Sunday, June 29, 2008

We Must Move Soon Because I Don't Want To Be On The Ten'O Clock News

So, people keep asking me, "Did you move into your new house yet?" The answer is still no, unfortunately, and when I say unfortunately, I mean "When am I finally going to escape this place, WHEN?!?" Or, maybe something a little more frantic and desperate.

Have you heard the expression "She was so mad she was spitting nails"? That is an expression, isn't it? Well, if it isn't, I'm making it up, because I totally felt that way this morning. Let me once again explain the horror that is our current neighborhood. On one side, we have The Clampetts. They have so many people coming in and out of there, it is like a half way house. The back yard looks like the Walmart toy section threw up, and the front of the house looks like an episode of "Flip That House", before they do the flip. The mailbox is sitting sideways on a step, and the porch often looks like a garage sale is going on. We got their mail by mistake once, and I took it over and just started laughing. The storm door was missing the window part on the top, so they just opened the main door and stuck their hand through the storm door hole to grab the mail out of my hands. The owner's daughter moved in for a while, and brought her druggy boyfriend with her, and we are convinced that he is the one who broke into our house a while back. The daughter was probably the lookout.

On the other side of us, we have a lovely couple. The man has never spoken to us, except to yell at my dad , (who was nice enough to be doing some yard work for us), for trimming what he claims is his bush. The woman informed me shortly after we moved in that the people who owned the house before us stole "those flowers" out of her yard! When Jim and I were trying to get pregnant, for 2 loooonnnggg years, and she asked me "When are you two gonna have a baby?", I answered, "We are trying to have one". Her reply was "Trying? (Snort) We never had to try!" I invited her in for lemonade and we've been best buds ever since. Ahem. The worst part is their dog. When the dog is outside, it barks nonstop. He barks when someone goes by on the road, he barks when he hears us trying to enjoy our back deck, he barks when the wind blows. He does.not.stop. It turns my normally laid back husband into a crazy person mumbling about creative plans for the dog's untimely demise.

I have managed to remain fairly calm about all of this, until this morning. This morning our front door was open so Dylan could look out the storm door at the "Meow". I saw something go past the door out of the corner of my eye. I figured it was one of the handfuls of cats who have heard that my husband rescued the "Meow", and is mooching her food when we aren't looking. Then, I saw them. In the past few weeks, The Clampetts, have acquired a new "puppy" to go along with their other dog whose breed I'm unsure of. The "puppy" is an already large German Shepherd. The other dog and the "puppy" were on our front deck. I was mad immediately. I went to the door to chase the dogs back into their own yard, when they started barking and growling at me, IN MY OWN HOUSE. I went screaming to Jim, "JIM! THE NEIGHBOR'S DOGS ARE ON OUR DECK BARKING AT ME! WHAT IF I WAS OUT THERE WITH DYLAN? IT'S A GERMAN SHEPHERD, FOR GOD'S SAKE, AND THEY DON'T KEEP IT CHAINED! I'M GOING TO FREAK OUT!"

My normally laid back husband's face turned 3 shades of red, and he chased the dogs into their yard, and told the owner, "This cannot happen again. We have a little boy over here". His reply - "Oh, yea, I guess I better get a chain". My normally laid back husband then went to our shed, grabbed a baseball bat, brought it into the kitchen and informed me that I was to use this on the dogs if they ever came near Dylan. Like I said, "Papa Bear".

Don't worry, we were at the new house working all day today. Nothing like a few (insert not nice word of your choice here) neighbors to light a fire under one's butt.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Another Book Review Post

It's been a while since I did a book review post. Here are two charming books, with adorable illustrations, each by Cecilia Johansson.

Here is the first page of the daddy book..

Dylan's daddy is tall and thin, and so far Dylan is "Just Like Daddy"!

Now, here is the first page of the mommy book...

HEY! Leave my pudgy tummy alone! I'm not liking you, Cecillia. Oh, and the last page is "Feel the flowers on my dress. I try hard not to make a mess! Just like Mommy!" Well, I never put a dress on my kid, and I don't often wear one myself. As for messes, I make those ALL the time.

Seriously, I really LOVE this next book. It has a great message, and I often need a reminder. (Maybe you do, too.)

The words are...

"I like to be thankful for all I receive, from the tiniest seashell to the mightiest breeze.

For when I am thankful, it's easy to see, I tend to spend life living more joyfully!

So, I'm thankful for small things, like bugs on the ground, and warm little puppies that follow me around.

I'm thankful for fireflies that blink in the night, and bright little stars that twinkle with light.

I like to be thankful for bigger things too, like seeing a sunrise, or a trip to the zoo!

But also I'm thankful for everyday things, like a nice scoop of ice cream, or just swinging on swings!

I'm thankful for lemonade to sip from a glass. I'm thankful for baseball and thick, wavy grass.

And I'm thankful for others, who help me so much, like firemen and policemen and soldiers, and such.

I'm thankful for my teachers and all that they give. I'm thankful for my country - What a great place to live!

But mostly I'm thankful for my family and friends, who make me so happy, whose love never ends.

And when all's said and done, it seems very clear...

I like to be thankful for just being here."

Today, I would just like to say "Thanks" to everyone who takes the time to read my blog, and also to thank all of you who leave such positive, supportive comments. It means a lot to me.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Shoe Shopping Sucks and The Key Thief

If you are like me, and you have freak feet that require size 11 Narrow shoes, you have maybe 6 pairs of shoes to your name. My exciting summer choices were 1. Tennis shoes that are extremely dirty and starting to fall apart slightly, and 2. Black sandals that hurt my feet for some reason even though they are the right size. Do you see a dilemma here? Sometime in May, before summer began, I went to one of the TWO stores that actually carry my stupid size. Of course, they didn't have my size in the colors I wanted, so I ordered two different pairs. They came in the mail a couple weeks later, and I thought, "I better wear these around the house first, to make sure they are comfortable". The problem with that plan was...I'm never home! If I'm not out working, my kid is yelling about "Shoes?! Meow?! Un?!" By the way, the toddler translation for that is, "Put my shoes on, so we can go see the cat, and then go somewhere in the car. We cannot stay in this house, ever. This house is boring!" No wonder laundry never gets done.

This week, when I finally picked a day, and wore the two pairs of sandals around the house, I quickly decided that "Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! These hurt!" Back to the store. Today I went to the second of the TWO stores (TWO being in capitals so that I get the optimum amount of sympathy for my pitiful shoe dilemma. I know, I know. Cry me a river, and I'll swim right on out of here.)

I walked in, went straight to a salesperson and stated, "I need sandals, size 11 Narrow. Can you help me?" After being in the shoe room a long time looking for the freak section, she emerged with FOUR pairs. Yep, in the whole big store, they only had FOUR choices in my size. This is in one of the TWO stores that actually carry my stupid size! The first two were totally uncomfortable, the third made my feet look like duck feet, and the fourth were really comfortable. I asked how much the fourth pair was - $125! "Crap! Let's keep looking! How about tennis shoes?" In the whole big store, she had TWO choices in my stupid size. Both looked ridiculous. The saleswoman started getting exasperated. That made me mad. I said, "If you think this is frustrating for you, think how I must feel!", and she gave me some BS about how she was just feeling bad that she couldn't find anything for me. Yep, I'm sure it had nothing to do with her commission. Not at all. I ended up buying the $125 comfortable sandals that look like men's sandals. But, really, with size 11 Narrow feet, people aren't really going to be admiring my beautiful feet anyway, so who cares? Maybe if I paint my toenails a pretty shade of pink my feet will look pretty and petite. SNORT!! Who am I kidding? My big toe is the size of a small child. Shoe Shopping Sucks.

While I was enduring my painful ordeal, my parents were watching Dylan. They took him to the park, and let him throw rocks in the stream, touch a frog!, and get really, really dirty. (Aren't they fun!) When they brought him home, they gave him a bath, then put him in fresh clothes, and put him down for a nap. When I got home, my mom was searching everywhere for her car keys. She was worried that she lost them at the park. When Dylan woke up, we looked in his room - no keys. So, they set off for the park to search. They returned a while later because they forgot to give me the stroller back. My mom said, "I think I remember having them in Dylan's room. Could you look under the dresser?" I ran up and looked under the dresser, then grabbed the hamper to push it over and look under it. The hamper made a noise, that didn't sound like clothing, so I turned it upside down and dumped the clothes out, and what do you know? The keys were in the hamper. Did my mom put her keys in the hamper? Uh, no, that would be the toddler thief, intent on making us all lose our bloomin' minds. The other day, I searched for an hour for one of my shoes, before finally realizing that Dylan put in in the recyclable bin. I was convinced I was losing my mind. Well, the verdict is still out on that, but I did find my shoe. I do NOT want to go back to the shoe store.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mama and Papa Bear

My best friend in junior high and high school lacked self esteem. She always wanted me to make decisions, and I used to complain about the fact that she always walked behind me. I swear she could not enter a room first!

Fast forward to her daughter's first birthday a couple of years ago. Her adorable little girl was sitting in her highchair, about to have her first bite of cake ever, with all of us staring and pointing cameras at her, when IT HAPPENED. Some insane, I-don't-know-how-to-act-in-social-situations, woman pushed the birthday girl's face into the cake. Yea, really! We all just stood there frozen in shock, with the exception of my friend. My friend immediately sprung into action. She glared at this insane woman, and said, "Get out of my house". The insane woman kept laughing! My friend took a VERY menacing step towards her yelling, "GET OUT OF MY HOUSE, NOW!!!" She didn't have to ask again.

I swear, I would have started laughing at the irony of the situation, if I weren't afraid my friend would suddenly turn her Mama Bear wrath on me! It was then that I understood what having a child does to a person. It makes you capable of ANYTHING.

Yesterday, after reading BBM's post talking about the gaggle of teenage girls who jumped in front of her daughter in line at the zoo, I started thinking about what I would have done in that situation. I'm pretty sure I would have said something to them.

I was thinking about what I would do in other situations involving my kid, while he and I enjoyed playing at Mr. Rogers Playspace in the mall. He was sitting there grinning, in the trolley, when I saw the most darling little blond girl in a sundress, coming towards us. She looked to be about three years old, and she was adorable. As I watched her cute self coming over, I saw a little boy, about four, walk over, and for absolutely no reason, push her to the ground. Her little surprised face, with her quivering lip was too much. I actually started walking towards them to yell at the boy! Luckily, her mom got there first, and she got down in the boy's face, and said, "Do.Not.Push.Her." I think the boy ran away trembling, and I stood there thinking, "Oh boy. I am going to get myself in so much trouble in the coming years". She wasn't even my kid, and my Mama Bear instincts were taking over!

Last summer, when we took Dylan to the lake for the first time, I got a glimpse of a Papa Bear - my usually laid back, non-confrontational husband! Dylan was happily floating in his raft, when a boy about ten, ran wildly into the water, splashing Dylan's face. My husband shot him the "look of death", which tends to normally be my specialty. My dad remarked to me later, "Did you see Jim's face?! I thought he was going to beat the kid up! I never saw him like that!"

So, look out all you kids and parents of the Burgh. This Mama and Papa Bear couple have a kid now, and you don't know what we are capable of. We're not really sure ourselves.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Dating is Hard

Dear Dylan,

I didn't have to work today, so I tried to schedule a play date for you. I emailed just about every other mommy I know that doesn't work! I was excited, because your girlfriend's mommy said they were free. You haven't seen her in a while, and now that you have really decided that you like hugs and you want to hug everyone, not just her, I was anxious to see what you would do. I was a little concerned when you opened the Mother Goose Rhyme book to the page with Georgie Porgie kissing those girls, only wanting to read that page this morning. What the rhyme doesn't tell you, Dylan, is that those girls all cornered him later on the playground and beat the snot out of him. So, don't get any ideas.

I'm sure you were sad when your girlfriend's mommy emailed, and cancelled, using some lame excuse about her being crabby and not fit for a play date due to her molars coming in. Sorry, kiddo. Women are fickle. At least she didn't say she had to wash her hair.

(Here he is on tiptoes, watching the kids across the street playing, who are much older. Then he looked at me, as if to say, "Well, Ma, will they do?)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The book meme

The funny and talented JCK has tagged me for that book meme going around. I make it sound like a nasty virus, don't I?

The rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

I found it wonderfully ironic that the book that was nearest to me, (that wasn't a children's book), happened to be called "Out of my mind". How appropriate. It is by a man that I have always found amusing and delightful - Andy Rooney. If you don't know who he is, he is the old guy at the end of each 60 Minutes episode, (tick, tick, tick, tick...), who makes witty observations about whatever happens to be on his mind at that time.

Have you ever noticed that I don't often follow the rules? There are only 2 sentences on page 123 of the book, so here they are. Then, I'm going to add a few of my favorite quotes I've found so far.

My problem is that having opinions is what I do for a living. If I didn't have opinions, many of them uninformed, I wouldn't have anything to write about.

On aging: Then there's the commonly accepted notion that wisdom comes with age, as if this made aging an occasion for joy. We all know, however, in our heads if not in our hearts, that this is not true. We may know more, but our brain doesn't work any better, and probably less well, than it ever did.

On living rooms: People don't live in the living room, they watch there. It has become the watching room.

On hammocks: Hammocks are a genuine vacation item. They are hard to get into and hard to get out of, so once you're there, you tend to stay. That's vacation kind of time.

I want his job, (when he retires, of course). I'm sure I couldn't do it as well as Andy, but I know I wouldn't run out of topics.

Back when I wrote this post, I asked Jim, "I'm a positive person, right?" He answered, "'re positive, but you are also cynical". "Cynical? I don't think I'm cynical. I think I'm critical. I like to critique stuff".

He insists that I'm cynical, so of course, I looked it up.

-cynic: 1.a faultfinding captious** critic who believes that human conduct is motivated wholly by self-interest
-cynical: implies having a sneering disbelief in sincerity or integrity

**Don't you hate it when you look up a word, and the definition contains ANOTHER word you don't know? Dang, I feel stupid now.
-captious:1. marked by an often ill-natured inclination to stress faults and raise objections 2. calculated to confuse, entrap, or entangle in argument

Geez, that sounds like a horrible human being! It doesn't help my argument that "critic" is IN the definition of "cynical", does it? Well, I looked up critical next.
-critical: may imply an effort to see a thing clearly and judge it fairly; often it implies harshness in judging.

Well, that sounds better, but it still probably wouldn't be used as a compliment. I wonder what word Andy would use to describe himself? Jim also said that I'm a lot like Andy, so you can just call me amusing and delightful.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Father's Day


You deserve a thoughtful, beautifully written post on Father's Day. Unfortunately, between working, taking care of Dylan, and getting the house ready for the showing today, I'm afraid I only have a few brain cells left at this point. So, I will just say this...

Thank you.

Thank you for all the times I should have said thank you, but didn't.

Thank you for all the things you did as I was growing up which helped make me the person I am today.

Thank you for all the sacrifices you made.

Thank you for working hard to provide for us. ( I know I tease you about how you had an easy job, but I do realize that you worked hard).

Thank you for being strict and knowing where I was, who I was with, and what I was doing. (Bet you never thought I would thank you for that!) I know you did those things because you cared about me, and wanted to keep me out of trouble, and you did! (You got off easy, you have to admit. Did I ever get in trouble?!)

Thank you for spending so much time with me, and even more importantly for WANTING to spend that much time with me.

Thank you for making me feel special, important, and loved ALWAYS.

Thank you for all the ways you continue to help Jim and I (you know what I'm talking about).

Thank you for being such a fun, loving babysitter and grandpa for Dylan. (It cracks me up that he is calling you Bubba!)

Thank you for being the kind of man and father you are - one I'm proud to call my dad.

I Love You,

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Closing

Yes, we had our closing on the new house Friday. We sat chatting with the old owners (who are really nice people), while we waited for our realtor to show up. I think she might have been 15 minutes late. We were originally told that the mortgage company was suppposed to call us 24 hours before closing to give us the final number that we would need to bring. At that point, we only had the guesstimate that our realtor's company gave us. Jim had to call the mortgage company about 2 1/2 hours before our closing to find out the final number, which SURPRISE!! - was about $800 more than the guesstimate. There was much swearing and scrambling to make sure that we had enough in checking to cover that extra surprise.

When our realtor showed up and we were looking over things, she mentioned that we had to purchase home owners insurance - one year, upfront, that day. After popping our eyebrows back on, she told us not to worry, that she felt it was included in the final price that the mortgage company had given Jim 2 1/2 hours earlier.

There was supposedly an accident on the turnpike and the closing agent was 1 HOUR late. We now know way more about the previous owners than we should, because we had to sit there making small talk for over an hour! When the closing agent finally showed up, our patience already dangling by a very slim thread, she informed us that the final price DID NOT include the home owner's insurance. So, the final price was now about $800 MORE!! Jim almost popped a vein in his head, and I almost had a Real Genius moment and walked out. (If you haven't seen the movie Real Genius, you must not have been a teenager in the 80's)

After all that stress, my brain went into shut down mode. We got in the car, and I could not talk, or move, or think. Jim, on the other hand went into vent mode. He wanted to LOUDLY discuss/complain about every little detail of the day so far. I just stared at him blankly, as if I couldn't remember who this strangely verbal man was.

We rushed over to the bank, to see what needed to be done to assure that all the money was where it needed to be, and I realized I hadn't gone to the bathroom since that morning. My brain suddenly became aware of my body again, and I realized I had to pee immediately! Some lady in the bank had to unlock the bathroom for me with a key. I rushed in and pulled at the string of my drawstring shorts, and I somehow managed to pull the #@$# string in a very, very, very tight knot! By this time, the pee situation was nearing critical status, and I could.not.get.the.#@#$.knot.out! I started to panic! I couldn't pull my shorts down without untieing the knot, and the knot wouldn't budge. At 35 years of age I was actually going to pee my pants, and have to walk out of this huge bank with wet shorts! So, I did what any rational person would do, I poked my head out and told the bank lady I needed my husband to assist me. "That potty training is tricky for some of us", I explained.

(I'm kidding. I got the knot out 1.1 second before peeing my pants.)

Unfortunately, the rest of the weekend didn't go much better. Today I laughed and cried at the same time when I couldn't get my sock drawer to close. I think that accurately shows my stress level.

*Jim felt that I needed to add all the crap that led up to my complete loss of sanity, so fine, here is the list...

-the only phone we have that I like and can hear on, broke, along with our only answering machine
-Jim tried to put a window unit air conditioner in Dylan's room, (that we just bought last year). After finally getting in in the window, it wouldn't work, and we can't find the receipt.
-When we went to our new house to show it to Jim's parents, Dylan pulled down a lamp, shattering the lightbulb everywhere.
-While trying to shave my legs with our electric razor, I suddenly heard a ZAP, and saw a spark, before the cord fell in half. I was almost electrocuted.

But, hey, I didn't pee my pants!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

My New Job

Yes, that's right, I accepted a new position this morning. No, I'm not talking about the dream job. Right now my dad's breathing has become erratic as he is reading this. You okay there, Dad? Breathe in. Breathe out. No, I didn't quit my nanny job.

What happened is, the president of the Mom's Club that I belong to sent out an email, early this morning. It seems that the current editor of the Mom's Club monthly newsletter has been elected Secretary of our group, which means the space of Newspaper Editor needed filled. In my early morning stupor, (Dylan woke me up at 5:30am, because he is sick), I seem to have volunteered for the job. DOH! (smacking hand loudly against forehead)

Have I learned nothing from JCK about the dangers of hitting the send button before contemplating the consequences? I work 3 days a week, take care of a very active toddler, who I just learned today has an ear infection and impetigo, I'm trying to keep our house in "showing" condition, and our closing on the new house is tomorrow. But, that wasn't enough for me! No! I figured that what I really needed was a new challenge! Talk about a stupid fool, uh, no....overachiever, sounds much better.

Haven't I learned from Jonny's Mommy, (who happens to write for a newspaper), that when you write, everyone becomes a critic? What's that Jim? I don't take criticism well? Oh, yea. Huh. I wonder if there are some skin thickening exercises I could start doing? Perhaps, a pill I could take? I'm sure my shrink could prescribe something. I'll give her a call. Better call a plasterer while I'm at it to fix these dents in the wall - from where my head keeps smacking against it. Maybe I'll call Father Time, too, because it just won't do if Burgh Baby's Mom is the only one to get more hours in her day.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Bad, Bad, Good, Good, Very Good

Today's events...

*We had our open house from 1-4. Trying to keep your house with a very active toddler from looking like a house lived in by a very active toddler is about -2 degrees from possible. So, we got the house looking as good as we could, until Dylan took a nap, then scurried around like chickens with our heads cut off from about 11:30-12:40(the time he slept). At about 12:25, I went outside to water the hanging flower pots on our deck, bought a week ago to "stage" the house. To say we do not have green thumbs would be putting it mildly - the flowers are all just sad, sad, sad already. As I reached up to keep the pot steady, it slipped off the hook and fell to the ground, cracking and throwing soil, along with the sad flowers, all over the deck. If you've seen the movie "Money Pitt" with Tom Hanks you will remember the scene where the bathtub falls through the floor and he just laughs maniacally at it - that was me. I just laughed, and laughed at the soil and those sad flowers like I was watching the comedy channel. Luckily, I did snap out of it. At about 12:38 after cleaning that up (with Jim's help), I reached up to pull out another roll of paper towels out of the cabinet, and spilled an entire bowl of plastic spoons and knives all over the kitchen. Straight back to maniacal laughter. Trying to keep the house in pristine condition - BAD.

*When we had the home inspection at the new house, the inspector found a water leak, but couldn't tell where it was coming from. The current owner agreed to have a plumber come out and find the leak, and get it taken care of. Today, we were told that a plumber came out, and "couldn't find the leak". She wanted us to come over and show her where exactly the leak was. So, we went over, but she wasn't there, so we just tried turning on all the water, to see if it would leak again - of course not. While trying to do that, Dylan was climbing up and down the stairs, touching things he shouldn't be touching, and going places he shouldn't be going. Even though Jim and I were both standing within one foot of him, he tumbled down about 5 stairs before I caught him. Man, that was scary. He seems fine, though, except for a red mark above his one eye.
Trying to do just about anything at a house that isn't babyproofed yet - BAD.

*While the open house was going on, we took Dylan to the park. Jim rarely gets to do that, and with me working 3 days a week, I don't get to do it nearly as much as I would like, either. We played, took a walk, and watched the dogs running around the dog park. Time in the sun as a family - GOOD.

*We went to Sam's Club to pick up some stuff, and I heard a man say "Oh, Hello! Hello!" I turned to see the owner of a local Chinese restaurant that we occasionally go to smiling at me. Every time we go in to that place, he greets us as if we are long time friends. I don't think we have been there in at least 3 or 4 months, probably longer, and I look different with my dorky hair cut, but he not only recognized me, but made a point to say hello! How awesome is that?! People who really understand the meaning and value of great service - GOOD.

*Dylan had his first big-boy-bath in the regular bathtub tonight! At 18 months, you may be asking, "So? What the heck took you people so long?" But, did you know that he HATED getting a bath for about the first 9 months of his life? I'm talking ear rupturing screaming the entire time kind of HATE. After we took him swimming in a lake last summer, his hatred of the water magically disappeared, but not his fear of that big scary looking bathtub. When we tried to put him in, he suction cupped himself to us, and could not be pryed off. But, today, success!! I bought a bubble machine, which was a total rip off piece of junk, but if it helped get him in there in anyway, I love it. A wild and crazy Sunday night happily watching your son enjoy a bath - Very Good, Indeed.