Monday, March 29, 2010

Bitch and Moan Monday, just what I needed!

Yes, I know it isn't even 9:00 in the morning yet, but this has been one craptastic Monday so far.  Therefore, I was utterly delighted to come upon this:


over on a new blog I just discovered this past weekend.  Heck YES, I want to play along this morning!

You see, my morning actually started at 2:14, when into my dream of auditioning for The Amazing Race with my sister came a shrill and persistent, sustained beeping noise.  Eventually, my dream self realized that no, in fact my sister and I weren't going to be meeting Phil Keoghan and his raised eyebrow after all, because that noise wasn't coming from my dream.  I halfway woke up and pondered.  It was hard to tell if the noise was real or just some sort of freaky, tinnitis-like sound I was only hearing in my head.  I lifted my head off the pillow to listen with both ears.  Hmmmmm, now it not only seemed to be a real noise, but it was sounding an awful lot like an alarm going off somewhere in the house.  Smoke detector?  Carbon monoxide detector?  Crap.

I hopped out of bed tout de suite, fumbling for my glasses in the dark, and made my way downstairs where the cat greeted me in a state of mild but clear distress.  Okay, at least that means there were two of us hearing this ungodly sound.  I looked at the CO detector - nope, that wasn't it.  I flung open the basement door and instantly the shrieking beep dramatically increased in volume.  Not seeing any smoke, I quickly determined that the sound was coming from the sump pump alarm and that the sump pump had stopped running.  (For the record, we've had the basement flood three times since the beginning of January due to sump pump failure.  I should also mention we have a brand-new sump pump now, as well.)  Crappity crap.  I dashed back upstairs and woke Hubby up.  Hubby, who has always been the much lighter sleeper of the two of us, who wakes up with a start if a fly lands on the ceiling or a dust bunny moves on the floor, was sleeping soundly away, totally oblivious.  As soon as I whispered "Dude.  That's the sump pump alarm going off!" he was out of bed and racing for the basement in a flash.  I followed him back downstairs to see what level of an emergency this was going to be.

Turns out there was a small piece of plastic that looked like the cap off a container of caulk that had found its way into the well and jammed itself into the machinery in such a way as to prevent the pump from starting when it should've.  Given that it had been raining pretty steadily for the past several hours, the well was on the verge of spilling over, hence the alarm.  (I'm not sure exactly how long the alarm had been sounding before I became conscious of it.)  Hubby extracted the piece of plastic, the pump started up, the water level began draining and the alarm shut off with a very horrific, dying SQUEEEEEEAAAWWWWWWWL sound.  Crisis averted.  We headed back upstairs to bed, leaving the still a bit freaked out crazy cat in the family room.  (Okay, I get that the noise was probably extremely upsetting to her - it was upsetting to me and my hearing is nowhere near that of a cat's.  However, this is the same creature that hears secret messages from the Cat Home Planet whenever we use the DVD player, so, you know, her reaction to any noise is automatically suspect.)

By 2:19, I was back in bed.  Wide awake.

I checked the clock again.  Yeeha, it was 2:31.




4:07.  Dagnabit, why am I still awake?  SHUT THE HECK OFF ALREADY, BRAIN!

Of course, I know darn well why I couldn't fall back asleep.  Besides the fright factor and subsequent adrenaline rush of "AN ALARM IS GOING OFF SOMEWHERE IN THE HOUSE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT EEEEEEEK!" that had rendered me fully awake, I had lots of things to think about.  Things like Kiddo's upcoming CSE annual review, for which we have a team pre-meeting today.  You know, those things that like to keep one up in the wee, small hours of the morning.  Bleargh.

4:36 and I thought about giving up and getting up, but eventually, finally I drifted back off to sleep.  It was a brutal awakening when Kiddo's alarm went off two hours later.  I rolled over and felt the pounding behind my eyes. Splendid.

I had just made my way to the kitchen, where the Excedrin Migraine lives in the cabinet above the sink, when I heard the dulcet tones of my beloved daughter freaking the heck out.  For reasons unknown to anyone but her, she'd decided to wander down into the family room without turning on any lights.  The family room which was pretty much still pitch black, as the sun wasn't up yet and the shades were drawn anyhow.  As she made her way through the darkened room, she stepped in something cold, wet and slimy.

Yep, you guessed it.  Cat hairball, with a chaser of what once was dry cat food, now mostly digested, for good measure.

Now, you would think that as long as it wasn't you who had trod upon cat barf in naught but a pair of fuzzy slipper socks, life would be good.  However, when it is your child who steps in the cat barf and then promptly flips out and begins screaming and hopping around, managing to grind said cat barf further into the carpet and spread it around in the process?  Actually, that's much, much worse.

So there I was at ten to seven this morning, skull feeling two sizes too small and eyes feeling like they were about to burst right out of their sockets, kid shrieking and ewwwwwwing and hovering over my shoulder to witness the scene as I used the last, few paper towels on the roll from the laundry room to clean up cold, wet, ground-in cat barf.  (Apparently the cat was more upset by the alarm than I'd realized...)

And speaking of the last, few paper towels on the roll, it turns out that every kind of paper product that comes in roll form had decided to run out simultaneously this morning.  I kid you not: when I got up to pee at 3:12am, voila, two measly squares of TP left on the roll in the master bathroom.  When I went into Kiddo's bathroom to grab some Advil at 3:43, I discovered another empty roll.  After using the last of the paper towels in the laundry room for Operation Barf Removal, I went up to the kitchen to wash my hands......... and discovered the paper towel dispenser next to the kitchen sink was devoid of Select-a-Size Bounty as well.

Cheese on toast, man!  This Monday is definitely a contender for King of the Craptastic.

And it's cold.  And it's raining.  And it's freaking MONDAY.  And I have to go grocery shopping in the cold and rain this morning.  And we have that IEP meeting I was up stressing out about this afternoon.  And Kiddo has her swimming lesson after school today.  And it's freaking MONDAY.


I totally want to run away to the Seychelles after watching last night's episode of The Amazing Race.  I'm fairly certain those ginormous tortoises that live there do not barf up hairballs... of course with my craptastic luck, I'd probably arrive just in time for a monsoon.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The itsy-bitsy freak out

The other day, I had just finished my morning ablutions and had stepped in front of the mirror to comb my hair when I suddenly felt the sensation of a spider crawling across my foot.  You know how you get that sensation sometimes?  Like a bug or something small crawling across your skin?  Well, I looked down, as you would in such a case, fully expecting to either see (a) nothing or (b) an abandoned hair - either from my own head or perhaps the cat - that had fallen onto my foot and was giving me that ticklish sensation.

Horrifyingly, what I saw was in fact option (c) - an actual spider running across my bare foot.  Well, running is too speedy a term.  What he was doing was more of a mosey or an amble as he certainly was feeling no urgency in crossing the terrain.  I promptly did what any human being in her right mind would do.  I freaked the heck out.  I began vigorously shaking my foot while hopping up and down on my other leg in an attempt to fling the spider off of me, all the while shrieking like an extra in a B horror movie.  The spider, far from being dissuaded in his attempt to stay on my skin, decided that rather than hopping off the crazy, damp, shrieking, jiggling, madly leaping about the (very small) master bathroom chick, he'd head due north right up my leg.  All my evasive actions succeeded in doing was getting him to pick up his pace from a mosey to a sprint.

Fortunately for me, I did not drop into a dead faint at the sight of this ferocious beast coming straight for my throat as fast as his eight hairy legs could carry him.  I somehow managed to keep presence of mind enough to grab a wad of toilet paper (while still screaming a bit and jumping around, I confess) and execute a combination swipe-squish maneuver that removed him both from my thigh and this world.

Now, I have a strict No Squishing policy when it comes to creepy-crawlies.  Not to say I'm one of those insane do-gooders who gently scoop any and all such home invaders into a cup and set them free back in the great outdoors, because if it isn't a ladybug, butterfly or cricket, that's pretty much not happening.  Nope, if I see a spider, beetle or any other EW EW ICK LOOK AT THAT HORRIBLE THING type creature inside my house, I'm all for killing it.  I just can't kill it in a way that will leave a smear or worse behind.  Just the thought of that makes me a little queasy.  This must be related to my innate dread and hatred for pumpkin guts, but I have never wanted to dwell on the topic long enough to work it out.

Anyhow, my preferred method of killing things that go BOO! in my bathroom is to render them immobile by whatever means are handy and then picking up the paralyzed and/or dead creepy-crawlie and disposing of it in either the garbage can or toilet.  (This is my preferred method for the rest of the house, too, actually.)  If I'm in the bathroom, hairspray usually is the weapon of choice, and if I'm not near a can of something or if I'm in a room with carpeting, I'll opt to Dustbuster the critter into the next world.  (Okay, my most preferred method is to call Hubby and get him to eradicate the creepy-crawlie, but Hubby is gone for pretty much the whole day so I have to have a back-up method handy for those times when it's just me and the bugs.)

The other morning, though, with Certain Death lunging ever closer to my jugular (he had FANGS, I'm telling you.  FANGS and an evil and bloodthirsty gleam in his beady eyes), I didn't have time to run into Kiddo's bathroom and retrieve my hairspray, so I had to squish the horrible creature with my bare hands.  Well, my bare hands and a wad of toilet paper about three inches thick.  Terror overrode my gag reflex as I crumpled the TP for all I was worth, suddenly finding Hulk-like strength in my hand, and then I promptly dropped the corpse in his Charmin shroud into the bowl and sent him to his watery grave.  And then I waited for the tank to refill and flushed again.  And again.  Just to be sure, you know.


Sorry Charlotte, but unless you can write out George Clooney's cell phone number in a web on my bathroom mirror, you and all your brethren are destined to meet the same fate should you dare enter this coward's domain.  So do me a favor and spread the word to all your creepy-crawlie pals, okay?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mostly Wordless Wednesday... signs of Spring

The first (and only, thus far) bloom of the season!

Robins! (And cardinals, and sparrows, and lots and lots of other birdies, too!
Also, many squirrels and chipmunks frolicking about, driving our crazy cat even crazier...)

Sidewalk, chalked!
(A far more appealing sight to see than the hundreds and hundreds of worms that covered our walkway and driveway this morning, that slowly died and dried into shrively, crispy lines as the sun rose higher in the sky...)

I'm choosing to ignore the evil and gloomy weatherpersons who love to keep reminding us that we usually get snow "well into April" around here.  I'm also choosing to ignore the freezing cold mornings and the ridiculously low highs in our 10 day forecast.  I am choosing to believe that Spring, finally, has sprung!!

Hello Spring,
Goodbye Wintr!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The next Al Roker?

Kiddo's first grade class has been doing a unit on weather this month.  As part of this unit, they've been reading lots and lots of weather related books.  Hubby and I now know way more about clouds and lightning than we ever cared to, thanks to the homework reading assignments of late.

Today in Kiddo's homework folder, along with the weather book du jour, came a worksheet she's apparently been filling out at school.  It's a sheet of Weather Facts and the kids have to fill in one weather fact for each of the various books they've read.

Here is all the essential weather knowledge Kiddo has gleaned from this unit thus far (there is one more book yet to be read entitled Gusts and Gales: A Book About Wind):

  • Whiteouts are dangris.
  • During a thundrstorm you should stay indoors for suport.
  • Clouds can have shaps and sizes.
  • If there is to much rain it will make a flud.
  • Hurricanes are dangris.
  • There are about 800 tornados in the U.S.A.
  • A snowflake is at lest made out of two crystals.
  • Litning is dangris.
I'm guessing that based on the facts above, the last blank spot will be filled in with something scintillating like "A lot of wind is called a gust." or "Gales are dangris."  Perhaps she's not the next Al Roker after all... 

Monday, March 22, 2010


Almost unfurled...

Almost open...

Almost there...

Almost the very first bloom of Spring...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Stick a fork in me

'cause I am done. As I mentioned in my previous post, Kiddo appeared to be starting with a head cold yesterday morning.   Well, yesterday afternoon she returned home from school white as a sheet with a low grade fever (99.2) and generally looked pitiful, so we skipped her swimming lesson and I put her to bed early with a dose of Children's Mucinex Cold for good measure.

Now, since it isn't possible for my kid to ever catch anything besides strep throat (to which I seem *knock wood* to be mostly immune) without me catching it too, of course I started with the cold symptoms myself.  I can actually tell you the exact moment they began.  I was pushing my shopping cart out of Walmart to my car through the chilly, damp air yesterday afternoon (temperatures were back down into the 30s and I was forced to reluctantly pull my winter coat back out of the closet where I'd optimistically stashed it the previous week) and I breathed in.  With that inhalation (around 2:20pm), my throat began to hurt.  At first I chalked it up to the air, to being thirsty, to *anything* other than germs.  I hopped in the car and chugged a bottle of water.  Throat still hurt.  Dang.  I chose to ignore it and went on with my day, because really, it's not like I actually had a choice.  The world does not stop because Mommy is suddenly feeling unwell, after all. I drove myself home, unpacked the groceries, herded Kiddo into the house when the school bus arrived, tended to her, etc.

By the time she was tucked into bed - 6:50pm despite DST, so I knew she wasn't feeling well - I was listless and sneezy.  I still tried to convince myself that it was nothing more than PMS.  Because PMS gives you a runny nose and sore throat, right?  Hubby got home around 8:30 and we had cold cereal and toast for dinner, then went to bed at 10, and as soon as I rolled onto my side and shut my eyes, I felt it.  That inside-the-skull sloshing of all the snot that seemingly spontaneously generated and ran down into my left side sinuses and nostril as they snuggled into the pillow.  Ugh.  I rolled to the other side and felt the sensation repeat as the tide shifted to my right.  Not.  Good.

As the night progressed, I tossed and turned and woke up to alternatively jam Puffs Pluses into my nostrils or to remove and replace them.  (What?  You've never done that?  I do it all. the. time. when I have a head cold.  I'm doing it right now, as a matter of fact.)  Around 2am, Hubby abandoned ship and moved himself into the guest room to try to get some sleep that wasn't interrupted by my congested breathing, snorting or snoring.  I took advantage of his defection by rolling onto my back so that at least the congestion could reach a state of equilibrium between my sinuses.  As generally happens when I'm not feeling well, my subconscious went all Twilight Zone on me and kept parading odd and unsettling dreams through my increasingly congested noggin for the periods I was actually asleep.

This morning, Kiddo didn't wake up until 8:35.  I would gladly have slept in even longer if I could've, myself.  Instead, I got up, swapped my normal morning attire of ratty sweatshirt-over-jammies for my ratty-fleece-with-pockets-over-jammies so that I can carry a stash of tissues and hand sanitizer with me wherever I go and shuffled downstairs.  Kiddo is home from school today (obviously) and we're both pretty pathetic.  My sinus headache is throbbing to the beat of the opening chords of Eye of the Tiger thanks to her iPod.  I'm presently debating whether to turn on the Wii for her and let her play Littlest Pet Shop so I can go back to bed.  (We have a rule: Kiddo is only allowed to play Wii on the weekends.)  Oh, who am I kidding?  I'm totally turning it on for her as soon as she finishes her breakfast and comes back downstairs. 

The end-of-winter cold is unfortunately a bit of a tradition around our house, and one I would gladly skip.  It's supposed to be gorgeous out today, Hubby told me this morning as he was getting ready for work.  Sunshine and temps in the 50s.  I'd planned to do some yardwork (there are enough sticks in our yard for me to build a bonfire) and I was supposed to be volunteering at school this afternoon on a big art project the first graders are finishing up, but instead I'm going to pull down the shades and retreat to my Mentholated Rainforest Cave. And did I mention on top of this cold, I also have *every* possible PMS symptom right now, too? 

Pathetic.  Totally pathetic.

Monday, March 15, 2010

DST = Darn Stupid Theory

And so it begins again.  Daylight Savings Time, aka a Darn Stupid Theory.  DST has never been my favorite time of year, at least not the "springing forward" portion of events, but now that I have a kid I absolutely loathe it.  The fact that my kid happens to have SPD just makes it worse.  She needs her schedule, and she doesn't need it arbitrarily bumping around by an hour twice a year.  It's like jetlag without the fantabulous destination.

Yesterday, it wasn't so bad.  Being a weekend day, we just let Kiddo sleep in and get up whenever she woke up on her own.  Bedtime last night was another matter altogether.  Despite playing hard at a birthday party yesterday afternoon (and might I digress for a moment to say that while she was looking mighty cute in her party duds as she headed off to the party......
... as soon as she got there, she immediately joined in to the rousing game of Tag that was going on with all the other cute, little girls in their party duds.  A passel of dressy outfits and carefully bowed and beribboned hairdos tearing around the party room, getting more disheveled and sweaty by the second.  You can dress 'em up, but....) Anyhow, as I was saying, despite the playing hard at the party, Kiddo had difficulty falling asleep last night.

I expected she'd have trouble getting up this morning.  Heck, *I* had trouble getting up this morning.  She was grouchy, out of sorts, and for an added bonus appears to be coming down with a head cold.  Because you want crusted over nostrils to complete the look of the grumpy, sleepy, and at least three of the other Dwarfs' names-adjectived kid scowling at you from the breakfast table.

I did my best.  I made her a hearty breakfast (including a dish that is known around here as "Egg Balls" - egg whites nuked in one of those microwave poaching contraptions) and even gave her a glazed doughnut instead of her usual whole wheat toast.  I didn't object when she played the triple audio delight of Eye of the Tiger, Funkytown and the theme from Ghostbusters over and over and OVER again on her iPod without using her headphones.  I ignored the death stare I was getting in the bathroom mirror as I de-bedheadded the newly banged hair.  I didn't even sing "I see London, I see France" when it turned out she'd put her undies on backwards and thus, there was a good inch showing above the waistband of her pants.  I was a Kind and Thoughtful Mommy, Sympathetic to Her Plight.  And this was with me being sleepy and cranky myself, plus in the final hormonal rush of PMS and suffering with the vague rumblings of a headache that I didn't quite vanquish last night to boot.  (Don't worry, I did reward myself with a doughnut as well.  That cinnamon streusel friedcake from the Wegmans bakery was the only thing that got me out of bed and down to the kitchen this morning, truth be told.)  I even let her bring her iPod out on the porch while we shivered in the damp, "oh right, it isn't actually Spring yet" upstate NY air, thus confusing our neighbors into thinking they were suddenly living in Rocky III.

Now, this isn't our first encounter with Daylight Savings Time, obviously.  We've been fighting the fight to keep Kiddo cool, calm and regulated through the time change for several years now.  That is why I know this is going to get worse before it gets better.  I'm bracing for the meltdown that will occur sometime between the bus dropping Kiddo off this afternoon and bedtime.  It is unavoidable, inevitable, like death, taxes and that weird, long, black hair that springs up on my forearm every six weeks.  Complicating matters is that today is swimming lesson day after school.  While ordinarily I look forward to the extra tiring out Kiddo gets from her swimming lesson, I'm thinking we might skip it today so as not to exacerbate the situation.  Tomorrow morning will probably be worse than today, and by Wednesday we'll likely both be weeping into our Honey Nut Generic-Os.

And for what?  Really, what good does Daylight Savings Time really do?  After a few weeks of it finally being lighter when the alarm clock rang, putting a bit of extra spring in all of our steps as we went about our morning routine, this morning when the alarm clock sounded, it was pitch black outside.  Like we'd suddenly plunged back into deepest February.  Nary a bird singing.  It was just so wrong.  As I put on a happy face and tried to get Kiddo through the horror and off to school, I wondered: exactly whose brilliant idea was this, anyway???

I  seemed to recall, in my not-yet-completely-awake brain, hearing that Benjamin Franklin "invented" DST.  I mean, didn't he invent everything back in the 1700s?  I decided my memory must be faulty, so I brushed the doughnut crumbs from my keyboard and googled good, old Ben.

The following quote from Wikipedia cleared things right up:

Daylight saving time (DST) is often erroneously attributed to a 1784 satire that Franklin published anonymously.  Modern DST was first proposed by George Vernon Hudson in 1895.

Aha!  Erroneously attributed to a satire Franklin wrote.  See, I knew Ben wouldn't have come up with such nonsense.  Of course, I immediately clicked on the link to discover the identity of the true culprit who is responsible for such folly.

There he is.  George Vernon Hudson.  Of course a man came up with such a ridiculous idea.  I mean, obviously no woman - at least no mother - would ever think of such nonsense as smart.  Facebook and the Twitterverse have been chock-full of sentiments echoing mine in the past 36 hours, and most of them belong to parents of children who still reside at home and need to be gotten off to school in a timely manner.  (Okay, so that might be slanted a bit, as most of the folks I'm friends with on FB and follow on Twitter are parents of children who still reside at home and need to be gotten off to school in a timely manner... but my point is still valid: I am not alone in this sentiment!)  

Further reading led to the conclusion that at best, DST is "controversial" and it is unclear how much actual benefit there is to the citizens of the world who are forced to deal with it.  Yep, that's right, DST is not a worldwide phenomenon, as evidenced by this map here.  This map, which gives me a brilliant idea:

We need to move to Hawaii.  Right away.  That would solve our DST struggle once and for all!

And really, having this view off the porch:

instead of this one?  

Just a bonus!

I know that, like most other struggles, this too shall pass.  By the coming weekend, Kiddo should be pretty well adjusted to a regular sleep/wake schedule.  It's just the duration of the battle that I dread and loathe.  Especially when it seems so, darn stupid and pointless.  I'd wager that folks would still do the same activities they do now in the summer even if the clocks weren't switched by an hour, dontcha think?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Relatively Wordy Wordless Wednesday... Bangin' and Bobbed

After using a lot of water, the blow dryer and approximately half a bottle of Instant Freeze hairspray this morning to camouflage Kiddo's self-inflicted hair trim results from last week, I caved in and took her for a professional repair job after school today.  The hair at one week out was already beginning to resemble one of Andy Rooney's eyebrows, right there in the middle of her head, and I couldn't do any sort of center-parted hairstyle because of it. 

Those first snips were the hardest for Mommy to watch.  I resisted the urge to save a lock or twenty, though.  (I do have the very first lock from her very first ever haircut tucked away for safekeeping, though...)


The downside to having bangs cut in, as far as Kiddo was concerned?  The hairstylist had to stand in front of her, thereby blocking her view of the flatscreen, hi-def TV blasting cartoons that Kiddo was trying desperately to gorge herself upon.

Once the bangs were cut in sufficient quantity as to hide the errant eyebrow bit underneath, I decided "in for a penny, in for a pound" and allowed Kiddo to get the "short" bob for which she has been begging for ages now.  This is as short as the stylist dared go, as Kiddo's hair still has a good deal of curl/wave to it and if it was any shorter, we feared it would look like Buster Brown with a bad, home perm.  Here's the finished result - Krystal and Kiddo.  Krystal was an awesome stylist and if anyone local wants a referral, I'm happy to give it!

Once we got home, Kiddo wanted to show Daddy what it looks like "just down" without the fancy ribbon, so we took it out and did a quick restyle to the way it will likely look 99% of the time (at least 99% of the time for the first five minutes after I comb it in the mornings.  I'm sure it will resemble a bird's nest of snarls by the time she gets off the bus at the end of the day...) -

And Kiddo being Kiddo, she insisted on doing a picture with her head tilted.  For some reason, she thinks this is the way that photos should all be taken.  I have no idea why.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday Musings

I know there is a "thing" out there on the blogosphere to post Random Thoughts Tuesdays.  One of my favorite people to stalk bloggy friends, Cristin, does this pretty regularly and I always enjoy reading her posts.  Well, I always enjoy reading any of her posts, but you know what I mean.  (Or maybe you don't.  It is quite possible that I'm not making any sense whatsoever this morning as I am functioning on a caffeine hangover and less than 4 hours of sleep thanks to last night's Oscars telecast and my decision to majorly overcaffeinate in order to stay up late enough to watch every, last moment.  My brain is so foggy, it's San Francisco.  Or London.  Or that John Carpenter movie.  Or its remake.  Okay, okay, I'll stop.)

So, as this is Monday and not Tuesday, but the best I can do is throw out some random things that are clattering around quite loudly in my aching, befogged brain, this is my stab at a Random Thoughts Tuesday but I'm calling it Monday Musings instead.


The flowers that bloom in the spring, tra-la!  Look what four days of sunshine and a few-degrees-above-freezing temperatures have wrought in our front yard (along with a rapidly shrinking snowman):
 Crocipetti!!  (Or crocuses, for the non-Beat Cats in the audience)


Daffodils and also possibly a hyacinth!
I planted about 150 or so bulbs in front of the house and around our light post last fall.  I did a mixture of crocuses, daffodils and hyacinths because those were the three bulbs I was assured by many an online gardening site would be least tempting to the seventy squillion squirrels and chipmunks that call our silver maples and pine tree home.  I know that some of those furry critters still felt the need to sample what I'd planted because I came across several bulbs that had been dug up and had a little nibble taken out of them before being rejected and tossed aside.  I replanted those and hopefully they weren't too taste-tested to bloom.  I'm just glad *anything* is coming up.  I'm glad we've had sunshine.  I'm glad I can see something other than white, liberally splotched with yellow.  (Think I'm kidding?  I'm not...............)

That was taken the weekend before last.  There are no dog or cat footprints leading up to any of those spots, either.  Ewwwwwwwww.

With the recent thaw, it's a good thing we got outside the weekend before last and accomplished a few of Kiddo's Most Desired Winter Weekend Family Outdoor activities:

- building a snowman bigger than Kiddo...

- and building a snow fort from which to have a snowball fight.

Ed, the snowman - or rather, person of snow that we built, has suffered mightily with the sun that decided to come out and stay out in the days immediately following his creation.  We have had to pick up the various bits of his face and reattach them several times in the past week, most recently this morning as we were waiting for Kiddo's bus to make its way up the street.  Ed is now a little person of snow with basically just his bottom snowball still vertical and present.


If I'd realized that constructing things out of snow in the yard was all it would take to bring on the spring thaw and sunshine, I'd have been outside at 12:01am on January 1st!  Let's hope it lasts............


So, the Oscars were on last night, which reaffirmed my deep and everlasting desire to one day be a seat filler for the Academy Awards.  At least twice during last night's telecast, I saw a seat filler sitting right next to George Clooney.  Can you imagine?!  Of course, I'll need to get a whole lot more attractive before they'd plunk me next to any celebrity, much less one in the front row.  With my luck, I'd get to seat fill next to the guy who was sitting behind Quentin Tarantino last night... (not that I have anything against Gandalf, of course...)

I've said I really want to do this for my 40th birthday, so I still have another year plus to figure out the wheres, hows, and if it's really possibles since Seat Filling at the Oscars is totally the number one item on my bucket list!


Words Kiddo asked me to define for her over the past three days:




Each time, the question came out of the blue, and each time, I asked her where she'd heard/read it.  Murder came from a book she had to read about Abraham Lincoln for homework, distended from the movie Bolt and slipshod from a Kim Possible book she was reading.  It's like living with a pop vocabulary quiz around here all of a sudden.


Are you watching Modern Family?  It is, hands down, my favorite new show of the season.  I like that not only is it side-splittingly, spit-takingly funny, but that the characters actually seem to be fond of each other.  Yes, there is snark, but it isn't mean-spirited the way it tends to be on sitcoms of recent memory (well, even further back than recent memory - all the way back to Roseanne).  Every character gets great lines and great scenes, from Ed O'Neill's Jay on down to baby Lily, who had her first lines last week.  Modern Family is the reason why our family's band name for Rock Band/Guitar Hero is Why the Face...

Speaking of television, I'm just not as into American Idol this year as I've been in years past.  I haven't even re-upped for the annual AI pool in which I've eagerly and intently participated for years.  I don't know if Adam ruined it for me with his utter perfection last year or what, but despite being a huge Ellen DeGeneres fan (and enjoying her participation in the show this year a lot too), I'm just not that into it.  Anyone else with me?  I don't know if it is that none of the performers have grabbed me (yet?) the way that Adam did last year, that the song choices have felt tired and the performances for the most part ho-hum, or that the judges other than Ellen seem to be trotting out a lot of the same, exact comments that they have made in previous seasons or what, but I'm not feeling it.  Out of the current group of contestants, I'd have to say my favorite is Crystal Bowersox, and I am hoping I get more sucked in as we get closer to the top 12, but right now, it isn't Much Watch Live TV, but more Watch it off the DVR at Some Point TV instead.

Also speaking of TV, how about that final season of Lost?!  Whoa nelly!  Now *that* is Must Watch Live TV, along with Modern Family and The Amazing Race (though I really do still miss the Globetrotters from last season).  I'd watch Project Runway live too, if it weren't on so late.  That falls into the Must Watch off the DVR Because it is on Way Past My Bedtime category.  (Speaking of Project Runway, did you hear that Meryl Streep's Oscar outfit last night was designed by PR alum Chris March? WOOHOO!)

What TV shows are on your Must List this season?

Conversation with Kiddo the other day:

Kiddo:  Mommy, I think it would be fun if you played Littlest Pet Shop with me.

Me:  You know what would be even more fun than that?

Kiddo:  What?

Me:  Doing your homework!

Kiddo:  Ha. Ha. Ha. 


Kiddo:  That?  Was me laughing sarcastically.

(Yes, she has a ways to go yet before she realizes that sarcasm is diluted quite a bit by pointing it out immediately after using it...)

If you're looking for a good book to read, in terms of being laugh-out-loud funny as well as extremely well written, I recommend picking up a copy of Notes from the Underwire by Quinn Cummings.  I've been reading her equally well written blog, The QC Report, for a while, and after languishing on the library's hold list for what felt like an eternity, I finally got my hands on a copy of the book last Friday.  Now that I read and enjoyed the book, I'm sad that I got it from the library because that means I have to return it.  This might be one of the rare times when I go out and buy a book after I've read it courtesy of the public library, because there are so many bits that I'd like to be able to reread whenever I want to, without languishing on the hold list all over again.

For example..............

What I want to be is a strong, resolute figure leading my daughter through the primeval forest of childhood, hacking out a clear, bright path of expectations for her.  What I usually end up being is a person swatting at bugs, squinting at the sun and saying nervously, "Wait.  I know I have the map here somewhere."

There also was an entire chapter about organizing summertime activities for kids (as in camps) that struck a huge chord as I'm presently squinting through the reemerging sun and noticing the long, long stretch of no school that is suddenly looming much closer on the horizon.  She had me rolling in that "It's funny because it's true" sort of way through this whole chapter.  It also had me checking the town's recreation department website for the opening of registration for the "summer fun" program and sending an email out to all the other parents in Kiddo's class and our Daisy troop to find out whether any of her friends are going to be attending Summer Fun and if so, when.  Kiddo loved Summer Fun last year, when she didn't know a soul in town and it didn't matter therefore which weeks she went.  This year, there are more field trips as she's now a going-into-second-grader which puts her into an older group (2-4 instead of K-1) and she knows lots of kids, obviously, now that she's in school here, so the timing of Summer Fun scheduling is more complex.  The cost has gone up a bit as well, but it still is the most reasonably priced summer day camp type program around, for which I'm grateful that Kiddo enjoys it so much!

Whoops, I'm digressing again.  I think that's a sign I need to walk away from the computer and tend to either the grocery shopping or the sink full of dishes from last night and this morning.  I'd much prefer curling up in a sunny spot on the floor like our cat and taking a nap, but I've squandered any potential nap time by blogging instead.  Think I might ingest some hair of the dog before I attempt anything else... 


Last but not least, it's almost March Madness time again, so allow me to display a bit of Hubby's and my school spirit and end with a hearty


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Just one more reason I will never, ever be mistaken for Martha Stewart

Yesterday afternoon, I took Kiddo over to Target to scarf down some popcorn select presents for two upcoming birthday parties she was scheduled to attend (one of which was this afternoon).  Once we had finished agonizing over which thing to get for each friend and drooled over various Littlest Pet Shop items (her) and home decor items and new release books (me), we headed to the gift wrap and birthday card section.  I told Kiddo to pick out whatever gift wrap she wanted, within reason, as all I had located at home in any sufficient quantity was Christmas wrap.  She interpreted "within reason" to mean a roll of super-shiny, silver wrapping paper.  I was dubious but she was insistent and it was fairly cheap as well as being enough to wrap both of the presents chilling in our cart.  She was thrilled to have her shiny, silver paper and brandished the roll aloft the entire way out to the car.

Well, time was drawing nigh this afternoon for us to leave for the party.  While I had been secretly hoping Hubby would notice the birthday present, roll of wrapping paper and fancy, tri-color bow Kiddo had also picked out sitting up on the table and wrap it for me (as is customary in our house - I am *not* a good gift wrapper.  Sadly, I'm not even a good gift bagger; I lack the creative dexterity required to make tissue paper look pretty inside a gift bag.  This is why Hubby, who is able to neatly and precisely wrap anything, no matter its size or shape, is the Head Gift Wrapper in our family), it was about 20 minutes before we had to leave and Hubby was showing no signs of getting his wrap on.  He and Kiddo were firmly planted on the couch in front of the Syracuse basketball game, so I trudged upstairs to wrap it myself.  (Okay, so I said "Well, guess I'm going to go get the present wrapped now....................................." and waited a bit more, looking hopefully in the couch's direction.  Nothing but a "Let's go, Orange!"  Humph.)  I removed the shrink wrap from the roll and began to unroll it.  This is when I discovered a tiny, little problem..............

Turns out the "silver" paper?

Was not quite silver when unrolled........

Gift wrap FAIL.

I managed to save the day by locating a shiny, holographic, silver gift bag in the bin in the basement along with all the Christmas wrap.  Perfect for a 7 year old girl's birthday party, at least in Kiddo's expert opinion.  I even found some tri-color tissue paper that matched the bow exactly.  Whew.

Now I just need to come up with a project that needs lots of clear, cellophane wrap as I can't return it now that it's been open and manhandled.  How much do you want to bet I still have this roll in the basement ten years from now?

Just one more reason why I will never, ever be mistaken for Martha Stewart!

(On a tangential but sorta-kinda related note, how sweet was it that the birthday girl specifically asked her mom not to use any food dye in the frosting for the birthday cupcakes today, so that Kiddo would be able to have one?  This is the second time in the past two months that one of her classmates has made a point of requesting no food dye in party-related goodies just so that Kiddo could partake.  With Kiddo's life being so full of Sorry, you can't eat thats and Nope, we'll have to scrape all the yummy frosting off of this firsts, little things like this really touch me.  Yay for the kind hearts and compassionate natures of Kiddo's friends!!)

Friday, March 5, 2010

At least it wasn't Bernice Bobs Her Hair...

Well, it happened.  A rite of passage I had hoped we'd skip over.  Kiddo gave herself a haircut.  It could've been worse, I know - it really was more of a trim than a full-on cut, not even severe enough to require an emergency visit to the hair salon.  (Yet.)  I didn't even notice it until the day after it happened.  But still...

There we were the other night, Kiddo and I, in her bathroom after her bath, me tending to her wet hair.  I was about to braid it, so I began combing and parting it in the center when I noticed some very short hairs, right in the front at her hairline.  I didn't think anything of it at first - her hair does tend to break right at the front from frequent ponytailing and barretting, so a few flyaway, shorter strands aren't unusual.  Then I looked more closely.  This was more than a few flyaways - this was at least two locks of hair.  Right in the front, right in the middle, where a widow's peak would be if Kiddo had one.


Her hair was still rather wet, so it was hard at first to determine the extent of the damage.  It was already clear, however, that this had been cut, and not by any professional.

"Kiddo," I said in my stern parenting voice, "Did you cut your hair?"

"Um..... I don't remember." came the Reaganesque reply as she stared intently down at the sink - more so as not to meet my reproving look than because she'd actually noticed all the solidified-into-something-stronger-than-cement toothpaste globs she never, ever rinses out of the bowl when she's done brushing her teeth.

"Kiddo.............."  I decided to throw her by changing questioning tactics.  I haven't watched approximately seventeen thousand hours of the various flavors of Law & Order for nothing, after all. I can interrogate with the best of them.   "When did you do this?"

"Um......" Kiddo paused, hoping perhaps that I'd have one of my short-term memory lapses and forget what I'd just asked her, but finally she cracked under my withering gaze, doubled by my reflection in the mirror.  There was no escaping this.

"I did it when I was doing my presidents homework."  Okay, that made a little sense, as the "presidents homework" involved cutting words out and pasting them into a Venn diagram about Washington and Lincoln.  So, she had scissors handy at the time already.

I absorbed and processed this for a moment, then let go with the dreaded follow-up question: "WHY?!"

She really had no good answer.  She tried "I don't know" and mumbled something about how she "didn't mean to" and her hair was "bothering her" and she "didn't realize" and wrapped up with an apology.  Had they been studying explorers instead of presidents in first grade, she would have been able to pull a George Mallory and answer "Because it was there."  That seems to be the real reason, from what Detective Mommy could discern anyhow...

By now, sufficient time had elapsed (along with the heat of my glare) to dry enough of the hair for me to get a fuller picture of what a pair of Fiskars in the hands of a not-closely-enough-supervised six-and-three-quarters year old can do.  

I should pause here to mention that I tried to have Kiddo's hair cut in bangs once, when she was a toddler and finally had hair in quantity and length enough that "keeping it out of her eyes" was something requiring consideration.  It was a mistake.  Kiddo's hair was way too curly to allow for decent bangs.  What she wound up with was a frizzy fringe that more sprang outward and upward than lay smoothly across the forehead, keeping out of the eyes as had been my hope.  Back then, I swore I'd never do bangs for her again, as tempting as the idea was in terms of keeping her hair neat and out of her face.  While Kiddo's hair does seem to be more "wavy" than outright "curly" now that it is longer, I still haven't dared attempt bangs again for fear of reliving that horrible, unmanageable, frizzy fringe look.

Kiddo, however, dared and did.  Ugh.

Detective Mommy had one, last follow-up question before turning the case over to Judge and Jury Mommy.

"What did you do with the hair that you cut?"

And with the mumbled "I put it in my boot" response, I knew that she knew that what she'd done was wrong and was something she'd therefore tried to cover up.  Perhaps not premeditation, but definitely a clear indication of guilt.  (As a quick aside, here, her bootThat was the best hiding spot she could come up with?  My kid is definitely not a criminal mastermind.  Well, yet, anyhow...)

She stood there, tears beginning to spill down her cheeks and generally looking pathetic, with that damned row of hair high atop her forehead like a peacock's feathery 'do.

I considered appropriate consequences, the fitting punishment for this crime.  I quickly realized that just having to live with it would be punishment enough.  I shook my head sadly with a sigh for full effect, picked up the comb and began to comb her hair again.

"Well, Kiddo," I said, my voice laced with disappointment and regret, "there's nothing I can do to fix this.  We'll just have to wait for it to grow back in again, and that's going to take a very long time."

"Like how long?" she asked, a glimmer of hope in her eyes that she'd managed to escape a harsh sentence.  "Until..........April?"

"Oh, no, no, no.  Much longer than that.  Like, until you are eight or maybe even nine."

I wasn't exaggerating that much, after all.  I mean, hair grows at what?  A half inch a month?  Prior to her Edward Scissorhandsing, her hair came to just below her shoulders, so about eight or nine inches long.  Nine inches = eighteen months, which puts Kiddo at closing in on her ninth birthday.  Well, past her eighth birthday, anyhow.

This news came as quite the shock to her.  She looked positively chagrined.  "And," I continued in the same disappointment-shot-with-regret tone, "it is going to look MUCH sillier before it looks normal again.  I'm not going to be able to hide it that well, either, since it is right smack-dab in the middle of your head."

That was it, the killing blow.  Kiddo crumpled and of course, Evil Judge Mommy felt my heart crack a bit at seeing her misery.  This misery continued through dinner, with much snuffling and weeping (exacerbated, as it was, by the specter of the Disappointed and Upset Daddy next to whom she was seated).  By bedtime, she was so thoroughly defeated that I felt the need to relent a bit and attempt to mitigate her woe.  I did so by telling her the following story (at bedtime every night, Kiddo always asks each of us to tell her either a story about When We Were Young or When She Was a Baby - with "Baby" loosely equivalent to "any time she can't clearly recall herself") -

When I was a kid, my sister and I were huge Sesame Street fans.  Even at the age of almost seven, which is when this story took place, I still was quite fond of Sesame Street - all the PBS lineup, really - mostly because it was one of the very, very few shows my mother would let us watch.  When your choices are that limited, you'll watch whatever you can.  Anyhow, our loyal Sesame Street viewing period coincided with the time when one of the people on Sesame Street was Olivia (played the by the recently deceased Alaina Reed-Hall), Gordon's sister.

Now, along with having a lovely singing voice and performing a great rendition of the Sesame Street classic Sing, Olivia, as you might have spotted in the clip above, wore her hair in a style that included beads.  My sister and I were in love with Olivia's hair.  We were envious of Olivia's hair.  We wanted Olivia's hair.  Well, one day, as my mother was distracted with the care and tending of our infant sister, my then 4 year old sister and I decided we were going to give ourselves Olivia's hair.  We sat there in our room and pondered how to do this.  Okay, fine, I confess - I did most of the pondering.  My sister really was just going along for the ride on whatever scheme I came up with.  My eyes darted around the room, trying to figure out what we could use to simulate those awesome, super-cool beads.  Finally, they alit on the artist's kit Santa had brought me for Christmas the previous December.  A-ha!  Inspiration struck!  This kit included no less than ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY EIGHT magic markers, in every shade of every color on the planet.  Well, in every shade of all the "big" colors, anyhow.  I explained my plan to my sister and got her agreement that I would do her hair first.  (I should point out that my sister's hair was the exact opposite of mine.  Whereas mine was brunette, short and full of unruly curls, hers was blonde, straight as a pin, and right around shoulder length.  Much more conducive to my brilliant plan.)  She perched on the edge of her bed and I got to work.

My plan was simple - we'd imitate the look of a head of braided and beaded hair by removing the cap from a magic marker, wrapping the end of a section of hair around the tip of the marker, and then jamming the cap back on to hold it in place.  My sister's favorite color at the time was blue, so I used all the blues, purples and greens on her head - almost half of the markers in the kit.  There was a bit of trial and error at first - not enough hair to keep the marker jammed in place, too much hair to get the cap wedged back on - but I got the hang of it pretty quickly and in about fifteen or twenty minutes, it was done.  She looked glorious, and immediately began to gently swing her head to and fro, making the markers-posing-as-beads click and clack in the most magically wondrous of ways.  I urged her to get my hair "beaded" too, but alas, being as short and curly as it was, the markers really didn't work in it.  It was just too difficult to get enough hair to wrap around the end and then, if she did manage to get a marker applied, it jutted out from my scalp at an odd angle, rather than cascading softly down around my shoulders like hers did.  I was quite disappointed, but still proud of my handiwork, which we immediately ran down the hall to show off to our mother.

(At this point in my tale, I paused to ask Kiddo what she thought my mother's reaction was.  "What did you DO?!?!?!?!?" came Kiddo's response.  She was pretty much right on the mark with that.)

Yes, our mother, rather than either being pleased at our ingenuity and creativity or just impressed by our beautiful new hairdos, flipped right the heck out.  In retrospect, I'm sure that the sleep deprivation that comes with having an infant, along with the generally being run raggedness that comes with also having a four and six year old, two dogs, one cat and no nanny or cook or maid around, may've dulled her sense of wonder and awe a tad.  As it was, we were told in no uncertain terms to get those markers out of our hair RIGHT NOW and then grounded for an eternity following the grim discovery that not only is hair porous enough to soak up magic marker ink when it spends some quality time jammed up against a magic marker's tip, but that said ink will in fact be as permanent as the art kit promises and not wash out of that hair.  We were summarily taken in for hair cuts before being sent to our room and the lovely, fantastic art kit with all its rainbow shades of markers was confiscated, not to be seen again until over two full years later when I had a Social Studies project to do for school and needed something with which to color in my feeble attempt at an artistic rendering of a Lenni Lenape village.

So, I told this story to the still sniffling and small Kiddo, and she was mollified somewhat, as she generally is by tales of my miscreant youth and its errant ways.  The following morning, I attempted to hide the pieces of hair by sort of smoothing them over to the side, but I do fear that in another month or two, it's going to look like a teeny, Charlie Chaplin moustache, right there in the middle of her forehead.


And if it does, that will be the point at which I take her to a salon and see what, if anything, they can do.  Maybe her hair has lost enough curl that bangs would be an option after all.................