Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I Deserve A Belly Ache!

This morning I left the house early to do a survey for burrowing owls at a site in San Jose that was once planted with orchards, and now only has a few remnant trees left. Some may find them enjoyable, but my personal feeling about burrowing owl surveys is that they are dull. They pretty much amount to tromping through tall weeds or disked areas, looking for squirrel burrows. Sure, when you find an owl it's all worthwhile, but development being what it is in the Silicon Valley, actual owls are sadly lacking from most of the places where they used to be.

The bright spot in all of this was the orchard trees. Most of them held green nectarines, and small sour-looking cherries that held little temptation for me, but a handful of apricot trees were covered in ripe fruit. Not wanting to look like a free-loader, I nipped behind a tree and casually picked an apricot. A single fruit would never be missed, right? I think you see where this is heading. By the time I finished my survey I had eaten two apricots (sooooo yummy!!!) and both pockets were laden with fruit. I convinced myself that I was bringing them home for Steve and the boys. I could resist the fruit. I set them in the center console of my car. They smelled really good and I could still taste the two I had eaten. One more couldn't hurt, I rationalized. Too much fruit would give the boys stomach aches anyway. By the time I was a mile away from home, all that remained were four small apricots, my sticky hands, and my shirt and a bit of my leather seats spattered with apricot juice. But I don't have a problem. I can stop eating them whenever I want.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Post In Which My Carpets are Saved by Doggy Intelligence

As Bo's owner, we greedily await any signs of intelligence and or compliance in our pup. Please understand, we love our Bo, but erudition cannot be counted among his many virtues. Today he showed a brief, and very much appreciated glimmer of intelligence. Earlier today, I took a quick break from work to let the dogs out for a pee, and then a bit later another to let them back in. Both dogs are usually very anxious to get back in, and typically alert me of their readiness by hurling themselves repeatedly against the sliding glass door. This time, Luke bounded in but Bo hesitated, standing with what could only be described as a hang dog expression on his shaggy mug. As I stood looking at him, trying to decide what the matter might be, he began hacking as though trying to pass a small bird lodged in his upper respiratory passages, then turned and bounded out onto the lawn to deposit the contents of his stomach extravagantly onto the grass. Having mopped many a puddle of dog yarp from the floor of my house, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate this display of intelligence and forethought. Today, Bo is the Good Dog. Luke (the smart one) is meanwhile lying on his back, gently snoring, genitalia generously on display, with his short legs atwitch in interpretation of some doggy dream.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Lost Smartypants Weekend

This was a lost weekend. Thursday afternoon my good friend Joanna (hi Joanna!) loaned me a copy of The World According to Mimi Smartypants. Consequently, I lay around all weekend, nose pressed into a book, occasionally breaking out into snorts of hysterical laugher, rather than doing the host of Things That Needed Doing around the house. Yes, I got a huge pile of laundry done, and completed the weeks grocery shopping, but the ginormous pile of stuffed animals on Garrett's bed that desperately needed culling still remains, and every horizontal surface in the house is still littered with papers and books. The only other thing that got done was Steve and I looking as scooters in response to the skyrocketing price of gas. Oh and a lot of beer was consumed. Yes people, stand back an bask in the shared glory of my warm sense of accomplishment.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

He May Be Loud, But He Tells The Truth

You know that guy that yells really loud on TV about OxiClean? Garrett and I have been poking fun at him for a couple of months now. Every time one of those ads comes when Garrett is watching cartoons, I yell from the kitchen, "WHAT'S THAT HE'S SAYING? IT SOUNDS VERY INTERESTING, BUT I CAN'T QUITE MAKE IT OUT!" To which Garrett replies in an even louder voice, "MOM, HE SAYS YOU SHOULD USE OXICLEAN!!!" And so it goes.

All very humorous until Garrett put a ballpoint pen in the pocket of his brand new Abercrombie shorts (which, by the way, I did not purchase). An entire load of his clothes and mine came out smeared with blue ink. Most of it I could have shrugged off, but the thought of those ruined Abercrombie shorts just stuck in my craw, so I decided to give that yelling man's product a try. After two different applications of a scoop of OxiClean with really hot water, and soaking for about 12 hours, there was actually no trace of the ink. I soaked a few more things from the load in a more dilute solution and for a shorter time, and the results were a little less impressive. The stuff that I soaked also came out feeling a little rough, so I imagine repeated treatments would cause your clothes to wear out more quickly. It's still a better alternative than never wearing an expensive item of clothing again. That's my product plug for the day!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hannah Montana Meets Emerica

A couple of weeks ago Weston came to us, expensive 3-month-old skateboard shoes in hand. The shoes were in really really bad shape. Skateboarding is not kind to shoes. Weston informed us earnestly that the perfect pair of replacement shoes cost just $95 dollars, and were the one brand of skate shoe designed to withstand the punishment dealt out by grip tape.

Nike Zoom Air Tres. Now Nike, in addition to making high quality shoes, has a great marketing strategy. Only release new shoes every two month, in small quantities, to a very limited number of dealers. After calling about four different specialized skateboard shops, we found a store in Lafayette that had a pair in the color Weston wanted. This was convenient, as we were headed up to Lafayette anyway to celebrate Steve's mother's birthday with her.

On the way, we stopped at Nordstrom to look for a sport coat for Steve and to get a somewhat cheaper pair of Nike skate shoes for Garrett. The children's shoe department as Nordstrom carries Crocs, and those stupid little accessories you shove through the holes to doll those otherwise hideous shoes up. While we were paying for Garrett's shoes, we found the perfect solution to hide the holes in my burly 12-year-old's ripped up skate shoes. What do you think?

Friday, June 20, 2008


Wii - $250 dollars. Wii tennis - $50.

Playing Wii tennis with no pants on during summer vacation. Priceless!

Let's Get Sarcastic

My friend Meredith sent me a link to an article on Yahoo news which totally blows sunshine up the butts of those of us that practice the sarcastic arts. The following email thread resulted.

Me: I feel so validated right now!

Meredith: Like we have mastered a skill that people with brain injuries can't. Fuck we rule!

Me: Yeah!!!! Sing with me.....

(to the tune of that Black Eyed Peas song)
Everybody, everybody, let's get into it
Get snarky, get satiric
Let's get sarcastic in here! Let's get sarcastic in here! Woo hoo!!

In another email thread Meredith wrote:

I just had chicken for breakfast, I am starting a new trend. Left over chicken breast and Diet Coke. I know I know I can see the saliva dripping from your mouth......

To which I replied:

When I first read about your breakfast, I read it as "I just had A chicken for breakfast" which called up an image of you gnawing on a carcass, feathers and all, like a cat might do, Diet Coke clutched daintily in one blood-soaked mitt. Once I re-read the sentence, a simple cold chicken breast sounded relatively appetizing. Perhaps I should lay off of the mind-altering substances, aye?

Spread me with butter because I am I on a roll today!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Couldn't Hit The Side of a Barn at 10 Paces!

Help me out here. I'm not a guy, so I lack the understanding of certain plumbing issues. Twice this year, Garrett (8 years old) has gotten in trouble for "peeing on the wall of the bathroom." Today was pretty tragic because his teacher was so pissed (heh, see what I did there?) she wouldn't allow him to go on his end-of-year swim party unless I could come and supervise him. That couldn't happen because I was stuck in the dentist chair, so his missed his field trip. Both times this has happened Garrett has claimed that certain things stick to certain other things, causing him to misfire and hit the wall behind the toilet for a brief period until he got the flow under control. Then, some other boy (apparently one with better aim) tells on him, and by the time he gets back to class he is in trouble.

Full disclosure: Garrett gets in trouble a lot at school. He has a hard time focusing, he has bad impulse control, poor judgment, and insists on acting as the class clown. As a result, his teachers aren't super fond of him. When someone comes running to tell on him, the benefit of the doubt is typically not his for the taking. I get that his behavior is irritating to his teachers, and probably to other kids. I also think that other kids clue into the teachers' feelings about Garrett and tell on him for small things because, well, it's fun to get another kid in trouble, and it makes the tattler look and feel like the star.

I'm not sure if I'm being totally naive by taking Garrett's side. I tend to believe it was an accident because my bathrooms at home always smell like monkey pee because he frequently misses the bowl. On the other hand, Weston (who is almost 13) tells me aiming at the toilet is no biggie, and that anyone should be able to do it. Here's my question: Do those of you with boys have similar problems at home, or is my kid weird? Oh, and if your kid is a tattle tail, give him a good swift kick in the arse, courtesy of me!

Updated: Turns out my little angel wasn't telling the truth. About 9 other little boys were witness to his whizzing with great abandon ALL over the wall. Upon confrontation with the witnesses that had stepped forward, Garrett 'fessed up that it wasn't a simple case of "missing" the toilet. Furthermore when his teacher got mad at him, he told her that she was "overreacting". Yeah. Turns out I AM totally naive.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

May He Be a Bar of Soap

Before I got pregnant with Weston, I was scared to death of the whole notion of giving birth. Images of women with their sweat-stained hair pasted to their red faces as they concentrated on expelling the contents of their womb did nothing to reassure me. I worried about nausea during pregnancy too. Nobody likes to throw up, but just the thought of vomit is enough to make me anxious. I’ve always been pretty vain too, so the thought of becoming huge and bulbous during those nine months of gestation filled me with anxiety too. Not surprisingly, I didn’t sleep so well the night I found out I was going to have my first child.

Flash forward about 8 months, and many of my fears had calmed or at least been replaced by new fears. Did I mention that I used to be a little high-strung? Instead of worrying about nausea, I worried that I would be totally incapable of dealing with a newborn. I no longer worried about becoming huge and bulbous. Instead I wondered how quickly I could lose the weight after giving birth. The one fear that remained unchanged was that of giving birth. Steve and I went through child-birth classes, and the information disseminated there went a long way towards making me feel more prepared though. So when the big day arrived, and Steve and I headed off to the hospital for my labor to be induced (2 weeks and one day past my due date (not that I was counting)), I was mostly feeling glad for the chance to face my big fear.

Many of you will want to kill me for saying this, but labor and deliver was really pretty easy for me. Labor was induced for both of my children, a few hours later I asked for a received my epidural, and until pushing time arrived; I was blissfully unaware of what was going on in Uterus Land. With Weston, I started pushing around 3:10 and he was born about a half hour later. Pretty darned easy for a first pregnancy. Not that it was totally without pain or stress, but calling it “labor” seemed a bit overdramatic. Prior to giving birth to Garrett, a bunch of people at the company at which I was working at the time sent me well-wishes. The best was from our lead biologist at the time; a guy named Doug Bell. Doug’s wish was, “May he be a bar of soap.” And Garrett was. At 3:00 in the afternoon, the L&D nurse came in and informed me that I was at 10 cm and that she was calling my doctor to tell him to get in his car (!!!) and drive the few miles to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital so he could deliver my baby. Traffic was heavy, so she turned off my Pitocin drip and had me lie on my side. My doctor must have broken all land speed records because he got there by 3:08. By 3:10, and after two pushes Garrett was born. So as far and unfounded fears go, my anxiety about labor and delivery rates pretty high on the list. The one about being totally incapable of dealing with a newborn, well….. that’s a whole other post.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Chicken Caught on Toilet and Subsequently BBQd

Browsing through the Willaims-Sonoma catalog the other day I was struck by the following photograph:

My mind works in strange ways, and I often see things that other people would simply overlook as completely normal, so I took a quick poll of my family members. "What is this chicken doing?", I asked each one. The answer was unanimous. Taking a crap. Apparently this chicken is suffering from a violent case of huskarrhea. Now that's some marketing, folks!

Friday, June 06, 2008

All The Best Stupid

This website pretty much distills my twisted sense of humor into an easy visual tutorial. I can't decide what I like best. The bacon wallet, the dog pooh calendar, or the guide to traumatizing your children. Or maybe it's the little animated links to each of the products. Good times!

May I "Lance" That Boil For You?

Steve is a huge fan of Lance Armstrong. And rightly so. The man not only won seven Tour de France titles, but did it after winning a battle with testicular cancer that his doctors pretty much assumed he had already lost. I admire Lance Armstrong too, but not enough to name one of our children after him; which is what Steve wanted to do.

Why did I object so to naming our second-born "Lance"? For one thing, all the words that rhyme with Lance are bad. To whit: dance, pants, prance, romance (OK that one's not so bad). All words that remind me of that poem that some wag feels the need to leave on bathroom walls:

No matter how do jump and dance,
That one last drop stays in your pants.

Then there are the definitions for the word lance. Verbs: to spear, to stab, to open with a stabbing tool. Nouns: a spear, a stabbing device, a tube with a nozzle for cleaning furnace walls, a whale-killing implement. None of the mental images that go with these definitions are ones that I want to associate with one of my children. The deal breaker with this name? If I was to do a word association test with "lance", my first response would be "boil". As in "I'm sorry sir, that pustulant boil on your ass will need to be lanced in order to relieve the pressure." Enough said.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Life Hack

My husband is so sweet. I, on the other hand, am a total control freak. See, here's the thing. I USED to leave huge piles of laundry on the sofa after dragging the clothes, fresh out of the dryer to fold them there. My new tactic to force myself to put the laundry away? I fold the laundry on top of the washer. The theory goes, I can't put another load in until all of the clothes on top of the wash are put away. Poor Steve came into the laundry room to help this weekend and when he started to pull the load out to drag it to the sofa, I explained that the laundry was now folded standing up! Not in front of the hockey game on TV. When he kept plopping shirts in any old place on the washer, I repeatedly pointed out which pile was the correct one. Finally, he picked up a pile of freshly folded laundry and announced that he would put it away for me. Despite there being more piles that needed putting away, he never came back. I wonder why?

Word Lust

I love words, and not just a little bit. I love words so much, I have entire books devoted to the subject of words. No, in fact they aren't dictionaries smart one! Here are a few of my favorites:

Unctuous - it tastes gooey and delicious in your mouth when you say it.
Twee - just say it.
Pedantic - it means showy and overblown, but says "erudite".
Nefarious - this always makes me think of Feathers McGraw from The Wrong Trowsers.
Prurient - sounds so seedy.
and finally
Smarmy - (see unctuous).

What are some of your favorites?

Here's Foam in Your Ear

The last two weeks can only be called "interesting" on the family medical front. It started last Wednesday when Luke woke up sneezing. And sneezing, and sneezing, and sneezing and SNEEZING. Now, if you have a corgi, you well know that for a dog with legs this short and a head this big, sneezing on a hardwood floor can be downright painful for them. After the third or fourth time his poor snout went THWAP against the floor, I was ready for the achoos to stop. When a fine mist of blood covered the toe of my Converse knockoffs I knew if was time for a call to the vet.

Off we went for his appointment at 1:45. Of course by then the sneezing has largely subsided. Dog noses being constructed as they are, and dogs not being very good at staying still, the vet informed me that Luke needed sedation. They needed to scope his nose and flush it out with saline solution because he likely had a foxtail lodged in there. She also suggested that I could save some money and unnecessary risk by having him neutered at the same time. They never did find any foxtail, but that didn't stop them from handing me a $350 invoice when later I picked up my still-sneezing and freshly manscaped dog.

Flash forward to Monday when Garrett clutched at his recently repaired front tooth (he chipped it back in April) in pain after taking a sip of cold water. After giving the teeth the requisite couple of days to change their mind about costing me a bunch more money, I finally called the dentist He recommended that I bring Garrett in so he could evaluate the need for a root canal (gulp). Turns out all the dentist did was to grind the tooth down a little so Garrett couldn't grit it against the lower one while he sleeps. That's right people. My son is a tooth grinder.

Was my day over? Oh hell no.

At 2:2o the phone rang. Some whiff of maternal instinct told me before I even looked at the caller id that I didn't want to get this phone call. On the line was Garrett's school nurse calling to tell me that Garrett had a piece of playground foam lodged in his ear. Let's just all pause a moment and consider that for a moment. How does safety foam from the playground floor get in a kid's ear? Answer: his friend put it there. And yes, removing it required yet another doctor's appointment. Unlike the elusive foxtail, the doctor actually did pull a chunk of foam from Garrett ear. Tomorrow, I plan to wrap my entire family in bubble wrap before sending them out the door.

An Open Letter to Double Parkers

Dear Lady Who Could Use a Little More Exercise But Instead Double Parks and Lets Her Kids Out In The Middle of the Street -

Could we talk? Here's the thing. We all have things we need to hurry up and do in the morning. We all run a little late occasionally. I get that. But tell me, what gives you the right to block traffic for a full block while your kid rummages around for his Science Fair poster, you all the while simultaneously guzzling a Starbucks, carrying on a conversation on your cell phone, and bitching out your small son in the car seat? Your sweat pants reveal the undeniable. You could use the little bit of exercise that would come with parking a block away, and walking your child to his classroom. And who knows, maybe you could even hang up your phone while you did it. And another thing. Why not stop at Starbucks AFTER you drop your kid off. Finally, when you do double park, can you please look before pulling out to see if somebody finally got sick of waiting for your kid to get out (or get in, as the case often is) and is trying to pass you in the sliver of left-over roadway that your giant SUV left behind? Thanks!