Thursday, August 31, 2006

Interior Designer?

Hubby is doing some work for an interior designer, who has offered, in exchange, to give us some advice on the house.

Hubby is concerned that I might feel like my femininity is being usurped by this lady.

What he doesn't realize is that my great desire is to set fire to 95% of our household goods, and start over with...heck if I know, but something that seems to go together, instead of Early Do You Want This?

Ah, to be a millionaire...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


I spent the morning at the hospital getting blood tests. In about 10 days I get my results. Hopefully, I will come home from that appointment with either a definitive diagnosis and drugs which will fix everything, or: antidepressants, appetite suppressants, sleeping pills, and beer goggles for Hubby.

Holy crap on a cracker, update

I spoke to the mother of That Wandering Boy and according to her, he didn't walk home, his dad came to get him. Which is a major relief. But she also is under the impression that he told the kids, before he left. Which I know is not the case. Ugh.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

"Subtle" doesn't work, instance # 78364

"Can we come down on Tuesday?"

"Well, Mom, actually, Tuesday is our first day of school, and Monday we're having new windows put in, so all our furniture is pushed to the center of the floor, so we're pretty busy."

"Yes, well, what time Tuesday would be good?"

"Well, actually, we're starting school Tuesday, so we're pretty busy."

"Well, you take a lunch break, don't you?"

"Yes, but, you know, we're really busy this week."

"We'll be there around lunch time. We'll bring lunch."

Long story short, it's a good thing I only planned a short day of school, because my parents and my sister were here from noon to 4.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Latest sign of the Latino population explosion

Son #4 wanted a dragon tattoo, but instead the machines were all filled with the Virgen de Guadalupe. Son #4 was quite disgusted, but Son #1 sees this as a feature, not a bug.

Hit the gym before 6am I arrived home at 7:30, ready for the day and with Full Civilized Face on. Today is also installation day for our new windows, which shall be the shizzle, dawg. I am PUMPED.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Holy crap on a cracker

This morning, we awoke after the sleepover and were congratulating ourselves. The partygoers seemed to enjoy themselves and get along, they quieted down as soon as I asked them to, and no one brought food or drinks into the freshly carpeted basement. It was awesome! We finally figured out how to host a successful sleepover!

Then, the boys started waking up, and we found out that one was missing.

Apparently, he felt sick in the night and, without telling us or any of the other children, he walked home. About a mile and a half. Around 2am.

Within a few minutes, the boys noticed his absence, so they looked for him. When they couldn't find him, his brother called home, and found that he'd made it. Older brother's main concern? He was afraid I'd be mad at him for using my desk phone to call home. There is something seriously bizarre about these kids.

This morning, his father came to pick up the remaining son. He was uncharacteristically quiet. Which, I suppose, is an indication that he is ticked at US because his son snuck out of our house while we slept.

YES, Hubby and I feel responsible. And YES, we are extremely grateful that That Boy made it home safe, and we didn't have to talk to the sheriff this morning. But, who would have thought that you had to tell a 12 year old that when he comes for a sleepover, he is required to SLEEP OVER until either his parents come for him or he asks one of us for a ride home? Holy crap on a cracker. Holy heaping crap.

Sleepover, schmeepover

Son #2 turns 13 tomorrow. He, his brothers, and every other boy between the ages of 10 and 15 within a fifty mile radius are in our basement, as we speak. I could handle the airsoft gun battle in the yard, even though I'm sure our neighbors were convinced it was the apocalypse.

But few things stink like waking up at 1 AM, to the thudding of a radio directly beneath your bed, with the bone-deep knowledge that you're absolutely, positively, not going to be able to get back to sleep for the next 4 hours.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Clearly, I was meant to live in a hovel

because deciding how to fix this place up is stressing me out.

I mean, I can't wait for the new windows. And I am loving our clean, dog-pee-free carpeting. And I am really looking forward to the newoven/new fridge/new kitchen counter and floor/new bathroom floor/repaired shower/new basement ceiling/non-rotting columns out front/decent lighting throughout the house. REALLY looking forward to it, all of it.

But when I start to look into picking, say, new kitchen countertop materials, I feel bewildered by the options and completely unable to choose.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Brother-in-Law is here

And has managed, in less than 24 hours, to talk (loudly) about oral sex, Jennifer Love Hewitt's breast implants, every bowel condition known to medical science, the fact that abortion is perfectly acceptable and embryonic stem cell research is morally ideal (and Bush is singlehandedly preventing all scientific progress) because "it's just a cell! You can't SEE it, it can't say 'ow!' or anything," etc.

It amazes me that a man can live 56 years and STILL not realize that some topics are not suitable for conversation with children...and that some topics are best left to parents to communicate with those children. But I can't change him, and am not going to try. Instead, I pull aside Son #3 and remind him to avoid discussions of religion and politics...especially with Uncle. Fortunately, #3 is too busy preparing his next statement, to pay attention to the more vile things Uncle has to say. And I must admit I am proud of him for standing up for his beliefs, and just as proud of the other three for muttering "we're all entitled to our own opinions..." in the back seat of the car.

He also mentioned that MIL told him that our boys "can't write". Thankfully, when I explained that that means they have atrocious penmanship, he laughed it off-as he and his brother and plenty of other successful people also have horrible handwriting.

Am I a little miffed that she has presented my family as illiterate oafs to Miss Ullman and anyone else who happened to attend that particular dinner? Yup. But, hey, school starts Monday.

All in all, he summed up our home as "a great place for kids to grow up, if only you weren't Republican". I think I can live with that.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Mother-in-law's birthday

The party was a lot of fun, and we met Tracey Ullman, who knows MIL from the spa. I resisted the urge to bow down and worship Miss Ullman...yay me.

Also there was an old friend of MIL, who assured us that with her connections in the university admissions community, she could get all of our boys into top colleges, on full scholarships. Hubby was thrilled to bits, until he remembered that this is the friend that MIL describes as "a compulsive liar".

MIL kept pestering Brother-in-Law #1 to marry his girlfriend (blonde, tiny, wealthy, horrible children). He did not seem the least bit inclined to do so, and in fact the girlfriend seemed very uncomfortable and worried she'd bear the brunt of MIL's tactlessness.

But it does remind me, that when Hubby told her he wanted to get married, she said:

"I've seen 'em come, and I've seen 'em go. Keep looking."

She who laughs after 18 years of marriage, laughs best.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

It's a doggy miracle

Since the new rugs arrived, Otis has not messed the carpet. We've blocked the stairs, so he can't even think about ruining the den, at this point. And we're working on teaching him to keep his food in the kitchen.

It is great! The house is no longer disgusting. Let's hope it sticks.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

What do you buy for your mother-in-law's birthday?

Wealthy. Tiny, crammed apartment. Picky. Inscrutable. Bold. Opinionated. Eighty. What, exactly, do you buy for your mother-in-law's birthday? She has everything she wants, and has specifically asked not to be given gifts. So we sent her flowers, figuring they'd be lovely but temporal. Now, hubby wants to bring something for her to open at her party...a good urge, but we are both at a loss.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Saw the doctor today...

after a 3 month's wait. And I need to go off all medications for 2 weeks and get blood tests to see if it's my ovaries, my adrenal glands, or my thyroid that's been giving me the holy fits, these days. Or maybe it's a combination of several. Or maybe all of them are totally screwed. Regardless, and as per usual, I am one of those famed, pathetic, nearly legendary people with an Actual, Honest-to-God Glandular Problem.

So, step off, already. I know I look like hell.

Baby Brother Syndrome

Hubby's big brother is visiting this week. We mentioned to Son #4 that Hubby was also the "baby" of the family, and that even at 42 he still gets treated like a kid, much of the time. I told Son #4 that when he's an adult, if I treat him like a kid, he should let me know so I can try to remember he's an adult.

"Ok, Mom, can we start NOW?"

I think he was joking, mostly.

Do What I Say Party

At least when Republicans get caught ignoring their own morals, it's over something truly tempting, like illicit sex or massive amounts of cash. But a car? Obama, please.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Total Transformation begins...

The new carpet is down in the den. Two of our three hideous couches left the building last night. The living room rug has been replaced with one that DOESN'T reek of dog pee. And the window replacement guys are coming in a week or so.

I'm posting all sorts of unwanted crap on eBay and Freecycle, letting my office space encroach ever so stealthily onto living room territory, and fantasizing about our emptier, fresher house as I watch it take shape.

When people come to pick up our freecycle goodies, they are invariably greeted by a smiling child, whose first words are "Hi! We're refinancing!"

The boys are keeping an eye on the dog, too, with the understanding that at the first sign of indoor urination, he is to be killed, wrapped in the wet rug, and thrown onto the lawn. Am I kidding? Sorta. Maybe. We think.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

I'm with the drummer

Hubby got a last minute call to substitute for another drummer last night, and I left the Sons home so I could go watch him play for about 90 minutes. He really is great and needs a regular band. Plus, I scored this awesome picture of him, which is now my desktop. Woooooooooo!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Garage Phone Update

OK, the plot...thins?

We found the missing garage stuff. But we still have no idea where the mystery phone came from. And since we have no crime to report, the police won't help us trace it. Darn, I was getting excited...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Holy Crap

And, yeah, on the "much less important" front, it's too bad for Joe Lieberman that they didn't announce this last week.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Monday, August 07, 2006

Garage phone

Yesterday, as we prepared to make the big trip to The City, we realized that some stuff was missing from the garage...funny thing was, something had been put IN the garage, too...a mysterious mobile phone.

We are going to make ABSOLUTELY SURE that the stuff we can't find was actually stolen, and then the police will trace the phone for us.

This is gonna be fun.

Happy Anniversary Pop Quiz

Last night, Hubby and I celebrated 18 glorious years of marital bliss. Yay us!

By coincidence, last night we also had to drop Son #3 off at my mother in law's apartment in The City for a week of camp. So, we splurged on a fantabulous dinner at one of the best steakhouses imaginable. It was awesome.

It was also amusing, that the Sons' grandmother demanded a handwriting sample from each boy upon arrival, and also hauled out a couple of rocks she picked up in Hawaii for a "do you know what kind of rock this is?" quiz (yes, of course, they know all about volcanic rock).

It's a shame she can't appreciate the fact that YES, they are learning, and that penmanship, though worthwhile, is not the only thing to ask of a child. Also a shame that she missed Son #4's comments, upon driving past the Museum of the American Indian: "That's a strange building, but not as weird as Frank Gehry's architecture."

I hope Son #3 makes it out of Grandma's apartment alive, that's all. Spy Camp better be worth it!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Hornets' nest

I COULD link to the Reuters photos that were doctored to make things look more hell-in-a-handbaskety. I could. Especially since it sounds like they were taken by the same guy who staged the Cana photos.

But instead, I'll tell you that over the past 6 days, the Sons have killed 101 hornets IN OUR BASEMENT. They seem to be flying in next to the exhaust on our dryer. Hubby has sprayed back there, but it's still Hornet City, between the paneling and the outer wall.

The Sons are killing hornets one at a time, all in the basement, and so far we haven't had any get farther than the den. Also, no stings, as of yet. Hopefully, the big spraying festival will, at some point, kill off the nest, but in the meantime the Sons are happy to kill the hornets as they see them.

Kind of like the Middle East, you might say. I can only imagine the photos the little hornet newspapers are running, these days...

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The best argument yet

...that we're in the early days of WWII Redux. I see what's going on in the news and am amazed that no one seems to understand it, until tonight...VDH understands, and sums up well.

Needless to say, it scares the crap out of me. The Sons, and all.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Pro-choice = Anti-woman

I believe we are all equal, all of us, as people. That should make me kind of a feminist, right? But the abortion issue has always been the major stumbling block for me. I just can't sign on to a philosophy that says it's ok to kill people because they are helpless and inconvenient.

People laugh at "feminists for life", but to me, any other attitude towards abortion is not just unspeakably cruel to the children involved--but a backhanded way to infantalize women.

The first thing you realize, as an adult, is that the shit you do today has consequences. If you forget to pay your mortgage, if you don't brush your teeth, if you stay home from work to play nintendo, whatever, it's going to bring down some negatives on you. As an adult, that means that nobody's responsible to bail you out of your own mistakes; you live with them, or you figure out how to not make them again, or they screw up your life, but it's all yours to handle.

It's a scary proposition, maybe, but it's also exciting. Being a grown-up is great--just ask a kid.

Kids know, instinctively, that adults get all the respect. They get the good stuff that comes with being an adult. They don't realize, until they're adults themselves, that a lot of that stuff is just work, responsibility, and no summers off.

That's my point, though. As a kid, you can make some real boner decisions, and still squeak by. Mom and Dad can cover for you, pay your fine, bail you out, send you to another school, whatever. As an adult, when you screw up, there's nobody to fix it but you. Not really.

By the time you're interested in sex, you know it's more than fun. SHOW me a sexually active teen who hasn't yet heard that that's where babies come from. I dare ya. If you're having sex, you have no room to pretend that you didn't know pregnancy was a possibility.

And if you get pregnant, if you get somebody pregnant, that is not the time to decide that you're really not ready for all this adult stuff, and you want to back out and be a kid again. You can't call do-overs on the big stuff; you really can't.

If you want respect, if you want to be an adult, you have to take stock, think hard, and move forward. Easy access to abortion says for women, "in this area of life, we are not able or willing to handle the consequences of our actions. If our actions create negative consequences, we are not required to handle them." Why would any adult sign up for that?

We as women are capable people. We can handle life. We can handle reality. We can handle the consequences of our actions, even if they are catastrophically hard and lasting. We don't need to cede our maturity when the going gets tough.

Oh, and just get me started on how "choice" for women seems, so much of the time, to really mean "bullying", by her boyfriend, her parents, her inlaws, even her boss. But, hey, let me get back to silly crap for a while, before all my friends stop reading my blog...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Cana photos

I've been looking for something articulate about the business in the Middle East, and I think I've found it here.

Swim Team Pot Luck Banquet: a haiku

Long night, hard benches
Clap until meaning is lost
And eat much mayo

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Men Make No Sense

No sense at all, I swear.

This week, Hubby hired a maid to clean our basement. He cooked dinner, twice. He took the Sons to the pool, twice. He took me out for lunch at our favorite restaurant, just the two of us. He can't stop complimenting my hair, even. He's been batting a thousand, consistently, on all fronts, for days.

And until I spelled this all out for him, he had NO IDEA that any of this would make me happy. He had NO IDEA that I would be delirious with joy to have, for example, most of Sunday to myself in a silent house in which I need not cook, clean, or ride herd, so I could meet my Monday deadlines for work.

I don't understand this, one bit. I mean, I have spent the past few days feeling like I have a wife, ok? Free to think! Free to work! Accomplishing stuff! Earning money and praise in the Outside World! And he...doesn't immediately see how fabulous that is? I don't get it.