Thursday, September 30, 2004

Note To the Verizon DSL Customer Support Department:

It would be absolutely great if the person you hire to answer the phones could speak some version of the English language. Also, the Technical people you hire would be more helpful if they at least knew what they were talking about and didn't get all pissy at you for asking a lot of questions. The reason I called customer support was because I had no freakin' clue how to fix the problem, not because I wanted to test the knowledge of your technical guy. I wasn't questioning his manhood, just trying to understand.

And that automated "Help Center" you stinks. Don't tell me to briefly describe the problem I am having and give as much detail as possible in ten seconds - starting NOW!! Too much pressure there...

BTW, I fixed it myself.


Wednesday, September 29, 2004

I've Been Scolded in Many Languages....

So, there are these two Asian sisters who take their elderly, wheelchair-bound mother for walks through the neighborhood every evening. Even though I "see" them nearly every day, I've only "encountered" them twice.

Encounter #1 was soon after we moved in, about two months ago. I had taken the Little Guy outside for some fresh air before putting him to bed for the night. It had been a hot day and we don't have air conditioning (have I mentioned that before?), so I had given the Little Guy a bath and taken him outside dressed in just his diaper.

I was standing in our front yard holding him and watching him enjoy the breezes all over his little body, when The Sisters came down the street pushing their mother in her wheelchair. They spotted the baby and, like most Asian Mommas, abandoned what they were doing in order to Oooohhhh and Ahhhhhh over the baby.

Asian Mommas: (in unison) Ahhhhhh, look at baby!! Cute baby!!

I politely thanked them for noticing that my cute child was indeed cute.

Asian Momma #1: He so cute!! How big he is?

I told them he was 17 pounds.

Asian Mommas: (in unison) Ooooohhhhh!! Big Boy!!

Asian Momma #2: He so cute!! How old he is?

I told them he was six months old.

Asian Mommas: (in unison) OOoooohhhhhhhhhhhh! Velly Big Boy!!

Asian Momma #1: He so cute!!! (scolding me now....) But WHY HE HAVE NO CLOTHES ON???!!!??


Encounter #2 was tonight. Again I had given the Little Guy a bath and taken him outside in his diaper. This time I was pushing him around the neighborhood in his stroller when I encountered the Asian Mommas pushing their mother in her wheelchair.

Asian Momma #2: Ahhhhh....Look at baby!! Cute baby!!

Before I could thank her again, Asian Momma #1 piped up and started telling her sister something in Korean. They had a brief - yet very serious - conversation which ended when both of them walked away shaking their heads and making that "clucking" noise as they headed off down the street.

I don't speak Korean, but I think I got the gist of it.

Does anyone know how to say "Bad American Mommy" in Korean??

Monday, September 27, 2004

Membership Has Its Privileges

We used to live in a town where the Super Wal-Mart was pretty much the only place to shop. It was always crowded, dirty, and the lines were long. Each trip there became more and more frustrating, until it got to the point where I would do anything to avoid going near the Super Wal-Mart.

If I needed pickles, copy paper, a nail file, and a hammer I would make trips to IGA, Staples, Eckerd, and Lowes rather than doing all my shopping in one convenient stop at the Super Wal-Mart.

I do have to admit though, once I stopped going there I really missed the "Wal-Mart" stories. Every trip was an adventure. It was impossible to go into the store, get your items, pay for them, and get back to your car without some bizarre incident.

Like the time I was in a very long line (was there any other type?) and I finally was one person away from being able to pay for my purchases and head out the door. Unfortunately, I was behind the Dumbest Person in town whose purchase was being rung up by the Dumb Cashier of the Month (I think I saw an award for that - the got their picture on the wall and everything).

Dumb Person was trying to use a debit card, with Dumb Cashier's help, of course.

DP: (waving her card) How do I do this?

DC: Is it a debit or a credit card?

DP: Huh?

They spent the next several minutes trying to determine if it was a debit or credit. They finally decided on debit and together they scanned the card.

DP: What do I do now?

DC: First, do you speak English or Spanish?

(This is where the Diva and the Blonde One totally lost it. Hello? You've been having this l-o-n-g conversation in English and you're still not sure if she speaks English or Spanish??)

Needless to say, it degenerated from there.

So, as much as I don't miss the Super Wal-Mart, I really miss the Super Wal-Mart stories.

This is why I was so thrilled when the Hubster suggested we join Costco. It's only two minutes from our house, they have great prices, and we can buy really big packages of everything. And the stories I'll be able to tell.....

I have to admit, I'm a little disappointed in Costco. It's an okay place to shop, but the stories just aren't as good as the ones I have from Super Wal-Mart. I've found it to be more annoying than anything.

The people are rude and pushy. I suppose this has something to do with the fact that they aren't just Customers, they are Members. And being a Member means you have paid money to belong to something which must mean you are a Very Important Person.

The first time I went there, I hadn't gotten much beyond the man who was checking cards at the door to make sure only Members were allowed in when I had my first Rude Member incident.

I had pulled my shopping cart over to the side and was attempting to put the Little Guy's carseat/carrier in the shopping cart in a position where he could see, yet wouldn't fall over and land on his head. An obviously Very Important Member, probably in a rush to get the free Kirkland gravy samples on aisle 5, came up behind me, pushed my cart out of his way and knocked the Little Guy's carseat on its side. Fortunately Little Guy was strapped in.

That was the beginning of my love/hate relationship with Costco.

I really don't know where I'm going with this. I have to make a trip to Costco today and am so not looking forward to it. If not for their stuffed salmon and cheesecake, I probably wouldn't ever go there. I've discovered that having a 160 pack of diapers and a 64 pack of Fruit Rollups just isn't worth it unless I get a great story in the process....

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Update on "Stuff"

Remember the Driver's License Fiasco? It's now two weeks later and we've made little progress. The paperwork was faxed from Florida twice before it finally found its way to the right person. The Certificate of Completion that was required, then not required? Well.......they decided they really do need it. I faxed it to them, but it never made it to the correct person, so I faxed it again the next day.

Finally they were able to look at everything and tell me that the Diva won't have to take a Hawaii Driver's Ed course.

The next step is to WAIT. They are supposed to mail a document to me, I will then take it to be notarized, stop in at her school and get yet another form to take to the licensing office to make her appointment for the road test. Her eligibility date for the road test is October 19, but I really doubt we will make it.

Remember the Stinky Fish Tale? Well, yesterday afternoon I noticed a horrible smell coming from my garbage disposal. Apparently my "garbage disposals are bad for the environment" husband decided it was okay to put fish parts down the garbage disposal.

Moral of the story - Never leave a man alone with a dead fish. Or something like that.

Finally, Hurricane Jeanne is heading "our" way. The in-laws are all boarded up and riding the storm out in south Florida. The tenants in our house on Merritt Island were under a mandatory evacuation order and I assume they have left the area. We're hoping and praying that Jeanne moves out to sea.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Word of the day:

Brah - A buddy, a friend.

Story Time!!

Today the Hubster was talking story with one of "his people", a Local whose name I don't remember so I'll call him Kimo.

Kimo and the Hubster were discussing beaches. (Duh!) The Hubster mentioned Waimanalo, which has some of the most beautiful beaches in the area.
Waimanalo Beach

Most of the beaches have an "official" name and a "Local" name. Kimo said that the Waimanalo beaches are known as Sherwood Forest Beach, as in Robin Hood, as in rob from the rich....

You see, while the beaches are gorgeous and uncrowded, they are also in Waimanalo....a high crime area. Tourists, unaware of the crime statistics, park along the side of the only road leading through town, hop over the greenery, and are on the beach. Most cars left parked for any period of time will be broken in to. The thieves, being local, usually only target tourists' vehicles.

On to the stories:

Story #1

One day Kimo had parked his car along the road and hit the surf for a few hours. While he was out on his surfboard, another Local surfer paddled over.

He said, "Hey, Brah, I'm sorry man. I broke into your car!! I didn't know it was yours. I put your wallet back in the glove box. It still has the $11.00 in it.

And he paddled off.

Story #2

Kimo was talking with the local police department about crime in the Waimanalo area, especially along the beaches. The police officer said they patrol the area as much as possible, even setting up stings when possible.

He said that one time they positioned several plainclothes officers in the area of the beach, and had another plainclothes officer take a position up on the mountain overlooking the beach. The Officer on the Mountain had a pair of binoculars and a walkie talkie. He would watch for thieves targeting the parked vehicles, radio his buddies on the beach, and an arrest would be made.

The Officer on the Mountain wasn't there long when he was joined by another man, a Local, also equipped with a pair of binoculars and cell phone.

They both watched silently from above as a group of tourists parked their car, put their valuables in the trunk, and hopped over to the beach.

The Officer on the Mountain listened as the Local on the Mountain immediately got on his cell phone, called his buddies on the ground, and told them which car to hit and where the valuables were.

Arrests were made all around.

A Stinky Fish Tale

We live in a tight community...literally. It's the only way possible to build enough houses on an island where most of the land is not suitable for building. Most of the houses have no air conditioning, so windows are always open and tradewinds are (hopefully) blowing through.

The majority of our neighborhood is made up of Asian people, retired people, and retired Asian people. Three things I've noticed about them are (1)they love to do yardwork; (2)they all own little yappy dogs; and (3)they cook the most foul smelling stuff I've ever imagined.

We've got tight windows....tradewinds, you can always smell what your neighbors are cooking for dinner. (You can't always identify it, but it's sort of a benjo-ditch meets K-Mart smell.) On a good night, the smell of various items being barbecued fills the air. However, most nights the smell of bad Asian food permeates my house. I swear, sometimes I'm not sure if my neighbors are cooking or refinishing furniture - it's THAT bad!!

Side Note: I've always prided myself on having the House That Didn't Reek. (Of course, not cooking has a lot to do with that....)

Anyway, this afternoon the Hubster called and said they had caught a poacher on the bay with illegal nets. He had three coolers full of illegally caught fish that they needed to get rid of. He would be bringing some home to clean and cook for dinner.

Now, the closest we ever come to eating just-recently-dead fish is when the Hubster has his weekly Sushi-Fest. I've never cleaned a fish in my life. Never cared to, didn't want to be any part of it. (The Wildcard, however, was very excited about dissecting a fish.) I was less than pleased.

So when the Hubster came home with his bag-o-fish, I made an excuse to leave the house. Immediately. The Little Guy was getting fussy and I needed to take him for his evening walk.

We walked about a mile, then got caught in a quick rainshower as we turned to go home. I hurried to get the baby out of the rain (although he was really enjoying it!!). As I came around the corner to our house, the smell of plumeria, gardenia, and fresh rain gave way to The Most Awful Smell I Could Have Imagined.

And it was coming from my House That Didn't Reek!

I was greeted at the door by the Blonde One.

"Hey Mom! Have some fish - it's really good!!'

This is what he says when he really means, "Mom, you eat it so I won't have to!"

As I make my way into the kitchen, the odor was overwhelming. The Hubster was standing there with a platter full of ugly charred fish, heads removed, skin (scales?) still partially on. He was grinning ear-to-ear, truly proud of himself. Not only had he made the fish, but he had steamed some broccoli to go with it. (Could there be a more stinky combination??)

In one of those rare "I'll do it for my marriage" moments, I took a fork and scraped off a chunk of fish flesh.

Oh. My. Gosh!!!

It was the most incredible flake-off-the-bones, melt-in-your-mouth fish I've ever tasted! I don't know what type of fish it was or how he cooked it, but it was fabulous!

I'm beginning to think my Asian/retiree neighbors may be on to something with their stinky food....

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

It's All About the Flip-Flops!

So....this morning the Diva was off to school wearing a cute, flippy, hunter-green skirt (American Eagle), a white "West Coast Love" t-shirt (Urban Outfitters), and her black flip-flops ($2 from Old Navy three years ago).

Fast-forward to 9:30. I was out running errands and my cell phone rang. It was my Darling Diva.

"Mom? Where are you?"

I told her I was at Lowes.

"Ummmm...are you coming out this way today?"

No - "this way" is 30 minutes from our house, and I was 30 minutes in the opposite direction.

"Ummmm.....(she starts a lot of sentences that way) My flip-flop broke!"

I told her there was really nothing I could do - she would have to deal with it. She's a smart girl, she'll manage without me driving halfway across the island to take her a new pair of shoes.

There was an Old Navy in the same shopping center as Lowes, so I told her I'd stop in and pick up another pair of black flip-flops. She wears flip-flops all the time, especially her black ones. That was the best I could do.

So....(I start a lot of my sentences that way) After I finished at Lowes, I walked over to Old Navy to pick up the flip-flops.

For some reason - - - perhaps because we're in Hawaii and the temperature has been averaging 90 degrees and won't be dropping much more than a few degrees all winter - - - I assumed I would be able to pick up a new pair of flip-flops.


Their racks were already filled with their winter line. Winter, as in corduroy jeans, heavy knit sweaters, scarves, sweatshirts, and shoes - real shoes!!

There wasn't a flip-flop to be found. Bowling shoes, yes. Ballet slippers, yes. Flip-flops? Forget it!

I remember speaking to my sister-in-law a few years ago about this (she's a Retail Goddess) and she said some chains order the same merchandise for all stores, no matter the location. It's just easier for them to do it that way. Stupid, if you ask me....but sometimes easy=stupid.

Anyway, no flip-flops for the Diva.

When I picked her up from school she walked to the MomVan with one bare foot and one flip-flopped foot. I asked if she spent the whole day that way.

"Ummmmm, no. I was sooooo lucky because Bre (her New Best Friend) broke her foot and tried to wear flip-flops, but couldn't fit into them. She had two good flip-flops and one good foot, and I had two good feet and one good flip-flop, so we traded for the day."

Dang! I was hoping to hear the Drama Queen Report on how terrible it was to walk around in a broken flip-flop all day....

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Today was a do-nothing day.

The Hubster took the Blonde One to the beach for their weekly surfing/boogie-boarding outing. The Wildcard didn't want to go, but mentioned that a movie he wanted to see was playing on base, and the Diva had to go take a shirt to her friend who lives on base. So....we piled into the Divamobile and headed north.

Her driving is improving a lot, but she still scares me sometimes. She has a tendency to get distracted by unimportant things. Like today there was a girl walking into a TCBY wearing a really cute skirt. And later there were the two guys in the jeep next to us. And she can't seem to keep from glancing down at the water as we drive around a cliff overlooking the ocean. I'm definitely not ready to let her drive alone.

Anyway, she dropped the shirt off at her friend's house, then went to the Hubster's office to do some studying (in an air-conditioned office!!) while I took the Wildcard and the Little Guy to the movies. The movie started at 2:00. By 2:05 it suddenly hit me that I was sitting in a movie theater watching Yu-Gi-Oh, the movie, with an eight month-old baby.

What the hell was I thinking?

The next ninety minutes were spent attempting to entertain and quiet the Little Guy while trying to pretend I was interested in the movie (for the Wildcard's sake).

Little Guy sat on my lap and watched the movie for almost an entire minute, then twisted around to see what was on his right, then twisted again to see what was on his right, and again... After doing three 360 degree turns in less than two minutes, I let him stand on my lap. The only difference here was that he could now smack me in the face, pull on my ears, and dig his little nails into my neck as he continued to spin in circles on my lap.

We went to the snack bar and got a hotdog for the Wildcard. And some spare ketchup packets for the Little Guy to play with. This was entertaining for all of three minutes, then he decided it would be fun to stand on my lap and "jump" up and down. (It's really not jumping since his feet never really get off the ground, just more of a painful experience for me.) From there we went on to a game called, "Let's Chew on Mommy's Chin!!" The premise here is that he gets to grab me by the ears, hair, and earrings and pull me forward until he can gnaw on my chin and let the drool run down to my navel. (He enjoyed this game much longer than I had hoped.) This was followed by another round of jumping on my lap.

I think it was at this point that I pulled out one of my Big Guns - the pacifier. The thing about the pacifier is that it will calm him, but he enjoys singing while he sucks. he's sitting still, but the singing begins..."Eeeyeyeyyye!!Eeeeyeyeyeyyy....eyeyeeeey!!! Eeeeyeeeyyeeeeyyyeey!!!"

The pacifier was put away and the Trash Bin Dancing began. We were sitting on an outside aisle, so I stepped to the side and let him sit on top of the trash bin. (It was clean, I checked first....really.) We went from sitting to standing to jumping to dancing and singing.

We went out to the lobby where I "walked" him, we sat for a few minutes watching the movie while I gave him a bottle, we did more chin-chewing, ear pulling, pacifier singing, and trash bin dancing.

And then out the door to the lobby for a break. Then back in. And out. And in...

How long can a freakin' Yu-Gi-Oh movie last????!?!?!?!! It was Hell on earth...

When it was finally over and I was walking through the parking lot with the Wildcard, he said, "Mom, that was such a cool movie!! Did you see the part where (I forgot his name - the blonde-haired one) knocked the head off the mummy? That was awesome!!!"

I had seen it and I was glad.

Friday, September 17, 2004


Why do babies need to pull their foot up to their ear in order to relax and drink their bottle?

It's cute, but if good old Uncle Stanley had this habit, it would just be weird....

Why do I love being around my kids, but can only tolerate other kids for short periods of time?

The Wildcard's New Best Friend was over today - nice kid, but did I mention that he TALKS VERY LOUDLY???? I couldn't wait for him to go home....

Why can I run into the commissary for a few things and come out with just a few things, but when the Hubster stops for a few things, it ends up being twelve bags full?

I'm guessing it has something to do with his Italian upbringing....

Why do some moms think dressing like slutty teenaged girls will make them look anything other than old and trashy?

Sorry to say, but those ruffley skirts don't hide the cellulite and leathery skin.....

Why do those election signs for "Ah Yat" bother me so much?

I think it has something to do with the fact that they are printed in block letters, all capitals (AH YAT), and all the letters have a vertical line of symmetry. Every time I see one, I have to read it backwards and forwards....

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Actual Conversations I Had Today, Part 3

Conversation #1 with the Little Guy Who is Teething and Ornery:

(He was sound asleep when the StupidDog decide it was important to run back and forth along the fence - outside the baby's window - to protect us from the Impending Attack of the Neighbor's Landscaping.)

StupidDog: Grrr.... Rrrrooorf...roorf, rorf, rrrrooooorf!!

Me: (in my whispering/shouting voice) Hey!! Hey!! Shush!!!

Little Guy: Waaahahhhhha!!!

Me: Crap! StupidDog!!

Little Guy: Whahahaaaahaah!!

StupidDog: Whew!! I saved the day there!!! Do I get a treat for that???

(Okay, I know dogs can't really talk, especially stupid ones.)

Little Guy: Wwwahahahahahahaaaaaah!

Me: It's okay, Little Guy. Let's go get some juice...

Fifteen minutes later and nothing has changed. Little guy is still ornery, but has gone from his "Wwahahahahaaaah...." stage to the engine that won't turn over stage: "Uh, uhn, uhn, uhhh, uh...."

Me: Let's play with your blocks!! That'll be fun!!

Little Guy: "Uh, uhn, uhn, uhhh, uh...."

Me: How about some crackers? You love crackers!!

Little Guy: "Uh, uhn, uhn, uhhh, uh...."

Me: I know, let's get a bottle and see if you can take another nap!!

Little Guy: "Uh, uhn, uhn, uhhh, uh....Waahahahahahahahh!!!!!!!!"

Me: (to myself) Let's see if we can find a special bottle for Mommy....

Conversation #2 with the Wildcard regarding a book report that was assigned Monday and is due tomorrow:

Me: You really need to get started on it. You've had all week and it's due tomorrow.

Him: I know, I know, I know!!!

Me: Go get your book from your backpack.

Him: I don't want to do it!! It's not fair!! None of the other fourth grade classes have to do book reports!!!

Me: That's one of the reasons I like your teacher so much.

Him: (muttering) Book reports are evil.....teachers are evil....I wish the school would just evaporate....

(Fifteen minutes later)

Me: Have you started on that book report yet?

Him: (Throwing himself on the floor at my feet like I was Mecca...) Waaahhhhh! I HATE book reports!! What's the point? We're all just going to die someday and God isn't going to care that I didn't write my fourth-grade book report!!

Sheesh, it isn't even 5 p.m. The Blonde One and the Diva aren't even home from school yet. It's going to be a long night.....
Actual Conversations I Had Today, Part 2

Conversation #1, In the van after picking the Wildcard up from school:

(I was trying desparately to hear a point that was being made on talk radio...)

The Wildcard: .....and then there are these space pirates whose main attack is flamethrower...

Sean Hannity: The documents...............because his secretary.......

Me: Hmmmm....

The Wildcard: .....and if the Metriod can't penetrate the ice shield, there's almost no way he can defeat the space pirates!!

Oliver North: My theory is.......Kerry wouldn't have been involved........something about Vietnam....

Me: Oh, wow!

The Wildcard: ....but one time we were playing it and we were at level seven which isn't really hard, but Brandon (the New Best Friend) hasn't gotten there yet....

Hannity: But that's not entirely true..........the swift boat veterans.....

Me: Really?

The Wildcard: ....because there is a memory chip that you can use to save all your battles and it lets you jump levels so the ice pirates don't lose all their powers....

North: I've been in battle.........something about having his finger on the button....

(Maybe I got that may have been Hannity and North rambling about Metroid and Space Pirates while the Wildcard discussed Swift Boats and documents. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.)

Actual Conversations I Had Today

Conversation #1, with the Hubster via telephone:

(I don't care for animals in my house, I never wanted a pet, I was over-ruled and we have a dog. The dog and I have a mutual agreement - I ignore him and he ignores me. I never break the agreement, but he sometimes does.)

Him: wouldn't mind if I brought another dog home, would you?

Me: What would make you think that?

Him: I mean, we have one, what's another? It's housebroken.

Me: (silence)

Him: This guy is getting ready to move back to the Mainland and he can't take his dog with him. My Master Sergeant said he'd take the dog, but he's afraid his wife might be upset. I told him if it was a problem, then I would take the dog.

Me: He said he was afraid his wife might be upset?

Him: (silence)

Conversation #2 with medical appointment line:

(After pressing all the appropriate numbers to be transferred to the General Surgery department and giving the customer service rep the background of why I was calling.)

Me: I need to make an appointment to schedule the surgery.

Her: Okay, you will need to talk with Robert. I will take the information and he will get back with you later today.

(Later Today)

Robert: I got your message. Before you can schedule the surgery you need to schedule a pre-surgery physical. Call the appointment line again, and make an appointment through General Surgery for the physical.

Me: Would that be the same number I called earlier?

Robert: Yes. Make sure you schedule it through General Surgery, not Pediatric Surgery.

(Back to General Surgery)

Her: He said to schedule it with us? A physical? I'm going to transfer you to Pediatrics.

Pediatrics: You want to schedule what? Why? Who told you to call us? I'm going to transfer you to Pediatric Surgery.

Pediatric Surgery: Have you seen a doctor? Do you have a referral? If you've seen a doctor in General Surgery, then they are the ones you need to speak with. I'll transfer you....

Her Again: And what was it you needed? Okay, Robert is the one you need to speak with. I will leave a message for......

Me: I already spoke with Robert and he told me to call you and schedule a pre-surgery physical.

Her Again: Could you hold, please?

Me: I might as well. It will give me tome to find my hammer.

(After a few minutes)

Her Again: Okay, I just spoke with Robert. He said you aren't supposed to call to schedule the physical. Someone from General Surgery will call you and schedule it.

Me: Aren't you General Surgery? Can't you schedule it for me?

Her Again: I'm sorry, but that's not the way things are done around here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Observations from She Who is in a Pissy Mood Today:

(That would be me, by the way.)

If I give you my cell number it's because you are a Very Important Person, you have Very Important Information for me, or I need to get Very Important Information from you.

Don't let it ring three times, assume I'm busy, and hang up just as I'm dropping the baby on his head in a scramble to answer the phone. Because I know if it rings it's got to be Very Important.

Additional note: If you are the Hubster you shouldn't have to be reminded of this.

Never try to rationalize with an irrational teenager.

If that little voice is telling you, "Don't say anything, don't say anything, don't say anything" then you shouldn't say anything!!!

Customer service people should be rounded up and shipped off to a very small island where they are forced to eat each other to survive.

My rule is this: Once they transfer you to "Tiffany" it's time to simply give up and admit defeat. Give me Linda or Keith or even Larry, but everyone knows that the Tiffanys are all at the end of the Customer Service food chain.

***end of rant***

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Mahalo, HPD!!

I was soooo going over the speed limit.

He clocked me at 42 in a 25, going up a hill around a 90 degree curve.

He told me to slow down a bit and have a nice day!

No ticket.....


Saturday, September 11, 2004

Why Men Will Never Rule The World

Don't get me wrong...I love men. I grew up with five brothers and have three boys of my own. I have always had more male friends than female friends. Men are (in most cases) more fun than women, more interesting than women, and less catty than women.

However, they have one major flaw.

They depend on women WAY too much.

I saw it growing up with my brothers and their friends who were always around. They could almost accomplish anything they set their mind to, but it was like they were always one piece short of completing the whole puzzle.

The Hubster and the boys are following the same pattern.

For example, today the Hubster decided to take the Blonde One and the Wildcard to the beach for a few hours.

Nice, I thought. The Diva was in her little Divaworld and the Little Guy was asleep. I could actually have some time to the middle of the day!!

So, the Three Guys busied themselves preparing for the beach.

Guy #3 came at me first: Mom, where are my swim trunks?

Me: Did you look in your drawer and your laundry basket?

Guy #3: They aren't there. They aren't anywhere.

I stop what I'm doing and go get his swim trunks out of his drawer.

Guy #1: Which beach should we go to? The far one will have the better waves, but I don't know if I want to drive all the way there.

Me: Why don't you go to the close one since it's on the way. If there are no waves, go to the other one.

Guy #1: Oh.....yeah.

Guy #2: We have no more Pop-Tarts (his snack-of-choice for the beach).

Me: Did you look in the pantry? There should be some on the bottom shelf. Behind the bottles of juice.

Guy #2: I looked there....

I stop what I'm doing, and go get his Pop-Tarts from the bottom shelf of the pantry.

Guy #1: Do you know where the boys' rash guards are? I didn't see them in the laundry room.....

I go get them from the laundry room.

And so it goes.

Before they head off to the beach, I comment to the Hubster that he wouldn't be able to function without me.

He just rolls his eyes, leaves the house, then pops his head back in to ask if I've seen his sunglasses anywhere.

They were on the desk by the front door, but I told him I had no idea where they were.

Then I sat back and watched while he searched the entire house, including the desk, and finally left without his sunglasses.

Customer Service....Where Did I Leave That Hammer?

How to get a Hawaii driver's license for a 16 year-old:

1. Begin by getting a Florida permit on her 15th birthday. Have her take Florida driver's ed course which she passes and receives a waiver so she won't have to take the road test to get her license.

2. Move to Hawaii two months before her 16th birthday.

3. Discover that she must have a Hawaii permit for 90 days before a Hawaii license can be issued "no mattah how much she been driving".

4. Fill out appropriate paperwork and stand in line at the licensing office for 30 minutes. Be told by the Sour-Faced Clerk that she cannot get her permit without both parents' signatures on the form.

5. Since the Hubster is on the Mainland for a few days and the Diva CANNOT wait another day, go home and get Power of Attorney.

6. Return to licensing office, wait in line 30 minutes. Be told by a different Sour-Faced Clerk that they don't usually accept POA's, but would make an exception this one time.

7. Inquire about licensing requirements while Diva takes written exam. Sour-Faced Clerk gives me a number to call at the Department of Transportation.

8. Diva passes written test! Wait 30 minutes in line to pay fees and have photo taken. Wait an additional 30 minutes while they fix machine, re-take pictures, and issue permits.

9. Call D.O.T. to discuss procedure to follow to get Florida driver's ed course certified as acceptable for Hawaii. Be transferred to a different office where they decide it's not their department - it's a Department of Education issue.

10. Call D.O.E. Be directed to the appropriate person at the Diva's school who can review her certificate and course material from her Florida class to see if it meets the Hawaii requirements.

11. Call the Diva's school. The person I need to speak with no longer works there. I am referred back to the DOT.

12. Speak with a different person at the DOT who tells me to contact her Florida school and get a Certificate of Completion which specifies the number of classroom hours and the number of behind-the-wheel hours. Take that with me when she is ready to take her road test - she will be able to waive the mandatory driver's ed course.

13. Call her school in Florida. Request the Certificate of Completion. It arrives in the mail within days.

14. In Hawaii you must either make an appointment (in person) for a road test or wait in line overnight and hope for a walk-in space to take the road test. Appointments can be made 30 days before the eligibility date to take the road test. Wait until 30 days out, drive 40 minutes to the licensing office, and stand in line to make the appointment for her road test.

15. Be told that appointments cannot be made without certification from the DOT stating that her Florida course meets the requirements for the Hawaii license. Be given the number of the person at DOT who reviews these things.

16. Call DOT. Have call transferred to a different office within DOT. Be told to call DOE.

17. Call DOE. Discover that the Certificate of Completion previously requested is worthless. I need a course description and transcript faxed DIRECTLY from her Florida school to the DOE for their review. They will analyze it and mail a document to me which I will have notarized and take to the Diva's new school. Someone there will give me a two-part form....I keep the pink one and take the blue one to the licensing office and THEN I can make the freakin' appointment for the Diva to take her road test.

18. Find the largest hammer in the house and start beating myself in the head with it.....much simpler than dealing with the bureaucracy in this state.

(Did I mention that her Florida school will be closed until at least Tuesday because of Hurricane Frances, and possibly Ivan?)

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Random Stuff Day....

My Stupid Move of the Day: Accidentally pressing the button on the garage door opener while I was backing out of the garage. Other than a few scratches to the luggage rack, no damage done.

Most Brilliant Thing I Did Today: Re-arrange our family room/play room to make room for the Wildcard's desk. He has been doing his homework on the coffee table in front of the TV because the Little Guy is always asleep in the room they share.

My Clumsy Act of the Day: Thinking I could eat a Taco Supreme while driving. To make matters worse, today was White Shorts Day.

Runner-Up for Clumsy Act of the Day: Dropping a 2-liter Diet Pepsi on the floor at the checkout in the commissary. This was immediately followed by the cashier dropping a second 2-liter Diet Pepsi on her side of the checkout.

Funniest Moment of the Day: While waiting in line at the commissary, a little boy (approximately 2 y/o) spotted my Little Guy. Little Guy was totally exhausted and in his "I'm awake, yet I'm asleep" trance. Little Boy smiled and said, "Hi, baby!!" Little Guy was oblivious. I told Little Boy that the baby was very sleepy and probably wasn't going to respond. Little Boy said, "Baby!! Look over here!!" Nothing from Little Guy. He tried again, "Hey baby!! Look at me!!" Nothing. (This went on for several minutes while Pepsi products were flying all around.) As I was preparing to leave, Very Pissed Little Boy yelled, "Hey!!! Baaaaabbbbyyy! I..........SAAAAIIIID........LOOK........OVER.........HEEEEEEEEEERE!!!!!! NOW!!"

Best Decision Someone Else Made for Me: Today is the Diva's 16th birthday. She requested stuffed salmon steaks and broccoli for dinner. Simple and yummy!

Most Worrisome Item of the Day: We still haven't been able to contact any of the Hubster's family in south Florida. We last spoke with them on Saturday and they were planning to ride the storm out. We also haven't been able to contact our property manager to check on our house on the central Florida coast, but that doesn't concern me as much as not being able to reach the in-laws.

Biggest Dilemma of the Day: Eat brownies or go for a run after dinner. The brownies won.

Finally: Happy Birthday, Diva!!

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Pardon Me, Have You Been Drinking???

The Wildcard has a New Best Friend.

Every time we move I am concerned that the kids will never find a New Best Friend, so I am always relieved when the NBF comes along. I am even more relieved when I actually meet the NBF and his/her family and determine that they meet my criteria for 'normal'.

The NBF is in the Wildcard's class at school, and his new teacher "set them up". She mentioned this to me at a meeting we had one day after school. She said she thought they would have a lot in common. Then she followed that statement with a huge 'wink, wink'.

I wasn't sure what all the winking was about, but I was glad the Wildcard had a new friend (he hadn't yet achieved NBF status).

I had met the NBF a few days ago, but today I got to meet The Family.

I met The Mom after school today. We chatted a while and the boys played. She invited the Wildcard to come over and play after she ran a few errands. The Mom and Dad stopped by our house later to pick up the Wildcard.

The Dad introduced himself as "***** Lieberman", which explained all the winking done by the teacher. (We have a Jewish last name, but are Catholic.)

Anyway....the Wildcard went off with the NBF and his normal family. They would call after dinner and I would go pick him up. (That would be my chance to see how they lived - probably the same reason THEY needed to come to our house.)

So, The Dad called at about 8:30, gave me the exact directions to their house - they live in a condo...the top floor, penthouse unit of a high-security condo building. I would need to sign in with the security guard at the desk, call upstairs, and be buzzed in before I could pick up my child.

The condo grounds were beautiful. The parking garage was immaculate and didn't have a garage-ey smell. The lobby was gorgeous, marble and glass everywhere.

Then I saw the security overweight Samoan guy in an ill-fitting uniform, he was probably in his early fifties. He was sitting behind the desk sipping a Super Big Gulp.

I filled out the necessary paperwork and signed in. He never said a word, just sat there sipping his Super Big Gulp.

"Bush or Kerry?" he asked.


"Bush or Kerry?"

I need to give my party affiliation in order to get my child?

"It's Big Government versus Big Business, you know?"

Ummmmm. Okay. Can I get my kid now?

"They are both evil"

(blank stare from me)

"Microsoft only paid $.16 dividend."

"They (pointing upward) control the place, you know?"

"Bill Gates....ha!!"

"I got 8% on my retirement fund last year, you know?"

And on it went for many long minutes.

I finally got a break and asked where the phone was so I could call the Liebermans. He pointed to a phone and added, "But I don't know how to use it."

I followed the two-step directions (press the # button followed by the unit number) and reached Mr. Lieberman. Finally.

It took a few more minutes and a few more random thoughts before I could excuse myself to go upstairs.

The boys were having a great time, and Mrs. Lieberman gave me a tour while the kids packed things up. Their home was amazing and they had the most incredible views. At Hawaii prices, the place must have cost a fortune.

Too bad they couldn't spring for a sober security guard.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Hawaii, the TV Show....

I just finished watching the pilot for the new NBC series, "Hawaii".

Needless to say, there's been a lot of hype locally for the show. They had a huge sneak-peek premier on the beach in Waikiki on Sunday, complete with red carpet and muckety-mucks galore.

The show is being filmed entirely in the state (as are three other new series'). The music is local, the costumes are local, and many of the extras are locals. It's not uncommon to be driving to work or school and come across cameras rolling. (Or to be out jogging at 9 p.m. and be startled by one of the lead actors who had just finished his jog and was lurking behind a bush while doing his cool-down stretches, but that's another blog for another day.) The show has provided a bit of an economic boost for the state, so everyone is hoping it does well.

So, back to my review.

I thought the scenery was absolutely beautiful. The music was awesome. Other than that, I'm a bit conflicted.

First, and this is an issue with any Hawaii-based show, where are the locals? They were the bad guys, and they had their token Samoan cop, and the pretty female cop with a bit of Asian blood in her. Bring on the locals - they would make the show much more entertaining than what I saw tonight.

Second, four heads in a trunk? A shootout in a sugarcane warehouse? That just doesn't happen in Hawaii.

There is crime here, but except for the Xerox shootings a few years ago, it's just not that dramatic.

Several days ago, they captured a snake on the island.

Now THAT was huge news.

There are no snakes in Hawaii, and having them here would upset the ecosystem to the tune of millions of dollars. When a snake is spotted, it's a really, really big deal.

So, the lead story that day was about the snake. Three locals had spotted it slithering across a road and ended up capturing it. They were interviewed by all the news channels.

This is how it went....picture three locals, one a heavy-set Samoan-looking guy (the lead actor), and two of his buddies (the supporting actors). All were sporting board shorts, t-shirts, bare feet, and HUGE grins:

Heavy-Set Guy: We was driving down the road and saw the snake cross in front of us. My buddy said, "Man!! That's a snake!!" I said, "No, Brah, it's just an eel!!"

Cut to the Two Other Guys: (They never actually said anything, they were just grinning in the background and nodding excitedly.)

Heavy-Set Guy: So we pulled over and chased it off the road. And I grabbed a bucket....(he pauses, reaches into the back of his truck and grabs a bucket). We chased it and, man, we caught it!! (Pause while he illustrates the chasing and catching sequence.) We put a lid on the bucket and called 911!

Perky Reporter: Were you scared at all?

Heavy-Set Guy: Nah, man...We not scared. I watch Crocodile Hunter all the time!!

(Cut to Two Other Guys grinning in the background.)

Those are the type of people I want to see on the TV show!!