Saturday, February 27, 2010

Extreme Makeover: Church Edition

I can't post anything lengthy tonight because my entire body hurts from climbing up and down a ladder for the past few days and I just want to lay down . . . but, before I collapse, I wanted to show you why I haven't posted for the last three days. I was actually legitimately busy (as opposed to being illegitimately busy doing things like taking care of my kids and cleaning my house). So there's nothing really humorous about this slide show, unless you consider the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Woman climbing up and down a ladder funny. The music is Welcome Home by Shaun Groves -- it's a song about the remodel God works in our lives when we invite Him in. So enjoy my last three days . . .

I'll check in with you tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I Ha' Dat!

Though you can't tell it from that picture, Mace is really suffering from allergies this week (and Heidi, so sorry, but I tried to get your kids to look at the camera when I was taking the picture, but they were so excited about actually being inside a Mario video game that they couldn't be bothered to turn and look at the camera -- you would think that being children of a real photographer they would have developed a Pavlovian response to the sound of a camera's lens cap being pulled off and would automatically turn to face the camera, but apparently that's not how it works). On Sunday afternoon, he was feeling pretty poorly so we sat on the sofa together and watched Holmes on Homes on HGTV.

In case you've never watched the show, Holmes is a contractor who fixes botched/unfinished jobs other contractors screwed up. It's great -- he walks around a house, pulls down a bit of drywall to see what's back there and suddenly the homeowner is getting a brand new kitchen with granite countertops. The episode Mace and I watched on Sunday involved a new septic system, fixing a crawl space underneath a house, and re-doing a bathroom (all done wrong the first time, of course). I didn't realize until about ten minutes into the show that Mace was transfixed by this show -- he'll watch TV so long as the channel is on Nicktoons, Sprout, or Disney, but he typically doesn't watch other adult-geared shows -- well, with the exception of Cash Cab, which really makes no sense 'cause it's not like he knows the answers to the cabbie's questions and the scenery in the cab never changes. But I digress.

At some point during Holmes on Homes, Mace started interacting with and relating to the activity onscreen:

When Holmes used a drill, Mace said, "I ha' dat."

When Holmes brought out the ladder, Mace said, "I ha' dat."

When Holmes was using big buckets to move dirt around, Mace said, "I ha' dat."

When Holmes used a crowbar to tear out some 2x4s, Mace said, "I ha' dat."

After a few minutes of this completely one-sided dialogue, I realized what Mace was saying ("I have that") and doing -- my two year old was letting me know that he and Holmes were exactly the same -- so long as you were judging by the tools.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Reliving the Remodel

My mom is right. She accused me of spending all my time showering instead of blogging for the last three or four days (since the water's been fixed). I have been taking wonderful stink-free showers. For four days straight I've been chomping on lovely fresh ice with no aftertaste. I love eating ice -- it was especially good while I was pregnant -- don't know why -- but lots of things tasted and smelled better while I was pregnant. The smell of fresh cut wood, for example, could send me into a trance -- mmmmm -- I loved going to Lowes while I was pregnant, which was a good thing, given that I was in charge of supplies during our big remodel project. Our contractor, Jamie, always sent me to Lowes when he needed anything because I was always able to get help (and, of course, I was the one with the debit card). I was 7-9 months pregnant during the remodel, so I was huuuuuuge. I would waddle into Lowes with a list in my pocket and make my way over to the lumber. Eventually, I learned to just grab a salesman on my way in. Salesmen don't typically argue with pregnant women. I tried to play it close-to-the-vest with them at first, "Excuse me? Can you help me with the drywall mud?" I'd ask. "Sure," the poor unsuspecting salesman would say, "how many 50 pound buckets do you need?" "Just 15 -- and these other 17 things on my list," I'd say while I smiled sweetly and rubbed my back with one hand and my belly with the other. I'm sure that the closer I got to my due date, those guys were taking bets on when they'd get to stop helping me.

I was also the one who met the inspectors when they came to sign off on whatever stage of construction we were in. At the end of the inspection, the inspector invariably said something along these lines, "Well Mrs. Flamingo, normally I would want to see an actual wall here where this big blank space is, but I can see you're probably in a hurry to move this project along, so I'll just trust you all to take care of that." I'm not kidding -- this is the reason Grandma still doesn't have a garage door and the new ceiling in the playroom doesn't meet up with the old one.

One of my other favorite memories from construction was Flamingo Joe and I moving our bed around from partially completed room to partially completed room until we finally ended up putting our bed in the breakfast nook for a while. By the time I went into labor, we weren't even able to sleep in the same bed (either because I just wasn't sleeping well and kept him up or because I got the last available bed space and he was sleeping on an air mattress somewhere). Honestly, I can't remember where he was sleeping the night I went into labor. I was in Grandpa's old room (now Mace's room) upstairs and Grandma was in the framed-in, but otherwise wall-less space that was eventually going to become the master bedroom around the corner. Grandpa was sleeping on the porch because he didn't stay in Idaho like we told him to until after the construction was finished (we told him there was nowhere for him to sleep if he came back early and we meant it -- don't push a pregnant woman in the middle of a large construction project or you will end up sleeping on the porch). I woke up at 2 or 3 a.m. with back pains and started pacing. Grandma heard me because she didn't have a door to keep out the noise (and I'm not sure she ever sleeps, actually), so she came in and told me I was in labor. I had never gone into labor with Casey, so it was a good thing Grandma was there. Joe appeared from wherever he was sleeping (the kitchen? the bathroom? under the stairs?) and drove me to the hospital. And the rest is history.

Or it will be history -- as soon as we finish the house.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Olympics Addiction

Casey and I have an Olympics addiction. We bought Mario and Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games for the Wii at Christmas, so we've been bobsledding, ice skating, and ski jumping for the past two and half months. So when the real Olympics came, Casey was ready. Unfortunately for him, all the real excitement at the Olympics takes place between the hours of 8 p.m. and midnight on school nights, so he gets to watch cross-country skiing and curling during the afternoons after school and then 1/2 an hour of whatever exciting event is on in the evening before his bedtime. After watching 2 or 3 hours of curling one day last week, he was upstairs on our bed at 7:45, waiting for prime time Olympics to start. He is such a fan of the Olympics that I could tell he didn't want to admit that he just really didn't like curling. But that evening, at 7:45, he turned to me and said, "Mom, it's only 15 minutes until the real Olympics come on. I'm so excited." "What's wrong?" I asked, "Don't you like curling?" "No" he said, "I can't figure out what those brooms are for and well, it's a little boring." Poor thing, you could tell it really pained him to admit that there was something in the Olympics that just isn't very exciting.

I'm more fascinated by the fact that all those female athletes knew that they would be on TV broadcasts all over the world and yet didn't take the time to get their hair cut before flying off to Vancouver. Seriously, most of them have long hair that clearly hasn't even been trimmed in a year, possibly longer. They pull off their helmets and goggles and their frizzed out dead ends just fly all around. Would it have hurt to get a fresh cut before they headed out to the biggest moment in their careers? I feel so bad for their poor mothers, who are surely torn between the pride of seeing their daughter on the podium and the shame of knowing all their friends are watching their daughters' dead ends on TV.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mission Complete: The Great Water Fix of 2010

I need to warn you at the outset that this blog post is highly, highly technical. But first, a song (and a jig, if you feel like dancing, and aren't too worn out from watching the Olympics):

The water is fixed
The water is fixed
Clean water today
The water is fixed

We are celebrating the successful completion of Steps 3 through 396 of the Great Water Fix of 2010 -- ta-dah!!!

'Tis beautiful, no? Look -- there's water in them -- and it's not yellow or (bleck) brown. I know you are jealous and want one of these for yourself, so I will walk you through all the various components so you will know how to build one in your front yard.

Ready? Follow me.

First we have the black thing that makes a noise:

And it has pipes coming out of it, so you don't want to forget those when you're building your own. Very important -- pipes. Pick up a few at Lowe's.

And then we have the silver thing that plugs in but isn't connected yet because we are waiting for some black things that my husband assures me will blow bubbles. The children are very excited about the silver bubble machine -- or they would be if I told them that's what it was for, which I won't, because Mace might take it and put it in the oven:

And note that there are more pipes on this side of the bubble machine. You'll want to go back to Lowe's and get some more of those because I'm sure you didn't get enough pipes the first time -- you can return the ones you got on your last trip while you're there because I'm sure they're the wrong size. Oh -- and don't forget that purple goop that holds the pipes together. You'll need two of those if you have a two year old, 'cause the first one will go missing. Which reminds me, I need to check the oven.

Next we have the brand spanking new pressure tank -- it does something with pressure, so if you want any pressure, you're going to need one. I took this picture with the camera under the trash can that was covering the pressure tank. Very artistic shot, don't you agree?

Our old pressure tank never had the pleasure of being covered by a trash can, so I'm not sure why this one needs to be, but overall, it enhances the look of the entire set-up.

Next we have the pipes that connect the tank where we dump bleach in to the tank where we blow bubbles:

So when you go back to Lowe's this time, make sure you get one of those little pipes and a T-shaped thingie to join the pipes together. And don't forget a pipe that bends.

As I was gazing upon the grandeur of the Great Water Fix of 2010 this afternoon, I did have one thought:

Were we supposed to get a permit for this?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Casa Flamingo Drive-In

Last week, Mace became obsessed with the oven. Several times a day on Thursday and Friday he pulled all the pots and pans out of the cabinet and put them in and out of the oven several times.

At some point on Thursday afternoon, we discovered that Mace had apparently been feeding his oven obsession for longer than we realized because he brought me this (which he had just discovered and taken out of the oven):

"Me cooked car."

Since the oven was not on, he clearly had not just cooked the car -- he had to have put the car in the oven several days earlier and then we cooked something without knowing the car was in there. You can't see it, but the windows are all melted out and the inside of the car is completely fused all over itself. The wheels are completely melted.

I have a few thoughts to share in regard to the cooked car:

1. The boy clearly takes after his mother.

2. How horrible are my cooking skills that I can't differentiate between the smell of melting/burning/possibly igniting car and pizza burning off the bottom of the oven? And . . .

3. This poor guy here has no idea what hideous death is in his future:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Router is Out(er)

I am posting via cell phone (technology know no bounds) because our router is out.  So this is just your notification that we'll be back in touch as soon as we're back online.  In the meantime, let's see if I can post a photo with this.  If it works, that picture is Mace, the first time I took him through the car wash, which was immediately following our visit to the pediatrician, who told me that Mace had the worst ear infection he'd seen that day.  He freaked out in the car wash. At the time, I thought I was multitasking by getting the car washed on the way home from the doctor, but in hindsight maybe it was mean.  If the photo upload didn't work, then I'm sorry you wasted your time here today.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Stupid Camper Top

Several months ago Flamingo Joe bought a camper top for his dad's pickup truck. Flamingo Joe has been driving the truck since his dad is now in Idaho and doesn't need to be driving a pickup truck around (or any other motorized vehicle, for that matter -- the only reason he managed not to kill anyone with his truck in the last four or five years is because, though he drove like a texting teenager, the speedometer never got above 35 -- so when he swerved and hit the curb, instead of jumping the curb and hitting pedestrians on the sidewalk, the car just . . . stopped).

The thing about FJ and the camper top is that FJ didn't leave it on the truck for very long (a few weeks, maybe) before he took it off and the game of Musical Camper Top began. In this game, I am always the loser. Here's how it starts:

FJ: [yelling for me at the front door] "HEY FROLICKING FLAMINGO (okay, he doesn't really call me that at home -- or anywhere else), CAN YOU COME OUT HERE AND HELP ME FOR A SECOND?"

Me: [feeling guilty that FJ is outside doing something really important and my Wifey Sense had not kicked in so that I knew already to be out there helping him (I'm beginning to think the Wifey Sense is not really a sense at all)] "BE RIGHT THERE!" [rushing around getting shoes on, (possibly pants, depending on the day), running downstairs so as not to keep him waiting].

Then when I get outside, he says: "Can you help me move this?" He's standing beside the camper top, which is propped up against the house -- or sitting on top of a water tank -- or propped up against the other side of the house.

And I think, "Dang. It. He got me AGAIN!" Because he has pulled this little trick on me at least three times already -- calling me outside without telling me why, making me feel all needed and wanted, and then making me lift that stupid, excruciatingly awkward, abominably heavy camper top and move it to its new location. But that's not the worst part -- the worst part is having to set it down. There are no handles -- so no matter how you do it, your fingers get crushed.

I hate that camper top so much I couldn't even bear to post a picture of it.

I'm not doing it again. The last time we moved it, it ended up on the back of the truck and that's where it's going to stay until Casey is tall enough to lift it or Grandma bulks up a little.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

(New game: on Wednesdays, I'll post a picture and you write the blog post, or a caption, or any other snarky comment. You can post your caption/comment here on the blog or on the Facebook post. So this is either a great idea to encourage audience participation, or . . . a not-so-clever ploy to comply with the technical requirement to post something every day.)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Another Victim

Our stinky water has claimed another victim --

Our $900 dishwasher purchased only a few years ago after we moved into this house has joined the ranks of a $5000 Culligan water filtration system and every single plumbing fixture in our house and had to be junked last weekend. So Grandma let us move her dishwasher from her apartment into our kitchen. Very nice of her, knowing as she must, that her dishwasher will also die soon.

Flamingo Joe is working methodically on the fix, however. On Sunday, he successfully completed Step 2 of the Great Water Fix of 2010. Well, I assume it was successful -- he messed with a bunch of wires that I assume were connected to the electricity and he didn't electrocute himself and we still have power in the house. That's success in my book.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Winners and Losers

You know the Flamingos are having a party when both grills come out.

Last night was the annual Super Bowl Party at the Flamingos. Technically, this is Flamingo Joe's party -- a couple of years ago he sprang it on me the week before (or maybe it was just last year) -- "This weekend I've invited people over to watch the Super Bowl." Excuse me? Who are these people? You don't have any people that I don't have. Where did you find these people? "They're work friends." You have work friends? Are you sure? I didn't know you talked to people at work? Don't you work with computers all day? Do they know that they are your work friends? Apparently they did because they came over and we grilled hamburgers and watched the Super Bowl on the porch. It was lovely.

This year it was about 10 degrees too cool to watch the game on the porch, so we moved the party to the Mancave:

We were heavy on the Colts' fans -- the only Saints' fan that showed up nearly got killed, so he left. The Colts' Gnome came and the Colts' Touchdown Teddy, but alas and alack, they had drunk too much of that blue punch someone brought and passed out before halftime. So the Colts' fans went home muy disappointed.

Mace, however, scored bigtime. Somebody rubbed ashes under his eyes so he'd look like a football player and next thing you know, he and Blythe are all cozied up next to each other sharing a cookie. Blythe likes to play with trucks and motorcycles, too, so it's really a match made in heaven.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Escape Artist

Two nights ago, Mace woke up at 4:30 a.m., got out of bed, turned on his light, went out of his room and into the playroom where he retrieved the trains he'd been playing with the day before, went back into his room, climbed into bed and (we think, but aren't positive) went back to sleep. I think he may actually be sleepwalking, but I can't be sure. Or he just wants to play with his trains at 4:30 a.m. Either is a distinct possibility. Flamingo Joe was a sleepwalker as a child. His mom and dad used to tie a rope to his ankle when they went camping so he wouldn't wander off in the woods in the middle of the night.

The most troubling thing about Mace's little adventure, however, is that neither Joe nor I woke up when Mace started wandering around at 4:30 a.m. And our room is right next to his. Grandma was on her way to the bathroom when she heard him (on the monitor) get up and open his door. She waited to hear the squeak of the door at the top of the stairs (I've been complaining about that squeak for several weeks now, but I'm thinking the squeak gets to stay permanently now) so that she could meet him at the bottom of the stairs and take him back to bed. So my mind started racing to the horrible things that could have happened if no one had been awake and he had just kept right on going out his door, down the stairs, out the front door and into the creek. Being a loving wife, I dumped my worst fears on Flamingo Joe and that very night he had installed these on all the doors leading out onto the porch (except 2 -- we have 6 exterior doors at our house, cut him some slack):

Both boys were asleep during the installation and didn't notice the chains until we were leaving to take Casey to school the following morning. "Wha' dat?" Mace asked. "Something to keep you safe" we said. When Mace and I got back from the school run, I went into the kitchen to get some coffee. As I was getting out the sugar ("you can have all the sugar you want" -- name that movie), I heard the rolling office chair being rolled across the floor in the front room. I walked into the front room and Mace was standing up on the rolling chair, reaching for the chain. We were really hoping Joe was not going to have to install 9 deadbolts this weekend.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Meet Snaggletooth

This is Casey. He is 7. I'm telling you this because you may not recognize him now without both of his upper two front teeth. Have I told you before that one of my greatest fears about having children before I had children was that their teeth would get loose and they [shuddering] would want me to help pull the teeth out? I've been blogging for over a year now, so it's pretty likely that you've heard all my stories and I'm now recycling them without even knowing it. Regardless, I now know that what I should have been afraid of was projectile vomiting at 2:00 a.m., and the tooth thing is basically a non-issue.

In the car on the way home from school today Casey asked me if I wanted to play Mario Karts with him when we got home. I said, "Sure." Casey said, "I'm going to be Luigi." I was thinking about something else, so it took me several seconds to process what he said. When I realized he was trying to steal my favorite character, I perked up and said, "Heeey! I'm always Luigi!" (I can sound just like a 7 year old when I want to). Casey laughed and said, "I know! Did you forget Luigi was your character?" I said, "Well, my head is very full, sometimes stuff just falls out." Casey shot back, "Well aren't you glad I was here to catch it and stuff it back in?" That boy, he's destined to be a grade A smart-aleck like his mom.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I think I may be wasting money on these children's schooling.

And yes, this picture was taken just after dinner but before showers, so that means Mace has worn nothing but pajamas for three straight days (not the same pair, though, so that counts for something).

A few years ago, when Casey was still in diapers, Grandma and I were out running errands and for some reason we'd stripped Casey down to his diaper -- either he'd had a blowout diaper somewhere and we'd changed the diaper but didn't have any clean clothes for him, or he'd gotten his clothes wet by spilling something on them, I don't know. But he was wearing a diaper and that was it. We decided to go through the drive-through at Burger King, but it was closed, so Grandma suggested we go in. I said no way, I am not taking my child into Burger King with nothing but a diaper on, what kind of hick do you think I am. Grandma said something along the lines of get over yourself, don't be a snob, it's not like you'll know anyone in there anyway. So, shocked at being called a snob by dear sweet little Grandma Elsie, I put the boy on my hip and in we went. No sooner had we gotten in line at the counter, then a partner from the large law firm where I was working at the time got in line right behind us, recognized me, looked at Casey kind of strange, then looked away like I hadn't worked on two projects for him within the previous 6 months. I was mortified.

So today, when Mace was home from school for the third day in a row and Grandma decided she really had to go to the store, she said something along the lines of you go on downstairs and work and I'll take Mace with me to the store. Then she looked at me and said, with a little lift to her eyebrows, I'll just take him in his pajamas. Immediately, my stomach knotted up and I broke into a cold sweat, but I knew Grandma was trying to get a rise out of me, so I said something along the lines of that's fine, I won't be there, but I hope you see someone you know there. She really took him in his pajamas, but if she saw someone she knew while she was there she didn't let on when she got back.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Buses and Trains

When I was starting 8th grade, my family moved from Macon, Georgia to West Green, Georgia. Not too long after we moved to West Green, my sister turned 16 and started driving so my parents gave her a little Toyota truck with a stick shift. I want to say that truck was yellow, but one of my family members can correct me if I'm wrong in the comments. So for a year or so we rode the bus from West Green into Douglas every morning to go to school. I'd never ridden the bus before and it was fun for about a day before it was really not that fun at all, but I could read the whole time on the bus so it evened out. But eventually, we were rescued from the bus by the little Toyota truck (how my father taught my sister how to drive that stick shift is ABPA [another blog post altogether] and perhaps she can guest blog about the experience one day -- but let's just say I remember screaming and lots of tears, mostly on my father's part). But I digress.

Many many many many mornings and only on the many many many many mornings when we were running late (not ever my fault at all, by the way), we were late to school because of trains. I hated to be late for anything (I've gotten over that -- there are lots of things I just plain don't mind being late for nowadays, but again, that's ABPA) and especially for school because I needed that 10 or 15 minutes before the bell rang to take my oboe to the band room. I had to take the oboe home every night so that Mr. O'Brien would think I actually practiced it, so that meant I had to remember to bring it back every day for 6th period band practice. I still have nightmares that involve me being on a band bus heading for a high school football game and I've forgotten my oboe -- even though I didn't play the oboe during marching season. In my dream, I'm panicking because I've just realized I don't have it and am trying to come up with a way to not get kicked out of band. In real life, I never forgot my oboe and I got to sit next to Chanc Logue sometimes on the bus, so band trips on the bus were way more fun than bus rides to school. But again, I digress.

This morning, I relived my teenage angst waiting for this train to get the heck out of the way so I could get Casey to school (and yes, we were already running late):

It really was an eventful morning, actually. A few minutes before we got to the train tracks, I had turned the corner at Benjamin and Sligh and Mace's car seat fell over. I heard him saying, "Mooooooooommmmyyyyy" in a strained kind of voice and when I looked in the review mirror all I saw were his feet turned sideways where I usually see his head and chest sitting upright, safe and secure in the car seat. Apparently, his car seat had not been buckled back into the seat belt when Joe had moved the car seat from Grandma's car into my car over the weekend or (more likely) the seat belt had been accidently unbuckled when Casey was climbing from the middle seat into the back seat this morning. I choose to believe that it was the latter and that I have not been driving around for two or three days under the false belief that my 2 year old was actually safe in my car. Regardless, when I made the turn at Benjamin and Sligh, his car seat flipped over on its side and I had to have Casey pull him upright again. So when we stopped for the train I had to just take the seatbelt all the way across his lap so that at least he was halfway secure:

He's in his pajamas because he stayed home from school again today because he's still feeling a mite poorly. He was in those pajamas until he changed into a different pair of pajamas tonight. And please do not show this photo to a fireman or policeman or our insurance agent because there are so many things wrong with the way he's buckled into that car seat. Someone will probably pull this photo off my blog and use it in a child safety training seminar as an example of really poor parenting.

In the end, Casey got to school right as the bell rang. And then on the way back home, we got stopped by that exact same train going the other direction. Seriously, I started singing Material Girl and I'm Still Standing -- I was that thrown back to my high school days.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Ringtail Ringtone

Here's an update on the new phone -- I know how to answer it now, so that's good. And I managed to figure out how to get my email to actually download -- apparently with these Motorola Droid phones, you have to have a Google email account if you actually want to consistently get your email to download. That's not how it's designed to be, but that's how it is, which is really not great, but I don't have time to write to the president of Motorola to complain, so I created a google email account and then have all my work and home email redirect to it. The only problem with this set-up is that when my clients email me and I want to answer them from my phone, they get an email from "" -- not the height of professionalism. But neither is my King Julien ringtone and the fact that every time the phone rings and I hear him say "Hahahahaha! I did it! Gimme some love! The plan worked! . . . I am robot king of the monkey things!" I fall over laughing and can't even answer the phone for the giggling.