Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A traitor among us...

Have you ever had the experience of having a perfectly lovely day?

You know, you teach your kids and decorate your home for the holidays. Maybe you even roast a turkey that you got on sale at the Market Basket for .49 a pound.

Yup, it's all going great.

Sure, you've noticed a little twinge of pain in your back molar this week, but nothing to get concerned about. Just put on some Johnny Mathis and relax.

And it's all great, really great, until that one evil, traitorous molar decides that it's too good for your mouth. Maybe it wants someone who flosses more frequently or uses unflavored lipgloss. It doesn't really matter why the tooth has decided to ruin your life because all that matters is that your tongue has gone on alert. It is prying and poking and running along the offending tooth and sending some pretty bad news to your brain.

Tongue: "Um sir, there appears to be a problem with the tooth."
Brain: "Go ahead soldier, what's happening on the field?"
Tongue: "It's bad sir, real bad! There seems to be a crack extending from the gum line all the way through to the other side of the tooth."
Brain: "We are at DEFCON 1! I repeat! We are at DEFCON 1! Alert the stomach to begin anxiety pains and unease! THIS IS NOT A DRILL- well, not yet. The drilling will happen tomorrow when we take that tooth down!"

So there you are. That tooth is dead to me. After all of these years together- the chocolate, the ice cream, the cheeseburgers, it just decided to turn tail.

I've got news for you tooth, tomorrow I'm going to go to the dentist and she will make you pay.

Actually she will also make me pay, but I'd rather not think about that...

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's very dark at 5am...

When my children were babies they never slept.

No really, they didn't.

They had ear infections and they teethed in a constant cycle of exhausted misery. I would lie awake with them in the night, nursing them and comforting them and I would imagine a future life for myself in which I was able to sleep for more than an hour at a time. My fantasies about REM sleep were vivid. I could just imagine what dreaming again would be like, the things I might accomplish once I was rested enough to think complete thoughts again.

Those days are thankfully far behind me and one of the greatest gifts of homeschooling is that we never wake up in the dark. The children often sleep until 8:30- even 9:00 and this may in fact be my greatest accomplishment as a parent.

These thoughts went through my mind as I set my alarm for 5am on Friday morning so that I might make my way into the ocean of consumer abundance known as Black Friday.

Why did I want to be at Toys R Us at 6 o'clock in the morning? I really have no idea. It was certainly not rational, but like a salmon compelled to swim upstream, I felt that I must participate in this frenzy of avarice and possibility.

When my alarm went off it was very, very dark. It was quite like nighttime actually, the kind of deep cold nighttime favored by serial killers plotting to carve innocent bargain hunting housewives into tiny bits.

I was kind of freaked out by the dark and the wind, so I wrapped my coat tightly around my body as I made my way into the car. Once inside I looked in the back seat, certain that something sinister must be waiting for me back there. My inspection only revealed the usual suburban minivan detritus of candy wrappers, pretzels ground into the floor and the broken promises of no eating in the car.

Once on my way I tried to chase away my fears by playing some Christmas music. The dulcet sounds of Johnny Mathis comforted me all the way to Toys R Us.

I arrived.

Inside I found cheerful bedlam and heaps of cheap plastic toys. There were lots of mothers and inexplicably to me, entire families doing their shopping. Why someone would take their husband and children with them to Toys R Us at 6am is a mystery to me.

I began manically throwing things into my cart making my selections carefully and soon I was completely broke finished with my toy shopping.

Then I went to the mall, which was crowded, but manageable. Well, it was manageable except for The Gap which had 40% OFF THE ENTIRE STORE which made shoppers insane. People had armloads of clothes which they heaped onto the counters in an orgasmic frenzy. I left, because really, I like to buy my Gap stuff for 3.99 at the junk store.

After the mall, I went to The Christmas Tree Shop (20% OFF YOUR ENTIRE PURCHASE!), Bed Bath & Beyond (20% OFF YOUR ENTIRE PURCHASE!), Marshalls, Michael's (30% OFF YOUR ENTIRE PURCHASE!) and finally Kmart (DOORBUSTERS! 50% OF ALL KINDS OF CRAP!).

After Kmart it was time to make my way back. It was noon and I was done. My Christmas shopping was complete and I was both exhausted, which made me feel saintly, and smug, which made me feel like a sinner. This is the defining conflict of my life and the direct result of being taught by nuns.

Friday night I fell into bed and did not move until the sky was light. I shall make it my goal to not see the morning darkness for at least another year.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sled dogs...

Thanksgiving arrived on Cape Cod delivering French Canadian pastries, french onion soup and perfectly cooked prime rib.  It was, to put it simply, perfection. We took the dogs for a long walk on the beach to prepare Pugsley for his starring role as Balto: The Dog Who Saved Nome.

He is really quite the heroic beast.

Sophie spent time at the beach learning an important lesson: Pugs who eat sand, barf sand.

Once we returned from the beach it was time for the big performance!

A sign indicating the destination of the noble Balto was painstakingly prepared by Pepere.

The sled carrying the life saving vaccine was attached to Pugsley and we described his mission to him.

Go straight!
Do not get distracted!
Do not eat the life saving vaccine!
It is not nap time!

Finally, it was time for his trip to commence.

Rebecca read aloud the story of Balto beginning with the story of his trip to Nome and ending with his taxidermic (Is taxidermic a word?) final resting in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

There was much rejoicing in the house as Pugsley completed his epic journey across the room. We celebrated by eating the life saving vaccine, which in this case, as in many cases, was chocolate. The dogs were released from further responsibilities, acting or otherwise and were rewarded with a nap by the fire and copious table scraps of prime rib.

After we had all eaten our fill, it was time for bed. I tucked myself in early in preparation of the big event, Black Friday.

To be continued...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Conversation with Nana, Rebecca and Lily...

Rebecca: "So Nana, you know what I would love? A fairy house that looks like a cottage, with some stairs, and maybe some flowers. Some cute fairy mushrooms would be great!"

Lily: "Nana? You know what I would love for you to make for me? A tank! With guns!"

My children in a nutshell.

Excuse me, I'm off to research tanks.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Perhaps the weird is not so unexpected...

Yesterday I called Nana is discuss Thanksgiving. Just as I was about to ask what I should bring, I could hear my dad shouting in the background.

I could make out bits. "Balto! Pugsley! vaccines! snow!" were the words which I caught.

My dad has announced that for Thanksgiving he would like Puglsey and Sophie to perform a dramatic reenacting of Balto's heroic run from Ancorage, Alaska to Nome, Alaska to bring a lifesaving vaccine to the people of Nome.

Does this dog look like a Siberian Husky capable of completing the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race?

So as we approach this quintessential American holiday of overeating and joy I will be searching for sled dog props sized to fit pugs.

Please send chocolate and dog harnesses.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A touch of ADD...

This week has been spent rather haphazardly.

For example, my room was pure squalor, but I did not really feel like cleaning it because honestly, cleaning is so boring. You know what is not boring? Rearranging all of the furniture in your room thereby confusing both pets and husband alike. The room gets tidy by default, but not before the squalor is transformed into pure chaos.

I applied the same technique to Rebecca's room which is now 50% devoted to an elaborate American Girl sleep/primp/learn area. Pure awesome.

I am going to annoy you all a little here by being a bit smug and boastful which will surely result in me developing a hideous facial lesion or suddenly gaining fifteen pounds. (Twelve years of Catholic school has left me a firm believer that God punishes those who boast.).

I have purchased and wrapped nearly all of the Christmas and Channukah presents for my family, and by family, I mean children. There is still a bit left, but only enough to be fun, not enough to keep me up at night imagining the christmas that mommy failed to make the magic.

I have also become obsessed with socks, you'll be delighted to learn. The socks which I want and can picture so perfectly in my head, are thick chunky warm socks, knee high with lovely patterns which peek over the tops of my boots. This happens to me all the time. I become completely obsessed with a product which I should be able to find quite easily only to be completely stymied by its complete lack of existence.

Okay, I took a break from writing this and found exactly what I am looking for. Except that these are $62. Which is not how much I am willing to pay for socks, no matter how perfect.

 David was away all week which meant that meal times have been a bit unorthodox. I roasted a turkey (.59 a pound!) on Tuesday and have been eating it all week. Except for when I was eating nachos. The children are quite sick of turkey and refuse to take another bite so it is very fortunate that Thanksgiving this year will feature prime rib, which let's face it, completely trumps turkey every time.

I just remembered that I have some actual news which is not about housework or socks!

My children are now athletes! It is true! My baby, my little Lily scored two baskets at her basketball game on Saturday. Two baskets!!! Those of you who knew me in high school and witnessed the precision with which any ball in an athletic setting would hit me in the head can appreciate the miracle which is Lily throwing a ball at a hoop and getting it in.

I think that seeing Lily become a future Olympian has inspired Rebecca because she has now signed up to play lacrosse. My husband is positively bouncing with excitement. Finally, the day has come when his children will fulfill their genetic legacy and catch and throw balls towards intended targets.

Finally, I need to know what everyone's Black Friday strategy is. What are you planning? Where are you going? I must know!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bathed in the glory of the ordinary...

Today Lily broke the toilet seat
And the defrosting turkey leaked raw juice
Into the vegetable crisper.

We are nearly out of groceries
And have no more light bulbs.
When I dropped a glass it shattered on the floor
And the shards scattered under the table and chairs
Daring me to find them.

There are overdue library books to return
And the cat box must be cleaned.

And yet,
My heart is full tonight.

My children
Please me with their sounds
And smells.

They delight me
When they breathe
And laugh
And hold me close.

All that I will remember of this day
Will be this:
I am blessed.

My only prayer
Will be:
Thank you.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

"Get away from the edge!" or Our trip to the Grand Canyon...

You know what that huge hole in the ground in Arizona should really be called?

Heart Attack Canyon because that what mothers have when they take their children to this national death trap.

It's a wondrous hole all right. Majestic even. But the fact remains that the Grand Canyon is nothing more than a than a deadly siren luring children towards its edges and aging mothers as they are forced to save their children from their own idiocy again and again and again.

I pointed out signs like this to my family.

I even pointed out this book which I found in the bookstore.

Luckily, the day we visited the Grand Canyon the weather was kind of chilly so everyone was all done with the majestic hole in the ground pretty quickly. I have never been so happy to leave a scenic location in my life.

A few days later we visited a location which was only slightly more deadly than the Grand Canyon but loads more fun, because at this location I got to feed a giraffe with my mouth.

Specifically this giraffe, which when viewed up close, is undeniably strange looking. His looks are unimportant however, because he was very kind and ate the carrots which we offered to him and he allowed us to pet him.

I did spend a few moments trying to figure out how I might smuggle this baby zebra home with me.

Look, I know that a lioness would not be a very sensible new pet for our family, but just look at her.

We could lay in bed in the evenings eating cubes of raw steak and watching Law and Order reruns.
Did you know that if you are willing to hand over five dollars to the folks at Out Of Africa they will let you feed the white tiger?

Things you should know about my family:
We are not afraid of snakes.

We even kind of like them. I do not however want one as a pet. Must be clear about this. No snakes in the house.

I bet a prairie dog would make a great pet though!

After our exciting adventures and brushes with death we arrived home on Wednesday night where we gratefully fell into the arms of our dogs and into our soft and familiar beds. 

What have you been doing while I was trying to smuggle animals onto planes and avoid falling into the earth? Also, if you are a regular reader and would like to friend me on Facebook, I have a nifty button at the top of the page. Press it and we'll be connected like a lioness to a fleeing antelope!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Arizona! Montezuma's Castle! Sedona! Nachos!

Would it be wrong if I ordered the grande nachos with extra guacamole at every restaurant we eat in on this trip? Because if eating nachos every day is wrong I don't want to be right.

You'll be happy to know that our little band of fragile travelers made it out of my mothers fifty-five and older community and Saw The Sights.

Our first stop was Montezuma's Castle. It has nothing to do with Montezuma and is not a castle. Discuss amongst yourselves.

It is an amazing cliff settlement dating back to 1200 AD.

This was a perfect location for the kids to take out their sketch pads and get all homeschooly.

We also saw the second lizard to escape my clutches on this trip.

Why must you run little lizard? I only want to smuggle you home and knit you a sweater study you.

After our tour of the ruins it was nacho time! Yay nachos!

Nachos were followed by two things:

1. A trip to Sedona to see the red rocks.

2. A stern warning to the children to quit ruining my nacho buzz with their whining and bickering.

The best part about Sedona is that it is impossible to take a bad picture of the scenery. I got a million shots- each awesome.

Is it just me or does my arm look gigantic in this picture?
Speaking of gigantic, tomorrow we are off to the Grand Canyon where I hope to eat more nachos.

Friday, November 5, 2010

In which Arizona tries to kill me...

You guys know that I am not a great traveler right?

I could tell you a long story about our flights, my sore throat, my coughing and congestion, Rebecca's sore throat, Lily's sore throat and my altitude nausea, but really, who needs to hear that sorry tale?

Suffice it to say that we have now been in Arizona for three days. I have been in two Walmarts. Once for a booster seat for Lily (she chose the camo print, thanks for asking) and once for some cold medicine. I went to Goodwill (junking is healing) and two other junk stores. On route to one of those junk stores I walked briskly up a hill which nearly caused me to pass out from altitude sickness.

There has been jetlag.

I have seen a grasshopper, a lizard (which I tried to catch and failed) and my mother's cat who has only one good ear.

We are optimistic that tomorrow our health may actually permit us to venture into a genuine Tourist Area of Interest.

If not, I hear that's there's another Goodwill (Firearms are not permitted inside!) nearby. And I still need to catch a lizard.

Monday, November 1, 2010


The women with whom I share a genetic link are all a bit...well, odd.

There's my cousin Cheryl over at Deckside Thoughts. She is growing out her armpit hair for testicular awareness. I think. Total wacko.

There's Rebecca who recently wrapped a Barbie in toilet paper and announced that she was now Dead and Mummified Barbie.

There's Lily who weirdness is epic.

I might be a little strange.

Right now though, my mom is wearing the crazy crown.

A few months ago my mom emailed me with an idea. She wanted to honor my husbands fortieth birthday by making him a pink fluffy bunny suit identical to the one worn by Ralpie in A Christmas Story.

Why did she want to spend two weeks drowning in pink fluff? She is a mystery to me, though I suspect that she both longed for the challenge and knew that David is the only man she knows who would wear such a thing.

The timing was perfect. David's birthday is on October 30th which meant the pink bunny costume would also make a perfect Halloween costume.

Nothing says sexy like a man in a bunny costume.

I think that the man purse really gives the look some extra panache.
He walked through about three neighborhoods dressed like that. The kids loved it and in the 32 degree night, David was the only person out who wasn't cold.

Who needs dignity when you can be warm?