Wednesday, June 28, 2006

It's a dirty job...

I wind up watching tv with Mr W a lot at night.  There's only so much Nickelodeon a girl can stand, so I take my book and set up camp in our room with him. 

(We won't count how many times he looks over at me to say something only to discover I've nodded off and am drooling over said book.)

We have to find a happy medium, too.  No chick shows, and he lays off on whatever-extreme-fighting match that might be on.  Which leaves us with the History Channel, random celebrity poker shows, and the Discovery Channel (by far my favorite.)  Well, and ESPN, of course.

I've watched so many episodes of American Chopper, I think I can fabricate a gas tank.

I shiver through the Deadliest Catch.  Those guys are just nuts.

But the show that really has my attention right now is Dirty Jobs.

Let me ruin it right now for you, honey.  I think the host, Mike Rowe, is just adorable. 

It's a dirty job, alright, and somebody's gotta do it.   Dig that voice--even when he's covered in the mess of the day, he still sounds fantastic.  :D

We had a dirty job of our own to do last week.

We'd come in, and we were getting all the trash together to throw out.   As I walk in the door, Mr W makes a comment about how "I still smell that weird odor."  Great, I thought.  Here we go again, on how the house smells like ass and it's a subtle testimony to my housecleaning (the lack thereof).

In this house, "smell that weird odor" never ever bodes well.   I'd smelled it too, eau de spoiled milk.   I suggested to him that I thought the kids might've missed their mark, and a wayward wrapper or string cheese had not made it into the trash can but might be languishing amongst the cleaning products box next to it.

I'd seen Mr W with his rear end hanging out the bottom of that cabinet just the other day, so I assumed he'd done a thorough check.

I should know better.  He is just not good with bad smells.   I'd emptied the dishwasher earlier, and the smell was still there.


Cautiously, I opened the cabinet under the sink where the cleaning products live.  I start moving things around, hoping not to find anything toooo awful.  Like a dead mouse or hidden colony of ants.   Or worse, cockroaches setting up shop.

I found liquid under the box of cleaners.  Under everything on that side.  Oh, and a wayward ice cream bar wrapper--hello, eau de spoiled milk.  Mystery almost solved.  I was convinced a bottle of Lysol had leaked or something, and mixed with the wrapper to taint the area in eewww.  

I had one more theory, though.  I ran water through the sink, and watched, and waited.  Sure enough, I was rewarded with drip, drip, drip--we had a leak.

So I called in my own master of the dirty job as backup. 

Turned out it was the garbage disposal.  It's about 10 years old, but in a household like ours, I'd add about 5 years to it just out of respect that it has survived this long.  We have really hard water here, and it had eaten a hole right through the housing. 

Dammit.  I have children to feed.  Dinner dishes to clean.  Why is he using the tip of his screwdriver to explore the rot, opening the hole more?  No! 

At first I panic.  Sure, disposals are not that expensive, but ugh, installation...they always get you there.

Heeeeyy...."If I go get a new one right now, can you install it??"

"Yeah, I think so."

I run out and get one.  We get it out of the package, and he starts working on it.

Why isn't he reading the directions?  Say nothing, woman, let the man work.

He gets going, and I wisely leave the room any time I feel my two cents coming up.  Surprisingly, this is not so hard to do.  I'm watching, and a couple of the comments I did make came in useful.  Otherwise, I was the lovely assistant.  The coolest thing of all is that I threw out quite a bit of stuff, and now when I look under the sink, it's neat.

When he turned it on, and it worked, he was my hero. 

He may never have to do a dish again.

But I wonder, would he mind voice lessons?

Wow, has it really been this long since I was here?

It's ok, it's alright, I got something you gonna like.....oops...shouldn't be singing out loud...

Wow.  You'd think that with everyone home, it'd be easier to write, but as Audrey likes to put it, "No way."

The bad news is I find myself lazy even though I am surrounded by children (my record is 8) and the good news is, the laundry is much reduced as my children will wear pajamas as long as they possibly can--they only change if we're going out.   Oy, it's a little gross, now that I think about it. 

Less laundry....hmm, maybe I'll turn the other cheek a little longer.   It's summer.   Who cares?

I admit, I was surprised when I came home from work on Sunday, and they were all dressed, ready for the trek to Nana's.

We were waiting on Mr W.  He was in the shower.  I went to talk to him, just as he was getting out.   I had a thought, and I giggled.

Never mind that it was a dirty thought.  There is just no recovering from that, no matter how many offers-he-can't-refuse you make afterwards.  I decided to leave him alone, having done enough damage to his psyche at that moment.

I was hanging clothes in Audrey's closet when he came looking for me.  "The kids are in the car.  Let's goooo, McDonald's is screaming their name."

"You know, I could be screaming your name later if you play your cards right."

"You never, ever...." (scream my name)

"Weeelll, Janna (a good friend of mine) once told me that you should never scream any names.  'Oh God' is a much better option...."

"Yeah, yeah, so then you won't be screaming the wrong name?"

"Exactly."  I feel a wicked grin come over my face, as I get really close to him so I can scoot past him and go down the hall.   Not that I have this huge gallery of names to choose from, but one can never be too cautious. 

I really should stop tormenting him. 

Naaaah.  Where's the fun in that?

On to the Six:

Saturday Six - Episode 115

1. You are given a "remote control" that involves life itself. Of these functions, which would you think you'd make the most use of: fast-forward, rewind, or pause?

Pause. Sometimes, you want to be in a particular moment just a little longer...

2. If you could use a "change channel" button to become a totally different person, would you do so?

Oooh!  Sure, why not??  Heh heh, I'm making a list, right now.

3. Do you own a gun? If not, what would it take for you to purchase one?

Not personally, but I know people (:p) I don't need to purchase one.

4. Take the quiz: What piercing are you?

This quiz was a little insulting.  I am an ear piercing.  Boring, according to the quiz.  So what if lots of people have them, each person puts their own spin on what they put in it--while they are hardly daring, they can be still be unique.  So there. 

5. Would you ever get a piercing described in your answer to the previous question?

Oh, I already have them.  Just one in each ear, that's enough.

6. Do you tend to visit friends and relatives at their homes more or have them visit you in your home more?

We go to them more often, even though we are an instant houseful. Anytime six people show up at your house, it's a houseful.  I am just happy no one bars the doors when they see us pull up.  Thanks, Mom!

Friday, June 16, 2006

I need Julie.

Sing this to the tune of "A Few of My Favorite Things."

Two cats and two dogs and four happy children.

Dust clouds, the laundry, the meat in the kitchen...

My husband's at work and I'm here all alone

No one will blame my ignoring the phone...

My elderly cat just absconded with a flank steak that was cooling on the counter.

He was halfway down the hall with it, all six pounds of him, when one of the dogs noticed he had something she might like and a skirmish ensued.

Here I thought the brown thing on the ground was the crap that got scared out of one of them.

Nope.  It was part of dinner.

It would be alot easier to take this culinary thievery of the cats if they were after something that would help me out.

Like the brownies in the pan on the counter that Jane brought over. 

"Delicious brownies" as Nolan refers to them.

Their siren call of chewy chocolatey goodness can be difficult to resist.


Should anyone wonder what happened to the brownies...

I'm pointing at the cat.

Know your years

A friend of mine at work refuses to truly reveal her age.  She always refers to her age by narrowing it down within the 30-s decade.

I find it amusing, as I think she is closer to my age than she would care to admit.

I'm trying to be cavalier about it, as I'm adopting a new attitude towards aging in general.  I told her the last time she was referring to her age that she shouldn't worry about it.   "It's just a number,"  I assured her.  "Who cares?"

The last week of school, Ryan was obsessed with my age.  "Mommy, what years are you?"

"Huh?  Oh, how old am I?" 

"Yes.  My teacher asked me how old you were, and I said you were forty.  Because I couldn't remember your years."

I choked on my water, and nearly pulled over. 

(Sure, it's just a number.  But it's not the right number, and I just can't be cavalier about that.)

"I am most assuredly NOT forty,"  I told him. 

"Ryan, she's thirty-seven,"  Nolan chimed in.

"Tomorrow, you make sure you tell your teacher the right years."  I added.

Ryan never got around to it.  I'm forty, according to him, and should I try to correct it with the teacher when I see her next, is she really gonna believe me?

He doesn't know my years.

That's okay.

He knows my heart.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Whoops...what happened to it?

I'm experiencing technical difficulties.  I meant to tack my Sat Six at the end of my last entry.  It's just not for Saturday, you know.

Ahh, here it is:

Saturday Six - Episode 113

From your front door...
1. What is the color of the first vehicle you spot?


2. Is this the last vehicle you drove? If not, does this car belong to you or someone in your home?

It's not the last vehicle I drove.  It's just parked in the street across from one of the neighbor's houses.

3. What kind of tree is closest to your front door?

Palo Verde.  I love it that it seems like no two people ever pronounce it the same way.

4. What's the weather like at the time you answer these questions? Did you feel any dramatic change of temperature or humidity as you stepped outside of your home?

Right now, it's 87 degrees out, but that's just for starters.  We'll top 100 today, for sure. 

Set your oven to 400 degrees.  Once it's preheated, stick your face close to the dooras you open it.  Feel that blast of heat?  Now, imagine that  blast hitting your entire body after sitting in the relative comfort of air-conditioned 80 degrees as you step outside. There ya go, summer in Arizona. I swear to you, you will blink hard and wince. How's that for "dramatic change of temperature"?

5. Of your immediate neighbors -- those whose homes you can see from your front door -- how many of them do you know by name?

Four; wait, five.  There are others I know by sight and a couple where I know the name of one but not their spouse's name. 

6. How many of those do you speak to when you see them? 

I speak to all of them, and if I can't, I at least smile and wave.  Like the penguins in Madagascar:  "Cute and cuddly, boys, cute and cuddly."  LOL

"My guy is on!"

You know how everyone says it's easier to get your kids to sleep if they follow the same nighttime routine?

Our nighttime routine is just a mess right now.  It's summer, I've been letting the kids stay up late, foolishly cutting into my alone time...

Audrey is not an exception.  She waits until the boys are herded off to bed, and wants her Mommy-and-me-bedtime-alone-time.  She crawls up into my lap, snuggles in, and says, "Is it time?  Is it time for my guy?"

I thought, last week as I channel surfed, that if I watched a show on mute, she'd knock out from lack of interest.  Oh, no, she found a new addiction.

And his name is Alton.  Alton Brown, of "Good Eats" fame on the Food Network.

I love his show.  It's funny, and he always has some science thrown in along with the yummy stuff he makes.   I learn all kinds of cool stuff watching him.

Now Audrey does, too.  Her night is ruined if she can't tune in. 

Better Alton than Barney, right?

Sure, I'll help you...

Dads and husbands don't always mix.

I'm lucky, mine get along really well.

From squinty-eyed distrust of the boy knocking on our door to an embrace of everything Mr W, my Dad has come full circle.

Dad is approaching his retirement and has been going a bit overboard trying to get ready for it.  He's a machinist, and that means he's a tool junkie.  To me, the smell of metal, oil, and heat, with a little Copenhagen or pipe tobacco thrown in, is the smell of my Dad.  (He doesn't chew anymore.  He gave it up when I had Nolan, something about "mijito...want to be around for mijito..." how cool is that?)  You think it's hard to get a woman out of the shoe department, just try to get my Dad away from all things Craftsman.  Impossible, but he finds tools to look at in Costco.  Costco!   

Anyway, he's on a bender about getting things done around the house, and setting up what he hopes will be his own little shop in the backyard.  He has grand ideas about taking all the grandkids under his wing, and teaching them all about tools.  He could use a little help with his projects, but is just awful about asking.  He hints, he complains to my Mom, but he won't come out and ask Mr W. 

Until last weekend, when Mr W got blindsided by my Dad into helping him in the yard and with a mailbox he was installing. 

I was very sympathetic to Mr W as he was not expecting to help out.  It took a couple of hours, and it was pretty hot, but he did it anyway.

I wonder, all these years, all the times I've heard "sure, I'll do it" whenever my Dad asks--is this the price; the unspoken, not-negotiable, undetermined price a man pays his father-in-law for the rights to his daughter?  

It must be.  My Dad can be a grouch, and Mr W takes him in stride...well, he rolls his eyes at me when my Dad's not looking, but for the most part, he's very good about it. 

When I think about all the times I've seen Mr W lend a hand, I have to smile.

Guess I'm not such a cheap date afterall.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Popsicle wisdom, a nosy old man, and a quickie

(Okay, Chantal, this quickie is for you.)

All day long, I pick up Popsicle sticks.  Ordinarily, something most would find annoying, but I look past that to read the jokes printed on them.   It's so damn hot, pot-holder-on-steering-wheel hot, that I've ingested a few, too, and chuckled along at the lame jokes.   So I guess that doesn't make it exactly Popsicle 'wisdom' but at least you get a reward at the end of eating it, something to take the sting out of the stain you have on your shirt and up your arm.

Today's jokes were:

Where did the snowman keep his savings?  In a snow bank. 

What happened to the cow who went for a drive?  He got a moo-ving violation.

What does a car wear when it's cold?  A CAR-digan.

I know, I know, it boggles the mind, the level of humor...

My personal favorite, from a few weeks ago,  is:  What did the macaroni say to the tomato?  Don't get saucy with me.

At least these jokes are harmless, unlike the "healthful hints" someone thought would be good to print on the paper strip that covers the adhesive on feminine hygiene products.  (I don't think they do that anymore, but you know how it is, girls, any port in a surprise! storm and you reach into the desk at work and hope the thing you pull out has no dust on it.)  Anyway, the person who decided it was charming to print things like "drink 8 glasses of water a day" and "regular exercise might help reduce cramps" is a jackass.  If they really wanted to be helpful, what you would find on the strip would be a coupon for a free bar of chocolate and a massage.  Or the strip would conveniently convert to an opiate patch; slap that thing on your hip, and who gives a shit about cramps? 


Anyway, I should get on to the next part of my tale, the tale of the nosy old man in Target.  Audrey and I were at the register, where I was preparing to hand over the GNP of a small island nation to cover the damages, when an older gentleman, next in line, decides to be funny.  He's joking with the checkout girl, he's joking with me, and things are okay until he looks at Audrey.  He smiles (she's so cute, it said) and he comments on her lizard.  He gestures to it and says, "What, are you trying to grow her up to be a boy?"

Oh, for crying out loud, is it 1955?  Did I miss something?  Does he not see the dress?  I'm about to go into a diatribe on the value of non-gender specific toys, imagination, and bite back what I'm sure would've been a witty comment on how she has a closet full of GI Joes, when I just take a deep breath and back off.  He's from an older generation.  It's fine.

"She has three older brothers,"  I say instead, with a smile.

"Well, that explains it."   (I honestly take another deep breath.  I'm tempted to ask him, "Where's June?")

I drag myself away, mentally kicking and screaming, but with as much outward dignity as I could muster.  Which isn't much.

At least I didn't trip.

Thursday, June 8, 2006

Finally getting to it

The kids have been home a week now.  The big two are getting over their illnesses. 

I found a way to get everyone some sleep via a med that was Audrey's.  The long story short is I found it, knew it might work, guessed on the dosages, and voila!  a full night's rest for them, and for me. 

I took my colleagues teasing me over the weekend about how my children were in medically induced comas in stride, mainly because at some point, Karma will take care of it.   Everyone knows that as a parent, you should never say "never," because that is the equivalent of a Karmic bulls' eye for you.  And you never know what fun Karma will dish up.

We've been staying up late and sleeping in.  Hanging out.  It's been good.  But the resultant swarm of kids around me, not to mention their feeding schedule, has made it a little hard to keep up with the blog-o-rama.

<Don't be surprised if Audrey starts leaving comments in your j's.  She'll probably make more sense than I do.>

My fellow juggling Mom Laura tagged me some time ago.  The tag is Ten Things That Make Me Say "Life is Good."

The thing is, I thought, 'oh, I can crank that out in a second.' 

The disturbing thing is, I had to think about it. 

I like to look at it as an overabundance of what makes life good.

Which is a pretty good thing.  :)

Ten Things That Make Me Say "Life Is Good."

1.  After a hot day, walking out in the evening after one of our dust/thunder/wind storms.  Balmy,  (I can say that because I don't have a pool to fish palm trees out of, and I'm not knocking on doors looking for the patio furniture, like many people have to do after one of these wind-fests.)

2.  Walking around my house in the middle of the night, when everyone is asleep.  Those little sighs while dreaming make all the "Mommy, Ryan is looking at me!!!!!" melt right away, and I can let the crease between my brows relax while I smooth hair off foreheads and love them again.  Who needs Botox when you have that?

3.  My favorite word:  "Bedtime."  The other night, I was lamenting to Mr W that all of the children staying up late was beginning to hamper my, uhm, nocturnal activities.  That's all I had to say.  He had them in all tucked in by ten.

4.  Sneaking into bed, when it's really late, because I think hubby is sleeping, and suddenly feeling him drape his arm over me. 

5.  Watching my kids seek each other out.  I try and try, preach and preach, that they should be close and there for each other.  I always wonder if it's getting through to them, and then I see them seek each other out.  Whether it's for solace, or joy, or just because, it makes me smile.

6.  Sharing a joke with someone.  That giggle, that letting go of yourself and letting someone else in, can be almost as good as a hug.

7.  Jeans and a white shirt.  (Yummy.  I'm there.)

8.  You know that moment, when your kids do something kid-like, be it funny or mortifying or horrifying; and you look over their heads at your spouse or a friend, and you share that nod, that eye-contact, of how you two get it on a completely different level?  That moment.  It's one of my all-time favorites.

9.  Ice cream.  I just have to say there's nothing like the versatile perfection of good vanilla.  I would never call it "plain."

10.  Watching a movie with the kids.  The shared experience of it, even if it's one we've seen before.  I love to sit in the theater and look down the row at their mesmerized profiles, then share a grin with my husband over the tops of all their heads. 

I know I left something out.  Maybe I'll do the Thursday Thirteen to get it out of my system...

**I tried.  I did, I was in the middle of the entry.  But hubby called and he's on his way home for lunch...Audrey is mad cause Ryan "ruined my paints" and is about to "rinse them off" in the bathroom...Shadow is pacing at my feet because she smells peanut butter somewhere...and Ben has disappeared outside.  He'll melt in 20 minutes, I'm sure.  And where, where is Ryan??? 

Not to worry.  He's on the couch. 

Ahh, summer.  The joys of family.  What's not to love?  :p

Saturday, June 3, 2006

Maybe I could've phrased it better

Mr W and I met up in the kitchen.

"Thanks for dinner," he said.

"Whatever,"  I quite sarcastically mutter under my breath. 

I smacked him in the arm, as he turned to leave.  "Where are you going?"  I asked.  

"Out of here,"  he says.  "I don't know what's wrong with you, but you're in a mood."

I decide to fill him in on what's wrong with me.

"I'm PMS-ing.  I'm sick of hearing Ben coughing; and I'm sleep-deprived. (Ben's been up the last couple of nights, hacking until 3 am, and nothing, nothing I've done can calm him; not to mention he's had a couple of rounds of sleepwalking I'm sure are medication-induced and Ryan decided to wake me up the other night for a nightmare right after I got Ben settled)  I'm sweaty..."

"Go take a shower,"  he offers.  I glare at him and continue:  "I haven't seen you in three days, and now I'm looking at you, I should be happy to see you, but all I feel is homicidal." 

Bad enough, right, to spew that right out there, but I have to go on and finish with, "Come here and give me a hug."  (Just call me Sybil.)

"Why, so you can stab me in the back?"  he jokes.

"Ha, if I was going to stab you, I wouldn't hide my attack, I'd approach from the front.  You know, give you a fighting chance." 

At this point, Nolan was in the kitchen, and he actually scoots behind his Dad's back, looking for my hands.

You gotta be kidding me. 

I've been a good sport, on my own because Mr W has been busy; with sick children on little sleep, and I'm not allowed a cranky  moment?

Besides, I feel better having gotten it off my chest, out in the open.  (My crankiness quotient went way down after that.  It  didn't disappear, but it wasn't so high that I continued to scare the family.)

Here I sit, and it's approaching 1 am, and I'm about this l l far from tears.  Ben is hacking, in spite of taking my creative "please-please-let-this-be-the-charm" cocktail of cough syrup and Benadryl.  I will be getting up to go to work in a few hours. 

My husband is asleep.  Oblivious. 

Sure, tomorrow when I point that out to him, he will swear to me that he could hear Ben too and that it disturbed his slumber.

Mmm-hhmm.  Yeah, I always snore when I can't sleep.

(It appears Ben is quieted down.  Time for me to try and hit it too, before the next round...which as all Moms know, will hit right around the time I'm shifting into deep sleep, or in the middle of a really good dream.)