Sunday, January 31, 2010

Don't "Poor Little Mace" Me!

New Year's Resolution or no New Year's Resolution, I've decided that Saturday nights are my blogging night off. Saturdays are our Sundays anyway, what with all the church stuff we have going on that day, so Saturdays are my official blogging days off from now on. So there. Not that you're all hung up on how often I blog (well, my Mom kind of is, but she's learned how to text, so she won't really miss anything at Casa Flamingo). So the four of you who read this blog don't have to check for a post on Saturdays -- give yourself a break, watch a movie, or Glee reruns on the DVR.

You will be saddened to know that Mace is sick with whatever Dez had, but for some reason, instead of making him sluggish and weak, his illness has given him an extreme case of ADHD and Tourette's Syndrome. I hate to punish the kids when they're sick, but Mace has been brutal today with Casey, poking him in the eye, smacking him on the head and chasing him around the house with kitchen implements while screaming at the top of his lungs with a trail of slime running out of his nose. It has take all of Casey's self-discipline not to throw Mace off the porch. Mace has been in timeout at least three times today, but should have been in timeout at least ten times today with a few spankings in between.

I don't care if he does look like Harry Potter in that picture, he was definitely not the wonder of the wizarding world today.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Project Filtration: Step One

I'm not sure if you remember, but our water stinks. In its unfiltered state, it stinks like rotten eggs. In its current filtered state, it stinks like rotten eggs a little less. We've already spent plenty of money on two different chlorination systems that don't really work. Flamingo Joe has determined that the problem is the distance between the well pump and the chlorination system, which is, to be specific, something like a gazillion feet apart. So, as is his way, Flamingo Joe has a plan to fix the water problem without spending another $5000 on something that doesn't work. Step 1 of his plan involved the delivery of 6 yards of crushed shell this morning:

(Note that in the photo above it is no longer morning, it is 8:15 p.m. because that is when Flamingo Joe was able to start working on the project.) The idea was to move the big pile of crushed shell across the driveway to the well pump area. Flamingo Joe's specific intructions to both me and Grandma this morning before the shell was delivered was for us to tell the driver to dump the shell on the driveway. When I repeated Joe's instructions back to him to make sure I understood him correctly, I said, "So dump the shell beside the driveway by the oak tree?" And Flamingo Joe probably said, "On the driveway" but I was already distracted by a squirrel or something because when the driver got there, I had him dump the shell beside the driveway by the big oak tree, which was about 10 or so feet further away than Flamingo Joe had envisioned. So when we pulled up into the driveway after a trip to Lowe's at 7:45 and FJ asked if I was going to help move the shell, I kind of felt obligated.

As you know, it would not be a project at Casa Flamingo unless a necessary tool had to be fixed before actual work on the project could begin, so Flamingo Joe had to fix the wheelbarrow:

Once the wheelbarrow was fixed, it was time to get to work. We had the boys' help for about three minutes:

And then they decided to play King of the Mountain. King of the Mountain on a hill of crushed shells is painful, which is why Mace kept crying for someone to get him down and once lifted off the hill, he would climb back up.

Here's a glimpse of Step 1, all done:

After we were finished with Step 1, Flamingo Joe tried to describe Steps 2 through 72 to me and I got lost around Step 4 (something about a U-shaped pipe) because I thought I saw a bat, but I assume he knows what he's doing and that soon we will have sweet-smelling water that doesn't eat up the insides of the toilet. Woo-hoo!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

New Phone

Well, the verdict is in . . . definitely a hypochondriac. Either that, or a victim of chronic allergies with symptoms (scratchy throat, sinus headache) that arise at about 4:30 every afternoon and are gone by morning. I've decided the cure for this ailment is to just take a Sudafed at about 4:30 every day.

I went to the Verizon store this afternoon to get the family new phones (me, Flamingo Joe, Grandma, Grandpa) and get our contract adjusted downward. Of the 1400 minutes we were allotted under our old contract, we were using 500, so it seemed like there was room to adjust. And we did. But I only had 40 minutes to complete the purchase of 4 new phones and re-do the contract. I swept in there, said here are the four phones I want, here's the plan I want, and I need it all done by 3:30. So three sales reps and forty minutes later I ran out of the store and still didn't make it to Casey's school in time to chat with my friend, which was why I imposed the deadline in the first place. I also left without having any clue how to operate the new phone (I've never had a touch screen before). I needed to call Heidi, but it took me six stop lights to figure out how to unlock the screen. And then tonight, someone called me and I couldn't figure out how to answer the phone -- I kept tapping the green phone symbol, but it wouldn't pick up.

And because I bought Joe a new phone and activated it at the store, Joe's old phone stopped working. At about 7:00 this evening I was getting ready to send out a search party for him because he hadn't gotten home yet and he hadn't called (because he couldn't).

Back when cell phones were just becoming commonplace, my parents both got phones immediately and I never understood that. The live in a small town -- what did they need cell phones for? If mom needed to find dad, she could just call the record room at the courthouse, his office, or Ann (the lady who cut his hair) -- if he wasn't at one of those places, he probably had just left and they would know where he was going. It seemed really silly to me that they would buy cell phones in a town where you could almost stand on the front porch and, if you yelled loud enough, either the other person would answer you or someone else who knew where the other person was would yell back.

Now, however, I understand. I can't just not know where Joe is anymore -- I have to be able to pick up the phone and be certain he will pick up or see that I called and call me right back. It's a level of codependency I never thought I'd see in my lifetime in my own marriage, but here it is staring me in the face. It's not even a trust issue -- it's just a security issue, I guess. And if I can't reach him, like I couldn't tonight, I get a knot in the pit of my stomach and break out in a cold sweat. What if his car broke down and he's standing on the Howard Frankland Bridge and no one will stop and lend him their phone? What if he passed out from caffeeine deprivation at work and his co-workers think he's just taking a nap when he slumps over his laptop?

But most importantly, if I can't reach Joe, how will Grandma know when to get dinner on the table? It's the most important call I make all day and it starts like this: at 5:15, Grandma asks, "Have you talked to Joe today?" She doesn't really want to know if we've engaged in mildly inappropriate banter via Instant Message that day (which we have, or he's accidently engaged [so he claims] in such banter with my assistant who sometimes uses my laptop). What she really wants to know is whether or not I have called Joe yet to ask him what time he'll be home for dinner. So then I make the call, Flamingo Joe gives us his ETA and the dinner preparations begin. It's a good system, but one that doesn't work if Joe doesn't have his cell phone. I wanted to use the small town system for finding your husband, but it doesn't work if you know your husband is either at work (sitting at a desk with a phone that you don't have the number to) or on the Howard Frankland Bridge. And when I stood out on the front porch and yelled, "JOOOOOOE!" I realized I wasn't feeling so good and went in to take a Sudafed.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Grandma's Home!

Yay! Her flight came in 12 minutes early and she was waiting at the curb wondering if we were really going to come pick her up when we drove up. Lucky for me, none of the four people who read my blog were at the airport and spotted her first, because they would have hustled her into their car, knowing what a find she is! She's so nice she'd probably just stay with that strange family because they obviously need help since they went to all the trouble to kidnap her.

You're going to be disappointed in this post tonight because I have a sore-ish throat and a headache so I'm headed to bed. Hopefully I haven't hugged you or licked the doorknobs at your house in the last few days, cause I'm afraid I'm getting what Dez has. Or maybe I'm a hypochondriac. We'll know tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Please Un-One Bill Yourself

I awarded a motorcycle and a Hot Wheels car today for Mace's first potty-training successes (he took care of #1 in the potty once last night and once tonight). Right after dinner, though, I looked over and saw him kneeling down with "the look" on his face and asked him, "Mace? Don't you want to do that on the potty so you can get another toy?" He declined. Still not worth it to him, I guess. What is it about little boys and poop?

In other Casa Flamingo news, Casey ran down the driveway again today while I chased him in the car (Mace laughing hysterically in his car seat), and I spent 45 minutes on the phone with Verizon this morning trying to un-One Bill our house phone/internet/cable bill from our wireless phone bill. In case you have not figured this out yet, let me enlighten you on Verizon's latest tactic to stick it to you. Whenever a phone/internet/cable company offers you the "convenience" of putting all the services they offer to you on one bill, say "no." Do you remember the good old days when you got your cable from Company A, your home phone service from Company B, and your cell phone service from Company C? And if you had to cut back on your expenses, what's the first thing you cut? The cable, of course. You could just cancel it for a few months until things got better and then turn it back on. Well now, in the name of "convenience" and "bundling," these telecommunications giants like to sell you on a package deal that you cannot unravel (internet/cable/phone) without incurring a termination fee until your contract is finished. And then to "make your life even easier," they'll take your cell phone bill and combine it with your internet/cable/phone bill. Well guess what? If you can't pay the full bill -- meaning every single service that's on the ultra convenient One Bill, the company can cut everything off. All of it. All at once. To get news from the outside world, you'd have to drive to the sports bar and ask them to turn on Fox News. And good luck finding a pay phone.

A while back, when Flamingo Joe told me he had signed us up for One Bill and that we'd only be getting it online, I thought back then that I needed to undo it, but didn't want him to think I didn't trust him to make decisions. So when I was on the phone today trying to get the cable cancelled altogether (no luck -- stuck with it until August), I decided to tackle the silly One Bill problem. Do you know that they had to transfer me to no less than 6 people to accomplish it? I'm pretty sure they were hoping that I'd get sick of waiting and give up -- at one point, person #5 on the other end of the line went silent for several loooong seconds and I was convinced she'd hung up on me. I said, "Oh my goodness!!! Did you just hang up on me??" When she said, "no, I'm still here" I was really glad I had not said something awful during the long silence when I thought she had hung up and was on her way to the soda machine.

The last lady I talked to, who was the one who finally un-One Billed me, asked me why I was un-One Billing. I explained to her that should I have to make difficult choices in the future about what I was and was not going to pay, I wanted to have the option. She said yes, that was probably smart. Finally -- validation.

Monday, January 25, 2010

School Shopping

I went school shopping for Casey today. Not for clothes or pencils, but for an actual new school. For the past two years we've had Casey at a wonderful private school with wonderful teachers, wonderful curriculum, and wonderful friends. But the tuition has hiked up both years to the point where now there's just absolutely no way we can do it anymore. We shouldn't have done it this year, but I thought we'd struggle through the year, maybe the economy would improve and we'd be okay. But it was not to be. So now we are cutting everything from cable TV to, you know, regular meals. But losing Casey's school is the hardest thing. I'm very depressed about it.

Resigning yourself to pull out of one school is one thing -- actually finding a new school and trying to decide if it's the right fit for your kid, is another. So I've looked at two schools so far. The first one that I visited I rejected within about 5 minutes of asking, "So where do your seniors get into college?" and the answer included the phrase, "end up at" as in, "They usually end up at [insert list of local community colleges here]." If Casey wants to go to a local community college, that's fine (not really), but I'd like to know his education has at least prepared him to shoot a little higher.

Today, I visited the second one. The school's only been in existence for two years -- the school's founders converted a summer camp into a private Christian school that retained all the natural beauty of the camp and added all the latest classroom technology. The cabins have been converted into classrooms and the campus is full of massive oak trees. I snapped a few photos for you while I was there (forgive the quality, I was using my cell phone's puny camera). Here is the main walkway through campus:

Gorgeous, yes? And here is one of the classroom cabins:

Here is the lunchroom/chapel/lots of other uses building:

And here is one half of the playground -- the other half includes swings and a firepit. Yes, that's a lake you see back there -- the older kids kayak on it during P.E.:

And here is one of the goats. Yes, you heard me. Goats:

The school has three goats and an assortment of chickens that the children care for, as well as a garden where they grow vegetables.

It's a lovely school. And it will probably be where we send Casey next fall. Casey is quite agreeable to changing schools, which I don't understand at all. He loves his current school and is doing very well there. When I showed him the pictures above and asked him how he would like going to a school like that, he just shrugged and said, "Sure, okay." I said, "But won't you miss your school and your friends?" He thought about it for a moment and then said, "Umm, I guess. But that school (pointing to one of the pictures) looks good, too." He's clearly taking it much better than me.

The new lovely school does have its drawbacks -- they are still doing Saxon Math and I like the Singapore Method better. They do not have a band program and I am committed to raising my children to be band geeks like their parents, so it looks like I'd have to start the program myself, which could be problematic since I only know how to play the oboe -- and trust me, a band full of 4th grade oboists wouldn't be anyone's idea of music. They also don't have any after-school sports intramurals for the younger grades, so I'd have to exercise the boy myself and I couldn't teach soccer or basketball if my life depended on it. Though I could have all the children participate in the game Casey invented just today:

It's called, "Run Down The Driveway While Mom Chases You With The Car." You have to be very careful not to text and drive while you play, though.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Coffeehouse Without Grandma

I wish I had some pictures to show you from last night's Coffeehouse, but we were so busy trying to make sure we didn't forget anything that I forgot to take my camera. Grandma takes care of getting the fellowship hall at church ready for coffeehouse -- it normally looks something like this:

And it looked like that last night except that the centerpieces were a little bit different because that picture was taken at one of our first coffeehouses and also, thanks to Flamingo Joe's efforts and the generosity of the people who show up for Coffeehouse, we have light bars and a new sound board and new lights that make us all look like rock stars. He's got some other ideas to enhance the space, but he'll probably have to hold off on some of those. So far, the church has been very supportive of this ministry, but I think they'll draw the line at a fog machine.

Grandma Elsie normally takes care of setting the tables just so and setting up the coffee and cookies, sugars, creamers, etc. on the long table over there on the left. So with her being out of town this week, it was up to Dez and I to get things done. We had planned on doing all the baking on Thursday and Friday nights, but I think Grandma was afraid we'd just plain forget to do it, so she baked all the cookies and froze them before she left. Then she was worried that she had offended me by doing the baking for me. Silly Grandma.

We managed to get the room set up on Friday night with some help from a couple of other people on the women's ministry planning team and only had to call Grandma once to ask her which coffee pots we were supposed to use. The long table, after we'd set it all up, did not look nearly as nice as when Grandma does it, but everything was there. On Saturday, we remembered to bring the cookies over and we even remembered to turn the coffee pots on half an hour before Coffeehouse started. At the last minute, we remembered to heat the hot water, so Dez had to put it in the pump carafe about two mintes before we were supposed to start. She left out the spout, though, so someone trying to get hot water for tea figured that one out pretty quick.

I announced during Coffeehouse that we were missing Grandma, so people stayed to help clean up and we got it done lickety split, but I'm pretty sure there are things put back in bags or boxes that don't go there and poor Grandma will spend hours looking for what she needs next weekend when she's trying to set up.

We have not yet even attempted to take care of that little problem we were going to take care of while Grandma was away. If you can't remember what I'm talking about, maybe this picture will jog your memory:

We have not attempted to take the BoBo away. He wears the headphones around the house, by the way, so that he can ask you, "Can hear me?" For some reason he thinks his wearing the headphones means the rest of us can't hear. Though I am making progress on the potty-training front. Today marked Step 1 of potty training: Set Up The Bribe. This step entails enticing your child to take advantage of a golden opportunity to enhance his Hot Wheels Car and Truck Collection if he will go to the bathroom in the toilet. The key to this step is the set up -- for one or two days, every time you change the child's diaper, you say, "You know, if you will go tee-tee in the potty, mommy will buy you a new Hot Wheels car at the store . . ." or, if the diaper is of the dirty variety, you say, "You know, if you will go poopy in the potty next time, mommy will buy you a new truck at the store." Your child's eyes will get very bright and wide and he will ask to go to the store that very minute to get his new car or truck, so you will say to him again, "Not now -- only after you go tee-tee or poopy in the potty." This may go on for several days before the lure of the new car or truck wins out over his innate desire to sit in his own poo for hours. So the good news is that he might be potty-trained by the time he goes to kindergarten. The bad news, though, is that he'll still have his BoBo.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Dogs in Heaven

It's 11:56 and I need to get this post in by midnight, but it's been a busy, busy, busy day with a lunch meeting and rehearsal and Coffeehouse, so, you know, I'm a little tired. But the daily blog posting is important to my sanity, so here's what I've got for you today:

Joe picked up Chance's ashes from the veterinarian a week or so ago, so one afternoon on the way home from school last week, Casey overheard me telling my friend Heidi on the phone that we had picked up the ashes and needed to find somewhere to spread them. Heidi and I started talking about dogs going to heaven and what heaven for dogs is like. We were having a little fun with it and I think I said something about how there had to all kinds of shoes to chew in heaven.

When I hung up the phone, Casey said, "Mom, Chance can't chew shoes in heaven."

"Why not?" I asked.

"Because," he said, "there's no sin in heaven."

I decided not to engage him in a theological discussion regarding how dogs cannot sin, only people can, so I just told him that because the shoes in heaven don't belong to anyone, it wouldn't be a sin for Chance to chew them. See, these are the situations that those nifty parenting books don't tell you how to handle.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Audition Video

You may think that my friend Desiree is auditioning for something in this video. That's what we thought, and we're the ones who made the video -- but as it turns out (and as often happens when your children are just in the background doing what they do) this video is all about Casey. He's got a keyboard in front of him. So you watch and I'll catch up with you afterward.

Aside from it appearing that Casey is actually playing accompianment for Dez' angelic voice, my favorite part is when Mace walks up to Casey to talk to him and Casey leans over and says something to him.

I'm pretty sure he said, "Dude. Seriously. I'm working."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Yesterday's Post

If you block out all memory of what happened to you today, you will be able to concentrate really hard and suddenly, today will really be yesterday and you will read this post and believe that I posted it last night. Not that I have a post for tonight after I post this post, uh, last night -- if I did that, we might have some sort of time-space continuum problem. And, well, you would be on drugs.

Now I'm confused.

So let me tell you why I didn't post yesterday. We started our day out a little bit late -- too late to find shoes for Mace that weren't doing this:

If I had had the time to look in all the bins and closets upstairs, it wouldn't have mattered because when I did take the time to look, much later in the day, there were no shoes that weren't two sizes too big with soles that adhered to the shoes. So I took him to school with his sole flapping in the breeze -- he probably fell down on the playground 70 times, but his teachers were kind enough not to mention it.

So after dropping the kids at their respective schools, I went to a particularly excruciating 341 meeting (bankruptcy thing) with some clients, met with a couple of other clients, then set out for the afternoon round of pickup, starting with Mace. It was his first day staying past 12:30 at school, so I was hoping he would take a nap with all the other kids and be ready to get up at 2:15 when I picked him. He didn't nap at all, not at school, and not in the car on the way to get Casey or on the way home afterward. I knew worship team practice was going to be a doozy last night, and since the kids were going to have to come with us, I put him down for a nap at 3:30. He slept until I woke him up at 5:20, when we raced over to Target, bought him a new pair of shoes, and then went to the church, where we stayed until 8:30. We would have left the church 10 or so minutes earlier had I not had to clean up the huge wet mess Mace had made in the kids' bathroom (don't tell on us, they might kick us out; you know I've been fired from church before).

So when we got home at 8:50, I raced the kids through a shower, threw Casey into bed, and then tried to get Mace to bed. I ended up in the bed with Mace and, well you know what happened next. I fell asleep, woke up a half hour or so later, stumbled to my bed and fell back asleep.

So while you may be disappointed in me as a blogger who made a hasty, hasty New Year's Resolution to blog every day (what was I thinking?), you can be proud of my parenting skills today because 1) I only let my child wear falling-apart, hazardous shoes for one day (I think -- I'm really not sure how long those shoes have been coming apart, but wouldn't I have noticed? Don't answer that.); and 2) I remembered to feed them.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Eight More Days

Don't tell Grandma, but I've already failed and she's only been gone for 12 hours. Mace didn't have school today, so that meant he was supposed to be with me until time for me to go to court at 12:15. We took Casey to school and when we got back home Mace and I went upstairs so I could take a shower. When I got in the shower, Mace was playing with his Diego Rescue Center in the playroom. When I got out of the shower, Mace was still playing with his Diego Rescue Center. Five minutes later, however, when I got finished drying my hair, I hollered for him and he didn't answer. I went to the top of the stairs and hollered, "Maaaace!" He yells back, "Right here!" As I headed down the stairs I could hear the water in the kitchen sink running.

Never a good sign.

Here's another not-so-good sign:

That bottle of soap was over half full at breakfast.

Actually, I have no idea if it was over half full because I haven't noticed the level of dish soap in the bottle since, well, the last time Grandma left -- but I assume the bottle was over half full of soap at breakfast because of the amount of soap that was on the bottom of the sink under all the water, and the amount of soap on the floor and on the chair Mace was standing on when I came into the kitchen.

I don't have a picture of Mace because my taking a picture of him in timeout might have been interpreted by him as an approval of his actions. So just trust me when I tell you that he was soaked and very proud of himself.

But the day was just beginning. My office assistant came to the house at 9:30 to get started and so I gathered up the firetruck, a bowl of party mix and a cup of chocolate milk and we headed downstairs to the office. By 10:10 we had chased him down outside twice, helped him put on and take off the electric guitar from the man cave 3 times, and pulled him and Joe's nail gun down from a ladder. I gave up and called Heidi to see if I could take him over to her house two hours earlier than originally planned.

He was a good boy at Heidi's.

Well of course he was.

So let's skip to dinner -- surely I pulled myself together by dinner and ended the day on a positive note, right?

Never mind.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Help Wanted: Grandma

You are going to have to be patient with my whiny postings for the next week 'cause Grandma is leaving for a week. You know what this means -- not only do I have to make all the meals (including breakfast!!!), but I also have to change all the poopy diapers, clean the kitchen, and get the fellowship hall ready for Coffeehouse. Good heavens, I'll have to be a real mom. I don't think I'm ready.

However, after a late night of obsessing, I came up with something to tell Casey in regard to the bullying thing. I told Casey that God makes us the way we look for a reason -- we may figure out the reason now, or we may figure out the reason later, but we look the way we look because it fits into God's plan for our lives. God needs us to look the way we look -- our responsibility is to stay healthy so that we are ready for what God needs us to do. Casey accepted that explanation and seemed to like the idea that God had a purpose for him. So I may be incapable of keeping all the balls in the air at the same time at my house, but it's possible I'm not a complete failure as a mom. This week, anyway. We should revisit this issue next Wednesday, a few hours before Grandma gets back.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Winter Recap

Now that Florida's winter is over and we've had time to process, let's recap what we've learned in the past two weeks:

1) If you need to scrape ice off your windshield, use this:

Not this:

2) If the weather man says to cover your plants because it's going to freeze overnight, these are the plants that he means --


And these:

And these:

I'm not a total moron -- I did marry a man who had the foresight to cover and keep a heat lamp on the well pump and any exposed water pipes. That's why in that picture above, water is not spewing straight up out of the pump and flooding the site of the soon-to-be-constructed Petticoat Junction-style water tower that will bring odor-free-non-corrosive-aerated water into the Flamingo household. I'm thinking of painting Casa Flamingo in hot pink cursive letters on the water tower. That's not too tacky.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday Night with the Colts Fans

It's 11:29 p.m., so technically, I can still get in a blog post today and not trash my New Year's Resolution. But oh my lands, I'm so tired. Flamingo Joe and I went to Buffalo Wild Wings tonight after Coffeehouse to watch the Colts/Ravens game with a friend of his from work. Cindy and Shane (FJ works with Cindy) brought their friends. And a Colts gnome. And a Colts teddy bear. I understand that you are not a true fan unless you bring your good luck charms to watch the game. Completely normal. Fortunately, the Colts won, but not before the gnome and the bear were soaked in drinks that got overturned during a particularly exciting play that involved a fumbled interception. Poor little gnome.

Cindy and Shane have come to our house for the Super Bowl party we have thrown the last two years. I cannot imagine what kind of craziness will ensue at our house if the Colts are in the Super Bowl, because Shane has already promised (threatened?) to paint our house blue and white if the Colts win their next game.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Night with the Cow and the Bully

Another sign of the times -- this is what we do on Friday nights now -- figure out where the cheap food and entertainment is and stay for two plus hours. The drinks were free at Chick-fil-a tonight and Sweet Kari's boyfriend's new career path has him dressed as a cow and hugging children.

He's hugging Sweet Kari here.

I also phone shopped while Grandma and Dez watched out for the kids in the play area. Did you know that AT&T and Apple's exclusive contract for the iPhone is done, over, kaput? Which means that soon we will be seeing "Apple-based" phones (apparently they won't be allowed to call them "iPhones") at all cell phone retailers. I've been nursing a grudge against AT&T these last few years over their selfishness so I'm glad to see they're about to get their comeuppance.

While I was phone shopping, Casey was being tormented in the play area by another kid who called him "Fatty" and "Slooooooow." He was very upset and I wasn't there to beat up the mean kid or at least tell Casey to go ahead and hit him as hard as he could, which was probably for the best. He went to Grandma crying and angry. Another fine example of my horrid parenting -- I'm off phone shopping while my kid is being taunted by the kid who will never graduate from high school. This has happened before -- a boy in the other first grade class at Casey's school called him fat a few times. When that was happening, I told Casey that the next time that little boy called him fat he should look him straight in the eye and say, "Well at least I'm not stupid." And when the little boy started going on about how he wasn't stupid blah blah blah, Casey should say, "Only a stupid kid would pick on someone twice his size." We practiced it several times. Casey said that's what he used on the idiot bully at the play area, but apparently it didn't make him feel any better. I refuse to teach him to run away from bullies, but I don't want to encourage him to start a fight when one wasn't going to start but for him standing up for himself. It's tricky. And what's really sad is that Casey loves making new friends and is never afraid to just strike up a friendship on the playground with kids he's never met before. Any more incidents like this and I'm afraid he'll lose that openness and friendliness with new kids. I gotta tell ya' -- I've already lost my openness and friendliness with new kids, so it's going to be hard to encourage him to keep making friends with strange kids.

I'm sure there is an appropriate Christ-like response to situations like these, but I'm still working it out -- clearly I don't have it mastered. It's not turn the other cheek -- Christ didn't back down in the face of the bullying Pharisees, but He also didn't go at them with moves he learned on Tuesday afternoons in Karate class. If I'd been there tonight I would have grabbed hold of that little jerk's ear and dragged him over to his parents, from whom he probably learned how to be a jerk, and when they shrugged their shoulders I would've ended up in a cat fight in the middle of the food court. The Cow would have had to break it up. And that would have been blogworthy -- also probably newsworthy. But definitely not Christ-like.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sonic the Hamster

Several weeks ago Flamingo Joe added a widget/gadget/smidget (whatever) to my igoogle home page. It's that Hamster over there on the right of this post. One day I logged onto the internet, my igoogle page popped up and BAM! I've got another mouth to feed. Take your curser over there and click anywhere in the hamster cage so long as it's above the hamster. Thank you for feeding him 'cause I have no idea when he last ate.

Casey found him on my home page one day over the Christmas break and spent half a morning changing all the colors so now my hamster, who he named Sonic, is a weird color of blue with bright blue eyes and a yellow streak on his chin -- he's like an Avatar character. Casey turned his water bright green and his food a bizarre shade of yellow.

You can probably find the hamster widget/gadget/smidget (whatever) on the internet and add him to your home page, too. I must warn you, though, it's a lot of pressure. Every time you log on he's sitting there waiting for you to feed him and you instinctively suck in your breath and think, "Oh crap! How long has he been waiting?" Just a few minutes ago I flipped over to my home page and he was laying in the corner of the cage with his eyes closed. I thought I'd killed him.

While Sonic does satisfy my new rule for household pets (they are only allowed if they don't poop), I don't think Sonic is good for my stress level -- he's become a symbol in my life for all the things I forget when they are out of sight. I have a hard enough time dealing with the two real humans I have to remember to feed every day and we all know if it weren't for Grandma, DCF would have been out here a long time ago responding to a tip that the kids only ate Lucky Charms and never brushed their teeth.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sign of the Times

Speaking of signs (see yesterday's post), this is the current sign outside the Guadalajara Restaurant on Hillsborough:

A couple of troubling things about this sign -- 1) legally, can "Mexican Food" and "Diet" be used in the same sentence? And 2) this restaurant is advertising tap water in Florida. Have you sampled the tap water in Florida? It's nothing to advertise. This is the same restaurant's sign that in December read "FREE tap water with meal." Are other restaurants charging for tap water now? How much? Isn't this a more telling sign of how bad the economy is than the number of foreclosures currently pending in Florida (which is 456,000, by the way)?

And another sign of the times -- instead of paying someone else to fix his wrecked bumper, Flamingo Joe decided to save money and buy one off of Ebay. It arrived today:

If you're wondering why it's sitting in the middle of our living room rug instead of, oh, I don't know, outside with all the other car-related items, it's because Flamingo Joe was worried the raccoon would carry it off in revenge for us putting the trash cans under the house.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Biggest Loser Week 2

Maria got a bloody nose when she fell at the balance-beam-over-the-pool challenge. So as the ambulance was pulling away, Allison (the host) assessed the two pound penalty against Maria's team because they didn't complete the challenge and therefore lost. Vicious!! But I think Jillian nailed it -- Maria was making her worst fears come to life. She's afraid of the water, so Jillian made her get out in the pool in the pouring rain until she wasn't afraid of the water anymore.

I bet Jillian could help me get over my fear of interpretive dance. I'm going to stay away from her. (Don't you think that girl is looking straight at me?)

Monday, January 11, 2010


I know you think that I am carrying on about how cold it is and that I'm a real whiner, but look, here's the ice on the creek/canal by our house:

The fish are starting to die -- really, they are. I saw two floating around belly-up yesterday. Last night on the news, the station we were watching put up a "Fish Kill Hotline" number so that if you see dead fish you can call that number. I'm not sure I see the point of reporting two dead fish to the authorities, but maybe I'm missing something. Will they take preventative measures to make sure more fish don't suffer the same cruel fate -- does the Department of Agriculture pass out fish sweaters?

My sister, who lives in Holt, Michigan, has been without a furnace for the past week -- they are running what they call "supplementary heat" off of their air conditioning, which doesn't really get warm for as much as it runs and runs and runs. But she hasn't been whining in a blog -- no sir, she's a stoic Michiganite (Michiganer? Michiganee?) now -- no whining about the weather allowed. Around 10 this morning, she said it was 19 degrees there (but only because I asked, not because she was whining). We weren't that much warmer here. Maybe I'm exaggerating -- by 10 a.m. it had gotten into the 30s here, I'm sure -- but it felt like 19. There really should be a different measuring system for temperature here in Florida -- when it's 30 here, it may as well be 10 below for all the clothing we have to protect ourselves against it. I have two sweaters -- one of them is 17 years old. I'm having to stay right on top of the laundry so everybodys' two sweatshirts and two sweaters are clean, and I don't think my 17 year old sweater is going to hold up much longer.

I'm done whining about the weather -- I promise. Let me introduce you to the newest marketing geniuses in our neighborhood:

I'm not sure what irritates me more about this sign -- the atrocious grammar, or:

. . . the absolutely shameless false claim -- they clearly do not "got all things that are good." They have one used car, a used truck, and three used golf carts -- I'm pretty sure they don't have any things that are good. A few weeks after I took this picture, the company changed the sign to say, "OMG LOL CARS." Yes, it is laugh-out-loud-swearific-hilarious that their car lot sells . . . cars!! But only two of them. Maybe it is funny. It's no trashy mannequin in a Cinco de Mayo outfit, but it will do for today.

See ya' tomorrow . . . I've got to go wash my sweaters.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Nampa v. Tampa

There was ice on the creek this morning. Ice. In Tampa. Ice. And the wind cutting through my coat made me wish I'd held on to those hole-ly long johns just one more year (they were in one of the bins Flamingo Joe made me go through six months ago). It felt like Nampa, Idaho outside today.

That's Nampa, Idaho. Though I never saw that part of Nampa, I only saw (and smelled) the sugar beet factory on my way to the strip mall where the Fashion Bug waited for me six days a week. But Nampa, Idaho was cold -- and the wind was always blowing and it cut like a knife.

(It's 9:45 p.m. and Mace just got himself out of bed, turned on the lights in his room and came in here. He was very pleased with himself until I took him back to his room, unplugged the lamp and made him get back in his bed. He fell right to sleep, but he will probably be back in here at 1:30 or 4:30, but certainly no later than 5:30. Joe just said, "Maybe we should put the crib back in there." Ummm . . . you'll have to get it from that nice lady we gave it to last week, honey, so that's not really a workable plan.)

So -- it's going to be 23 degrees tonight. It's going to 25 in Nampa. I should have covered the plants last night, so there's no real point in covering them tonight. Or tomorrow night, when it's going to be 25. It's going to be 31 in Nampa. Nampa is starting to look balmy.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

How Things Work At Our House

This is how things work at our house.

For the past month, an extremely fat raccoon has been living high on the hog by eating out of our trash cans. We know that he is fat and that there is only one because we've seen him. I personally think that he's eaten whatever competition he had. When I said "raccoon" and "trash" I'm sure a visual popped into your head -- well, triple the mess that was in your head. After a couple of weeks of cleaning up after the raccoon, we actually started taking anti-raccoon measures like putting big landscaping bricks on top of the lids. That worked for a week until the raccoon figured out how to push the trash cans over so that the bricks would fall off, and we were back to square one. Then Joe started putting bungee cords on the lids to keep them on -- that just made the raccoon angry. On Thursday morning, the trash cans were turned over with the lids still intact, but one of them had been rolled all the way around to the side of the house and the edges of the garbage bags that had been showing underneath the lids were in tatters. By Friday morning, the raccoon had figured out how to get the bungee cords off -- not sure how, but he did. It was the worst mess ever.

Just in case you had us up on a pedestal (stop laughing) and lest you think Flamingo Joe and I have a perfectly harmonious relationship all the time (now even I'm laughing) -- we have an ongoing argument, always simmering beneath the surface, of who is responsible for cleaning up trash (or dog poo or vomit, kid or dog variety). I think the man of the house should be responsible for cleaning up trash (or dog poo or vomit, kid or dog variety) because even if your wife is not the delicate flower she once was, you should at least make her think that you think she is by not letting her sully her porcelain hands with trash (or poo or vomit). Seriously, why doesn't he love me enough to clean up the trash (or poo or vomit) without getting me involved?

Flamingo Joe's way of thinking on this matter goes something like this: "Get your butt off the couch and help me." FJ's a man of few words that usually get right to the point.

Grandma and I both have done our share of cleaning up after the raccoon this past month, so Flamingo Joe hasn't had too much to complain about. But Friday morning's mess was, I believe, the worst so far, and as I am heading out to take the boys to school, I remark in passing to Flamingo Joe (who is cleaning up the new mess), "I think it's time to move the trash cans underneath the house." Meaning (in case you are a man and are reading several levels of condemnation in that simple statement) -- let's put the trash cans behind a door so that the raccoon can't get to them. This, however, is what FJ heard, "Man-who-has-failed-to-defend-your-home-and-family-by-not-keeping-monster-racoon-out-of-the-trash-thus-reflecting-poorly-on-your-manhood, you should clean out the front bay of our storage area, take out all the bins that are stored there, figure out what's in them, try to get your wife who never lifts a finger to help you to go through the bins and throw things away, rearrange the entire storage area in 30 degree weather and then put the trash cans underneath the house so that the raccoon cannot get into them."

I was going to snap a picture of the contents of our storage bay piled out in front of the house at 7:00 last night, but I didn't want to attract Flamingo Joe's attention to the fact that not only was I not helping and not going through the bins (why am I going to go through bins to see what can be brought upstairs when I've stored them in the bins underneath the house because I didn't want them up in the house?), but I was also leaving with Desiree to go to a girls' night out thing at a friend's house and wouldn't be back until after 9:00.

That's how things work in our house.

Yes, we need counseling.

But, while he was going through bins, Flamingo Joe found a journal I kept when Casey was Mace's age. At 2 1/2 Casey was speaking in full sentences and correcting his own grammar -- unlike Mace, who Desiree says sounds like he's from a foreign country and just learning the language here ("Me birthday party?"). Here is an excerpt from the journal: "Casey watched an episode of Franklin today where Franklin was helping build a dam to keep the water out of Beaver's house. So tonight, Casey starts talking about building a dam. He found a coffee thermos that he was using as some kind of tool, but he was calling it his "dam thing." As in, "Where is my dam thing?" and "I use my dam thing to build it." And "I have to go to the dam store to get my dam thing." Joe thought it would be better if he encouraged Casey to say "beaver dam" instead of just "dam." But then Casey kept leaving off the "dam" part and would say, "I need more beaver" and "I'm going to get beaver at the beaver store." Really, not much better." As I recall, Casey forgot all about beaver dams by the next day when we had a play date, which was lucky for me. I had quit my job by that time and was trying to make new friends among Casey's friends' moms at his preschool -- it doesn't make a good impression on people when your kid teaches them how to curse and use sexual innuendos.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Coping With the Cold

It has been wicked cold here in sunny Florida since last Friday and I haven't met anyone who, by Sunday, wasn't all the way over it and ready for the balmy winter days to return. The problem with very cold weather here isn't that we're not used to it -- we're not, obviously, but that's not the problem. The problem is that we're not ready for it to last more than 24 hours. It has been bone-chilling cold here (comparatively speaking) since Friday and I didn't even think about looking for that pair of pink gloves Casey bought me for Christmas two years ago until this morning (Thursday). Our long johns disintegrated from the humidity seven years ago. We don't have even have heat in the front seat of the SUV because the heater coil is toast and because we only use the heat for one week out of the year, so why spend $650 to fix it? The heat in the back of the SUV works, but to run it, the fan in the front has to be turned on, so I stick a towel in the dashboard to keep the cold air from blowing on me so that the boys can get a little bit warm in the back. Our mindset in Florida is that if we'll just wait one more day, the temperature will be back up in the 70s.

Casey doesn't even own a coat and Mace wouldn't either if not for hand-me-down clothes from Heidi, who takes her kids up to the frozen north at least once a year. And blame the economy, but I'm not spending $40 on a coat for Casey that he'll wear three more times (tops) this winter, only to grow out of it by next Fall. So I've been layering him to send him off to school -- which is not easy when you are limited to the school uniform. He wears his uniform shorts under his school sweatpants with an undershirt, then a long-sleeved uniform shirt, topped off with the school sweat jacket. While we were driving home today, I was talking to my mom in Georgia (who is also freezing right now) about the cold weather and told her Casey didn't own a coat. Casey yells from the back, "Yes I DO!" and points at that flimsy jacket. That was when I realized Casey doesn't even know what a real coat is.

This morning Grandma went out and started the car for us while we were gathering up lunches and backpacks. When she came back in she told us there was ice on the car windows. You should have seen the looks on our faces -- Grandma and I were completely befuddled. "Duh what? Now what do we do? Guess we can't take the kids to school!" We looked at each other for a moment like we hadn't lived in Idaho for several years and had to pull cars out of ditches after sliding off the highway. It had been so long ago that we'd forgotten -- just for a moment -- how to get ice off the windshield of the car. But then the memories came flooding back -- we realized at the same moment that we no longer had those handy tools called ice scrapers that they make for these very situations and that were a dime a dozen in Idaho. It was like we were pioneers for a few seconds, "Hmmm. Let me think, let me think. Hmmmm. What could I use to get the ice off the car . . .?" Grandma said "Spatula!" I said, "Warm water!" Joe (from the couch) immediately yelled, "DON'T put hot water on the glass!!" In typical female fashion, I pouted and said, "Fine. YOU get the ice off the car."

So he found some of Grandpa's old cassette tapes, handed one to me and we went out to the car. When we got out there, Grandma had already started scraping with a plastic spatula. It wasn't going very well, but she was giving it a shot. The cassette tapes worked surprisingly well -- made quick work of the ice and we were on our way.

But you see my point, right? We're never ready -- and why be ready for cold weather that lasts for a couple of days at the most and then is gone? It cracks me up, too, that after a few days, Floridians start to get really mad about cold weather and start looking for someone to blame. I saw a few Facebook posts today that espoused a conspiracy theory wherein the government, specifically Nancy Pelosi, was accused of manipulating the weather to keep Republicans from protesting, well, every single thing that comes out of her mouth.

I have heard nasty rumors floating around that the high on Saturday will be 40 degrees and that we may even see snow. My children will be so happy! Too bad they'll be stuck inside waiting it out -- it's either that or socks for mittens!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Midweek Update

If you've been following along with this remarkable flurry of blog postings (I'm impressing even myself this week with consistency and dedication!!), you will recall that on Monday I posted about rearranging the beds in our house to accomodate Mace's Bobo addiction. You will be happy to hear that the night after we moved the beds (Sunday night), Mace slept all night and stayed in the bed until 7:30 -- it was fantastic. The next night (Monday night), Mace again slept all night and I had to wake him up at 6:15. Tuesday night, however, he slept until 5:27 a.m., when he woke up, turned on the lamp beside his bed (he loves being able to turn that lamp on and off), got out of the bed, turned on the overhead light, walked out into the hallway and turned on two other lights, all the while muttering "Bobo? Bobo?" As if the Bobo had managed to leave his mouth in the night, hop off the bed, slip under the door and be frolicking around out in the playroom. I jumped out of bed (because when it's 5:27 you have to act quickly if you want the toddler to actually fall back asleep for 45 more minutes -- if you let him be awake too long, his day has started and you will not get back to that dream you were having about Tom Selleck playing Burt Reynold's part in Cannonball Run), ran into the hallway, and started looking for the Bobos (he sleeps with two -- has to have a spare -- he used to sleep with four). I quickly determined that, even in Bobo-land, Bobos stick pretty close to where they land and unless Mace had been sleepwalking earlier in the night, the Bobos had to still be in or around the bed. Sure enough, they were both in the bed under the covers. He had to have been laying right on top of them. He ended up falling back asleep in our bed.

As you probably recall -- the original intent in moving the beds around was to give him a bed he could safely get out of himself so that he could look for his own Bobo in the middle of the night and either get back into his own bed or crawl into ours without making me have to get up. Alas, I had not counted on his love of all things that switch on and off (most of our nightly dinners are eaten "disco-style" with the lights dimming up and down and us saying, "Mace, leave them ON" over and over). Now that he is able to get to the light switches and the lamps, he's delighted to turn on ALL the lights at 5:27 a.m. This morning, he was headed to Casey's room to flip the switches on when I headed him off in the hallway.

Still, though, I don't think it's time to wean him from the Bobo. All I need to do is unscrew all the lightbulbs in the house every night before bed and then screw them back in every morning. That's all. Definitely not time to wean from the Bobo.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Biggest Loser 9

I love Biggest Loser -- and not because I eat a big bowl of Lucky Charms while watching it every week. It's inspirational to see people who have clearly struggled their entire lives with self-esteem, guilt, and pain turn it around and realize that the weight was usually not really the issue and that it was only the symptom of something messed up in their heads. I cry every week when someone gets sent home -- it kills me.

Day 1 is the best -- they're all puking and crying and pretending they're going to quit when you know it's just selective editing on the show's part and nobody really was going to quit. You get an idea of who's the cocky one (usually a woman), talking all kinds of smack -- this person is usually one of the first three to leave the show because they're all talk and no actual sweating. I didn't see any smack-talking ones this season last night. They all seem pretty humble -- though did you see Daris' mom turn into a crazy womon when Jillian started egging her on? That Jillian is going to get her eyes scratched out one of these days.

So I watched the first show of Season 9 last night and have the following predictions:

1. The Gray Team is going all the way -- at least one of them (maybe even both) will be in the Final Four.

2. I like Daris' hair and his mom's a pistol (the Orange Team), but I'm not sure Daris will make it past episode 4. He's young enough that he thinks he still has time and when it starts getting really tough, I'm afraid he won't push himself enough to make the cut. I hope he will at least make it to the Makeover Week, though, cause I can't wait to see what happens to his hair.

3. The Green Team is going to sneak up on the other teams -- they're quiet. The quiet teams always win immunity and then end up on the Final Four by keeping their heads down.

4. The Red Team from Texas will go far because they have that internal competition thing going.

5. My prediction for the Final Four: Koli from the Gray Team, One of the women from the Green Team, Lance from the Red Team, and Michael from the White Team.

If I'm right, I'm going to reward myself with Ding Dongs.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Marley & Me & Joe

Last night after I got the boys to bed (technically I only get Casey to bed -- Grandma puts Mace to bed; I'm not sure what I'll do when Grandma leaves in a couple of weeks to go to San Diego -- not only will I have to put both my children to bed every night for a week, I will also have to cook all the meals, make the lunches for school, and get the coffee ready the night before so that it starts brewing before we get up; who am I kidding? There's no way that coffee will get made the night before . . .) Joe was watching Marley & Me on Cinemax. I didn't really want to watch that movie because when all my friends went to see the movie when it was in the movie theaters, they all posted status updates on Facebook while they were still in the movie that were all a variation of "Aaaagh! I am bawling watching this movie with snot running out of my nose and grown men are sobbing around me!!" So notwithstanding the fact that it was only a month ago that we had to have Chance put down, I knew that watching that movie would only end with me weeping and pulling my hair out. But on my way from the master bathroom to the bedroom door I got sucked in by the movie and couldn't stop watching -- ten minutes later, Joe said, "Why are you standing there?" I said, "Because I don't want to watch this movie." "Yes," he said, "I can see you don't want to watch it. Just sit down."

Had I known that so many scenes in that movie mirrored so much of our life with Chance I would have run from the room, but I didn't and an hour later when I was curled up in a ball spasming with grief and spewing snot, Joe just gave me a pat and said, "Well that was rough." My husband is not known for lengthy comforting speeches in moments of sadness, but I have to share something with you that he may never forgive me for, but you will love Flamingo Joe and want him for your very own after I tell you this:

We had to put Chance down the day before Thanksgiving and we both knew that neither of us could do it by ourselves, so we went together to the vet and held the dog while the vet searched for several minutes for a vein that wasn't collapsed so she could put the needle in. And when Chance slipped away it was so awful to know he just wasn't there anymore -- so horrible. I was a mess. So we left the vet and went home -- me sobbing all the way and Joe just completely silent. After we'd been home for half an hour or so I noticed Joe wasn't around so I asked Grandma if he'd gone to the store or something. She said no, Joe had said he wasn't feeling well and had gone upstairs to lie down. I thought to myself, "Oh no, on top of this horrible day with the dog, now Joe is getting sick and will have a horrible Thanksgiving." So I went upstairs to check on him. I sat on the edge of the bed and put my hand on his back and said, "Are you okay? Your mom said you weren't feeling good. What hurts?" And he said, "Just my heart."

I miss that dog so much I couldn't even bear to post a blog about him until now. I'd love to get another English Setter one day, but it will have to wait until Grandma gets back from San Diego -- she takes care of feeding the dog.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Musical Beds

For the upteenth night in a row, I was awakened last night by the sound of "Mommmmmmy!!! BoBo!" at around 4:30 a.m. The routine is the same each night --- I hear the call of the lost bobo, stumble out of bed and limp (do you find that now that you're over 40 your joints don't actually function until you're out of bed for at least 5 or 10 minutes?) into Mace's room where I find him standing in his crib asking for his bobo, which he has dropped out of the crib while sleeping. I kneel down on all fours and sweep my arm around underneath the crib hoping to find the bobo without having to turn the light on. By the time I find it and give it back to Mace he's saying, "Mommy's bed?" so I pick him up and bring him into our bed where he falls back asleep for another couple of hours, three if I'm lucky.

I know what you're thinking -- you're thinking that if I cured him of the bobo addiction, I wouldn't have to be hunting for the bobo in the middle of the night. That would be too much trouble for Grandma (who puts Mace to sleep at naps and bedtime and would be the one to have to suffer the bobo to no-bobo transition) -- so I decided today that the solution to this problem would be to get rid of the crib altogether and put the boy in a big boy bed. My thinking on this is that when he loses the bobo in the middle of the night he can just get out of bed, find the bobo on his own and then get back in his own bed. If he wants to come into our bed at 4:30 a.m., that's fine -- he can just walk himself in here and crawl up in the bed. The key here is that mommy does not have to get out of bed at 4:30.

So we played Musical Beds (not the adult-themed game you are surely thinking of) today. Mace's crib was dismantled and removed from his room:

And the bed that was in Casey's room that has the slats on the sides was moved into Mace's room:

(Mace taught himself to read during this process. It took awhile.)

Once Casey's old bed was Mace's new bed, Casey needed a new bed, too, so he got Grandma's bed:

(Right after I took that picture, Casey stuck one of his legs out to the side and said, "Hey look, if I sit like this I look like Princess Leah!") And before Flamingo Joe's brother and sisters get all offended on Grandma's behalf, Grandma had been requesting a twin bed in place of the double bed in her room for some time now. So we moved the twin bed with no side rails that had been in Mace's room with no one sleeping on it down to Grandma's. I was very happy that we accomplished the bed switch without having to spend any money whatsoever. Though it looks like I'll have to buy a bedspread for Casey that fits his new bed -- Princess Leah or not, even Casey draws the line at floral quilts.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Not Funny

So Joe paid for a movie "on demand" last night on Fios -- Funny People. Guess what -- not funny at all. You might be surprised that a movie about comedians isn't funny. But it isn't. It's a lot like that movie Billy Crystal made about himself growing old. Also not funny.

But these pictures -- they're funny. Well, this one is only so-so funny:

But this one is hilarious, right?

Okay, well maybe there were one or two funny parts in that movie. But nothing nearly so funny as a picture of my kid's face in a tube.

On Friday night Joe and I went on a date -- it's been several weeks I think since only the two of us went out. I hear you're supposed to do that regular-like to keep your marriage all healthy and strong, but sometimes we go out to dinner and just look at each other. Not because we don't have anything to say -- but because sometimes Flamingo Joe just doesn't say anything. Anyway, we went out on a real date to dinner and a movie. We saw It's Complicated -- I won't bore you with my critique of that one because it involves me launching into a commentary on how Hollywood often has its characters make the right choice in the end and how that's really strange considering how often preachers talk about how Hollywood condones all sorts of icky behavior (notwithstanding all that gratuitous sex -- yes, that's bad -- oh and the "F" word -- waaaay too much of that in Funny People, not It's Complicated -- though I have to say there was waaay too much of Alec Baldwin's nekkid bottom in It's Complicated -- ick -- where was I?). So while we were out at the movies, just me and Flamingo Joe, holding hands and eating popcorn, I remembered those Christmases and Thanksgivings the first few years Joe and I were married and we would get bored on Christmas Day or Thanksgiving Day and spend all day at the movie theater because we didn't have anything better to do than watch three movies in a row and have Twizzlers and popcorn for lunch and dinner. And it almost felt just like we were young with no kids and just happy to be hanging out at the movies. Until we got back to the truck after the movie and Joe said something about how he was turning into his dad. I didn't want to assume that he was thinking of the same goofy character trait I was thinking of, so I said, "huh?" And he pointed to the back of the truck. See, the way you know we've been married a long time is that when we got into the truck at home, I glanced at those three huge bags of garbage that we were about to take to the movies with us and it didn't bother me at all.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The (Belated) Christmas Update

Have I ever shown you my tacky white Christmas tree? I bought it super-cheap last year (2008) at Target right before Christmas. It has super-tacky colored lights -- you know how I feel about colored lights. So I'm not sure what possessed me last year to buy the tacky tree. I take that back -- now that I'm thinking about it, I do recall thinking that this Christmas (2009) we'd be able to afford a real tree for inside the house and I could move the tacky white one out onto the porch for the annual Christmas party. Well, not only were we unable to afford a real tree this year, we were also unable to afford a Christmas party, so the tacky white tree went right back in the front window at Christmas this year. The boys, you will note, did not care one bit about how tacky that tree is and hung the ornaments, rearranged them every day for the next three weeks, and piled up random toys and partially eaten biscuits between the tree and the wall (all of which I found yesterday when I took the tree down).

The boys had a great Christmas -- so sorry I didn't update you with that info a week ago but we were busy playing Mario Carts and I could not be bothered to update my blog. We made cookies for Santa the day or two before and he ate them with gusto, though I need to remember to buy Santa a new beard next year -- he kept pulling his beard down and sticking the cookies in with most of his face showing -- I kept waiting for Casey to yell, "Aaagh! Santa's pulling his face off!" and blowing our cover, but he didn't.

We played it safe this year (you recall last year's fiasco, I'm sure) -- instead of coordinating our sneaking downstairs to catch Santa, we set up the security camera to broadcast Santa into Casey's room. Pretty failsafe except for that beard business.

Casey wanted three things from Santa this year -- a Nintendo DS, a hamster, and a Rubix Cube. Casey really only wanted a Nintendo DS and a hamster. He had no idea what a Rubix Cube is. Joe wanted the Rubix Cube. Santa brought Casey Wii games and a Lego Star Wars watch. No Nintendo DS. No hamster. Casey wasn't disappointed, though, because I told him that Santa likely knew that he had destroyed his Playstation Portable this year and his mom and dad refused to allow him to have another portable gaming device unless he saved up his money and bought it himself. As for the hamster, I told Casey that Santa knew that the hamster would likely die in his own filth because mom and dad would not be cleaning up after the hamster and that it would be Casey's job to do it and since he has trouble getting himself clean, Santa didn't think he was ready for a hamster. Casey asked me how Santa knew these things and I said, "I texted him and told him." Santa is very technologically advanced.

Mace got a new GeoTrax train set and a Cars raceway. As you can plainly see, he did not get any shirts. Maybe next year.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Lucky Charms of Resolutions

Well it's that time of year again where the promise of a clean slate compels us to make silly promises to ourselves that we can't possibly keep. So in the spirit of welcoming a fresh new year that we all hope will be soooooo much better than the year heretofore, I hereby resolve to blog once a day this new year.

(big dramatic pause)

Stop laughing.

The way I see it, blogging once a day will be good for us all. For you, well, you're reading now aren't you? It only follows that if you're reading now, you'd prefer to be reading the blog every day unless reading my blog is like Lucky Charms cereal for you -- you know, it's great to eat once a week or so but if you eat it every day the roof of your mouth gets sore and you have to swear off Lucky Charms altogether for several months. Hmmm. Well, anyway -- I'm pretty sure it will be beneficial for me to blog every day just to keep me from slipping over the edge of the abyss into sheer insanity. If you know me, there's no need for me to explain. If you don't, you have an entire year's worth of blog entries coming to figure it out. Lucky you!

Happy 2010!

See you tomorrow!