Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Yeah, that one just might stick

Son #1 has a nickname. The other three don't, really. Today, though, I think that may have changed.

Son #4, at 13, still loves long soaks in the tub. Really long. He often will bring a big bowl of ravioli in there with him, and basically make an evening of it. TMI, I know, but it's part of the story, so bear with me.

We're on Christmas break, which in our house means we are living in a chaotic, timeless sea. Bedtime is a distant memory. They wake when they wake, sleep when they sleep. And last night, that meant that Son #4 was, presumably, unable to sleep in the middle of the night, and decided to take a bath.

5:30 this morning, Son #1 needs the bathroom but can't get in there, because Son #4 is asleep, in the tub. He bangs on the door, no luck. Son #4 is actually snoring.

He kept knocking and shouting, to no avail. And the majority of the family is taking this in stride. Son #4 has a reputation. We've seen it.

But Hubby is usually not home for this, so to him it is new, and terrifying. He started thinking Son #4 was drowning, in the tub.

Though a sleeping bather no longer will rouse me at 5:30 am, a panicking husband generally will, so I threw on my bathrobe and knocked on the door. That special Mom knock which is, apparently, a lot more rousing than one from your oldest brother. Son #4 stirred, spoke, reassured his father that he was still breathing. And that's when it happened: Son #1 called through the door,


He's been Aquaman all day. It's taking all my strength not to join in, myself. Yeah, I think we have a winner.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Odd thoughts

I went looking for razor blades today, for one of those scraper-dealies. You know, snap an old-fashioned razor blade into the plastic handle. Useful.

The KMart only had safety blades, though: the kind that come in a plastic frame. I looked in the shaving department, I looked in housewares, I looked in auto gear, all over.

I came reeeeally close to just flagging down some staff member and asking for "Razor blades. You know, the kind you slit your wrists with."

I decided that was only hilarious if I asked the right person. Ask the wrong person, and I'd be stuck sitting in KMart until the ambulance arrived to have me committed.

I left for the Food Lion, instead, where I found my razor blades and this fabulous cake wreck: Soul-Searching Santa. I guess he saw some stuff that he's not going to forget right away.

Janet Napolitano, Woman of Faith

Now I get it. Her "system" for preventing terror attacks is to assume that people who say they are part of al Qaeda are not, and that people whose own parents report them to MI6 are not worth keeping on a no-fly list, and then, basically, to hope for the best. Ms. Napolitano got her Christmas Miracle, I guess, and we can all thank God for that.

But the next Nigerian to email me is gonna get a piece of my mind.

UPDATE: Apparently Napolitano has decided that maybe it didn't work all that well after all.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

What a Christmas!

We have seen all the relatives, opened the presents, eaten ourselves into a satiny stupor and generally enjoyed the living crud out of Christmas.

I think the green sportscoat won the Horrific Gift of 2009 award. Last night, one of the Sons cocked his head and said, "Remember that weird little guy who always showed up to watch tae kwon do class, even though he had no kids in tae kwon do? The one we thought was maybe there just because he liked to watch young boys exercising? That looks just like the kind of thing he would wear." And he was right. Definitely has that "could be a pedophile" vibe to it.

NO idea what we're going to do with it. Can't imagine anyone would want it, except maybe for that guy who looks like a pedophile, but I think it is too large for him anyway.

(To be fair, guy was NOT a pedophile. Just a hard-core tkd fan, for reasons of his own. And a sweet person, if you took the time to talk to him.)

I have quite the stack of stuff I need to return or exchange, but that should be no big deal, especially since I am putting that whole jaunt off for a few days in favor of housecleaning (I basically have a new carpet made of candy wrappers, scotch tape and popcorn) and job applications.

Every few months I see a job which really stands out. Sure, I'm applying for a lot of other things which "may pan out, might be interesting, could be a good career move," but then there are the ones that just seem to sparkle. Found one of those today, in my inbox, and am feeling pretty good just about having applied for it. We'll see.

In the meantime, I need to go load more music onto my shiny new iPod Nano. I may be the last person on the planet to own one, and I do not care. It is hot.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

May the Worst Present WIN!

First, let me just announce to those of you who do not know me personally that I am not really all that materialistic. If Christmas included no presents it would still be Christmasy enough, to me. And I am quick to remind the Sons to thank the person for the thought, no matter what the gift is. Being rememebered by your extended family is sweet, even if that means they sometimes give you gifts you can't really see yourself using.

But. It is only Christmas Eve, and competition for Worst Christmas Present of the Year is already particularly fierce.

Top contenders so far:
Kelly green microfibre sports coat, given to one of the Sons.

Gift with the giver's company logo on them (we always get a few, they never win, but they have to make the finals, don't you think?)

An Executive Desk Puzzle-type thing, given to another one of the Sons. Uhh...they're teenagers. Are you trying to prepare them for the endless disappointment which is Father's Day?

Nothing else really stands out, at this point, but voting is welcome. Just keep in mind, past winners included:

Stuffed Teletubbies for each Son (they were 12, 10, 9 and 8 at the time)
Etiquette for Dummies (Yeah, insult my boy TWICE, why don'tcha!")

And the all-time most spectacular win ever. God, it is something. I wish I could post a photo of it, but photos do not do it justice (and the giver might see it online)...a lucite cube containing a holographic image of my mother-in-law. Given to Hubby and each of his brothers, by her, a few years ago. Just breathtaking. I keep it behind my desk.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Let it melt, let it melt, let it melt...

We got about 18 inches of snow, I think, over the course of about 30 hours. It is very pretty, as I have decided I have no need to leave the house.

And a good thing, too, as it's not like I can get my car out of the driveway.

I've been napping, wrapping presents, futzing online, reading Orient Express, and doing the houseworky stuff that is always there anyway. Yes, I am bored silly. I know I should either polish every damn surface of the house to a fine gleam, or dig into one of my larger writing projects, but mostly I'm just wandering the house doing small things, here and there.

My avocado plant has gotten spindly, so in a desperate bid for bushy growth I pruned it. I then put the pruned-off bit in rooting hormone and shoved it back in the pot. At this point, I have a fairly dense avocado community in my kitchen, but it is quite possible they are all about to die. This is the kind of situation that earns gods a reputation for caprice.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Interview view

Had a job interview today. I think I came across well, but who can tell from this side? I am, at this point, one of 3 candidates. Callbacks are after the first of the year.

Getting ready this morning, I caught sight of myself in the mirror: charcoal grey pinstripe pantsuit, understated jewelry, and the stack of writing samples they requested, and I thought, "Holy COW. I remember that woman."

It was interesting.

Also today: an old friend from childhood, whom I had not spoken to since I treated her rather shabbily in college, friended me on Facebook.

Thank God for forgiveness, second chances, and the passage of time.

And Macy's.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The "So This Is It, We're Going to Die" Calendar

We live within 10 miles of a nuclear power plant. That is not really important, most of the time, excepting the following occasions:

Noon, the first Monday of the month: the holycrap alarm sounds. Don't worry, they're just messin' with ya.

Since 9/11, about every 4 years (I think) we get iodine pills to protect our thyroid, should the holycrap alarm sound when it is NOT the first Monday of the month, at noon.

And just before Christmas, we get the Public Emergency Response Information Calendar. It's full of helpful hints for what to do in the case of a nuclear power plant-related emergency.

I just call it, "So this is it, we're going to die."

Because not only do we live within 10 miles of a nuclear power plant, we also live on a peninsula with one main road in and out. Should things go to crap, our Calendar suggests we get on the road and head south. But you know what? Everyone else got the Calendar, too. They'll ALL be going south. On the same road. At the same time. With, presumably, iodide pills in their system.

Mom says we should head north, instead, towards her. Every once in a while I explain to her that that would require we drive TOWARDS and PAST the nuclear power plant. And ain't no way I am doing that. Can't blame Mom for thinking even a major nuclear event is reason for us to bring the Grandkids up, I guess.

Eh, in the words of my grandfather, when you're number's up, you're number's up.

On the up side, now I don't need to buy a 2010 calendar.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I'm pretty sure they're the same guy...

Charles Krauthammer. He is great. Reasoned, reasonable, witty, way smarter than I. But every time I see him, I am reminded of a beloved icon of my childhood.

Yeah, you know it. Count Chocula.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

A Meme Stolen From Rol

Thanks, Rol, for giving me something interesting to do before soaking up the floodwaters I just discovered have returned to my basement.

List 10 musical artists (or bands) you like, in no specific order (do this before reading the questions below). Really, don’t read the questions below until you pick your ten artists!!!

2 Clapton
3 John Prine
4 Pink Floyd
5 Jethro Tull
6 Amy Winehouse
7 Aretha
8 Allman Brothers
9 Sinatra
10 Little Feat

What was the first song you ever heard by 6?

Rehab. Lynette, who does my hair, sang it to me. I've been hooked ever since (probably not the best word to use around Amy but oh, well)...

What is your favorite song of 8?
Sweet Melissa. But really I would probably just keep their Greatest Hits CD running on a continuous loop. Can I call that entire album one song?

What kind of impact has 1 left on your life?

No impact. He's a musician. But I have enjoyed his music for decades and that is good enough for me.

What is your favorite lyric of 5?

And as you cross the circle line, the ice-wall creaks behind ---
you're a rabbit on the run.
And the silver splinters fly in the corner of your eye ---
shining in the setting sun.
Well, do you ever get the feeling that the story's
too damn real and in the present tense?
Or that everybody's on the stage, and it seems like
you're the only person sitting in the audience?

How many times have you seen 4 live?
Once. With Wayne, I think. Hi, Wayne!

What is your favorite song by 7?


Is there any song by 3 that makes you sad?
Most of them.

What is your favorite song by 9?

The Best Is Yet To Come (I picked that one but really I love a lot of his swingin' stuff)

When did you first get into 2?

I would guess my dad had it on the radio. No idea.

How did you get into 3?

I was dating a guy--really we were just friends and had very little in common but we sorta dated for a while, until he moved away. And one night as he drove me home he sang Bruised Orange (Chain of Sorrow) and it was the most beautiful song I'd ever heard. I have loved John Prine ever since. Thanks, Bud!

What is your favorite song by 4?


How many times have you seen 9 live?

None, but my mother-in-law has seen him many times. Does that count?

What is a good memory concerning 2?

Saw him in concert about 15 years ago, with Hubby and Dan and Dan's girlfriend at the time. Great show, and good friends, at the old Capitol Center.

Is there a song by 8 that makes you sad?

No, Allman Brothers always make me happy.

What is your favorite song by 1?

I refuse to choose. It is all awesome. Tell me I'm wrong.

How did you become a fan of 10?
I was dating a very religious man, with an extremely rigid roommate. The roommate (who had no car of his own)insisted that my boyfriend leave all his satan-worshipping rock-n-roll at home, and only keep sermon tapes and Christian music in the truck. The boyfriend smuggled in Waiting for Columbus as his only secular music. So every time we went somewhere, we listened to Waiting for Columbus.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Next year, in Jerusalem?

The other day I bought a container of hummus.


No one in the family will try it and that is FINE even though it is healthy and delicious because that means that no matter what, the entire tub is MINE.

But I had no crackers. I had no celery or string beans or snap peas. I had no pita. I have tried hummus before with tortilla chips, and that does not work. And eating it with a spoon just makes me feel like a total, decadent pig. Then I found: pork rinds.

You know what? Hummus is DELICIOUS on a pork rind.

Sadly, I think 90% of the hummus-buying public is never going to know this, from personal experience. So, Muslim and Jewish hummus fans, trust me. It's good.

Friday, December 04, 2009

It's the little things

Son #4:
"Going to school makes you appreciate the little things, you know? Like, now, I love coming home and eating dinner. Because no one here eats with his mouth open."


Yesterday I had a job interview. Since part of raising children is talking to them about what the adult world is like, I went over it with Sons #1, 2 and 3, in the car. I explained that I do not yet have an offer, but that I have been told I am in the "top 2"--at this point it is down to me, and a young guy just out of school.

All 3 Sons responded, "CAGE MATCH! To the DEATH! YOU CAN TAKE HIM!"

I am so damn proud.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Why is Santa black?

About a decade ago, Hubby went to the hardware store looking for Christmas stuff. He purchased, among other things, a molded plastic Santa for outside the house.

He called in the car. "There were just a few Caucasian Santas, and a whole bunch of black Santas. I felt bad that no one was buying the black Santas, so that's what I bought." Here he is, with Jake* for scale.

Santa's been a regular part of our holiday decor ever since. Yesterday, I pulled our Christmas boxes out of the attic. Son #1 walked in, saw Santa, and asked, "Why's Santa black? Why am I just noticing this NOW?"

I gave him the whole story.

A few minutes later, son #2 walked in, saw Santa, asked, "Why is Santa black?"

Gave him the story.

Half an hour later, Son #3 walked in, saw Santa, asked, "Why is Santa black?"


The next morning, Son #4 woke up, walked into the dining room, noticed Santa, and asked, "Why is Santa black?"

Because you go to public school, Son. He was just Santa, until the public schools taught you to be racist.

*I realize Jake should not be walking on the dining room table. He is 14 and hasn't been feeling well. I'm cutting him some slack.