Saturday, February 28, 2009


Yes, the weather is starting to be less horrible so yesterday and today I have been raking. Our flower beds are so full of leaves as to ensure this is a project I can keep up on for months on end.

I have enlisted the Sons as tarp haulers, so I can focus my energies on raking alone. That, and picking up the odd bits of trash I keep finding under the leaves:

2 practice golf balls
2 toy handguns
2 spent shot gun shell casings
2 children's rubber balls
innumerable airsoft pellets (they are green, so they stay on the ground)
several plastic wrappers
several unidentifiable bits of plastic and metal
a small section of indoor-outdoor carpet
a tool for planting bulbs
a pair of children's toothbrushes, lashed together with dental floss and tape

Ellie, one of our cats, finds the whole process interesting. She has been checking on me as the day progresses, making sure someone sits on each newly exposed patch of dirt.

Son #1 is practicing with his band, out in the garage, so I have musical accompaniment. And I have uncovered some tulips-on-the-way. I love tulips.

It's pretty sweet, all in all.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Like a 9 year old in a theme park gift shop

You've seen the kid---he wants it all, and the prices don't mean anything to him because he's not spending his money, he's just asking Mom for what he assumes she will happily shell out.

"Mom? Can I have a stuffed animal, too? Can I have this pretend license plate with my name on it? Can I have the giant novelty pencil? Can I have a hat? Can I get some rock candy? Can I have this action figure? It's only 19.95. Why not? What do you mean you've already spent enough money today?"

I used to say Bush spent our money like a drunken Democrat. I stand by that assessment. But Obama seems for all the world like a 9-year-old in a theme park gift shop.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

From Son #1's World History Class, Today

One of the students turned to Son #1, and said, "Screw you Republicans, because the day Bush leaves office and Obama takes over, you white people are going to be in trouble."

Son #1 said, "I've got news for you; Obama's been president for a month."

The other guy, and his friends, disagreed. Finally, Son #1 enlisted the aid of his teacher.

"Mr George? Who is the President?"

The thing is, our school system had off for the Inauguration. How these kids--16- and 17-year-old kids--had no idea, well...Let's just call me stumped.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Never buy a house from a fall guy's widow

Hubby and I moved to the Happy Boondocks 14 years ago. We'd been living in his mom's vacant house outside of DC while he commuted here, which meant that he left the house before the sun rose, arrived home after the sun set, and often opted to rent a hotel room if he had to work late mid-week. It stank, and he never got to see Sons #1 and 2, but we'd just gotten back from living overseas.

Plus, this was his mom's vacant house. All the relatives had a key. People just walked in, without so much as a knock.

And we weren't too keen on raising the kids right outside the city, in a house next to a pit bull who often roamed the neighborhood. All in all, it was time to move.

We spent a weekend looking at houses. Too expensive, too small, too shabby, too close to those weird people, and then we found it: the house.

You know that feeling you get when something is just right for you? We both got it.

Even better, the house had been on the market for 8 months; the seller knocked a little off the price, just to get away. Her husband had died, suddenly, and she had been trying to sell the house ever since.

We loved the house and have been very happy here, but not too long after we moved in we started to hear the stories. The plumber, the neighbors, the electrician, the guy who fixed our hot tub, everyone who came by shared the same sorts of anecdotes. The preponderance of matching stories made it sounds less and less far-fetched.

Our house was, apparently, a gift from the mob.

The man who owned it before us took the fall in a small-town banking scandal, spent 6 years in jail for a crime he did not commit--but someone influential in the Boondocks had done. When he got out of jail, the house was his.

Not just the house---for years after that, things were repaired and renovated on someone else's dime. New roof. New kitchen counters. Deck. Landscaping. Flooring. Aforementioned hot tub. And when workers would come by, or when he lost at the regular poker games held in what would eventually become Son #1's bedroom, the man would reach into a cranny here, a hidden spot there, pull out a fat roll of cash, and pay.

It made him kind of a suspicious man. You don't keep (probably wholly illegitimate) cash and jewels scattered throughout your house without worrying that someone might notice, and want a slice. Or maybe that the guys who gave it all to you might decide to take it back. He invested in an alarm system.

I know what you're asking: did we find any money? No. And not for lack of looking. But, remember, his wife had nearly a year after his death to look for the money. I'm sure she found it all.

And good thing, too, because the second he died, the gravy train stopped running past our house. All those landscapers and repairmen suddenly forgot about him, and his widow. That's why she sold the house--I guess it was too much of an investment for her, and maybe full of bad memories, and her kids were grown. She just wanted to live in her Winnebago and fish.

We, of course, were a young couple expecting Son #3. We had no fat rolls of cash, no heaps of jewels. We didn't need an alarm system.

We also could not officially disconnect it, because the Winnebago-living widow had neglected to hand off the code. It's still there.

Over the years, as we have had stuff done to the house, we have noticed a common thread among the renovations and repairs done under mob rule. They look good, but the workmanship kinda sucked. It's like living in Carmela Soprano's spec house. So things don't last as long as maybe they should have, and repairmen always look at us and shake their heads, until they realize that we didn't pay for all that stuff--it was the last guy.

The other thing? Whenever the power goes off here, or we have a big energy spike, that security alarm trips. It beeps for hours. The alarm company can't stop it because we don't have the code. All that seems to work is to keep going back to the keypad and mashing the buttons every few minutes until it gets over its fit of pique.

That's what I've been doing, this afternoon.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I would like to torch today, and start fresh

Last night:
Our cat got stoned and peed all over my bed.

Our son told me he'd been dealing with a guy at school who wants to "make me his bitch" -- and that the teacher who supervises them is this guy's weed-smoking buddy, so he is on his own on that.

I fell asleep before Hubby got home.

Then this morning, I woke up to my more-trashed-than-usual house, and a Son who is so stressed about school that he is sleepless and ill, and could not find the uniform shirt he needs to wear each Wednesday.

I called the principal of the school, and after being on hold for quite some time got a vice principal instead, who says the Son should not have complained to the teacher, but rather directly to him...and that he will talk to both The Bitchmaker and Professor Weed, thereby ensuring Son #1 will return to school tomorrow to two angry potheads.

And then I went to take photos of twins. Only I left my big CF card on my desk. And the CF card I had only had room for one photo on it. And when I went to take that one picture, the girl bit her brother.

I am tired. My head is foggy. Things are going to crap in an undramatic, drizzling way. I think I am going to just pick one thing and make it work, and build from there.

Friday, February 06, 2009

2 down, 2 to go

My kids all know I have a blog, and that sometimes they do something that gets mentioned on here. Recently Son #4 specifically asked me to leave something off the blog---and so I did. But I never told the Sons my url, because I didn't want them telling the extended family where to look to discover Mom's Secret Personality.

Actually, it is not really a secret. But, you know how it is. I am a bit more honest on the blog than I am with my inlaws, maybe. Anyway, I figured they'd find me if they wanted to. It's not like the Bat-Cave, over here.

Yesterday, Son #2 and Son #3 both told me they have been reading my blog for some time. They think I am hilarious. Which is great. I would much rather they like it, than be mortified.

I told them, "Now that you've found me, you should start commenting!"

They may, they say.

So, Welcome to the Blog, Boys! I love you both and am honored you came looking for me.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Genius Product of the Day: Porno Carpeting

The Sons just don't get it. For the life of them, they are incapable of putting laundry in the hamper or trash in the garbage can.

I've tried telling them. I've done the "don't put it away for them, call them into the room and make them do it" thing. I've put wastebaskets in every room. All to no avail. As a friend put it yesterday, they just do not see the baskets and bins I've stationed throughout the house.

And that's when it hit me: They see naked people.

I want Playboy-quality photographs of hot young women on the floors of my house, in both carpet and tile. Not only will my sons constantly be looking down, they'll be loathe to let anything cover the view. The graphic depictions of male sex organs painted on the inside of my hampers and garbage cans will be perfect inspiration for them, too.

Yes, my female friends and I will find the decor a bit unsettling, at first, but I figure it will not only greatly increase the frequency and length of visits from males of all ages, it will serve as diet and exercise inspiration to us all.

And Hubby's friends will constantly remind him that he has the coolest wife ever.

I can't lose.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Say "Great Satan" again.

Yeah, all that to say I agree with Iran, this time around. Telling Ahmadinejad that we want to talk to them doesn't make them want to talk to us. It makes them see we are choosing passivity and weakness, and convinces the crazy, violent portion of that part of the world that they can do whatever they want because we won't even try to slow them down.

Hopefully, at some point, we will wise up and demand Iran takes us seriously.