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Monday, November 26, 2007

Everyday Solutions

My phone rings literally about every ten minutes, all calls from bill collectors and telemarketers. We thought screening calls would be enough, but from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. (I know right, how incredibly rude), our phone rings non-stop - and if we're on the phone, we get interrupted calls from the call-waiting beeps because the bill collectors and telemarketers know someone's there, so they seem to hang up and call right back.

I've figured this one out - either I'm going to throw the phone out the window, or I'm going to get ahold of all these people's personal home phone numbers and start calling THEM every ten minutes. I think the high phone bill would be worth it.

I made oatmeal for my girls this morning - well, it LOOKED like oatmeal, but really it was glue masquerading as oatmeal. I think I'll stick with cold cereal from now on.

Both my girls caught some type of bug, so I'm shoveling herbal teas and the occasional dose of Motrin in them. They're tired and cranky, and I hate seeing them not feel good, but doggone it, that Motrin is potent stuff, because as soon as it kicks in they're as energetic and obnoxious as ever. I like that it makes them feel better, of course, but where's MY fix-all energy booster? Eh, I'll stick with my vitamins and green tea.

Our puppy is chewing on EVERYTHING, and with two small children it's impossible to put things up, because as soon as I do, they pull it right back down because they thin it's funny when the puppy growls and does that head shake thing he does when he chews on my hubby's belt or shoes. You'd think the dog would be afraid of something 4 times bigger than he is - apparently not, shoes are the first thing he goes after. I think I'll get one of those remote control buzzer things, maybe a loud noise from an inanimate object will quell the fascination.

That's all for today, I'm off to go shopping.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Catching Up

Day before yesterday I thought I'd put our puppy to good use by giving him my girls' lunch leftovers of chicken tenders and french fries, with ketchup. I have to wonder what I've been feeding my children, since the puppy immediately went past the chicken and straight to the ketchup.

Thanksgiving was a total blast (note the dripping sarcasm here). Nobody showed up, so I had way too much food for a family of 4, plus I'd spent the entire morning tripping over two children and a dog, trying to keep them AND myself from falling head-first into the oven. I finally got dinner done, just to have my typically picky girls turn their noses up to everything but the sweet potatoes. So now, we have more leftovers than we'll EVER know what to do with, and 2 children that refuse to help eat it.

I see about 60 pounds and a broken scale in my near future.

To make things even better, my children have decided to start building complex climbing devices out of small furniture and large toys. The effort on my part to put a latch hook on their playroom closet door was futile - 5 minutes with a small shelf and Dora chair and they were in.

I'm starting to think that toddlers should be employed by the CIA.

My husband is still in the habit of sleeping until noon, and my girls's energy levels are rising by the day, as is my blood pressure. He sleeps through the alarm, despite my multiple, "accidental" kicks and nudges to make him get out of bed first.

Anyone know where to buy a good bull horn?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Too Much Coffee, So Little Time

I've had about 3 pots of coffee between 2 a.m. this morning and now (10:57 a.m. my time), and haven't been to bed yet.

Still, I've managed to get absolutely nothing done. Aside from the fact that my eyes are glued wide open and my fingers are trying to move faster than my brain will allow, I'm okay - except that I'm beginning to think it was futile to stop drinking the coffee to quell such frequent trips to the potty, which also drastically cut into my productivity.

Sad, but I actually do this often. I think Gevalia should make me a preferred customer.

Do they make such a thing as a caffeine patch? I'm not looking to wean myself from coffee completely, but if I'm working it would save a great amount of time to not have to pick up a cup every few minutes, would it not?

I'll have to look into that...

In the meantime, it looks like trying to write anything that actually makes sense at this point in time is pretty much pointless. I think I'll go re-alphabetize my DVDs.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Censoring Santa?

I came across an article on the Yahoo! front page about Santas in Australia being asked to not use the phrase "ho ho ho," and to instead say, "ha ha ha."

Why? "Because it scares children and offends women."

Um...WHAT?

Okay, Santas have only been placed in every department store for the past, oh, I don't know, 50 YEARS, and someone is just now saying that a traditional saying is offensive?

Let's take a look at this. We take our children to a public place and tell them to sit in a complete strager's lap - a complete stranger who's donning a fluffly red suit and asks our children if they've been naughty or nice. Then we take a picture of it. I know, I know, it's all in good fun, right?

But if THAT alone doesn't scare children, and there haven't been any complaints about this whole ritual being somewhat perverse, why in the WORLD would Santa's typical, jolly "HO HO HO" suddenly be frightening and offensive?

I'm just wondering who actually came forward with this complaint, and who was dumb enough to take it seriously.

I'm all for Women's Lib, but come on - someone needs to find more important things to complain about.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Potty Training the Puppy

I've mentioned in previous posts that my hubby got duped into adopting a new puppy, and that we're in the process of potty training him AND my daughter at the same time.

When my youngest daughter came to me this morning telling me she had to go potty, I had no idea of the events that were about to unfold.

"Well, go potty, honey." I told her.

She shook her head. "Uh-uh. Outside."

"What?"

"I go potty outside." This took a minute to sink in. When it did, I couldn't help but giggle - apparently she'd been observing my husband and I taking the puppy outside to potty, and scolding him if he went in the floor, telling him, "You go potty outside."

I told her that only the puppy goes potty outside. This seemed to perplex her a little. "Why?"

...and here's where I made my mistake. Instead of giving her a straight answer, I thought I'd be funny, and told her, "because he's not tall enough to reach the potty."

Fast forward to lunch time. I'm preparing a meal fit for finicky toddlers, and thinking that all was well with my children, considering I wasn't hearing any whining, screaming, banging, smashing, or puppy yelps.

Then my oldest daughter's voice floats in, "Mommaaaaaaa......"

*sigh*

She's standing in the hallway pointing into the bathroom, a deadpan "someone's gonna GET IT" look on her face. Suddenly there's a huge SPLASH followed by a few smaller splashes, and my oldest daughter's eyes growing to the size of saucers.

I get to the bathroom, to find my youngest daughter guiltily standing next to the toilet, and the puppy splashing away - and I'm not really sure if he was playing, or trying to get out of the toilet (he loves to jump in the shower with us, strange dog).

My youngest daughter grins at me and says, "Look, Momma - I help Chopper go potty."

So, the lesson here today is: Don't tell your children that your pet doesn't use the potty "because they're not tall enough," or you'll wind up with a soaking wet pet and mess you REALLY don't want to clean up.

I'm just glad it wasn't a cat.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Conspiracy Theory #122 - The Link Between Parenting & Tourette's Syndrome

We all know that Tourette's is an inherited neurological disorder that can cause tics, even to the point of blurting otherwise inappropriate and vulgar language.

What I bet you didn't know though, is that, just like insanity, you inherit it not from your parents - but from your children. And let me tell you, if it's not Tourette's, we're in trouble - because if it's NOT Tourette's then all our children have the telekinetic ability to locate and tweak the crap out of any and all "angry" buttons.

Before you say anything, yes, I am well aware that Bill Cosby has already covered this topic (brilliantly, I might add) in a stand-up routine circa mid-eighties - but the bursts of profanity and incoherent babble that Mr. Cosby mentioned aren't all that's involved with parental Tourette's.

There are tics. Endless amounts of tics. For those of you out there who don't have children, let me explain. My youngest daughter can reach a pitch with her voice that sends my foot into a furious tap that takes at least five minutes to slow down well enough to stop it. My oldest daughter has this run-on inquiry thing she does that causes my eyes to roll back into my head and a low, guttural noise to creep eerily from my throat. (picture Stewie on Family Guy - "Mom. Mum. Lois. Mom. Mommy. Mum...."; that's my daughter, minus the 'Lois' part.)

And yes, there are plenty of fragmented sentences (and words), blurted curse-words (much as I hate to admit it), and that weird "EH!" noise all parents make when their children are reaching for something they're not supposed to. If you don't understand that part, my apologies...I'm usually pretty good at onomatopoeia's (words that are spelled the way they sound, like *whack* - strange that a word meant to make communication simpler should be so difficult to spell), but that one is a little difficult.

There's also a few strange noises that erupt for no aparent reason, except to get my childrens' attention.

At any rate, I'm pretty sure my neighbors think I'm certifiably insane and, being a parent, I'm not really sure they'd be wrong if they did.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Potty Training at Grand Central Station and a new "child"

Was it enough work for me to potty train my youngest daughter, home-school my oldest (technically both of them), clean, cook, and feed every relative and friend that came wandering in off the street?

Oh, no. My hubby thinks I have so much extra time, we could take in a new family member - a puppy.

Before I go any further, I'd like to point out that despite his insistence of the contrary, my husband might as well have a giant "SUCKER" emblazoned on his forehead.

This isn't JUST a puppy. Oh yes, he's cute, he's small, he's mild-mannered, and he's actually potty training better than my 3 year old (who I've been TRYING to potty train between working, moving, and endless company/house guests for the last year and a half). He's a wrinkly, grunting, waddling poop factory with a face that only a mother (or my husband) could love. No joke - this puppy poops 5 times his own body weight in a day - and usually in my house.

I realize that there are several parents out there who are single and/or raising multiple children, and my parenting woes pale in comparison - but I'm willing to bet that my two girls could give any set of sextuplets a run for their money, both mess-wise and in the art of stress-inducing. Add to that the new puppy and the fact that my husband often reverts into pre-teen boy with a love of all things Star Trek and Star Wars mentality, and I've got the equivalent of a daycare in my house.

Picture if you will, (which I've mentioned before) my oldest child grinning in my face when I wake up, or standing at the side of my bed staring at me in a silent, somber "Children of the Damned" manner (blond hair, blue eyes, and all). That's IF either of them comes to get me when they wake up.

Then, take into account that we have tile floors with a few throw rugs, and my hubby thinks he's secretly a polar bear, so I'm lucky if the thermostat creeps any higher than 71 degrees (not so bad in the summer, but come on - you can't tell me he doesn't know it's NOVEMBER) - so add the shivers of a creepy awakening to the tremble of my feet being wrenched from a nice warm bed onto a cold, hard floor.

I'll make breakfast (which is a chore unto itself, considering my children are so entranced by the new puppy that no amount of threats can stop them from picking him up or trying to feed him my shoes), and then fight with my girls to eat instead of arguing over whether we should be watching Spongebob or Dora. Without fail, I'll step in a puddle during breakfast clean-up, and the only way I know if it was my daughter or the puppy will be the tell-tale wet spot that may or may not be on my sofa under her bum (God bless the makers of Febreeze and those shampooer attachments for upholstery).

I vainly try to keep my children from screaming at the top of their lungs while they're chasing each other (and the puppy) up and down the hall, despite the fact that I honestly think my hubby could sleep through an atom bomb, as long as it doesn't tickle his feet as it lands. To add insult to injury, my hubby actually told me the other day, "Just make sure I'm up when you get up." Riiight.

Cue the knock on the door, and the entry of either my cousin or one of my husband's friends, looking for food and company until they either have to go to work or meet someone elsewhere.

My phone rings every 5 minutes from a telemarketer or bill collector, so despite the fact that we have an answering machine and screen our calls, the phone is always at the opposite end of the house from where I am, so picture me, running back and forth searching for the phone to make sure it isn't someone I know before the 3rd ring - all the time ONE of my girls being Captain Obvious and repeatedly telling me, "Momma, the phone". If it's someone I know and I actually try to hold a phone conversation, my girls take it as their cue to pump up their vocal volume to sonic decibels (is that even a proper use of that term? I assure you, in my house it is). This sets the usually quiet puppy off, who barks and charges at either of the girls, sending them screaming yet again through the house.

That's all within the first hour or two from the time we get up.

It's not so bad, I can actually calm them down long enough to get something semi-educational done, and the puppy eventually takes a nap. When I finally get my girls down for THEIR nap (which is a totally different battle, trust me) and I flop onto the nearest soft surface to rest my aching back and throbbing head, my hubby will come wandering from the bedroom, grinning sleepily and rubbing his eyes. "So how was your morning?" he'll ask. Hmph.

I'm wondering how effective it would be to put my knee in his back and "accidentally, in my sleep," push him out of bed when my girls get up.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Conspiracy Theory #587 - "Alone Time"

I often feel a bit like a mouse in a maze, being observed by men in white coats with their pocket protectors and clipboards. I can see it now:

"Let's introduce the subject to the idea of 'alone time,' and see how frazzled she gets trying to actually get any."

Alright, I figured out a long time ago that when you have kids, you forfeit having so much as potty time to yourself.

...and that's why Moms, in all their infinate wisdom, came up with NAP TIME.

Right?

Wrong.

My girls can be sound asleep, and I'll fool myself into actually thinking I might have an hour or so to myself, to read, or write, or (joy of all joys) clean - but I always manage to forget that one little factor that always robs me of any chance of time to myself.

My husband.

He can be occupied all day long with his job or games or sports - that is, until I try to do anything that doesn't involve meal preparation, scrubbing finger paint out of carpet, or potty training. Now, what is it exactly about men and children, that keeps them from understanding that a closed door means "stay out," or even "I'm busy, please knock first, and maybe wait at least 5 minutes in between interruptions to tell me how funny Stewie was trying to get the cookies off the counter, or how the Colts were totally cheated by their 4 point loss"?

At the risk of sounding bitter here, I must say I had another wrench thrown into my gears when we moved into a house with no locks on the doors - not like they ever stopped my husband before, but at least they slowed everyone down a few seconds.

I've even gone so far as to spend the extra few minutes gathering heavy objects to form barricades - only to have my husband and children work that much harder and longer to get through them.

I'm at a loss here. Am I doomed to a future of having the bejeezus scared out of me, when I'm taking a calming shower and turn around to find a tiny face peeping around the curtain at me? To waking to a child thisclose to my face grinning widely at 6 a.m. every morning? To the revolving doors on my bathroom and bedroom, and the faces that pop in at the worst times proclaiming, "Hiiiiiii Momma!" just long enough to derail whatever I'm doing?

*sigh*

And these are the times, I'm told, that I'll look back on and smile at. I know it's true, but come on - I could look back and smile on peaceful times, too.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Life After Harry Potter?

So J.K. Rowling has just finished her first book after the phenomenal Harry Potter series, "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" - but only 7 copies were made.

One is to be auctioned for a children's chairty next month - "bound in brown morocco leather and mounted with silver and semiprecious stones, auctioned at Sotheby's with a starting price of $62,000." Kudos to J.K. for giving back.

The other 6 are supposed to be given as gifts. Geez, how do I get on that lady's Christmas list?

Yea, look forward to thousands of forgeries and fan fictions on this book in the very, very near future.

I'm curious as to why she's only making 7 copies though? Does it suck? Is she worried that only this one will make it to the top selling list because of her Harry Potter fame, only for her to disappear into obscurity after writing a few more, not so popular books? Or does she watch eBay, drinking her Earl Grey and laughing at the people scrambling and pilfering their children's college funds for but a glimpse of this elusive work of literature?

Which brings be to my next question - how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?

The world may never know.

I have to admire J.K. Rowling for her somewhat eclectic strategies. Genius, J.K., absolutely genius.

Dog the Bounty Hunter Gets Cancelled

"I did not mean to add yet another slap in the face to an entire race of people who have brought so many gifts to this world."

Wait, I'm confused. He tells his son that he has no problem with the fact that his girlfriend is black, yet calls her the N word 6 times in a phone conversation? Okay, he says he's not referring to her color, but her character - which is somewhat understandable - but why did he automatically call her the N word, instead of any number of other, not as racist but just as illustrative, words?

I enjoy (or should I say enjoyED) watching Dog the Bounty Hunter, but for someone who has so much Ohana for everyone, I have to say I'm more than disappointed.

I'm aware that this conversation with his son was (and should have stayed) personal between the two of them, and that the media takes anything they can find and blows it to epic proportions. I get it. But I'm tired of hearing all these people who seem wonderful spout off racist and sexist slurs. Just like Mel Gibson, a self-professed Christian, making anti-Semetic statements after too many drinks.

At least Halle Berry's comment about "her Jewish cousin" was an innocent repeat of what her friend - who is Jewish - had said. It may not have been appropriate, but it's not her fault no one knew the whole story behind it.

But wait - there's more! Here's part of what Duane "Dog the Bounty Hunter" Chapman said to his son:

"I'm not taking a chance...not because she's black but because we use the word n---er sometimes here. I'm not going to take any chance ever in life of losing everything I've worked for 30 years because some drunken n---er heard us say n---er and turned us into the Enquirer magazine...I'm not taking that chance at all never in life. Never..."

Uh, yea. *Irony* Didn't this story break in the Enquirer? "Never." Riiiight.

Sorry Dog, you shouldn't be using the word in the first place.

So again, we have a person who thoughlessly let their mouth override their brain, and will have "Bigot" tattood on their forehead for all eternity. Thanks for the apologies, but I don't think this will go away so easily.
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