Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Karate Teacher v. Flamingo Joe

A point of clarification:

Yesterday, in my Karate Testing post, I told you that Casey's Karate teacher is "sooooo much tougher than Flamingo Joe." Well -- and maybe you saw this coming -- I got in trouble for that. In the car tonight, Flamingo Joe says, "Whaddya mean I'm not as tough?"

So -- here's the point of clarification -- when I said that the Karate teacher is "tougher" I meant that he is much more strict, not that he could take more kicks to the abdomen than my husband, which he might not be able to do. My husband's a bamboo farming, software consulting, handymanning, tractor driving drummer -- even the Karate teacher couldn't take him down. So are we all clear now that my husband is definitely more of a man than the Karate teacher?

Okay, good.

In other Flamingo news -- Mace is potty-trained. Do you hear the angels singing? Do you hear the Pampers' and Huggies' CEOs gnashing their teeth? A couple of days ago, Mace started running off to the bathroom by himself and coming out three or four minutes later with no pants on. Turns out he was actually taking care of business in there all by himself.

So now when he squats down like this and bites his lower lip, he's just squatting. And that's all.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Karate Testing

Casey's belt testing in karate took place last week. (My apologies to Dr. Kinnamon for that odd passive voice sentence but the alternative active voice is "Casey was belt-tested in karate last week." And that just sounds weird.) This was his first year in karate and even though I think it was difficult for him at times (that karate teacher is soooo much tougher than Flamingo Joe -- no offense, honey), overall I think he enjoyed it.

The interesting thing about karate classes is that I just can't help Casey with it. Very tough position for me to be in as it completely goes against my inherent controlling nature to not be able to tell him how to do something the right way. Occasionally, I would ask him to show me whatever he was doing for the tournament or testing and he would move his arms around, punching and blocking and it seemed like maybe something wasn't quite right, but what do I know? I could no more help him with the "forms" or review "white belt three step sparring" with him to save my life. It was all him.

Disregard the very un-karatelike silly band on his wrist -- he's really very serious about karate.

See? Very serious. Look at that face.

And look at that -- he did it without me. He earned his yellow belt all by himself. Sigh.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Potty Training Update #2

We're making progress.

No, really.

Mace now goes to school in underwear, not Pull-Ups, but still has to be taken to the potty every 45 minutes or so because he won't tell anyone that he needs to go and prefers to just wet his pants instead of going to the trouble of mentioning his need.

At home, we usually resort to the tried and true method of letting him run around naked because for some inexplicable reason, when he needs to go and there's nothing there to catch it, he's much more likely to get himself to the potty on his own.

Unfortunately, letting him run around naked means he has discovered that he does, in fact, have boy parts and that they are super super fun to play with. Like -- all the time (I'm pretty sure there's an entire chapter devoted to this in James Dobson's Bringing Up Boys, but I'm way too busy to read it). So now I have delightful conversations like this with my 3 year old (like -- all the time):

Mace: (big gasp!) Ma! It LONG!

Me: Stop playing with it and it won't be long anymore.

Mace: (now pushing on it) No -- it LONG!!

Me: Seriously, son, stop playing with it. I mean it.

Mace: No -- I push it back in.

Me: That won't work -- you can't push it back in -- you have to stop playing with it and it won't be long anymore. Stop it. I mean it. Stop. JOE -- CAN YOU BRING ME SOME UNDERWEAR FOR MACE???

Here's another good one:

Mace: Ma! It popped!

Me: What popped?

Mace: My bottom.

Me: Your bottom popped?

Mace: Uh-huh -- it popped.

It's just so beautiful to see a young child discover that flatulence sounds different when he's naked -- isn't that what parenting is all about? Precious, precious moments.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Scoring the Biggest Loser Predictions

It's now time to review my predictions for the Biggest Loser 9 Final Four and see if I've earned any Ding Dongs.

As to Prediction 1 -- that at least one member of the Gray Team would make it to the Final Four -- score one Ding Dong for me -- Koli made it to the Final Four.

As to Prediction 2 -- that Daris probably wouldn't get past Episode 4, but I hoped he would make it to Makeover Week so we could see what he would look like without all that hair -- score half a Ding Dong for me -- Daris actually made it to the Final Four, so I was wrong on the first part; but he did make it to Makeover Week and looks GREAT without all that hair.

As to Prediction 3 -- no Ding Dongs for this one, the Green Team got wiped out about 3/4 of the way through, I think. The Mom was holding on to a lot of anger, if I remember correctly (which explains why she was so quiet) and it appears to have sabotaged her weight loss efforts.

As to Prediction 4 -- no Ding Dongs for this one, either. The Red Team had some spectacular drama going on there for awhile but made too many enemies and got voted off about halfway through.

As to Prediction 5 -- This was my big Final Four prediction and I was half right and picked two of the four -- Koli and Michael. Okay -- so I only picked "one of the Gray Team," but they were pretty much interchangeable, so I think I'm entitled to two Ding Dongs (one for each correct pick). And don't be getting all technical with me, saying that Prediction 1 and Prediction 5 are redundant picks.

You didn't chime in, so you don't get any Ding Dongs.

I, on the other hand, get 3 1/2. I'm going to start working on them right after I finish this bowl of Lucky Charms.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fountain of Youth

Let me say at the outset that there is nothing wrong with Douglas, Georgia. It's a lovely town with a nice set of one-ways and a bypass, through and around which the entire town's population goes about its daily business, waving to each other with one finger (the index one, not the middle one) from behind their steering wheels. Super nice people. Lovely azaleas. Wonderful churches. And a really big Wal-Mart.

In high school, I worked at the Golden Corral in Douglas to earn the money to pay for my first car --a 1978 baby blue Chevy Malibu. My friend Keith and I sanded it ourselves in an empty tobacco warehouse so that I wouldn't have to pay as much to have it painted. When the cover over the center of the steering wheel came loose one day, I stopped at Revco and picked up some super glue and glued the cover back on while I was driving and didn't realize I had glued my fingertips to the cover until I tried to make a turn.

But I digress.

Upon graduation, most of my friends headed for college at Georgia Southern, University of Georgia, or Valdosta State. But all of those schools were big and scary and still in Georgia and I wanted to go to a small, not-so-scary school in Mars Hill, North Carolina. So I did. And then after college (where I had majored in English -- they didn't have a quilting degree) I wanted to keep reading, so I applied for and got a teaching assistantship at Boise State. I took four years to finish a two year masters degree in English; managed a Fashion Bug for a while; moved to Phoenix for six months and then went back to Boise; managed an art gallery for a while; then Flamingo Joe finally proposed after four years of dating. Got married; moved to San Diego; moved to Georgia for law school; clerked at a firm in Columbus, Georgia; and then ended up in Tampa, Florida.

(When I was interviewing for a summer clerkship with a law firm in Macon, Georgia, the lawyer interviewing me looked at my resume and said, "My . . . you sure are worldly . . . I mean, you've sure been around . . . I mean . . . " I didn't get a callback from that interview and convinced myself that it was because the lawyer was too embarrassed to hire me after having basically called me a brazen hussy during the interview.)

So it's been twenty-three years since I've lived in Douglas, Georgia and I can tell you from experience that the water in Mars Hill, Boise, San Diego, Phoenix, Columbus, and even Macon, Georgia is better than the water in Douglas, Georgia.

And I don't say that to insult Douglas -- I say that to highlight the irony of reading the label on the water containers Grandma brought home from Wal-Mart last week:

I am living in Tampa, Florida, with my very own water treatment plant built by my Idahoan husband sitting in the front yard, drinking water from Douglas, Georgia. And it's not even fancy water! It's not water from a freshwater spring in Douglas, Georgia that can boast of healing minerals. I assume that "PROCESSED BY: Reverse Osmosis" is really just fancy talk for "turn on the faucet and fill up the container with the garden hose."

I am drinking Douglas tap water.

Surely I am not the only person who sees the irony in this.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Toilet Horn

When you are three, about 30% of the time, you feel like this:

And 60% of the time you feel like this:

The other 10% of the time, you feel like pretending the parts that go inside a toilet are a horn:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bamboo Farming

The Hope Springs Eternal Bamboo Farm is officially open for business. You may pre-order your pots of bamboo now for delivery in approximately 6 to 25 years, depending on how large you would like the bamboo. We might have a sign out by then. A pot this size, for example, will cost you $35 to $3,000 (depending upon the rate of inflation) and will be ready in 6 years:

The Hope Springs Eternal Bamboo Farm offers a wide variety of bamboo species (3). There's the Buddha Bamboo:

Except that that's not our Buddha Bamboo. Actually I'm not sure that's Buddha Bamboo at all. But it kind of looks like the fuller, much taller version of our Buddha Bamboo, which is not really impressive at all at this point and not worthy of a photo.

We also (at some point several years from now) will have this variety available for purchase:

It grows into a hedge -- in about three years -- not sure what it's called of course. You'll have to ask Flamingo Joe or our Vietnamese farmer neighbor Henry, who gave us the bamboo and is going into business with Joe.

It was a tough negotiation hammering out the details of the joint venture agreement with Henry. Flamingo Joe said, "Henry what do you say we go into the bamboo business together and split the profits 50/50?" Henry laughed real low, rubbed his chin and then said, "No no no Joe. Let's split 60/40. You get 60, I get 40."

Henry is a very smart man. He probably knew what was going to be involved in getting a bamboo farm up and running -- in his mind whoever digs the really big holes should get 60% of the profits. He does not want to have any responsibility for digging the really big holes . . .

. . .or putting up the bamboo teepees:

When I got home from hanging out at Neiman's eating bonbons (or the skating rink), I was very impressed with the bamboo teepee. It did not occur to me until three hours later when I was in the shower that Flamingo Joe had managed to get that teepee contraption up all by himself (he would tell you that he does all kinds of complicated things all by himself that I never notice or appreciate, but I can assure all of you that I do indeed take note when he straightens the steering rod thingy on the tractor all by himself by lowering the bucket on top of it until it's bent back in place like he did today) -- he tied those ropes a good 12 feet off the ground at the apex of the teepee and somehow managed to get all three sticks standing up at once. And I didn't see the ladder anywhere around. Apparently, to be a good bamboo farmer, you also have to be good at geometry. So you have to dig really big holes and be good at geometry. Or short of being good at geometry, you have to be able to put the ladder away in a hurry so your wife doesn't see it when she comes home.