Friday, December 14, 2012

My Christmas Wish

I have been thinking about a “spirit of Christmas” post for a few days, but since I’ve been crying from the moment I turned the television on this afternoon, I thought now would be a pretty good time to think about something positive.

So here is my Christmas wish for my children…
Never unwrapping a present from Santa to find socks.

Snow drifts deep enough to build a tunnel to lay in and to catch air when you hit them with the snowmobile (not at the same time, of course).

A life long enough to accumulate the amount of ornaments needed to decorate their own nine foot Christmas tree. And lots and lots of twinkle lights.

Family gatherings that always include the phrase “remember when”…

     Remember when Charlie and Rachel ate all the Hershey Miniature candies?

     Remember when Uncle David was too lazy to wrap our presents so he dressed as Santa and pulled them out of a red bag instead?

     Remember when we had Christmas in July, just so the mulit-state Swigart sisters could sing Good King Wenceslaus together with the original lyrics?

     Remember when Uncle John and Aunt Cereal gave all the cousins matching flannel pajamas?

     Remember when Matt found out that you could hang a toilet from a Blue Spruce?

The ability to quote Clark W Griswald, Ralphie, and Buddy the Elf in a single breath.

Appreciation for Bing Crosby. (Especially when he sings Little Drummer Boy with David Bowie.)

Knowing that it has snowed overnight without even looking out the window.

Grandma’s chicken paprikash and Gramy’s Swedish meatballs for all eternity (preferably at the same time).

Never once ever acknowledging a minute possibility that there isn’t a Santa Claus.


Loving someone they only see at weddings and funerals as much as their friend next door (shout out to the Wortz and Myers families and my long lost roommate Allison).


Old friends.  A friend that shares her beef jerky in her stocking, and her Sweet Valley High books under the tree.  A friend whose parents adopt you as their own.  A friend who will flush a failed quiz down the toilet with you.

New friends. Friends made after you have your own children and realize you need the kind of support that only a fellow pre-school mom can give.  And beer.  And wine.

For all my grief around Girl Scouts, here's something that always tears me up when they sing it. "Make new friends but keep the old.  One is silver and the other's gold.  A circle is round.  It has no end.  That's how long I want to be your friend."

Because the more you can love and be loved in return, the less room there is for sadness and hate.

Peace on earth, goodwill towards man.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Storage Wars: Rookie Edition

God love him, but Scott has a passion for time-consuming hobbies.

Take for instance his triathlon training. I mean if you are going to be training anyway, you might as well train for the Ironman. What’s another five hours of working out per week, when you’re already putting in ten?

So it should come as no surprise that rehabbing old furniture is also on his list. This works out great for me, since I have a passion for wanting rehabbed old furniture in my home.

It all started with a wooden trunk that we bought off my brother after he had purchased a few at an estate auction. It was covered in thick black paint that took approximately one month to completely strip and sand down to bare wood, but look at it now.


Other Projects:

Cedar hope chest which was given to my great aunt by an ex-fiancé (maybe it was just a boyfriend) around the time of the war. SCANDALOUS! (Also notice that kick-ass blanket that I handmade myself.  We are such a crafy family.)

School desks from the Bay Village Historical Society.  We paid $20 for them.

Desk chair Scott’s office was going to throw away

Card catalog that had been in Scott’s grandmother’s garage so long it was fifty shades of busted wood when we got it.

Since he is wrapping up the last card catalog/end table, he started browsing for auctions to pick up something new to work on. That’s when he found the auction ad for a salvage store we had visited several times close to Cleveland.

This store had a shit ton (my favorite form of measurement) of old architectural elements that had been stripped out of houses. Doors, lead-glass windows, mantels, hardware, etc. It was, honestly, a disaster to try to shop in the place, it was packed so tight. As far as “antiques” went, it was definitely a place where you used the term loosely, but it did have some pretty cool pieces every now and then.

The owner had died and her son was auctioning off the complete contents of the three-floored store, as well as, some storage space she had above another antique store across the street.

The wheels started turning. One, Scott wanted a chest of drawers. Two, we need to redo our upstairs bathroom and were thinking of either using an old table as the base, or getting two pedestal sinks. Three, we figured if we could get a Lot of ten doors for $100, we could resell them and pay for everything.

One problem. Our auction experience is limited to watching A&E’s Storage Wars and Discovery’s Auction Kings. But really, what better experience do you need?

Saturday morning we unloaded the kids on Nana and Papa and headed downtown. We figured we’d know right away if we were in over our heads with the competition, so we just casually got ourselves a number and started casing the joint.

Right away I see this awesome farmhouse-style cabinet that I need to have. (Where we would put it is of little concern.) This is definitely one of the nicest pieces of furniture in the place though, so I don’t have high hopes that we could actually win a bidding war.

There are a couple other potential pieces we have our eyes on in the main store and we are debating the merits of buying an entire room of records that are being sold as one Lot. And we’re definitely going to think about buying either a Lot of doors or a Lot of windows. Depending on how many actual salvage store dealers have shown up to bid against.

Then we head across the street to the upstairs storage.

I suppose when some people think of precious antique furniture they may picture their meticulous grandmother’s attic. With dust covers, recently swept floors, and limited fire damage to the surrounding overall structure. Now picture the opposite.

Basically the contents looked like they had been stacked for kindling in an attempt to secure some insurance money via arson. I had serious reservations about the amount of people that the dilapidated floor would be able to hold.

But here is where we found the chest of drawers that had been pictured on the website. And upon further inspection there was a retro red diner set, complete with four vinyl chairs, and a corner hutch with a rather shabby chic door.

Problem was, this auction was selling whole rooms as Lots. There was some parceling of items, but we weren’t quite sure how that worked and figured we might just have to find the winning bidder to make an offer on an individual piece.

We had about twenty minutes before the auction to make our plan and set our budget a la Brandi and Jarrod. Unlike Auction Kings and more like Storage Wars, we would be following the auctioneer from room to room, and he decided he was going to start across the street in the fire trap.

Now whether people weren’t paying attention or had no interest, not as many bidders followed us across the street. So when the first Lot went for $10, Scott and I exchanged excited glances.

The next lot contained all the items down the middle of the large room and included the retro diner table. The bidding started at $100 but had no takers. $50. Silence. Scott and I looked at each other. $25. Scott raised his number. The auctioneer asked for $35 a few times, but there were no takers, so we won a room full of furniture for $25.

Let me repeat that.

We just won A ROOM FULL OF FURNITURE for $25. Umm. Okay. Glad we don’t have to have all this stuff out today, considering we drive a Ford Edge.

Next we walk towards the room with the chest of drawers. He auctions off another room first that goes for $45. And then we bid on the room with the chest at $25. Again, no other takers.

Holy shit, we just bought TWO ROOMS OF FURNITURE!

Okay, time to adjust the game plan. Scott calls his dad to come strategize with us and we head back across the street. At this point they start auctioning the doors and windows, but we don’t know how we are getting the stuff we already bought home, let alone a Lot of ten solid oak doors.

The auctioneer makes it to one of the furnished rooms and asks if there are any pieces that people want auctioned separately. Someone asks for a mantel, and they get it for $20. Scott asks for the pedestal sink and he gets it for $25. That’s right. We just bought a pedestal sink.

Scott goes to the street to watch for his dad and leaves me with our number when my cabinet comes up. At the start of the day, Scott had originally agreed he’d be willing to go $120 for it. The shop owner had it priced at $585 (it had obviously been there for a while). I’m standing behind the auctioneer, so when it starts these other two guys are bidding on it.

I got it for $90. That’s right. I just bought a frickin’ china cabinet. That I have no space for in my dining room.

This clinches it. It is less than an hour into the auction and we need a U-Haul. Better retire our number.

And so I head back over to inventory our soot covered loot. I knew the room with the chest of drawers also had a desk, wardrobe, and two tables for sure. Turns out, there was also another desk (“There’s a fifty dollar bill, Brando”), a bar cabinet (“Another hundred bill.”), some leaded windows, a mantel, and a deacon’s bench (“Another two hundred bill. All day long, Brando.”).

In the back room with the retro diner set, there was no less than four corner hutch built ins, a church pew, a teacher’s school desk, another dresser, two imperial chairs, and some mission-like shelves that no longer had their cabinet doors. As my father-in-law later warmly and accurately quoted our friend Darrel Sheets, “This room is just crapping money, Brando.”

We do grab a U-Haul and start…well…hauling (down a flight a rickety, steep stairs of course). I’m covered in a fine black powder within sixty seconds. I have no doubt developed black lung and probably should have gotten a tetanus booster. But two hours later and we have our first truck loads ready to go.

When I put a rather pathetic plea out on facebook, my friend Jenna graciously volunteered her husband and his pick-up for our next load. I have a feeling she did not pass along my warning about the “black plague” and immensity of it all, but that man is an absolute angel and we got all the rest in the next trip. (We did let him pick out a piece of furniture free of charge, lest you think we are complete assholes.)

My brother (who is more of an American Pickers type of guy) showed up after all the work was done to browse the merchandise, somehow scamming us out of the big round table and the church pew, for way less than they are worth on eBay. Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday for the next decade. He’s lucky his wife is so nice.

So yeah, we are keeping my cabinet, one dresser, the wardrobe, a corner hutch, the bar cabinet, the deacon’s bench, the imperial chairs, two mirrors, and three leaded windows. And I have actually thought of a place for each and ever single piece.

All other items for sale (see my facebook profile for pictures!)

I don’t expect Scott to come out of his workshop for the next twelve months (except to train for his next Ironman). More remote control time for me! I think we’ll switch over from Storage Wars to Rehab Addict for a while.

“YUUUPPP!”

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Reason #234 Why I am Not a Girl Scout Troop Leader

…overnights. Then what, you may ask, would have persuaded me to volunteer to chaperone such an event? Quite simply, my daughter asked me.

You would think that having two girls would have turned me numb to giggle fits, high pitch screeching, and a blatant disregard for the voice of authority figures. You would be tragically wrong.
I have a surprising low threshold for all things pre-pre-teen, so I appreciate those moms that can handle twelve 7-8-year-olds without going absolutely bat shit crazy. (It’s also quite possible they have already lost it.)

The Lake Erie Nature and Science Center (located in my very own hometown) hosts a fall and spring overnight for Girl Scouts. This fall’s theme is Teddy Bears. Cute.

We lug our two sleeping bags (incidentally my sleeping bag is the same sleeping bag I would have used when I was a Brownie if I hadn’t quit after the introductory meeting where we were informed that at some point we would need to stand up and say the Girl Scout Pledge – I like to call it “retro” Raggedy Ann and Andy), two pillows, two flashlights, a duffel with pjs, Pooh Bear and Beluga (duh!), and a stuffed koala that Morgan picked out for me. Notice no snacks/alcohol are packed. I must have been on drugs.

I’m thinking of making one of those youtube videos of Shit Brownies Say.

SCENE 1: I honestly don’t care who you pick for your buddy, but please make a decision and try not to hurt the other girl’s feelings who so obviously wanted to be your buddy despite the fact that you are clinging to another girl and completely ignoring her.

Whoever thought “buddies” was a good idea anyway. Way to go, Girl Scouts. If I were troop leader, I would not have let them pick. I would have assigned them a buddy. You get what you get and you don’t have a fit. Or perhaps you would rather be Mrs. Norcross’s buddy? Is that it? Nobody wants that, kids. (I honestly want to be the “fun” mom, but it is so much easier to be the mean one.)

SCENE 2: High Pitch Screaming

SCENE 3: And how about all the non sequitur comments and questions?

During the laying down of the rules, Morgan raises her hand. “Mrs. Florez, one time when I was here I saw the boa constructor (not constrictor) eat a rat.”

Okay.

SCENE 4: High Pitch Screaming

SCENE 5: Somewhat related to the non sequitur is their ability to latch on to off the cuff comments and beat them like a dead horse.

LENSC Leader: When the lights go out, we will be on lock down – no one in or out. Because a couple years ago we woke up and couldn’t find a little girl.
Brownie 1: Did you find her?
LENSC: Yes (I don’t think we would be having another overnight here if they hadn’t)
Brownie 2: Where was she?
LENSC: In the nature garden.
Brownie 3: Were there animals out there?
LENSC: Yes.
Brownie 4: Was she in their cages?
LENSC: No, she couldn’t get in their cages and they couldn’t get out.
And so on, and so forth for fifteen minutes.

Now here is where it would have been appropriate to scare the bejeezus out of them so none of them got the same idea. “We found her with the turkey vultures and they were attempting to peck her eyes out!”

SCENE 6: High Pitch Screaming

SCENE 7: Anytime a person of authority opens their mouth, at least one Brownie will also be speaking. I have to applaud the women at the nature center (most notably the planetarium presenter) and their ability to completely ignore the questions and comments that would no doubt turn a twenty minute presentation into a 2-day retreat.

SCENE 8: High Pitch Screaming

SCENE 9: Potty talk.

Since it was just us girls, we were told that we could use both the boys and girls restrooms for toilets and sinks. This was followed by an explanation of urinals for the less worldly girls. Five minutes later when we break up for activities, we notice the girl’s room is empty but there is a line for the boy’s. Oi.

SCENE 10: Anything that remotely resembles what my grandmother would call “sass mouth”. Morgan might have an obsessive compulsive disorder bordering on the need for medicinal marijuana. And she may have periods of whine that can only be dealt with by an accompanying charcuterie and cheese. But other than the occasional sarcasm (which I can secretly admire), she does not sass mouth. Unfortunately, about a third of our troop are professionals in this field.

FINAL SCENE: High Pitch Screaming. And me, being carried out in a straight jacket because I have exactly a 30 second tolerance.

You may have guessed that I have extremely high standards for how kids behave in public. I did attempt to lower these standards for the evening, knowing how exciting and overwhelming it could be for them – especially if they had never slept over with friends before. And I think I bit my tongue surprisingly well, directing the bulk of my commentary to facebook.

But I hit the wall at eleven o’clock when the center called lights out. The logical part of my brain knew that there was no way these girls would calm down in anything less than forty-five minutes. The other part of my brain was screaming, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP, BITCHES!

I compromised by not allowing Susan to get up and brush her teeth twenty seconds after getting the last of the troop in their sleeping bag. In my head I pictured John Bender. “Why does Andrew get to get up? If he get’s up, we’ll all get up! It will be anarchy!”

In the morning, our troop leader and one of the other mom’s commented on how well-behaved all the girls were. Oh boy. Yes, VERY different standards.  (Note to all my PTA friends:  Please don't stop letting your kids come over to play at my house.  I promise to behave myself.)

Two additional cups of tea…

Cup 1

Now, when I think overnight, I think slumber party. And when I think slumber party, I think food. This gives rise to a wild assumption that something beginning at 7pm and ending at 9am would include a tasty treat - perhaps before the planetarium visit. So I didn’t worry too much that I didn’t have time to eat dinner before going.

At about 9pm we got a snack of “bear food” (a very tasty trail mix of all things I love and nothing that is good for me) presented in a Dixie cup, a small tortilla (somewhat stale) to spread with cream cheese and honey, two pieces of strawberry, and two pieces of grapes. So that would be one strawberry and one grape. I may have stolen an extra Dixie cup of bear food. (Hey, I quit Girl Scouts, remember?)

To be fair, the morning breakfast was somewhat more robust, but I did receive a dirty look from Sassmouth #1 when she asked me why I was drinking a juice box instead of coffee like the other moms. Morgan had my back though.

Cup 2

Since our group chose to sleep by the turtle habitat we were also situated right next to the door to the nature garden (remember the escapee mentioned earlier).

Despite the lock down, our troop leader decided to sleep at the threshold of these double doors. Sassmouth #2 mentioned that maybe she would just step over her while she was sleeping, to which the leader replied that she would wake up because she was a very light sleeper.

I’m sorry, Ashley, but two minutes after lights out you were snoring (this is literal, not figurative) on the concrete floor and continued to do so until two thirds of the troop had woken up in the morning and each had visited the bathroom.


The spring overnight theme is Butterflies. It’s all you, Jacquie!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sandy, You Ignorant Slut

Day 1 of Captivity
Holding fast on Rank and Serial Number

It’s an adventure. Due to a somewhat state of denial, flashlights had to be found in various corners of the house (two under Zoe’s covers) after the lights went out. And even though I was home for at least an hour with power, I didn’t think to charge my drained cell phone.

No big deal.

Keep trying to do things like turn on lights and use apps on the WiFi only iPad, which is funny.

It’s not even that cold in the house, despite the fact that there seems to be a freight train running though it the windows are shaking so hard from the wind. School is called off for the next day, since there is no sign of it stopping in the next12 hours.

Facebook is alive with people who are NEVER on facebook. We put the kids to bed with an extra blanket, and I settle in with my laptop to let my cell phone suck the battery dry. I even get some writing done before heading to bed early.

In the morning, I assess the childcare situation. Sitter, parents and in laws are all out of power for the moment. I’ll just hang out and find a place to check my e-mail. Girls are excited to have McDonald's for breakfast and to spend time in their play land. A little play date with the one person in town that already got her power back. Off to a nearby library to do some homework and learn the finer points of checkers. (Zoe wants to learn chess – she is no Bobby Fisher.)

Non-functioning traffic light = 4-way stop. I guess people are a little fuzzy on that rule.

Off to the gym for dinner. It’s pasta night! We aren’t the only ones taking advantage of the dining room, showers, and electrical outlets. Get the official call that school is off for the next day.

Day 2 of Captivity
May mention where you can find a secret stash of automatic weapons. Granted permission to walk the yard.

My parents have power. Grab some clothes and entertainment and head out to the country. Papa makes the kids suffer through a documentary on the Men that Built America, so they get out their library books and read to Nana instead. Still making the best of things.

Get a good night sleep without the need for additional blankets.

Log in to work, despite the fact that it is technically my day off, just to get through missed emails and make sure the bank didn’t go under without me.

Facebook is a little disgruntled today. People are emptying refrigerators into the trash and bailing out basements. Getting a little miffed that all our utility workers were sent to the east coast and we have to wait for Toledo and the whole state of Michigan’s workforce to help the two people we still have. But at least people are keeping their political opinions to themselves. Silver lining.

I have to head out for one run to the BMV, which turns into a hike to Strongsville because the North Olmsted branch has no power.
Non-functioning traffic light = 4-way stop. Come on, people. This is basic driver’s ed. Kindly remove your head from your ass and pay attention.

School is officially called off for the next day again, so I’m leaving the kids and heading back home to keep Scott company. Doesn’t even feel like Halloween. I’m missing my favorite holiday and the Great Pumpkin is surely going to sail right over us without even blinking an eye.

Day 3 of Captivity
Sure, you can have the codes to all our nuclear weapons. (This is why they don’t trust me with top secret information.)

Why, in god’s name, do I keep trying to turn the kitchen light on?

Snuggle in front of the one gas fire place to read a book, which also happens to be in the smallest and coldest room of our house. Sit on a bean bag chair as close to the fire as I possibly can without burning my hair.

Head to bed wearing knee socks, two t-shirts, flannel pajamas, a hoodie and a stocking cap – using three extra blankets. Wind has died down so we can hear our neighbor’s generator running. Bastards.

Get up for work the next day and, after the hottest possible shower, throw on clothes that only slightly resemble business casual, but closer to “I just don’t give a damn” and head to work.

Non-functioning traffic light = 4-way stop. If you sons of bitches have not figured this out by now, all I can ask is that you do not procreate. Here is a refresher: wait your fucking turn!

I have seen one Toledo Edison van in all of Bay. I think he must be in charge of picking up sticks. Apparently, our local fireman went over 48 hours without sleep. Thanks for cutting them back this year, Mayor. (I know the people that are here, are working hard. I just wish they had some help.)

Will be taking clean clothes for the kids out to my parents tonight. Who knows what Day 4 has in store other than me developing Stockholm Syndrome and refusing to run any electricity after we actually get it back on.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ode to Mrs. Gatz

Did you know that four out of the first six presidents were members of the Democratic-Republican political party? (The two exceptions being Washington, who obviously had no party and Adams (#2), who was a Federalist.) Did you know the Whig party was formed – and held office several times – as opposition to the newly formed Democratic party? Their chief mission being the “opposition to tyranny.” Did you know Abraham Lincoln was a Republican (after abandoning the Whigs prior to them going defunct)?

Why am I asking this?

Because I hate…no, detest, loathe, abhor…the fact that “we, the people” allow ourselves to be led around on leashes by two political parties.

According to the polls, the majority of Americans are either Republicans or Democrats. You, that are currently reading this, are one of two types of people. Do you believe that bullshit? That there are only two types of people in the world? Of course you don’t.

So here is my plea…

Do not listen to advertisements that tell you how bad the other candidate is. Make them tell you how great THEY are. What THEY are going to do for you, for the country.

Stop putting labels on things and look at what they stand for.

Don’t give up on the underdogs. You don’t have to vote for Romney OR Obama. There are other candidates. You are NOT throwing away your vote when you tell the government that they are no longer representing your best interests. You are throwing away your vote when you cast a ballot for the person you think is going to win. I so firmly believe this it makes me want to smack people!

Yes, you might actually be 100% behind one of the two main candidates, but that doesn’t mean your friend that disagrees with you is an idiot, so stop telling them that. (Refer back to my earlier paragraph about there being more than two types of people in the world.)

Here is what I know. The office of the President of the United States is a sacred position, deserving the respect of any of us that still “hold these truths to be self-evident” no matter who wins. It also deserves the respect of the person seeking to obtain it. I don’t want a Jersey Shore celebrity. I want a statesman. (And yes, that can be a woman.)

When nothing is owed, deserved, or expected
And your life doesn’t change by the man that’s elected.
If you’re loved by someone you’ll never reject it.
Decide what to be and go be it.





Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Quotes of the Day

Today I keep coming back to the immortal words of John Keating from Dead Poet's Society:

“So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys - to woo women - and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won’t do in your essays.”

Too true, O Captain, my Captain.

And since I'm on a roll...top 5 quotes from Dead Poet's Society:

5.  Congratulations, Mr. Hopkins. You have the first poem to ever have a negative score on the Pritchard scale.
4.  Now, don't just walk off the edge like lemmings! Look around you!

3.  Sucking the marrow out of life doesn't mean choking on the bone.
2.  Mr. Anderson! Don't think that I don't know that this assignment scares the hell out of you, you mole!
1.  Damn it Neil, the name is Nuwanda.




Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Bleeding Ears

We’ve been grabbing different Kidz Bop CDs from the library the past few weeks, and I’m continually amazed by a few things.

1. It’s a lot easier to figure out the lyrics of the real song, when you hear the Kidz Bop version.

And that is coming from someone who thought there was such a thing as being “blinded by the light and wrapped up like a douche”. If you don’t know what song I’m referring to, you are too young to be reading this blog.

2. What words and phrases Kidz Bop finds unacceptable.

Lady Gaga’s Telephone:
I cannot text you with a drink in my hand, see.

Kidz Bop:
I cannot text you when I am going to dancing.

Is that even proper grammar? Is dancing a place now? (I wish it was a dangling participle, because I could tear that shit apart.) Nowhere does it mention alcohol. Just a drink. Could be Kool-Aid. Could be a White Russian. Who knows. My kids sure don’t.

And they are usually such a stickler for grammar, replacing every “ain’t” with “isn’t”, but in Gaga’s case they let all the double negatives in the bridge slide.

The redeeming part of this song is that I finally know what she’s saying just before the bridge. “Cause I’m out in the club and I’m sippin’ that bubb.” Which they of course changed to “eatin’ that grub.” I’m not quite as insulted by this since I never knew what she was saying anyway, but it’s a pointless variation. Ginger ale is bubbly, is it not? Maybe my seven-year-old is drinking ginger ale at the club. Ever think of that, Kidz Bop?

Train’s Hey, Soul Sister:
My heart’s about to beat
Right out my untrimmed chest

Kidz Bop:
My heart’s about to beat
Right out my pounding chest

Take away the fact that the original lyric is kind of unappealing and makes me picture gorillas, it’s not like these kids would be lying. I’m fairly certain none of them are trimming anything on their chests.

3. Should they even be covering songs where it is necessary to change the lyrics?

Most of their song choices are actually fine, but really, Nicki Minaj’s Starships should be left off anything having to do with children. I don’t care how many words you change.

I find her entire existence offensive. And it should be illegal for a person of her caliber to make more money than carnies. In fact, maybe we should instate a MAXIMUM wage for people whose job seems to be centered on the fact that they are imbeciles.

I’ll stop there, because I think I could write a whole other post on why I believe Nicki Minaj is the anti-Christ.

Songs I Wish Kidz Bop Would Cover

Bitchin’ Camero (Dead Milkmen)
White Rabbit (Jefferson Airplane)
Welcome to the Jungle (Guns N Roses)
Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd)
Cherry Pie (Warrant)
Birdhouse In Your Soul (They Might Be Giants) – that one is for real

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Demented Voice In My Head

WARNING: Mom (and various minors that might be reading this), there are a LOT of f-bombs.

If you have a tendency to fat-finger your facebook posts on your phone, you should probably make sure you don’t have any links on your imaginary clip board that you can mistakenly “paste” and subsequently “post” at the MOST inappropriate moment possible.

Speaking from a person that constantly passive-aggressively cries for attention (like when I originally sent the linked photo in question to friends via facebook messaging just to get a laugh), this will be the moment that you hope everyone, without exception, is completely ignoring you. And it will go something like this.

Aloud: Oh. Frack.
Demented Voice In My Head (DVIMH): No. NO. NO! NOOO!! Delete, DELETE! Where is the fucking delete button!?

Because seriously, there was a time when I couldn’t touch my screen without this little “remove” button popping up. But probably someone like me kept bitching at facebook about it until they took it away and now I have no fucking delete button on my phone app.

Okay, obviously hitting the screen eight hundred and forty-seven times is not helping my situation.

(And here is where, if you are Joe Koval, you walk me through how, in fact, there IS a delete button on the iPhone if you just sweep your finger gently over your post to the right. FUCK ME!)

Of course our company has firewalls that prevent using facebook on their network, because we all know how much little work we would get done if they didn’t.

Fine, internet police, I’ll just grab my laptop and head over to the hotel lobby next door. All I have to do is wait ten years for the elevator to arrive and another ten years to stop on EVERY FUCKING FLOOR on the way to the lobby.

**Sigh** Finally.

Hmmm…no wireless signal. That’s funny, my phone is clearly picking one up.

DVIMH: I’m only trying to rectify a grievous violation of decorum, Karma! I’m only sitting here, trying to do the right thing, Universe!

Fine. My laptop is obviously confused by the many wireless signals floating around too close to my office. I will go to the library.

SHIT! Why is my fucking laptop not picking up a fucking wireless signal! Time to call the people that have no business answering questions about technology, otherwise known as the Help Desk.

Aloud: Hello, my laptop is not picking up a wireless signal.
Help Desk: Are you in your office?
Aloud: No, I’m in a public library.
Help Desk: Is your wireless enabled?
Aloud: Yes.
DVIMH: I would only make that mistake once, dude, and it happened like five years ago!
Help Desk continues to read questions off his script of “how big of an idiot is the person I’m talking to?”
DVIMH: GET ME MY FUCKING WIRELESS, NOW! Please.

Twenty-six minutes later, wireless enabled, proxy disabled, post deleted. That’s one hell of a lunch hour.

Because yes, Virginia, there are people in this world that obsess over being inconsiderate on facebook - so much so that they scream obscenities in their head to innocent bystanders.

In a totally unrelated incident…

This Sunday, a lady that was stopped at the intersection that Scott’s race course went through rolled down her window and yelled (not in her head, mind you, out loud) “Come on! I’m going to CHURCH! And I’m going to be LATE!” And I mean she yelled at the volunteer and the police officer about being late to church.  Am I the only one that sees the irony in that?

An act that caused my seven year old to turn to me and ask, “Why is she being so mean?”

DVIMH: Oh, I don’t know, Morgan. Maybe her god is okay with running over cyclists with her minivan, but not so fond of tardiness.

I’m wondering when this woman bowed her head for silent prayer if it went something along the lines of, “Lord, forgive me for missing the opening hymn and church announcements. It was that damn volunteer. Please smite her down if you find the time.”

Maybe if you are so worried about being late you shouldn’t cut it so close that you can’t wait less than five minutes at an intersection.

In the end, I knew it wasn’t the hapless Help Desk employee’s fault, or even the app creators at facebook. (It’s a little bit Mark Zuckerberg’s fault, but that goes without saying.) I made the mistake, and that is why I was very careful to keep all my swearing internal.

So yeah, I’m okay with being the person that feels so guilty about posting a picture of ginger adorableness (it wasn’t even the NAKED one) with a post that was supposed to be a sincere remembrance of 9/11 that I take an entire lunch hour to remedy the situation (regardless of the fact that it should have taken me two seconds).

God Bless America and God Bless Prince Harry

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

You Peaked in High School: Reunion Edition

Listen, I’m not purposely avoiding my twenty year reunion. I had intentions of going. Then I made other plans. (Although technically still a reunion of sorts.) End of story.

The appeal of reunions is that they are one-stop shopping. You can get all your “catching up” done in one swoop. It’s almost like speed dating. This should be right up my lazy-ass alley – 50 conversations for the price of one night. On the other hand, that’s a lot of talking in one sitting for an anti-social cynic.

And here’s the other kicker…I have already friended most of you on facebook. I don’t have to catch up. I’m an open book. But just in case you are reading this and REALLY wishing you knew what I’d been up to all these years, here’s what I’m going to do for you…

My 1992 Senior Year Book “Where I Want To Be In 10 Years” submission was something along the lines of living in Washington, D.C. on Embassy Row. Maybe something about a Golden Retriever and 2.5 kids. Unfortunately, my senior year book is where all things go to die – my attic. I don’t go in my attic unless it is a life or death situation. So unless the person holding you at gun point really needs to know…I’m going to leave it at that.

Well, I did graduate Miami University with a Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs degree. But most of my diplomatic skills go towards keeping my co-workers from taking practical jokes a little too far and making sure I only slightly embarrass my family members in my blog. Oh, I have also managed to refrain from calling my nemesis a Dirty Trash Can Full of Poop to her face.

Relationship Status: Married almost 15 years to Scott, an attorney (anyone need a lawyer?) who, due to his constant triathlon training, makes me look even MORE lazy than what you may have assumed from the above. And yes, we are a Miami Merger but I have yet to get a god damn Valentine’s Day card from that place. What does a person have to do? Donate a building?

Dependents: 7-year-old Morgan loves beluga whales and making me look stupid. 4-year-old Zoe can walk in high heels better than me and tries my patience. 10-year-old St. Bernard with erratic bowel movements and no eyesight. A cat that adopted us a little over a year ago and sticks around despite the fact that I try to feed him dog food whenever I run out of cat food.

Location: Western Cleveland suburb known for its great schools and snobbish lakeside residents who send their kids to different schools. Family Circle’s #1 best town for families. Possibly paid for by snobbish lakeside residents who don’t let their kids go to school with my kids. All I know is I have a nice view and a pretty amazing circle of friends who feed me copious amounts of beer and wine and wonder why I spend so much time on facebook.

Current Occupation (official): Vice President, Financial Risk Governance Manager
Current Occupation (in actuality): Force people to do all the things they don’t want to do because it takes time away from doing the things they were hired to do in the first place but if they don’t do these things we will be in a big pile of shit waiting to hit the proverbial fan. It’s also very much like being a kindergarten teacher with really big kids.

Hobbies: If this isn’t your first time reading my blog you can probably guess the answer just based on past topics. Too much television; divulging families eccentricities; books written about post-apocalyptic worlds featuring impossible love triangles; making fun of my little brother; super hero movies; ranting about my “fence” neighbors; the usual.

So there you have it, whether you wanted it or not.

Though I didn’t have a particularly rough high school career compared to some, there really isn’t much I actually miss. If someone told me I could go back and relive it, I would probably rather stab myself in the eye repeatedly. However, there’s still a bit of nostalgia in that general feeling of youth that only comes when you are freezing your ass off at a Friday night football game or begging Coach Dodd to let you watch a movie in History class.

So this is what I’m writing in our 20th reunion yearbook to the Class of ’92. It was great getting to know you. I wish I had known some of you better (others not so much). You were sweet/smart/funny/cute/insert your own superlative here. Don’t forget all those kick ass times we spent (fill in the blank). Stay cool and “kiss my class”.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dirty Cups, Vol. 8496

First off, is everyone aware of the timelessness of the movie Ghostbusters?  Because my girls LOVE it.  I remember seeing it during one of our Swigart family gatherings.  I got to go with the older cousins.  Sorry about your luck, John and Rebecca.

This might have something to do with the fact that they like anything "spooky."  One of Morgan's favorite stories IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD is The Green Ribbon.  Look it up.  It is disturbingly morbid. We also have the Kid's Bop Halloween edition on loop in the car currently.

The point of that story is to ask the following question:  Will there ever be a time when someone asks you "Who you gonna call?" that you don't answer (at least in your head) "Ghostbusters!"

After spending some time with Nana Turtle and referring to Scott as "your son".
Zoe: You know, Daddy came out of Nana's tummy. Just like I came out of yours.
Mommy: Yes, I know.
Zoe: Where was I when Daddy came out of Nana's tummy?
Mommy: You weren't anywhere. You weren't born yet.
Zoe: So I was still at the doctor's office?
Mommy: Nooooo....you just didn't exist.
Zoe: But WHERE was I?

Oy.

The night before my brother's wedding.
Morgan: I'm so happy for Barbi and Uncle John. Aren't you, Mom?
Mom: Yep.
Morgan: I wish Uncle Matt would marry Robyn. He would be very lucky to get a girl like her. (Brief pause) And then I could be THEIR flower girl.

Leaving my brother's wedding reception.
Gabe (my 10-year-old nephew): Bye, Uncle Scott. Thanks for teaching me how to break dance.

Yeah, that's how we roll.

Night before the first day of school.
I asked both girls to lay out what clothes they were going to wear the next day. When I got up to their room, I see that Morgan has picked out a nice pair of plaid shorts and a TWO YEAR OLD TIE DYED T-SHIRT she made for Daisy Scouts. So much for back to school shopping.

Mom: Why aren't you wearing any of your new clothes? (the shorts were nice, but not new)
Morgan: You didn't buy me any new shorts.
Mom: Okay....but we bought like five or six new shirts, including t-shirts. Why can't you wear those?
Morgan: I don't think they match my shorts.
Mom: Yeah, but they match OTHER shorts.
Morgan: Well...I could wear my new CeCe leggings?
Mom: Um, it's going to be 90 degrees tomorrow. Fine. Just wear it. Do not ask me to buy you new clothes again. EVER (this is very realistic and helpful)

Next day Morgan gets up and starts to put on her clothes, decides she doesn't think the shorts are stretchy enough for gym and proceeds to put on her purple soccer shorts instead. That is how I sent my kid to the first day of school. In a beat up old blue tie dye and Umbros. Oh yeah, and pink socks with sparkly pink sneakers.

Did I try this hard to be a social outcast at her age? I mean, I certainly don't want to be the mom to tell my kid she has to dress like everyone else, but COME ON. If you want to wear soccer shorts and tie dyes, fine. But I have to draw the line at pink socks and shoes.

That is why I didn't even bother taking a picture of her. That and the fact that it was raining and I didn't have an umbrella, so I didn't want to get out of the car at the bus stop.

Later that day...
Mom: How was your first day of school?
Morgan: It was GREAT, mom.

Contrarywise, today she wore the peasant blouse that she had on at school to soccer practice.


Okay. I surrender.

In case anyone is wondering...I took 274 photos at the wedding (see how annoying I could have been on facebook?). The best part about being the official photographer? I still got to boss my little brother around. Though I seem to be accused of embarrassing him ("often", according to the Best Man) I thought I showed remarkable restraint.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Paging Dr. Bauman to the North Horse Barn Immediately

The week of the Lorain County Fair. Back in the day, this was also known as the family vacation. We plopped our camper down in the circle on Saturday night, brought our “projects” in on Sunday and started a week of mass chaos. Imagine going on vacation with all your friends from school, but only half the supervision, because most parents still went to work during the day.

Several years ago, my aunt in Kansas asked my brothers and I to share our fair memories, so she could get her grandkids excited about started 4-H. I’m not sure this was what she had in mind, but this is what I sent her.

I dedicate this post to Gerri, Jenny, the Andolsek boys, and the Tansey cousins. If I could choose to live one week of childhood over it would be fair week 1988 - the summer before we started high school. I have added some text in italics as observations around my visit yesterday.

FAIR MEMORIES

“Barn Duty” or “Barn Doodie” – You could hear this being yelled at any given time, in any given barn, to signify that someone’s horse, cow or steer just took a crap close to the public’s walkway and needed to be cleaned up. (They don't yell this any more and with the exception of the sheep and pig barn, most of the barns look like crap - literally. Kids have no respect for a clean barn. You could have EATEN off the floor of my barn was I was on barn duty.)

The year Zestie Bea freaked out because someone had to hammer in a stall gate and she ripped her nostril on the bucket hook, requiring the vet to give her a tranquilizer to stitch her up. And the year Zestie Bea freaked out because of the tractor pull and cut her eyelid on some unseen protrusion in her otherwise immaculate stall, requiring the vet to give her a tranquilizer to clean her up. Oh wait…same year. (I can still see the look on Dr. Bob's face when he realized he was seeing the same horse. I will also never forget how heavy a horse becomes when you are trying to keep it from falling down due to tranquilizers.)

Midway Obstacle Course – For some reason my friend and I found it very fun to see how fast we could complete a walk around the midway at its most crowded time without bumping in to anyone. Yes, entertainment! (The Midway has not changed. At all. It is still filled with idiots who will try to get in my way. However, Zoe totally hustled one of the games and came out with a "jumbo" prize stuffed dog which is currently named Bert Brady. It's a girl. It cost me a whole $3.)

Asking mom for money to get some dinner; then asking dad for money to get some dinner. Dinner would consist of either one slice of the greasiest pizza known to man or two ice cream sandwiches. Remaining money spent trying to win a mouse. (Last stop yesterday was at the Milk Barn for an ice cream sandwich. FYI - Milk Barn is the name of the booth, I didn't milk a cow and make my own ice cream sandwich. FYI 2 - For the love of god, people. All cows are girls, all steer are boys. Why it still drives me crazy when people call steer "cows" is beyond me, but it REALLY does.)

If not on Barn Duty, the Sheep Barn was the only other acceptable place to hang out. Close enough to see parents entering from the campground gate, but far enough not to hear them calling you before you snuck out of the barn the other way. (I heard there were some next generation Andolsek boys with some winning lambs this year! I once won a ribbon for participating.)

“Horse Backing” and “Horse Coming Through” – Our own way of proving to everyone that we were in charge and everyone must bow down to us and get out of our way. (They still do this. My faith is restored.)

Convincing first timers they must get licked by a steer and/or thrown in the manure pile as a right of passage. (The manure piles didn't seem as big this year, the horse people have switched thier bedding from straw to saw dust. That is probably not as fun to get thrown into. Personally, I don't feel complete without touching the sandpaper tongue of a steer once a year.)

Sitting in the Born's camper when everyone was "home." I defy anyone to not laugh when Bill, Donna, Jason and Molly are all in he same confined space. Three stand up comedians and the exhausted wife and mother. "Oh, Molly." I can hear Donna's tone of disapproval like it was yesterday. Man, I love that woman.

But the best part about fair...

Camp circle fry pies.

Going to bed while you could still hear the parents talking softly around the fire through the thin camper walls.

Waking up at dawn while it is still foggy (it was always foggy in the morning) and cold (it was always cold in the morning) and the closer you get to the barns you start hearing the roosters and then the cows as they are led to the milking stations, but that is it. Everything else is silent. Everybody’s eyes are half-closed. The animals are still lying down. But at some point, and you can’t put your finger on it, everything changes. People are yelling for misplaced pitchforks or a horse is kicking a stall or someone turns on a radio and it starts all over again.

There are a few times I have come close to this early morning silence, but without the roosters and cows, it's just not the same.

It makes me a little sad that my kids won't be in 4-H, but then again it's changed so much they would have never had my experience anyway. Zoe did request a draft pony so she could drive it in a cart. I told her to ask Papa. Morgan would still prefer a rabbit. I think a goat would be absolutely ideal.

My scrapbook from this era was pretty much destroyed in a basement water incident, but I did manage to salvage a few things.

My 1988 exhibiter's pass.

 Me and Zestie Bea's first year together.

Good times...good times.

Andolsek boys.

 Last horse show in 4-H 1991.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Quick and the Dead

THERE WILL BE MANY SPOILERS. THIS IS YOUR ONLY WARNING.


Movie I got sucked into this week for no apparent reason: The Quick and the Dead
Released: 1995
Starring: Gene Hackman (Herod), Sharon Stone (The Lady), Russell Crowe (Cort), and Leonardo DiCaprio (Kid)
Synopsis (from IMDB): Lady avenger returns to western town owned by a ruthless gunslinger hosting an elimination tournament.
My Rating: 3 Stars

Rating Scale:

5 An All-Time Favorite
4 Excellent Movie (not one I would watch over and over)
3 Entertaining (has some redeeming quality that sucks me in)
2 Hope I Never Have to See Again
1 Two Hours of My Life I Will Never Get Back (but will probably watch again)

This is Russell Crowe’s first movie in the states. Nobody knew him. L.A. Confidential (4 Stars) won’t come out for two more years. When it does people will think, “Where the hell did this guy come from?” He came from The Quick and the Dead, people. I don’t know how you didn’t see it coming. His hair alone could catapult him to fame.

The “lady avenger” is played by Ms. Sharon Stone who completely rocks these awesome leather chaps almost the entire movie. I mean if I looked this good in my chaps…yeah, I would probably need five or six more inches of leg. Her character should be kick ass, and she does have her moments, but definitely the weakest link in this movie.

Leo is soooo young. Like Crowe, he is two years away from his Titanic (3 Stars) role, but it’s practically the same character. All cocky and smart-ass.

Gene Hackman. Is it really possible that the last movie this guy did was in 2004? Apparently, he announced his retirement from acting in 2008. Who knew? He has 99 movies to his credit on IMDB. The only three characters I ever liked: Jim McGinty (The Replacements – 3 Stars), Coach Norman Dale (Hoosiers – 5 Stars), and Reverend Scott (The Poseidon Adventure – 5 Stars). Note: He was also very good playing characters I hated.

Obviously, the lady rides into town wanting some sort of revenge on Herod, who is a ruthless sonofabitch that everyone cowers before. It’s definitely personal.

Why People Didn’t Like This Movie

Implausible Plot 1. Why would a man who already has complete control of a town, decide to throw AND PARTICIPATE IN a gunslinger tournament? Allegedly, this is all to force Cort (who has become a preacher) to kill people again, like back in the good ol’ days when they were buds. I don’t get it.

Implausible Plot 2. The lady can’t bring herself to just shoot Herod during one of her millions of chances, but she can participate in a tournament where she will be forced to shoot/kill at least three other people she doesn’t even know before having the chance to face off with him in an unfair gunfight.

Implausible Plot 3. The Lady sleeps with the Kid.

Implausible Plot 4. The Lady doesn’t sleep with Cort. Did she not notice his hair?

Crowe is trying unsuccessfully to hide his New Zealand accent in some sort of old west boarding school accent. He would probably have gotten away with it if the writing wasn’t completely and utterly horrendous, causing you to cringe every 30 seconds or so.

Why I Liked This Movie

Despite the implausible plots (including those not mentioned), bad accents, and atrocious writing; I really do like this movie. And it all comes down to the last 10-15 minutes.

We have already found out that not only is Herod responsible for the death of the lady’s father, the former Marshall of the town, but he had given her the chance to save him. The ten-year-old Ellen was given a pistol and told if she could shoot the rope that had her dad strung up, he could live. Ellen ends up shoot her dad in the head. So, yeah, she had issues.

But now she is allegedly dead – killed by Cort in the semi-final round. And Cort’s been pretty much beaten to a pulp by Herod’s henchman, which displeases Herod to no end, leading to my first favorite scene.

Herod tells Ratsy he has 15 seconds to get out of there and Ratsy runs off like a scared rabbit, while Herod continues to calmly taunt Cort and seems to forget about the chicken shit. Then out no where he yells “Times up, Ratsy!” grabs a rifle from another henchman, fires a shot to bring down the man more than 100 yards away and tosses the rifle back. All in about 1.5 seconds. Perfectly choreographed.

So then as Herod and Cort are about to draw there are all sorts of explosions and what not, because of course the lady faked her death with some ink from a blind kid and a little white lie from the town’s doctor, an old family friend. Of course.

Then the second best scene is Cort’s little killing spree of the remaining henchmen, proving that he most definitely still has some skill. It’s like kung fu moves, with old revolvers and rifles.

Then you’ve got the lady’s big reveal to Herod and her calling him out.

Herod: “You’re not fast enough for me.”
Lady: “Today I am”

Then Herod looks down and sees the hole in his shadow, which is impossible because the sun is practically overhead so he wouldn’t even have a shadow, but it’s all good. And she blows him away again, just in case he thought he wasn’t dead. Then she picks up the Marshall badge she had flung at him and tosses it back to Cort, whose razor sharp reflexes nab it.

“The law’s come back to town.” And she leaves. She LEAVES! Without smooching Cort! Or asking him where he gets his hair done!

And yet, I will watch again. What is wrong with me?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Middle-Class-People Problems

Can we all just agree that the world changes and we change with it? And sometimes change is good and sometimes change tastes like a big horse turd?

When my generation starting having kids, all we heard from the old farts was “back in my day” we didn’t have Boppies, Bumbos and Travel Systems. Yeah...sucks to be you.

And then our kids started growing up and all we keep wondering is why they aren’t playing outside till dinner time, living in fear of their “father coming home” and finding joy in sinking someone’s battleship.

I’m a middle of the road kind of parent with a “what doesn’t kill you will teach you not to put your finger in the electric socket” attitude. But that doesn’t mean I don’t constantly feel like I’m being judged. And I freely admit, that people might not give a shit about what I do, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling that way. I blame Mark Zuckerberg.

So here it is. My philosophy. I’m just going to lay it out there if only so you can judge me with a little more authority on the subject.

I dig juice boxes. Considering my childhood beverage of choice was Kool-Aid (and not that sugar-free piss – real Kool-Aid), I figure juice boxes at least offer some modicum of nutritional value along with the sugar. I’m also not opposed to desserts at lunch AND dinner as long as they ate something healthy at both of those meals.

My kids don’t wash their hands every ten seconds. Yes, I’ve tried my best to instill the “after the toilet” hygiene. And I’m not opposed to washing hands before you sit down for a meal. But if you want to play in a dirt pile, pick up barn cats, and then go steal fish out of Uncle Mike’s bucket before having a Popsicle. Meh. Whatever. Guess what? My kids have had no major illness of record.

I’m the first to admit safety was a little lax back there in the 70s and 80s. Car seats, shmar seats. The back of a pick up was a sweet ride. And helmets only existed if you were trying to do some Evil Knievel stunt off your neighbor’s roof. (Trying to be Mary Poppins off the front porch did not require head protection.)

So yeah, the child mortality rate has benefited. My kids sit in boosters still and put on helmets if the bike is leaving the driveway. Some of this also has to do with protecting my kids from the larger amount of ass hats on the road these days rather than my or their own stupidity.

But don’t be deceived that the safety didn’t come without a cost. Kids have a lot more anxiety these days than we did. How could they not? They can’t leave the house without a lecture on Stranger Danger or the deathtrap attributes of a trampoline.

When we were kids, we were invincible. We walked out of our houses and let the screen door slam behind us without ever once thinking we might not make it home again. There is a fine line these days between cautioning your kids and scaring the bejesus out of them.

That little thing called television. My kids watch it. A lot. Probably too much. But even though television wasn’t my go to entertainment as a child, I can guarantee when I did sit down to watch something it was in no way, shape or form educational. Unless you count learning “Mom always says, don’t play ball in the house.”

So my 4-year-old knows how to say “thank you” in Spanish and my 7-year-old has been on countdown to Shark Week. As long as they aren’t drawing pictures for therapists to represent all of the ways I neglect them, I’m still in the win column.

And yes, mark me down for JEALOUS of all the moms that have gotten their kids to like vegetables more than cookies, spend time in their preschooler’s classroom, and have more than 30 minutes a weekday to play “make believe”. I’ve sacrificed. I’m aware.

But you know what my kids are pretty great at?
Being polite.
Making up bedtime stories.
Waiting their turn.
Helping each other.
Giving hugs and Eskimo kisses.
Being kind to stray animals.
Saying “I love you.”

All that, and without being breastfed.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Apropos of Nothing

I caught the opening credits of the 1978 Superman yesterday and was transported back in time.  I haven't seen that movie in at least two decades, but prior to that I probably saw it upwards of 20 times.

We must have rented the VHS tape from Campus Video a lot.  Plus, it was often played as a Sunday Night Movie back in the day when we would get "Network Television Premiere!"s of classics like Star Wars, Rocky, and Smokey and the Bandit.

Yes, I didn't have cable growing up, but there has also been a point in MY lifetime where cable didn't exist.  Just four channels.  On a clear day (or when we could get dad to go up and hold the antennae) we could get six!

Sidebar:  I'm sure my brothers recall fondly the antennae relay game the same as I do.  One person if front of the television.  One person on the second floor landing.  One person in the attic turning the antennae after a big storm went through. Repeating each phrase like a bucket brigade.

"KEEP GOING!  STOP!  BACK THE OTHER WAY!  STOP!  OKAY, 5 IS GOOD!  NO, 8 LOOKS LIKE SNOW!  KEEP GOING!  KEEP GOING!"

Only advantage of having just four channels, this game didn't take quite as long as it could have.

Back to my original random thought.

First of all.  I absolutely do NOT remember this movie opening on the black and white comic book with the little kid reading about the Daily Planet.  Did they add this in recently?

Second of all.  I kind of miss the massive overture theme song while the opening credits roll.  Nothing wrong with a little delayed gratification.  Why wouldn't I want to watch some stellar graphics shoot through outer space, letting me know who I'm going to see in this saga?  Plus, it's extremely helpful to have the screen writer's name in neon script with no other distractions.

And lastly.  This movie is apparently starring MARLON BRANDO and Gene Hackman. 

I get that Christopher Reeves was unknown, but he was the title role and his name came AFTER the title.  Huh?

Now, I'm sure pre-tub-of-lard Brando negotiated top billing for his minuscule screen time.  This equates to Alan Rickman asking to put his name before Danielle Radcliffe's in Harry Potter.  Unheard of.  What a jackass!  And just goes to show that chivalry was dying even back then.

I remember a story from when Gregory Peck (For you kiddos, that's the guy that played Atticus Finch in the To Kill a Mockingbird movie you were forced to watch in English class.) filmed Roman Holiday in 1953, a lovely little romantic comedy. 

He was a big name by then.  A "Movie Star" before there was such a thing as just a "celebrity". 

When they were done filming, he insisted that the unknown ingenue that played opposite him absolutely had to get top billing with him, which the studio had never intended.  But the studio listened.  Their names were side by side, prior to the title.  I'm sure Audrey Hepburn appreciated it.  (Yes, little ones, she became very famous, too.)

I want more Gregory Peck!

Apropos of nothing = Without reference to anything. Without any apparent reason or purpose.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Someone Come Put Me Out of My Misery

You know that bridal shop bathroom scene in Bridesmaids? That was our house last night. Except for the shitting in the sink. And no one actually threw up on someone else head. But otherwise it was exactly like that.


Let’s back up a bit.

On Friday we were supposed to go to dinner with friends and the girls were going to spend the night with my brother. Half way there, John calls to inform me that his daughter has pink eye. Being slightly averse to having a houseful of pink eye, we redirected the kids to Scott’s parents.

While we’re at dinner, a friend texts me to see if Morgan can spend the night at their house. Perfect. Make up for the earlier disappointment.

I go to get Morgan in the morning and Ashley tells me she’s been having tummy troubles and isn’t feeling all that great. I assume it’s a combination of staying up to 2 in the morning and eating snacks before bed.

She’s exhausted and ends up taking a four hour nap in the afternoon before she actually starts to feel better.

Sunday morning, Scott heads off to a triathlon. He calls me on his way home to inform me he was in a pretty big bike wreck and may have broken his big toe. Apparently, he was coming into transition with his feet already out of the clips when he hit a bump and went flying.  (He saved the bike though.)

They tested him for a concussion, but he wanted to keep going all Steve Prefontaine-like, so he ended up coming in 10th place as opposed to 2nd. Bloody shoe and all.

In the evening we went to my family’s big “July 4th” picnic (on the 8th, I know). I completely stuffed myself and was happy to be on my way home so I could lay on the couch.

We turned off the AC and started to enjoy the breeze and Scott decided he was just in too much pain from his foot and his stomach was upset, so he was going to bed. I had to admit, my stomach was not doing me any favors either.

Next thing I know, I hear an ungodly sound coming from the upstairs bathroom – like some heaving moose or walrus or something. Since last I checked we don’t own a moose or a walrus, I had to assume it was Scott. It was also then that I realized I had to use the bathroom…NOW.

So for the next half hour we rotate from bathroom to bed while also noticing the AC fan is still on, despite us turning the system off and it’s actually making the house hotter. Or we could have both had the cold sweats. It’s unclear. We even go so far as to turn the AC breaker off, but apparently the fan is on a different one.

Fuck it. (Yes, I'm dropping f-bombs by this point!)  We turn the AC back on and close the windows. This takes about another half hour as we need to take frequent bathroom breaks.

My body feels like it has been punched every where. My legs are cramped up, probably from massive dehydration, and even my eye lids are having their own little pain circus around my eyeballs.

And that’s when we hear the pitter patter of little feet and Zoe spilling a bucket of water in the hallway. Except it’s not water, it’s puke and it’s coming from her mouth. The joy continues. Unlike when Scott pukes and I have to cover my head with a pillow so I don’t get sick myself, all Zoe’s puking invokes is complete sympathy.

This now rules out food poisoning, because all Zoe ate at the picnic was a hot dog and Doritos. So apparently, Morgan was much sicker than she ever let on and now I feel incredibly guilty that I made her get up and go to Costco with us, because it would be “good for her.” I am a horrible mother.

So Scott goes to cuddle up with a bed full of stuffed animals and Zoe crawls into bed with me and they continue to attempt to throw up their stomach linings and I continue to have my intestines pulled out through my a-hole.

Despite every attempt to sleep last night and today, it still hasn’t happened. You know when you are so exhausted that you start wishing you could somehow induce your own coma…that’s how I feel today.

The moral of this story…

When the universe offers you pink eye, you take it. You take it and say thank you.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Red Flags

I feel like I’ve been holding back on some of the “Kids Say the Darndest Things” moments we’ve had recently, but honestly…my memory has been for shit lately. They say something and I think “I have to blog that.” And then five minutes later it’s gone.

Just like those Jimmy Dean Pancake & Sausage on a stick microwave breakfasts that I should have NEVER tasted.

Morgan: I’m lucky to have you as my mom.
Mom: Well, that’s a very kind thing to say. I’m lucky that I have such a kind daughter.
Morgan: Well, sometimes I’m not very nice at Thea’s to Zoe.
Mom: I think it’s hard for sisters to be nice to each other all the time.
Morgan: Especially little sisters and big sisters. Do you think big sisters are mean to little brothers?

Red Flag: My kid is becoming a suck up.

Zoe: I had a dream last night that I went looking and found a monster with a green face.
Mommy: Was it a mean monster?
Zoe: Yes, he had fire in his hands and he blew Barbie’s head off. But then it was okay because I just went to the basement with Megan.
Mommy: Who’s Megan?
Zoe: Big Megan.
Mommy: Ben and Gabe’s Megan?
Zoe: Yes.

I actually didn’t confirm whether she was talking about one of her Barbie dolls or if she meant my soon-to-be Sister In Law Barbi. I’m going with the doll.

Red Flag: My kids are still calling my step nieces by this inaccurate modifier. How many times do I have to tell them their last name is Jones?

Morgan: I can’t wait until I’m done with college.
Parents: Why exactly?
Morgan: Well, there are two reasons. One is that it means I won’t ever have to go to school again. And two, it means I can start my home job.
Mom: What’s a home job?
Morgan: If I just make art, I can do that from my house and never have to leave it.

Red Flag: If she doesn’t become a Marine Biologist, there go my reduced-priced tickets to Sea World.

Zoe has invented a game called “I Love You Much More Than…” and we take turns coming up with silly things to end that sentence. No kidding, she made that shit up all by herself. Items include: toothbrushes, shoelaces, fans, Potter slobber, flip flops, shower curtains….you get the point.

Red Flag: How long before she changes the game to “I Hate You Much More Than…”

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Answers to Life's Burning Questions

OR Norcross Vacation 2012 - Part 2

How long can a four-year-old last on a cruise day without a nap?


Day 1 – During the Ice Show around 5:30
Day 2 - Moments before the eyes glaze over and close on ride back to the boat around 3:00
Day 3 - At dinner around 6:15

Day 4 - NOT PICTURED - At viewing of Madagascar 3 in 3D around 2:30

Day 5 - On the floor after showering around 5:00
Day 6 - On the deck chair after morning swim around noon.

If a 160 pound man falls from the sky, does he make a splash?

Yes, I realize I exude movie making ineptness and I'm woooo-ing in a very annoying fashion.


On a scale of 1-5 (5 being the best), this is what Zoe rated her dad’s belly flop. He did not win.

How many times can kids eat chicken fingers for dinner without getting tired of them?


Five for Morgan, before she decided to try for the first time…SALMON?
All seven nights for Zoe.

No chicken fingers are being consumed in this picture, but it is funny.

Who is the best Madagascar character?



Skipper: Hey, quadruped. Sprechen zie English?
Marty: I sprechen.
Skipper: What continent is this?
Marty: Manhattan.
Skipper: Hoover DAM! We haven’t even left New York!

Who is the second best Madagascar character?


King Julian: What is a bite on the buttocks between friends?

How many cupcakes does it take to make a cheeseburger and fries?

Three. Plus a little thing I like to call “pure artistic talent”.

Who got suckered into adopting a seven-year-old every night for dinner?

THESE GUYS!

Can a 120 (okay 140) pound weakling use her fetus arms to pull herself onto a floating water slide off the coast of Haiti?

No photo evidence available.

Donde esta el bano?

OR Norcross Vacation 2012– Part 1

A note about the title. I was trying to think of how to say “Where are you from?” but my college German overrode my high school Spanish. And while I tried several times to transport my brain to Mr. Volzer’s (Aye Carramba!) first period classroom, I did not attempt to Google it.
All I could come up with was “Donde esta el bano?” which I learned from watching 80’s sitcoms.

Specifically, an episode of Who’s the Boss? where Tony is trying to teach the family useful phrases en route to some resort in Mexico. Obviously, Angela scoffs at this. She is a high-powered female business executive with no need for conversational Spanish. Until you see their airport taxi pulling into the resort and Angela jumping from the car and running to the first person she sees.

“Donde….esta…….?”

“EL BANO, Angela, EL BANO!” Tony is just so damn helpful.

In related news, thanks to Dora, my kids said “Gracias” to the café worker in Mexico. See, Dad, television is NOT why the Japanese are ahead of us.

I have a point.

It’s not about Spanish.

Several times on the cruise we were asked where we were from. Of these times, at least 50% of the questions come from people who were obviously not from the US. (Including the cutest older Australian couple, who loved our kids.)

However, my standard, non-thinking response was always “Ohio”. This makes me cringe and the reasons are twofold.

First off, ever notice in TV shows when the main characters run into out-of-towners that seem just a little off – maybe they are stuck in the 80s, or maybe they are naïve, or maybe they lack basic vocabulary skills – they always end up saying they are from Ohio. Why all the hate for Ohio? What about Idaho? Or Iowa? What about KANSAS!? I know there are some hick people out there.

More importantly, perhaps, why should I expect someone from a different country to know Ohio? I don’t even know all the provinces in CANADA for god’s sake, and there’s not that many of them.

Don’t ask me to tell you what all the countries in Eastern Europe and Africa are. I could probably guess the majority of South America. Brazil’s the big one, right? (Hmmm, maybe television IS the reason the Japanese are ahead of us.)

The point being, after I say it, I feel like a complete douche bag Ugly American. What do mean you don’t know where Ohio is? Don’t you watch Glee or reruns of The Drew Carey Show?

Not that any of them admitted to not knowing where Ohio was, by the way. I should probably give them credit for having moderately superior geography skills than me. I mean, they are the ones speaking two languages without relying on Who’s the Boss? trivia.

Speaking of being lost…did I mention we lost our kids on the cruise? I guess if you are going to give your kids a practical survival scenario for getting lost, a cruise ship is the place to do it.  They can’t get far, kidnapping is out of the question, and the clientele that can afford the cruise are less likely to be homicidal maniacs (or maybe more likely, not sure).

Anyway…we were up on Deck 16. Nana and Papa had already headed back to the room and everyone else was gathering their things. Morgan told us she had to go down to 15 for her flip flops.

I keep gathering our things and look up to notice Zoe is no longer standing next to us. I look down and see Morgan picking up her flip flops, but no Zoe. Okay…walk quickly towards the doors that lead to the elevator lobby and reach them just as she pops back out.

Fortunately, Uncle J had come out of the restroom right as she was walking by and asked her where she was going. She informed him that she was following Morgan, but he didn’t see Morgan anywhere, so brought Zoe back with him. Phew.

Look back over the edge again. No Morgan. Jesus Christ!

Honestly, my first thought was that she went back to the room. From Day 1, they had figured out what floor our room was on, which door it was, and how to use their Sea Pass to get in. Unfortunately, her Sea Pass was still in my beach bag, so I wasn’t sure what she would do once she got there and no one let her in.

Scott headed back to the room, while the rest of us did random sweeps around the two decks. What felt like an hour later, Scott shows back up with Morgan in tow. She had gone to the room and was working her way back down the hall when he found her.

Yeah, new rule. Sea Pass on, unless you are IN the pool.

And speaking of worst case scenario…a man missing his leg goes by while we are lounging one morning.

Zoe: Why is his leg missing?
Nana: Maybe he had an accident or was sick.
Zoe: No, I think he was in a shark tank and it got bit off.

To be continued….

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Mixed Tape

Tomorrow (actually, almost today, I'm so late posting this) I am celebrating (?) 38 years. It is also my last day of work before my cruise vacation. I intend to have my iPod on all day. If I do not take my ear buds out when you approach me, rest assured it is because I do not want to talk to you.  (1) It is my birthday and I am at work and (2) it is the day before my vacation and I am at work.

To celebrate (?) my birthday, I have made a playlist that so far consists of 11 hours of music. I gave myself the rule that I could not put an artist on there more than twice.

Playlist includes...

Shout outs to Tina (I Will Follow Him* and The Summer of '69), D&G (Dream a Little Dream and Bitchin’ Camero*), Allison (Joking and Allison Road, naturally), my only college Spring Break (Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm and MaryJane’s Last Dance), Scott’s collage roommates (American Pie* – the song, not the movie - and Anna Begins), Phil (Stuck in a Moment – he will probably not understand that), my PTA moms (Nick Lachey’s solo album), MoZo (Daughter and Zoe Jane), and Scott (The Weight and Jessie’s Girl*).

There are about a million and one female singer/songwriters (Alanis Morrisette, Anna Nalick, Avril Lavigne, Brandi Carlile, Christina Perri, Cyndi Lauper, A Fine Frenzy, Imogen Heap, Indigo Girls, Jewel, Lily Allen, Liz Phair, Michelle Branch, No Doubt, Pat Benetar, Pink, Tori Amos, Vanessa Carlton.)
Three generations of boy bands – New Kids on the Block, NSYNC, and Jonas Brothers – and some additional random chick pop – Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Pink, Miley Cyrus, and Selena Gomez (it’s true, I’m pathetic).

Good ol’ Rock n’ Roll: The Allman Brothers, Bon Jovi (HELLO!), Bruce Hornsby, Foo Fighters, Green Day, Guns N’ Roses, Journey, Pearl Jam, Velvet Revolver, The Who.

Good ol’ emo/hipster/alternative entertainment – Avett Brothers, Awolnation, Ben Folds, Foster the People, Fun., Gotye, Jackie Greene, The Killers, Mumford & Sons, Of Monsters and Men, One Republic, Passion Pit, Snow Patrol, Young the Giant.

I love me a boy with a piano.



*Songs I Will Sing the Loudest

Additional Songs I Will Sing the Loudest
Blue Sky – Allman Brothers
Sin Wagon – Dixie Chicks
Suspicious Minds – Elvis Presley
We Are Young – Fun.
Somebody Told Me – The Killers
Telephone – Lady Gaga
Just a Girl – No Doubt
7 – Prince

If anybody wants me to make them a mixed tape, just let me know.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Disclaimer: This is a shameless steal from Random Lunacy blog who stole it from The Pedestrian Writer’s blog, in which we list top celebrity crushes. There don’t appear to be any hard and fast rules around this, so being a person that likes to bucket things, I’m going to use that to my advantage.

It goes without saying that Joey McIntyre has and always will occupy my number one spot. I won’t belabor the point.

The Eye Candy Bucket – This is reserved for those whose sole purpose is to look good without their shirt on, preferably with disheveled hair. The leader in this category, of course, is Bradley Cooper. Honorable mentions to Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood), Kris Holden-Ried (Lost Girl and The Tudors), and Ryan Reynolds (anything but The Green Lantern).

The Avengers Bucket – If I could give a big sloppy kiss to the casting director for Marvel, I would.  I do have a soft spot for a superhero, originally fueled by Saturday mornings of Superfriends episodes and later re-ignited by Lois & Clark syndication.  In a VERY particular order: Robert Downey, Jr., Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth.  And I’m just going to randomly throw in this bucket Christian Bale for Batman and Hugh Jackman for Wolverine.

The Dead Poet Society / School Ties Effect Bucket – How can you resist a guy in a boarding school jacket and tie?  Of course, I have to disqualify main actors Brendan Frasier and Ethan Hawke for being just too f-ing weird now, but I still have love for Robert Sean Leonard, Josh Charles and the guy that play Nuwanda from DPS and Chris O’Donnell, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and the guy that played Rip Van Kelt (awesome name) from ST.

If I was forced to make a Sports bucket…I’d probably pick the Manning brothers, because they are hysterical.  Then I’d default to things other people don’t consider sports and pick Tony Hawk and Jonny Moseley for just being so frackin’ cool.

I don’t think I can do a Music bucket, because it depends on what I’m currently listening to.  I did have some mad love for Jon Bon Jovi that has never faded, though.

But mainly, my overall celebrity crushes fall into this last category…Cute But Nerdy Funny Guy Bucket.

Leading off this list is Paul Rudd. Since he took the Knightly roll in Clueless, he’s had a special place in my heart. Then his whole stint on Friends kind of clinched it. And now his involvement in Judd Apatow movies is just the icing on the cake. The remainder of the list would include, but is not limited to, Jason Bateman, Adam Brody (That’s right, The O.C., baby), Joel McHale, Andrew Lee Potts (Primeval, and the BEST Hatter ever) Jake Johnson (New Girl), and Ty Burrell (Yes, the DAD on Modern Family. Do you not understand how funny he is?)


To get back in his good graces after suffering through this, I should probably add that I do kind of have my own personal Iron Man.   So I am by no means complaining here. You're shmoopy.