I’m just going to do not-fun things!”
“Oh, really? What are you going to do?”
“I don’t know. Run into walls or something.”

Dude, I’m absolutely stupefied… and horrified … and a little dizzy considering how unqualified I am for this job.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dear Self (Circa 1995)

It is obvious that the frienemies you currently have aren’t really friends at all. Perhaps you are the one they choose to hang around with so they can feel better about themselves. Because, let’s be honest, friends don’t let friends wear dresses resembling hotel curtains adorned with decoration from a tacky 1980’s wedding cake. Friends also don't let you agree to get your hair done by Joanne, a woman in her mid-sixties, in the “Beauty Shop” residing in the basement of her home. Perhaps that is why your hair looks like something a 60 year old woman would have done to her own hair. In her basement. With no lights on. Nary a mirror in sight.

While you aren’t aware of it, you should better appreciate your ability to eat a plethora of junk, avoid any type of physical activity, and maintain a svelte 100 pounds. Although you can’t appreciate it now since you are too entrenched in typical high-school angst, it will be the only time in your life you are afforded such luxury. Yes, you scoff now, but I can assure you that no matter how much you exercise, or how Karen Carpenter your diet, your arms will never again be that skinny. Isn’t that great news?

I know it is annoying, but we also need to talk about the tan. You know how your mother (who knows nothing) tells you daily that you do not need to tan at the electric beach and that doing so is detrimental to your health? Like any other invincible teenager, I know you roll your eyes and emphatically protest about how she can’t POSSIBLY UNDERSTAND just how important that it is. In fact, you might just fall over and die if you aren’t able to achieve such a hideous fake golden tan. However, many years later, you will realize that the maybe she was on to something. The scars left from multiple surgical removals of precancerous cells are so much sexier.

I know that the age gap in siblings isn’t unusual to you, considering that you are 14 years older than your younger brother. However, besides the Duggar’s, the other 99.9% of the world doesn’t automatically assume “siblings” when they see you with your infant brother. So, when you decide to proudly display your photograph with said brother, you look remarkably like a high-schooler who gave birth her sophomore year.

Have fun at the dance.

Self (Circa 2009)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Too good for the whole imaginary play thing

On Friday, poor Miss Kate (and don't forget POOR MOTHER ... it is always bad for the MOTHER) spent many miserable hours having a test performed at the hospital. It is one of those things that I’m not really ready to talk about. You know, ignore it and it either isn’t happening, or will likely go away, right? In all honesty, we are hoping that it is just more of a precautionary measure to assure us that nothing significant is wrong and we can continue looking at the issues of the more insignificant variety. The test itself wasn’t really the issue, it was just an MRI. The issue was the IV they had to inject … which was the prelude to the sedative … as the preface to the test. If you aren't aware, MRI's require you to lie completely still for the duration of the test. Keeping Kate still to complete an MRI is incomprehensible. Just envision the Road Runner on speed. Sedation blog to follow. It deserves its own. Enough said.

Restraining a three-year old who is screaming for her mom so hard that her eyes are starting to get bloodshot is about as fun as a colonoscopy. After they finished inserting the IV and taped her arm to the splint to secure the IV, she gave me the look that told me I was most assuredly not to be trusted EVER AGAIN. The nurses on the floor were surprised by Kate’s will. Once she calmed down, they were extra careful to stay on her good side, recognizing that would make all of our lives easier from that point forward. I also suspect that earth shattering shrieks from the Peds floor doesn’t do much to calm the other pint-sized patients who are being falsely assured by their well intending parents.

Kate could hold a record for the most adaptable kid, should such a contest ever exist. However, once you stick an IV in her arm and keep her in a hospital bed for hours, her cooperation plummets faster than the NYSE on Enron notice. As the nurse approached Kate’s bed to wheel her down to the elevator, she sensed Kate’s apprehension and suspicion immediately. She was skilled in making the bed-ride an adventure, but once we arrived at our destination and parked, the Kate-Freak-Out-Meter was rapidly climbing.

In a distraction maneuver, she grabbed Kate’s doll.

NURSE: “What’s her name?”

KATE: “Baby Kate.”

NURSE: “Awww. Baby Kate. Just like you. Your name is Kate.”

Blank stare

NURSE: “Oh look. Baby Kate has blond hair. She has blond hair like you!”


NURSE: “Such pretty strawberry blonde hair your baby Kate has.”

Incredulous look

NURSE: “Baby Kate, you’ve got such pretty, pretty blonde hair. It’s princess hair, just like Kate has!”

Incredulous look

KATE: “No, it’s just plastic hair.”

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Blue Moon ... you saw me standing alone ...

I have fallen in love. Yes, I’ve fallen in love with the TLC Chewy Dark Chocolate Granola Bar. For those of you wondering if I have officially lost it, the answer is a resounding yes. Perhaps it is because I’ve spent countless dollars in search of a healthy, on-the-go breakfast bar, only to find myself sorely disappointed over and over and over again while I pondered the unfairness of such while chewing aimlessly on a cardboard food imposter. But these? Love, it is true love, I swear. Plus, an excuse to have chocolate for breakfast? What isn’t to love? Kate and I went to Target yesterday and were on sale for $2.50 per box. I did what any irrational person who eats the same thing for breakfast everyday would do … I bought every box on the shelf. The cashier eyed my cart of granola bars, toilet paper, stickers, granola bars, and granola bars. His eyes said WOMAN, don’t you realize you negate the healthy aspect when you consume 400 of them?

This is not an advertisement for Kashi, Kashi doesn’t even know who I am. Although, I argue that they should, since I singlehandedly keep their cereal, cracker, and granola bar business solvent. Kashi, do you hear me? My only beef about these is that they aren’t organic. Considering I was raised on Wonder Bread and Spaghetti-O’s and still turned out semi-normal (emphasis on the semi), I think I can live with non-organic.

This brings me to my second love:

I’m not even typically a beer drinker, but something about the warm weather and warm red wine makes me want to gag a little. Okay, just on really warm days, the other 350 days of the year, red wine it is. But this beer? I’m in love all over again. I have imaginarily made it calorie-free and organic, so indulge as you wish.

I think there is something seriously concerning about my two favorite obsessions. It is sort of like going to McDonalds and ordering three Big Mac’s and a Diet Coke.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Name that photo

Happy Indepedence Day! Or, I guess if you are a blog reader from outside of the United States, err, Happy Saturday!

My plans were to catch a cute picture of Kate at the parade today, but that was about as successful as most of my plans end up being. You know, planning to catch up on the 3 million emails in my inbox; planning to clean the basement; planning to stop being sarcastic ...

As I looked at the uploaded photos from the festivities today, I found this one that I had to share. Kate's expression is fantastic and totally sums up her personality. It just cracks me up, she's got a neverending supply of facial expressions.

I couldn't come up with an appropriate caption, so I thought I would leave that up to you.

Happy 4th!