Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Little Scissorhands

When Nolan was in kindergarten, one of the girls in his class cut her bangs sooo short, they were just memory at the top of her forehead.   She'd coiffed her brother, too, and he had choppy pieces all over his head.  It was a disaster. 

I remember, raising an eyebrow, feeling a little smug, as my scissors were safe up in the cupboard.  My children were well-supervised. The boys knew they only could have them via me, and they were put away as soon as we finished what we were doing.

I figured the loss of fine motor skills with scissors was worth not having to worry about any errant snip-snips.

Later, a friend of mine also had this happen.  Her two-year old just hacked off a large portion on the back of her head, and the only recourse for her was a pixie cut.  It was cute.  

By this time,  I was not as smug, I mean, these things happen.  And besides, my scissors were still kept safe, up in the cupboard.   My children were somewhat supervised.  The scissors were still doled out only by me.

Fast forward to now.  The boys know where the supplies are kept.  They get them out for homework, they put them away (most of the time).  They are old enough to handle it.

Then there's Audrey.   She also knows where everything is kept.  She gets out her crayons, her Playdoh, her papers, and steals my tape--she feels everything is a masterpiece, every picture deserves it's rightful place on the pantry door. 

She's impatient, my little girl, and that is why she knows where everything is.  She doesn't always wait for Mommy or one of the boys to get things out for her.   I often am heard gasping as I turn the corner into my too-quiet family room to see her climbing onto the kitchen counter so she can get to something up in the cupboard, safely out of reach. 

Like Juicy Fruit.   Or ............the scissors.

Last night, Mr W came into the kitchen.  "Anna,"  he said, barely audible.  I turn around, not knowing what to expect.  He starts miming me a story.   As he rarely whispers and almost never mimes, I know in an instant this is either very serious, or very cute-don't-say-anything-just-look.  At the same time, Nolan comes up next to him, holding a pair of scissors.

And a piece of long, straight hair.

Oh, how the mighty fall.....

Audrey decided to cut her hair last night.  She chopped up the sides.  It's not tooo bad, it could've been a lot worse. 

I had absolutely no idea she had the scissors.  Sure, they were little school scissors, but did she have to pick the ones with the  pointy ends?   I was in the kitchen making dinner, when did she get into the cupboard to take them???

Apparently, my child is not supervised.

I'm taking her to get it fixed this morning.  

After that, I will be replacing the eyes in the back of my head.

Got milk?


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Sometimes I have the meltdown

My week started off with a (near) bang.

Monday, I took the kids to school, and I turned the oven on to heat up some pizza.  (I'm weird in that I don't like to heat up leftover pizza in the microwave.)

I was talking to Audrey, and I saw a white light inside my oven.  I was intrigued, because the light burned out years ago, and while I missed it, we never replaced it.  (Not that big a deal to me, just one of those things every homeowner has on the "got to get to this sometime" list.)

I moseyed on over and looked inside, to see sparks, white sparks, shooting off my heating element.  A bright red glow in the element right in front of the sparks was traveling, ever so slowly, along the length of it, sparks flying, leaving a trail of charred-ness in it's wake.  I thought, I know that is clean, but maybe there was some food or something on it, causing the spark-and-char.  I watch for a minute or two, and the sparking continued.  Occasionally, it would really let one fly, and I turned the oven off, thinking I'd let it cool so I could investigate.

But the sparking continued.  And the traveling glow-ring continued to...travel.  I went to wake Mr W up, because he is the only one of us to ever run the self cleaning feature, and I wanted to know if that had ever happened before.

He didn't quite grasp what I meant in his sleep fog, so I finally had to resort to "Come. To. The. Kitchen. NOW."

Once he saw it, he understood.  As we stood there talking about what was happening, he said, "Anna, it's still on."  "No, I turned it off."  "Then why is the other side of the element still glowing red like it's preheating?"

Alarmed, we pulled the stove out of the wall and pulled the plug.  Literally.  Initially, I was calling for repair when I realized, this range nearly 13 years old.  Day in, day out, I use the hell out of it.  Time to let it go, not risk burning my house down because I think it's fixable.  Sears couldn't come until the following Monday anyways, and there was just no way in hell I could make it through the entire week with all these mouths to feed and no way to feed them.  (They barely make it in the door afterschool without chewing off a limb, I could hardly expect them to wait a week.)

My day got better, too.

I went to a hair appt at 11:15, only to discover on my arrival my appt was actually at 1:15.  (My hair chick rocks and got me in anyway.)

That afternoon, Ben and Nolan had a dr appt.  Ben was sick, so it worked out that we were going anyway.  It didn't matter that I was a few minutes late, because my van died on the way over, and we never made it.  Some lovely teenagers pushed my van into a parking lot, ciggies in hand as they pushed; they helped me try to figure out what was wrong, and waited until they knew Mr W was on his way before they left.  Their mothers would be proud. 

I tried hard to not lose my cool in front of the kids, but it was a little disheartening, considering we just had it worked on.  Mr W showed up, and after careful consideration, we called Remo's Towing Service.  Again.

And once again, he was very gracious about it.  The van got worked on; the fuel pump replaced as my bank acct gasped for air.

Ben, however, has not fared so well all week.  We did make it to the doctor Tues morning, and I was given all manner of things to help him out.  The relentless cough, however, was pretty bad, especially at night.  So the two of us had not slept much.  By Weds, I was marching with the legions of the unslept dead (3-4 hours a night, if I was lucky, since Sunday night), and pretty cranky.

So when I nearly got into a fight at the checkout lane of Target, I wasn't surprised.

It was one of those classic situations, where there are maybe 3 checkouts open, but everyone goes to them at once.  I was trying to hasten my departure as I needed to go pick up Audrey.  And it was getting to close to comfort, for me, but I only had a couple of items,one of them toilet paper --do I need to explain the urgency, 6 people, down to our last roll-- so I figured I should be able to make it happen, I needed to make it happen....

There were 3 people ahead of me, but the woman paying was getting something that had to be brought up from electronics, which turned into a huge deal, lots of talking, no paying.  I'm shifting from side to side, wondering if it's worth it to go to another line.  My eyes met the eyes of one of the extra cashiers, and I must've given her quite the hairy eyeball, unintentionally of course, so she called for more cashiers.

A lane next to me opened up.  The other two women ahead of me, a mother-and-daughter team that looked to be paying separately, were slow in jumping on it.  While in my heart I knew I was somewhat violating the rules of checkout etiquette (I've let tons of people with one or two items ahead of me many times, so I figured I was even with this move), I scooted over to the next lane, mentally calculating the closest route to Audrey, when I looked up and saw the mother, a scrappy spider monkey of a woman, had gone around the paying end of the other register and jumped in line in front of me.  I looked at her, kinda surprised, as she said, looking a little embarrassed, that they had to pick up someone at school, so they were in a hurry.  Really?  I rolled my eyes, whatever, I thought, she only has a couple of things.  "I have to pick up someone at school too,"  I told her.

She looked a little embarrassed.  But not so embarrassed that she couldn't gesture to her daughter to come over too.  So now, I am moving my cart back over to the side, as her daughter is practically running over her own daughter in her haste to get past me, and bumping my cart with her impatience, as she starts in with how "she has someone to pick up at school."

I grit my teeth, tell her "So do I" as I move the cart.  As she passes me, she snidely comments about how I jumped in front of them, and how I "had time to get a cup of fancy coffee in a donut cup", implying that I couldn't be in that much of a hurry.  Or didn't use my time wisely.  Or had spent a zillion dollars on a cup of coffee, what right do I have to jump in front of her trashy ass, she has things to do.  I resist the urge to slap her.

I had to take a breath.  First of all, the "fancy donut cup" was from Starbucks, yes.  Admittedly, the worst cup of coffee I'd ever had in my life, I was considering throwing it away 3/4 full.  Now I wanted to pour it over her head, and was sad that it had cooled some.  Briefly, I saw red.  I snapped shut my mouth, snappy retorts wasted, as I realized that I didn't want to get into a battle of wits with someone sorely in need of them, and that I had to pick up Audrey, so wasting time and potentially having to wait for the police to let me go was not an option.  Besides, Mr W was at work, and I was in a Target in his city.   I couldn't bear to have him hear that call, or be called, "Yeah, man, we're down here with your wife..."

I was the bigger person.  I took a deep breath.  I smiled at the woman's poor child, who was cute (obviously inheriting it from her father) and playing right at my feet in the myriad of "Mommy can I have it?" doodads that interest kids at checkouts. 

I didn't even chuckle or snort (out loud anyway) when the woman went to pay and apparently had misplaced her cash.  (Dropped out of her pocket, lost in her pit of a purse, stuck in her bra, in her other g-string, who knows?)  I stood there and waited my turn, paid for my stuff, and beat it.

By Thursday, I was done with being up all night.   I called the doctor, hoping for a magic bullet, and they called something else in for Ben.  But when I went to pick it up, the pharmacist told me it was off-formulary, and "that will be $50."  "What?"  I was flustered, and as a result,  I forgot to buy the sterile saline for Ben's nebulizer.  That's okay,  I thought.  He has 3 tubes left from the stash the doctor gave us. 

I was falling asleep, in the magic chair before ten.  I heard Ben coughing, coughing, so I told him, "Take a breathing treatment,"  as I struggled to wake up.  "Mom,"  Ben announced, "I only have two of those saline thingies left."  Even in my state, I could do the math.  One now.  One probably around midnight, 1 am.  And then, when he's hacking up a lung at 4, a trip to the drugstore.  Fuck.

I got up and went to my room, a few tears springing to my eyes.   "I have to go out,"  I told Mr W.  He offered to go, but I didn't even know where it would be found, so I said, "I'll get it,"  tearfully.

I was halfway to my first Walgreen's when I realized I was in my bathrobe, not a jacket.  Oh well.  I managed to stave off the tears until I was almost home.

It was just suddenly too much.  The week was just too damn much for me at this point, and I was gonna cry, and I wanted Mr W to pat me on the head and tell me it would be okay. 

Instead, he very gruffly told me to show him where Ben's stuff was, what he needed to do, and he sent me to bed.

I didn't argue, although I pointed out he was being a little pissy with me.  "Go. Go to bed right now."  he said.


Of course, I don't need to tell you all that Ben only coughed once that entire night, and didn't even wake himself up, he just settled down again?  The medicine pans out only for the Daddy, right?

Ordinarily, I am pretty cheerful.  I'm the glass-half-full girl.  But it's been really hard to keep that up lately.

Especially with an invisible "kick me" sign on my back.

I'm taking solace in my new stove.  It's got a glass top (my husband will no longer get to comment on the burned burner liners) and three (three!) racks inside.  Ryan commented that means I can make more than one cookie sheet of cookies at a time.  It's lovely.

It even smells new. 

Which is just what I need right now.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Coming soon to the small screen near you

Last night I was herding the children out to the car so we could head to aikido.

I'd sent everyone out and was inside, grabbing Audrey's jacket, doing a quick sweep-n-sigh of 'who-left-this-on-the-counter' when Ben comes rushing back in, breathless and excited. 

This is not a good sign.  This means: a) someone fell down as they played instead of getting into the car like I told them to and is now bleeding in the yard; b) there is some wacko door-to-door salesman in the driveway "...who wants to talk to you, Mom";  c) someone threw my keys up onto the roof;  or d) one of the boys bludgeoned the other in the race for the coveted front seat, and that child is now unconscious on the floor of the garage.

I'm only halfway kidding.  I should know by now that "Get in the car" is open to many interpretations, and only occasionally is getting in the car in a timely fashion accomplished without my motherly supervision.



"Theirdog!  TheonethatlookslikeMax!"

"Slow down, Ben."

"His head is stuck in one of the blocks, and he can't get it back through!!!"

I grumble under my breath as he utters the dreaded "Come're, I'll show you!!"

(As an aside, I have to say, if it's stray or in distress; if there is a neighborhood drama taking place, Ben, the social butterfly of the house, always finds it.  Usually at an inopportune time.  And I don't hear about it until he has had the chance to work his siblings up into a lather.  It's awesome that he cares.  It sucks...nah, I guess it doesn't really suck. It's just...Ben.)

I follow him out into the front door and across the street.  Sure enough, my neighbor's dog's head is out the fence.  We have block fences here, and usually one of the bottom blocks is turned onto its side for drainage purposes.  The blocks have two holes in them, big square holes, the perfect size for the head of a small child, or dog.

Poor thing.  He had just THE most pathetic look on his face.  Another neighbor had been on her way to the grocery store, and her driveway faces this fence.  As she was backing out, she saw the head, and stopped.  I swear, one look in his eyes, and I could understand why she couldn't leave him.

At this point, all my kids were there, they all saw what was going on, and they all had that expectant, 'Mom, do something' look on their faces.

My neighbor and I talked.  Apparently, she'd rung the doorbell, but the dog owners were not home.  I talk to them on occasion, but have no phone number for them.  We decided to try and get into the yard, even though they have another dog (both of the dogs are friendly, labs, and I have met them before too).  

Once we realized we couldn't go through the closest fence, and climbing the wall was not an option (it seemed unstable, if you can believe that), I walked around the house to see if they had another gate, and luckily they did and it was unlocked.  Nolan and I went into the backyard, thinking we would pull the dog back through, or at least try--when I saw he was at an awkward angle, and moving him was probably not a good idea.

My neighbor went for the cooking oil-lube up the head option, to see if this would help him slide it back out on his own.  It didn't work.  And everytime the dog tried to get his head through, he became a little frantic.  His snout was small enough, but labs have big heads and a crest on top of their skulls.  No way that was making it back through, and we sat down and patted his head, calming him, so he'd stop trying before he really hurt himself.

I called my vet, in desperation, hoping that they might have my neighbor in their files, but instead, they gave me a great idea.  "Call the Humane Society, they have a rescue squad."  Hurray!  I figured that calling Rabies Animal Control might be anoption, but they mainly (I figured) deal in stray or dangerous animals, not stuck ones.

So I called the Humane Society, and they said someone would come out, and for us to stop trying to extricate the dog, as it might make his neck swell up, thus making things worse.

In the middle of this, a friend of the dog owners showed up, just as Mr W did.  The guy disappeared into the backyard, and then called out to me over the fence that he couldn't budge the pup either.  But he did have the dog owner's # and he called her.  I was surprised when he told me my neighbors husband got deployed to Turkey, as I just saw him the other day.  Great, just what the poor girl needs, I thought, alone, taking care of her two small boys, and the dog manages to pull a stunt like this?  Oy.  Doesn't the impossible stuff always happen when your spouse is away?

My kids were getting antsy that help was taking so long to arrive, so I sent them all inside to finish homework as it seemed we weren't going anywhere soon.  Mr W hung out for a while then came and told me he had Rabies and Animal Control called out too.  "Whoever gets here first, wins,"  he said, when I told him that now we'd have two sets of people responding.  Good point.

The dog owner made it to the house by this time, and she was upset when she saw the dog.  She thought we were talking about the regular gate, not the block wall, so she was upset to see her  dog's head stuck in the wall like that.  (It was rather unsettling, and weird, like he was in a guillotine or something.)  The dog was still doing okay, only now that 'Mom' was home, he started to let a moan out every now and then.

My phone rang, and I answered it, thinking the Rescue team was lost, and I'd have to give directions.  But it was the lady from the Humane Society.  "We're about halfway there."  "Okay.  The dog owner is here now, but the dog is still stuck."  "We should be there pretty soon.  However, could you tell the dog owner, I am not sure, but are you familiar with the "Animal Rescue/EMT" show that we do with the Animal Planet channel?"  "Yes."  "Could you tell her that a film crew is coming along to this rescue, and they will be filming it, so anyone that doesn't want to be filmed should hang back a bit?"  She's gotta be kidding, I thought.

I told everyone there.   They thought I was kidding.  Again, just what my poor neighbor needs, I thought.  I had Ben fetch Mr W (who was sitting in his car across the way) and I told Mr W.  Who promptly made himself scarce, unlike his children, who upon hearing the words "film crew" were abuzz, electrified by the thought of being immortalized in celluloid. (or would that be digitally?)

Even Nolan, who goes to great lengths not to get noticed, was pacing the sidewalk, looking for the rescue team truck.

I have to say, at this point, I am never making fun of the people on "COPS" again.  I know I am not alone in ridiculing the people on that show, in a "who in the hell gets filmed wearing a yellow mumu/braless/shirtless (insert clothing or lack thereof here) voluntarily?" kind of way.  Do you know why that is?  Because sh** happens when you are not prepared for it, and the only people allowed to chose their wardrobe before being on camera are movie stars.  So next time you see a lady in a housecoat and curlers on COPS, cut her a little slack.  (We'll get to this again later.)

The Rabies Animal Control guy got to us first.  However, he looked less than confident as he pondered the situation, and I was really glad to see the Humane Society truck show up a few minutes later.

I was less glad to see that indeed, a film crew was along.

I looked up to see that my garage door was closed.  Mr W was NOWHERE in sight, and my children, they were right in the thick of things, so I could hardly escape without it looking like my kids were the abandoned neighborhood vagabond kids.  Yeah, that'd play well on camera.

I slid into the shadows, where I could watch, but hopefully not be captured in the frame.  I swear to you, the lights moved my direction, I scrambled like a vampire avoiding the sun.  I tried  to, anyway.  It was kinda hard to be totally uninvolved when I had to keep calling the kids out of the way, or rounding up whoever was missing (because they were looking over everyone's shoulder, like I said, they were totally in the thick of things).

The rescue lady wound up using a hammer and chisel to break the block away, and finally, the dog was free.  He was a bit greasy from our Crisco attempt, but just fine.

As I rounded the front of the truck, to grab Audrey as she was heading into the backyard again, one of the film crew guys says to me, "You're the mother to all these..?"  as he gestures towards the kids with a sweep of his arm.   I was tempted to say I'd never seen them before in my life, but I said "Yeah."

"Could you sign one of our disclosure forms so they can be in the show?  I have a good feeling about this one making it to the air.  We're filming next season's shows, they start in February, this one would probably air in March."

I mentally tally the situation: husband/pet owner deployed, kids everywhere, a doggie in distress in an unusual situation, but rescued and fine??  How could it not make it?

I go with the flow.   "Sure,"  I reply.  He hands me a form.

"Where do I write their names?"  I asked, as I looked it over.  In the dark.  Resting it on the hood of their truck.

"Oh, that form is for you." 

(oh, shit, no, no, no.)  "But I wasn't in the middle of things, not really." 

"I'm just covering my bases, and getting one from everyone on scene."

I take a second and ponder what this means.  And try not to obsess that I have braided ponytails in my hair, not to mention no lippy, and hardly any makeup on as well as the fact that I had not jumped in the shower (yet) at all.  I was wearing a shirt I am a little ashamed to admit now that I'd had on the day before, and a jacket that had seen better days.  Topping things off, while my children are quite photogenic (I'm the Mom, I can say that) I am not. 

(You know how some people could roll out of bed, and look like they could grace a magazine cover?  They could be in the middle of the rainforest for weeks, no coif, no makeup, and there are small angels circling their head in their photos, punctuating their otherworldly beauty?  Not me.  The school retake option?  My saving grace.)

It was really too late to worry about that now, after the fact, all I can do is hope for some good editing.

Filling the forms out, I conjure up just what punishment I will inflict on my husband for leaving me out there alone. (I guess I could have opted out and not signed, but the kids pressed in around me, like they knew what I was thinking, and I caved.  And Ben asked me, I am not kidding, he asked me, "Mom, I don't mean to be rude, but what's for dinner?"  AAAAAHHHHH!!!)

I took some consolation that when the crew and rescuer left, my neighbors were also cringing at "my hair is sticking up" and "I'm covered with dirt, dog, and oil."  Yeah, we had warning we might be filmed.  But the doggie didn't deserve us leaving him to primp.

And he's okay, which is what it was all about to begin with.

Keep that in mind if the episode ever airs, and you see a skulking ponytailed bystander calling her wayward children out of the light, off the sidewalk, and into the road.

"Do you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, that you've done your good deed for the day?"  Mr W asked me, once we got back inside.

He's lucky I was sitting down, trying to warm up again.

Or I'd have clocked him one for sure.

Wouldn't that make a nice episode of COPS?


Yesterday, while Audrey was in class, I ran into a nearby Target to pick up a few things.

Naturally, I wound up browsing around.  I have a running list in my head of clothes that are outgrown/need replacing, and there were clearance signs aplenty.

It never hurts to look.


I found a respectable amount of loot for the children, including a hoodie for Ben (five bucks!) and a new jacket for Nolan.  Which means as of today, our cold snap is guaranteed to be over.


Anyway, one of the things I found was a cute little camisole top for Audrey.  I never buy her anything like this, as she is still mainly into her dresses, but I'd found her some jeans, and spied the cute top all alone on the sale rack.  The top is gray, with cream-lace trim, and I also found a cream henley to go over the top of it.  Like the big girls wear.  I could hardly turn down something that cute for $1.98.

She was delighted when we got home and I showed them to her.

We tried it on, and as I helped her into the gray top, something snapped and hit my finger. ???

No way.  A shelf bra in a top intended for "XS 4-5"?  Oookkkkayy.  I explained to her, "Look, honey, it's got a little bra thing in it," as I wrinkled my nose.  She of course had to see it, then had to stand on my bed to see her whole new top (once both tops were on). 

So adorable.   And the effect was not tarty at all.  She really liked it, and was running around the house in her excitement, shelf bra/elastic forgotten.

Or so I thought.

When the boys got home, she excitedly was jabbering on about my finds, and Ben was trying on his hoodie when she says, "Look, look at my shirt, Ben!!!" as she turns around, and then grabs his hands (like little girls do) as  she squealed and announced, "And it comes with boobs!!"

Ah, sister, if only it were that easy. 

Later that night, I found her in the kitchen, looking at herself at a weird angle in the locker door mirror I have stuck on the front of it.  "Whatcha doing?"  I asked her.

She looked a little sheepish, as she held out her cami top and had me look down it.

There were two small rubber balls (like the kind you use to play jacks) inside.

Aww, cute, I thought, she's using the shelf bra like a pocket. 

Then it hit me, as I realized the balls were spaced out.  One on each side.  And the little semi-embarrassed look she gave me sealed my realization.

I took the balls from her and walked down the hall, before I burst out laughing in front of her and potentially made things worse.  I giggled and told Mr W about it, as he just hung his head down in the "Oh, no" position.

"Oh, yes,"  I assured him.  I decided to ask my little one what was up.

"Honey, what were you doing with the balls?"

"I don't know."

"Were you using your top like a pocket?"

"I don't know."

Fine, I'll ask it.

"Were you pretending to have boobs?"

<little voice> "Yeah." 

So we had a little chat about how little girls don't have them.  Don't need them.  Don't need to worry about them at this point.  Stop rushing things, and go pick up your stuffed animals off the family room floor.

Guess she figured if the shirt didn't actually come with boobs, she could just add her own.  Apparently, it is that  easy.

I'm just grateful she didn't use oranges.

**(Before anyone starts worrying about where she's been hanging out and who she's been around, let me just say don't worry.  She's as protected as she can be, she's just curious.   She's noticed grown girls look different for a long time, and wonders about it.)**

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

So that's his secret

Ben was invited to a birthday party, and as it would take place when I was at work, I had to tell Mr W how to get to the house.

But I didn't have the address.  You know how it is, Moms make the playdates, and while we might have the address initially, once you drive there once or twice, you are on autopilot.  I was sure I could tell him how to get there, but I also knew that would not fly for Mr W.  He is just not a "turn right at the blue house" kind of guy, and his cop-ness just makes that worse.  He needs the address, directions are never sufficient enough. (Our brushes with near-divorce, "stop and let me out of this van" moments while navigating the California freeway system on our trips to Disneyland have been experience enough for me to know.) I accept this, and to avoid the inevitable phone call to me at work, with thinly veiled sarcastic comments about how my directions were so good (read: suck), I decided we'd take a detour as we ran errands Friday and I'd show him where the house was as we'd be in the area already. 

Once we found the house, everyone was satisfied that Ben would, indeed, make it there when he needed to, we continued on.

Now, I don't know about you all, but I tend to go back out a neighborhood the way I came in, I mean, it's logical, especially in the world of cookie cutter houses, cul de sacs, and dead ends that are all around me.  Occasionally, I will explore, but usually I don't have time.  (We'll talk about my chronic imrunninglateitis at some other...time.)

Mr W, on the other hand...has an uncanny knack for taking his own route.   Which messes up the order in my mind, but never fails to impress me. 

I know why he does it, afterall, how many times have I heard him gleefully chortle about how he annoyed Joe-Bob Citizen by telling him that he couldn't go into his neighborhood through the roadblock, only to hear from Joe-Bob "that's the only way I can get in" when he himself knew of at least two other entry routes?  This amuses him.  And frankly, in his line of work, I can't fault him for that. However, I'd had enough, Friday, I had to give him a hard time.

"Dude.  How do you do that?  How is it that no matter where we are, no matter which neighborhood we're in, you can find your way out to the major street like you live there?  Are all neighborhoods really laid out that similarly, or is there some kind of GPS microchip they implant in you when you leave the Police Academy for just this purpose??"

"It's a microchip.  They implant it in our ass, for when we fly by the seat of our pants."

"Oooh, you're so funny!"  I groaned.


I started to giggle, because I thought of something, something I've observed more than once over the years.


"That explains it.  Do you realize,"  I went on, "that if a group of cops is together, and someone comes up and asks directions, you all do the same thing?"

"What's that?"

"All of you look at each other, kind of knit your brows, or tilt your heads, and then one of you holds a hand out to the other, gesturing, as you both have a "aha" moment that tells you where the place is..."

"That's just our microchips synchronizing.  Don't you notice a barely perceptible wiggle of our butts, as they activate?"  (Yeah.  Sure, honey, let me admit to you that I am looking at all your butts.  Like I'd do that.  Not me.)

"Then one of you spouts the directions, as another of you gestures or points in the right direction, while another will nod knowingly, agreeing with your assessment.  Once you are done, he might throw in, "You know, there's a shopping center with a Walgreen's in it on the corner where youturn...and if you see the Chevron station, you've gone too far..." and after the person walks away, it never fails, one of you will roll your eyes and say, "Remember, that's the same street that has that house I/we/so-and-so took a call at about two months/years/days ago, the one with the crazy family fight??"

He's laughing now, because he knows there is a grain of truth in that.  And there is, really.  Take the challenge.

Seriously, I dare you.

Approach at least two cops, standing together, and ask them for directions, and see if I am right.  (looking for the butt wiggle is optional)

Just don't tell them I sent you.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Never thought I'd love the alarm clock so much

We've had quite the eventful Christmas break.

Seems silly to say "Christmas" when it's Valentine's Day in the stores now, but you know...

Anyway, while our actual holiday was good, it was marred by a few things:

*My Dad is one of those people who buys presents but seems to hate Christmas and he gets more agitated and more demanding and moody the closer we get to it.  He gets all cranky, and somewhat depressed, and this year, he passed it on to me.  I was a little blue throughout, for no real reason other than that the man brought me down.  Although, on Christmas morning, when the kids all got their loot and I managed to make the emotional accountant in the family (Ben) happy that it was distributed evenly and they were all thrilled with proof that I actually listen to their "I want" s all year, it certainly helped improve my mood.  Audrey in her tiaras getting glitter all over her Dad was priceless, especially when he couldn't get all of it out and I found it later in the day, still on his cheek, after he showered.  (At least I hope it was Audrey's glitter, and not something I should know about.)

*On one of our coldest, blusteriest afternoons (the 22nd) I was driving home from work, wrapping up some shopping, grabbing some food for the kids, when my car died in the middle of an intersection.  It was an old car, with a ton of miles on it, and I was sentimentally holding on to it as I tend to do...it had no heat, but the a/c worked, and in AZ, that's what matters...at any rate, it'd been acting kinda funny, but not any weirder than usual when bam!  the clutch decided it was done, and there I sat, pondering my next move, praying someone might come push me out of the road.  It was a little scary, as due to the lack of heat, my windows had fogged up to a degree I'd not experienced since I was fending off the amorous advances of an overeager 17 year old, and I couldn't see out much at all.  The bit of smoke coming out from under the hood didn't help, either.   Luckily, a stranger, a nice, nice stranger, came and pushed me out of the road.  I called Mr W to come get me, and the lovely Jane talked me down while I waited.  I hate that helpless, "I'm-such-a-girl" feeling, truly hate it, but you know, these things happen.  So Mr W comes, and has a go (to no avail, but apparently, my word is not as good as the car stopping whilst he drives it), and ultimately even Remo was involved in this little adventure.  Again, luckily, Remo  was very cool about the whole thing, rain, cold, day off, he came anyway, and well, he maintained a kind of amused air about it.  (At least I'm hoping it was an amused air, and not the air he reserves for "stupid motorist" calls.)  He was quite gracious about the whole affair, made a couple of calls, and poof, it was all taken care of.  (I swear, I think Mr W's blood pressure went down a notch or two once Remo got there.  It's not like he didn't know what to do, I just think that guys do better, when faced with a car taking a crap like that, when they have another guy on the scene.  Must be something about the Y chromosome, as mysterious as the take-a-friend-shopping gene only women have.  For me, at least, that day, Christmas spirit showed up in a green fatigue jacket and a baseball cap.)  I donated that car and while it pained me to see it go, it was time.

*I had to work on the 24th, which didn't seem like a huge deal when I saw myself on the schedule for that day, I mean, I work Sundays usually anyway.  However, I was guaranteed 8 hours of joy--a long day (for me), and the other people working it asked me to come in early (so we could leave early).  Fine, done, but then the afternoon had some interesting twists, and I wound up staying later to work on something.  Something I've not done in a while, but it involved the sample of a toddler, a sample two days old already, so I snapped on the gloves and had someone talk me through it.   I managed fine.  It was good to be in the lab like that again, which is what I focused on as I entered the realm of my parents that evening (who were still bickering).

*On Christmas day, we got a call late in the afternoon that Mr W's Dad had been in a car accident.  Only him.  He had blacked out and wrapped his car around a tree.  Broken arm, broken hand, he was in the hospital.  He's home now, on the mend, but really, who relishes a call like that on Christmas day?

*Ugh, what was going on with my mood?  Bleah!  Blah! :p

*My horoscope, that barometer of truth (:p) has sucked at least 3 days out of the week for like a month now.  It's not filled with anything but dire news.  "A handsome man will pinch your ass" was somehow replaced with variations of "keep an eye on your expenses" and "you suck."  (It has continued into Jan with this trend.)

Otherwise, made it through New Year's without incident.  And I stayed home that night (Mr W worked) and had a great time with the kids, although I was a little crabby at their late-night shenanigans, have you ever seen a wired four year old at that time of night?  Good gracious, that's reason enough to pop a cork at midnight...

But then Nolan caught some weird stomach bug that had him down all last week.  I thought one night it might be appendicitis, but he never got passed complaining that it ached, no fever, no other symptoms, so I chose to watch him.  He progressed to a cold, which I'll take over appendicitis any day.

As we de-Christmas-ified the house, last Monday, I noticed the van dripping something new, prolifically enough that it was in a new spot almost everytime we parked it.  That coupled with a noise underneath, a rattling noise I hoped was not the rattle-of-death, made me really, really worried.  I pointed these things out to Mr W enough to make him worry too, and by the weekend, we'd both agreed that we needed to not only change the oil, but get to the bottom of what's what.  While I have my Dad's lovely Cadillac on loan as our second car, the van IS our family vehicle, and will be bumped to backup car soon, so we knew we had to get it taken care of.

Oh, and it got taken care of alright.  Cha-ching!  Let's see, I'll give you the laundry list of repairs, you do your own math:  new struts, new rear shocks, some solenoid-transmission-thingy (the transmission was leaking), the oil change...labor...Vaseline (I'm only partially kidding)..

I used to think I'd like one of the kids to turn out to be a doctor, or a dentist, but now, I'd like a mechanic.  One mechanic.  That isn't too much to ask, is it? 

I really shouldn't complain.  The van runs much better now, or at least it doesn't jiggle and feel like a covered wagon anymore, even though it still sighs when I shut it off.  All things considered, I can live with that.

I guess what I'm getting at is that it's kinda been a lot to handle, these past two or so weeks.  

We started school Tuesday.  When the alarm went off, I jumped right back into the routine and was happy to do it.

Whew.  I made it.  I'm putting all that other stuff behind me.

My new year, it starts now. 

And I'm switching to fortune cookies.   Anyone know how to spell "handsome man" in Chinese?