Saturday, October 30, 2004

This Is Why We Call Him The Wildcard

The Diva and the Blonde One had orthodontist appointments today and the only way I could make sure everyone got everywhere on time was to pick the Wildcard up early from school. I needed to pick him up by 12:45 to make everything run on time, but since his lunch time is 12:00, I just checked him out of school at noon.

He was excited when I told him about it last night.

This morning as I was dropping him off at school he said, "Just think, only four hours until I get to come home!!"

So, I signed him out in the office and he came running down from the fourth-grade building with his backpack bouncing around on his back and his water bottle spewing water in all directions. He had a huge grin on his face as he grabbed my hand to lead me to the parking lot, probably to make sure I didn't change my mind.

He chatted all the way about his day.

"We had a sub today. She gave us our spelling test this morning. I think I got a 100% on it. Brandon invited me to spend the night on Saturday and go trick-or-treating with him on Sunday. I don't have any homework over the weekend. The only thing I'm missing this afternoon is a math test."

I opened the door of the MomVan for him and he climbed in.

A look of horror came over his face. "Well, there is one other thing...."

He dove into the back seat and buried his head in the seat covers. "I just remembered - we're having cupcakes!!! And Halloween candy!! And, and ....and goodie bags!!!!"

He was sobbing now.

"Why, oh why did you have to pick me up early TODAY??!?!?!?"








Thursday, October 28, 2004

Ugh, ugh, ugh.

Ugh #1: The Diva has a "boy friend". Not a "boyfriend", just a "boy" "friend".

We'll call him "Cowboy" because he has a cowboy name - something more fitting for an Oklahoma Rodeo punk than a Just-Moved-From-Maui-Surfer punk.

We have yet to meet Cowboy, but he has mentioned (in one of his marathon phone calls ON A SCHOOL NIGHT) that he would like to meet "The Parents".

That scares the crap out of me.

It wasn't that long ago that I was bringing Cowboys home to meet my parents. We can't be The Parents yet. It's just not possible.

He invited her on a family camping trip this weekend.

What the Hell was he thinking??!!???

Ugh #2: The Disgruntled Diva still doesn't have her drivers license.

She has an appointment to take her road test in mid-November. It's the earliest she could get in. Our other option is to get up at the buttcrack of dawn to camp out on the sidewalk outside one of the testing centers in hopes of getting a walk-in test.

So we got up at 5:30 this morning to camp out at the Kalihi testing center.

We should have gotten up at 5:25.

The Hubster took the day off work to take the boys to school and stay with the Little Guy while we waited for her to take her road test.

There were 24 slots available for road tests. We, of course, were # 25 in line.

Crap.

We're going to try again on Friday, this time getting up at 5:00. Since the Hubster can't take another day off, we'll have the Little Guy and the Wildcard with us. (The Wildcard will get to miss a day of school, which is fine with him because he already knows everything anyway.)

What the Hell am I thinking??

Ugh #3: Next week is going to be a tough one. I would love nothing more than to fast-forward through it all. Could you keep us in your prayers?

Thanks.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

That "Mr. Science" Guy Has Nothing On Me!

Do you think Mr. Science knows how many tampons it takes to absorb 1/2 bottle of Tilex Shower Cleaner?

Or how long it will take a dog to poop after eating large amounts of uncooked rice?

Or the relationship between the smell of a Jack-in-the Box cheeseburger versus the actual taste of the burger?

Today seemed like one giant science experiment.

After getting the kiddos off to school, my plan was to pick up some medical paperwork for the Blonde One, make a stop at the bank, do my grocery shopping, grab lunch on the run and get home in time to unload the groceries and pick the kiddos up at school.

All went well until the "grab lunch on the run" phase of the plan.

A few weeks ago the Diva and I were on our way somewhere and she hadn't eaten lunch. I drove through Jack-in-the-Box and she ordered a cheeseburger. I'm not a huge fan of fast-food (other than Taco Bell and Wendy's Spicy Chicken), but that cheeseburger smelled really good!

There was a Jack-in-the-Box in the shopping center next to the Pearl Harbor commissary, so I drove through and ordered a cheeseburger on the run. It did smell really, really good. About halfway through the burger I realized that it didn't taste like anything, but I finished it anyway. It sat like a rock in my stomach all afternoon.

Lesson #1: Good Smell does not equal Good Taste.

I drove home, plopped the Little Guy in his walker and emptied the groceries out of the MomVan. Now I had to unpack $200 of groceries that had been packed into about 100 different bags. And of course they were all double-bagged. The dog was circling, knowing that I must have bought new treats. The Little Guy was circling because that's what he does best.

It took 1.5 seconds from the time I opened the pantry for the Little Guy to be right there pulling things off shelves just as fast as I unpacked groceries. As I emptied each set of double bags I tossed them into the middle of the kitchen floor to be dealt with later.

About halfway through my bags I noticed a very strong bleach smell coming from one of the bags. I peeked into the bag and noted two items: Tilex and tampons.

The Tilex looked just fine, but the box of tampons had burst at the seams. It was now a soggy mess of Tilex-soaked cardboard and cottoney stuff.

Lesson #2: The ratio of Tilex to tampons is nearly 1:1. It takes 1/2 box of super-absorbant tmpons to soak up 1/2 bottle of Tilex.

(I'll bet Mr. Science didn't know that!)

So, now I'm cleaning up Tilex-tampon mess and still trying to finish everything before it's time to make the after-school run.

That's when the Little Guy knocked my Tupperware rice container onto the floor, causing the top to crack and send rice in all directions. Now I've got my cottoney-Tilex-tampon mess and my uncooked-rice-plastic-grocery-bag mess.

The StupidDog, who still hadn't received his treat, went into Fast-Forward mode and devoured unknown quantities of uncooked rice.

Lesson #3: How long does it take a dog to poop after eating all that rice? We're still waiting on that one....

Sunday, October 24, 2004

I Cooked Tonight!

That's only news because:

1. I rarely cook.

and

2. I hate to cook.

I have the Eat To Live attitude. A rolled up slice of turkey and a handful of baby carrots can be dinner. It's easy, it's nutritious, and there is no cleanup involved.

The Hubster grew up in a Live To Eat family. It's a big part of his Italian upbringing. They cannot sit down to one meal without discussing what will be eaten at the next. It's never about the amazing meal you are eating....it's all about deciding What To Eat Next.

So, the cooking thing is something I've been meaning to work on for the past seventeen years.

I've been noticing a few things about my friends who love to cook. Not only do they love to cook, but they love to drink. And they love nothing more than drinking while they cook.

At this point I would like to apologize to my cooking-fiend friends....the Food Whore, the Friend in Carlsbad, and the Brother-in-Law in Michigan. (No apologies are necessary for the Friend in Phoenix because she enjoys the drinking part much more than she enjoys the cooking part.) I am in no way judging you because you like to have a few glasses of wine while you prepare an incredible meal. I simply envy your ability to multi-task in the kitchen.

I'm not much of a drinker myself - I can do the fruity drink thing, but that's pretty much it. And I've come to the conclusion that I need more than a fruity drink if I'm going to enjoy cooking.

So, I poured myself my Drink Of Choice - a full-calorie, full-caffeine Coke on the rocks and set out to make the Hubster a decent meal for a change.

On the menu was a Cajun pasta dish that we had ordered at Gordon Biersch many, many times. It has shrimp, chicken, and sausage in a spicy Cajun tomato sauce over fettucine. It looked simple enough in the restaurant, so we decided to try to replicate it at home.

I have to admit, I pulled this one off. (If I hadn't, it probably would have been better Blog Fodder.)

The Hubster was impressed, as was the Wildcard. The Blonde One wouldn't go near the stuff....he would have preferred the rolled turkey and carrots. The Diva was in social-butterfly mode and hasn't been seen since early afternoon.

After dinner, the Hubster said, "That was great! I guess we don't have to go to Gordon Biersch any more."

Doh!!! I should have known better............

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Too Much Informtion?

Today the Diva and the Blonde One had to have blood drawn to verify that they did indeed have chickenpox eleven years ago. I guess a mom's word and naked pictures of her kids with The Pox all over their bodies isn't proof enough for the school. Oh well.

We've been putting this off for two weeks for a lot of reasons.

So, today was the day. I picked them up at school and we went to the lab from there. The Blonde One wasn't concerned. The Diva, on the other hand, has been stressing about this since we were told "no-go" on the nekkid pictures.

After a not-so-brief paperwork snafu, the green-gloved Lab Techs were smiling at the door asking, "Who's first?"

The Distraught Diva, wanting to get it all over with, jumped up and volunteered. The Young Cute Male Lab Tech took her back to the Blood Room. The Blonde One headed in that direction with the other lab tech.

The Wildcard and I watched through the little window (okay, not really a 'window' - it's the place you pass urine samples through). We watched from a distance. Really.

The Blonde One, having the Type-B personality, sat down, offered his arm silently and let them take care of business.

The Diva sat down, shot the Young Cute Male Lab Tech a smile, batted her eyelashes as he asked what grade she was in, then let loose.....

"I'm a Junior this year. I like being an upperclassman because you get to do things that the Freshmen and Sophomores aren't allowed to do, like prom. I found a prom dress that I really, really like but I don't know if my mom will let me get it. It's really cute but it's like $300 and I don't really think I should spend that much money for something I'll probably only wear once unless I canfigureoutantoherplacetowearitbutitsreallycute..........Are you done already?"

Poor Young Cute Male Lab Tech. I'm sure his head was spinning and he wasn't even the one to give blood....

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Happy Birthday to the Blonde One!!

Fourteen years ago I was ten days past my due date and in the middle of a move from Virginia to Rhode Island (we took the long way there - via Florida). The Blonde One was born just after midnight on a Saturday morning. The Hubster had to leave twelve hours later for Rhode Island. Nothing like taking it down to the wire, eh?

Since it's the Blonde One's birthday, I have to share a story that has become legend in our house.

When the Blonde One was two years old, we were living in a beach house in Surf City, North Carolina. Other than the beach and a small post office, there really wasn't much in Surf City. We usually drove 40 minutes to Jacksonville or Camp Lejeune for anything and everything.

Our Sunday morning routine was to drive into town to go to church, then head over to pick up donuts ("no-nuts" as the Blonde One called them) and have a donut picnic at a nearby playground.

The church we usually attended was a small, wooden chapel at Camp Geiger. Camp Geiger is where young enlisted Marines, just out of boot camp, go for Infantry training. It was very much like boot camp for them - their days were very structured, but they were allowed to attend the church service of their choice, always in cammies and always in formation.

One half of the tiny church was reserved for troops in formation, the other half for families. Often the troops spilled over into the "family" section, which wasn't really a problem because there were only about half a dozen families who attended the church on any given Sunday.

On this particular Sunday, the Hubster was planning to meet a buddy in Raleigh to attend a boat show after church/donuts/playground time. We decided to drive to town separately - the kids would come with me and the Hubster would make the donut run before church in order to get to the all important boat show much quicker after church. He guessed he could make it to Dunkin Donuts and back to church before Mass began.

The Blonde One, being a little boy, was attached to his Daddy and very upset that Daddy wasn't in the car with us.

"Where Daddy?" he asked over and over and over......

"Daddy's getting donuts and will meet us in church," I told him over and over and over.

We got to church, were seated, and waited.

The Blonde One was getting impatient - he needed to know where his Daddy was.

The troops marched in and were seated, a sign that church services were about to begin. Still no Daddy.

"Where Daddy?" The questioning began again.

"He'll be here soon. He had to get the donuts, remember?"

Mass began without The Daddy in the house. The Blonde One had his eyes glued to the door waiting for his Daddy to arrive.

During one of those "it couldn't be any quieter" moments, I heard the door in the back creak open. It just had to be The Daddy.

The Blonde One began bouncing up and down on my lap, got a huge grin on his face and announced for all to hear, "My Daddy got 'No-Nuts'!!"

You could have heard a pin drop. Then it began, like a wave, the snickers, snorts, and full-fledged giggles coming from the rows and rows of Infantry-in-Training Marines.

Thank you, Blonde One, for allowing them to have a few minutes of giggles in their stress-filled week.

Oh, and Happy Birthday!!







Monday, October 11, 2004

More Reasons Why Our Neighbors Should Hate Us

Tonight, as is our normal routine, we had dinner, gave the Little Guy a bath and headed out for our evening walk through the neighborhood.

I'm always the one to push the baby in his stroller and the Hubster takes the StupidDog. We always take one of the kids along for some special, one-on-one quality time with us. The Kid of the Day gets to choose the route and we let them lead the conversation.

And they get to carry the dog poop bag.

Tonight the Diva was at a Diva Friend's house, so we decided that both the Blonde One and the Wildcard would join us on our walk. We walked and chatted a while, the Little Guy 'barked' at all the neighborhood dogs while the StupidDog sniffed everything in site and peed on a few chosen spots.

We had gone about a half mile when StupidDog decided it was time to take care of his business. We paused while he did his thing on the sidewalk in front of a meticulously cared-for yard. While we were waiting, my eyes wandered to the house...and to the garage. The garage door was open and there were balloons and streamers hanging from the ceiling, and two paper-covered tables were set up.

At the tables, a dozen (or so) party guests had paused in the middle of their meal to watch StupidDog poop on the sidewalk. Appetizing, I'm sure.

The poop was quickly cleaned up and we went on our way.

We managed to make it to our turn-around point before our next incident.

Just after we turned around, StupidDog spotted another neighborhood dog out for a walk. They exchanged butt-sniffs as we chatted with the owners, a retiree couple (surprise, surprise). After a minute we started off on our way again, but StupidDog decided he wasn't finished. He lunged at the other dog, and they began growling and wrestling with each other.

This upset the Retiree Lady, who was holding her dog's leash.

She yanked at the dog and pulled him up into her arms by the leash.

This upset Retiree Man, who then began shouting at his wife not to lift the dog up by his neck.

She yelled back that she didn't have time to think, she just needed to protect her dog from our StupidDog.

And so the argument began.

We said our good-byes and quickly continued on our way home. We could have made it without further incident, if it hadn't been for the cat.

StupidDog was gone in a flash, jerking the leash out of the Wildcard's hand.

The Hubster, who was already seriously annoyed with the dog, took off after him. Our quiet little neighborhood of Asians and Retirees had apparently never seen a 6', 185 lb Marine running down the street cursing out a little Schnoodle dog named Pokey. I'm not sure if they were more frightened or amused.

One side note: Once we returned home, the Wildcard said, "Dad, I've heard most of those words at school already, but what exactly is a 'motherfucker'?"


Saturday, October 09, 2004

The Pampered Princess and Her Royal Throne?

I may have mentioned it a time or two, but we don't have air conditioning in our house. At night we sleep with windows open and a fan blowing, one per person. That's usually enough to make it comfortable.

I woke in the middle of the night a couple nights ago and turned my fan off. And pulled the goose-down comforter back ON the bed. I couldn't believe I was actually chilly! I thought fall had arrived and the lack of air conditioning would no longer be an issue.

The next morning I woke to more chills, aches, a fever, upset stomach.....

So much for fall.

I'm not a very fun sick person. I prefer to be pampered - to have someone fluff my pillows, bring me juice and drugs, and take over all my responsibilities so I can curl up in the fetal position and sleep it off.

Note that I said "I prefer to be pampered...." Like it would ever happen.

Instead, I was miserable while I took care of the Little Guy, ran to the post office, made a salad for dinner, and entertained the Wildcard who was home on Fall Break.

I did manage to sneak in a nap while Little Guy slept and the Wildcard had unsupervised access to the internet. (Bad Mommy!)

I was holding it together through the day, right up until Little Guy's bath time. Fortunately the Blonde One was with me as I plopped the Little Guy in the tub and made a beeline for the toilet. (The bathroom has a separate WC with the toilet in it.)

The next ten minutes were spent loosing my cookies behind closed doors.

Usually I can't go into the bathroom without someone following me and wanting to carry on a conversation through the door. No one said a word. No one asked what they could have for a snack. No one asked me to proofread a paper. No one asked how long I would be.

It was ten minutes of glorious silence, and as close to being pampered as I'll ever get.






Tuesday, October 05, 2004

I Really Need to Get a Life!

Flat Stanley is here for a visit.

The past few days have been spent planning an itinerary for Flat Stanley. We (okay, 'I') decided a 'round the island' trip would be nice for Flat Stanley. We can hit many of the main sights on the island in one day, take a few photos, pick up some souvenirs, and be home in time for dinner.

Thursday is the big day.

The Wildcard (he's on fall break this week), the Little Guy, Flat Stanley, and I will load up the MomVan first thing in the morning and head for Honolulu. We plan to visit the downtown shopping district, Waikiki beach, Pearl Harbor, the pineapple fields, the North Shore, Pali Lookout, and several sites on the Marine Corps Base. The Blue Angels are here this weekend, so that is an additional option.

It will be a busy day, but since it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Flat Stanley, it will be time well spent.

Tonight I was discussing my plan with the Hubster, and he just gave me that "Have you lost your mind?" look.

I just smiled, and decided Flat Stanley needed a new wardrobe for his visit and went to work on fixing that. I popped Flat Stanley into the scanner, clicked a few buttons on my photo editor, and instantly transformed him into a Local.

The Hubster, who was looking over my shoulder at that point, leaned over and whispered into my ear, "You do know he's not a real boy, don't you?"

ThankYouMisterGrumpyPants for pointing that out to me!!

This is Flat Stanley:




Flat Stanley is a children's book in which the title character is squashed flat by a falling bulletin board. He can now go on adventures via the U.S. mail. Each child in my nephew's 2nd Grade Class in MapDot, Michigan created a "Flat Stanley" to send to someone in a different community. This geography project allows the kids to learn about different parts of the state or country.

The way I look at it, many of these kids will never travel to Hawaii. It is my responsibility - my duty, actually - to show them around the island, take pictures, send souvenirs, and write up a report for Mrs. V's Class.

I take my duty very seriously.

(Okay, okay, I have a new digital camera and am looking for excuses to try it out... )

Monday, October 04, 2004

How Did THAT Happen??!!??

This morning the Blonde One, the Diva, and I got up at 5 a.m. for the 5-K. I totally expected them to try to beg out of it.....actually, since the Little Guy was up from 3:30-4:45, I was hoping they would give me one little excuse to just say, "Never mind...just go back to bed..." But they didn't. They were up and ready to go by 5:15.

So we headed downtown. I didn't take any "shortcuts" this time and it only took 20 minutes to get there. And I had no problem finding the "Start" line in front of the Niketown store, thankyouverymuch!

The Diva has been training for this since I first mentioned it back in July. She started by running with me, and eventually got the motivation to go on her own. Most nights she will go for a 3-mile run because she enjoys it.

I run a lot, but I've never done a 5-K. My first organized race was a marathon, and I prefer 8-10 milers. I've done 10-K's, but really never thought it was worth it to get up at 5 a.m. just to do a 5-K. So we had margarita night last night. And I was up with the baby a good part of the night. But I wasn't worried....after all, it's only 5-K, right?

The Blonde One trained by running .7 miles around the block....twice. Once in August and once in September. True to his Type-B personality, he said, "I have P.E. in school and I've played soccer all my life. I don't need to train for a 5-K."

So, we ran the race.

My plan was to let the Diva take off on her own, because she would probably finish before us. I would run the race with the Blonde One since he hadn't trained (and I was concerned about a chest condition he has). I assumed we would walk a good portion of it, and I would let him cross the finish line before me, just to boost his ego.

As soon as the starting gun went off, the Diva disappeared into the crowd. (There were over 6,000 people who got up at 5 a.m. to run the race.) The Blonde One and I ran together for a while, then he sprinted off. I tried to keep pace with him, but he has that long, lanky runner's build and my short little legs just couldn't keep up with him.

As I ran, I looked for either of them to be walking along the course. Nothing.

I finished the race and went to our pre-determined meeting spot. The Blonde One was sitting there, sipping a cup of water, barely breaking a sweat. He had beat me by 5 minutes, little shithead!!

The Diva showed up a minute later. She had actually finished one minute before me, but got stuck in the crowd at the water station.

I blame it on the 5 a.m. start.

And the Little Guy.

And quite possibly the Margaritas.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

I Think, Therefore I Am (Wrong)

Today I had to go downtown Waikiki to pick up the race packets for the Niketown 5K that the Diva, the Blonde One and I are running tomorrow. If everything went well, I could make it there and back in about an hour, so I decided to take the Little Guy along.

As we were driving down H-1 toward Honolulu, I was trying to figure out a quicker route to Waikiki which would allow me to miss a lot of Saturday traffic. I thought if I went one exit beyond where I normally exit, I should be able to cut some time off my trip.

Wrong.

If you've ever driven in Honolulu, you know how confusing it can get. There is one highway through town, the H-1. It goes east and west across most of the island. Simple, but the problem is the on/off ramps - you can exit the highway at certain streets, but you can't necessarily re-enter on the same streets. Also, the Eastbound exits and entrances aren't the same as Westbound. So, in order to navigate, you need to know:

- Which streets have Eastbound entrances
- Which streets have Westbound entrances
- Which exits are in the Eastbound direction
- Which entrances are in the Westbound direction.

I was heading west and thought I could exit on Punahou street, which would take me downtown. Just after I passed my usual exit, not only did traffic come to a standstill, but I passed Punahou....it was one of those Eastbound only exits. Argh!

So I ended up taking the next exit and meandering through a series of one-way streets until I got where I needed to be. Total time wasted: 25 minutes.

I parked in the Hale Koa garage, which is a short walk to the downtown shopping district where the Niketown store is located. I had seen the Niketown store many, many times (a huge grey building with the red 'swish' on the front) and thought it was downtown, on the beach side. Stupid me, I left the registration info in the MomVan.....but I was sure I knew what I was doing.

Since I needed to go downtown, I took a shortcut through the park and came out on the edge of the shopping district. Now I just needed to find the store. It was late on a Saturday morning, and the tourists were out in full force. (If there's one thing that annoys me more than crowds, it would have to be crowds of tourists. ) The men were all smoking cigarettes and just putting along, while the women were browsing and fully loaded with shopping bags. No one was in a real hurry, no one really knew where they were going, and no one seemed to notice the crazy lady on a mission to find this store and get out of town as quickly as possible.

Poor Little Guy - he was being bopped in the head left and right by shopping bags as I quickly manuevered the crowds with his stroller.

We walked and walked until eventually The Shops on the beach side of the street gave way to The Beach on the beach side of the street, and the bops in the head from shopping bags changed to bops in the head from multi-colored fluorescent blow-up beach toys.

I decided I had somehow missed the Large Grey Store with the huge red Nike swish on the front.

I turned and headed back. Back through the crowds, the smoke, and the head-bops for Little Guy. I eventually crossed the street, hoping to get a better look at the stores on the beach side because, after all, I thought the Niketown store was on the beach side.

(Actually, I crossed the street to avoid the Crazy Man who was loudly proclaiming "All Women-Whores will soon face the wrath of the Almighty God....." )

I kept walking and looking, looking and walking, and eventually ended up across the street from my shortcut through the park.

Now, I know it's entirely possible for me to walk past a Large Grey Store with a huge red Nike swish on the front one time, but twice???

I couldn't cross the street at that point, so I walked up one more block to the crosswalk.

There in front of me was the Large Grey Store with a huge red Nike swish on the front.....directly across the street from the parking garage where I had left my MomVan.

Total time wasted: 45 minutes
Total distance walked: 2 miles