Friday, July 27, 2012

Out to Sea

Hello Dear Friends,
Just a quick note to let you know I'll be completely off grid 7/27 to 8/6. I'll be on a cruise ship, the Inside Passage of Alaska. Yes, you remember right. I got to go on a similar cruise in 2010. That was with my in-laws and great, but this is with my best friend ONLY and for her special decade type birthday (which shall not be named) and we're so excited for an all-girls vacation. I'll be thinking of you as I sip my martinis, and will get back to you and the A-Z Blog when I return. No worries, the A-Z Team is awesome and you can still send in requests for guest posts there. You just won't get an answer for a while...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

ReStored: Sink

I don't know if this happens to you, but when a mess, or a gross thing, or something I don't want to deal with has been there long enough, I really don't see it anymore. Take for example my bathroom sink. It's from 1974, not even “avocado” but “mint” back when pastel bathrooms where all the rage. I happen to like the color, and it does match the tile (also original, of course), but the faucet was a disgrace to put it mildly. Impossible to get clean after years and years of build-up. One day, one of my adored beyond measure cleaning girls said gently, “You know, if you replaced that faucet, I bet it wouldn't cost all that much and it would really make it look nicer in here.”  See?

So I told the engineer. Who said, “Of course we can replace the faucet! Why haven't you asked before?” Let's not get into how many times we've discussed updating the bathroom shall we? Off we go to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

Does your town have one of these? I hope so. It's like a garage sale/flea market and is eerily similar to my own garage where The Engineer's craigslist habit has filled the non-car side stuff. The car side? It belongs to Sparky. Sparky Von-Boom-Car, the former Toyota Paseo which is a set of batteries away from being an electrical car. 99% done. We ran out of money. It's been sitting. A while. Got fired in 2009, remember?

We find a great sink, with a great faucet. Serendipitously, the week before I'd been looking for a new razor, which I knew I had, and ended up spending 4.5 hours cleaning out under the sink. I think I might have mentioned this before, or maybe that was facebook... but every twelve years, whether it needs it or not ;-) is my motto. Five trash bags. Two donation bags. Clear plastic totes each holding its category of stuff. Easy to move should one need to install a new sink. See this? I'd call it “in the nick of time”

New sink.

Check out the price.

Happy camper here.

Do you have a mess you don't “see”? Found a good deal you want to brag about? Or are you like one of my friends whose house is ALWAYS perfect? 

Monday, July 23, 2012

MMM: Monday Movie Madness: Clowns

It's MMM again! Monday Movie Madness from Nicole over at The Madlab Post
Today's topic is "Under the Big Top" and if you'd like more details, read this post.

We're focusing on clowns this week, and the first thing I thought of was that episode of Friends where Joey and Chandler took Ross's baby to the park because Ross said it would help them pick up chicks. It did not. It made the chicks think they were a cute, gay couple. They got attention, but no dates. On the way home, they leave the baby on the bus, and thus have to go the bus depot to pick up their baby. There are two babies. They can't identify the baby.  One has  a duck shirt, one has a clown shirt.
The embedding is disabled on the clip  but you've GOT to give 1:23 and you'll start your day with a belly laugh.

It's the hardest I've laughed probably ever and I'm chuckling as I write it. Oh, and rest assured, they get the right baby. Eventually.

The other clown I chose for today breaks my heart. No, not Heath Ledger as the joker, though I considered him because damn, what a waste of a talented young man's life, so sad.

No, I'm thinking of John C. Reilly's “Mr. Cellophane” from “Chicago”. It's one of my favorite movies, and his solo is one of the best scenes. Without going into too much detail, since I'm rocking the brevity thing these days (in my opinion at tell me) he's the sad and lonely husband of Roxie Hart, in jail for killing her lover. If you have time, watch the video, at least the first part where he's putting on his clown make-up and dancing in the dusty light on the empty stage with no one listening.

If you'd like to participate, you can either name your movies in the comments, or write your own post and leave the link over in Nicole's comments.  It's an easy way to start a week, and I know a LOT of bloggers who are movie buffs.  Just sayin'...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Of Course I'm Perfect, Part 2

Ok, so it's not my worst parenting blunder. It's just my most recent. But oh does it highlight so many others that it's worth including in this category. Just so you know, I have an UNENDING supply of parental blunder stories to share. I'm human. And female. And live in a household of MEN. Men who could all be engineers if one of them would just get off his lazy buttocks and produce some actual work. Sigh. (Lost? See yesterday's post).

You know how sometimes you have to apologize to your kids because you screwed up and have to admit you did the wrong thing? I'm in that place more than I care to admit. So we've been camping (as you read yesterday) and are home, and I don't know about your place, but around Colorado we've been setting some serious heat records. I spent Friday packing, Saturday camping, ½ of Sunday un-camping, and the other half lying in my wind tunnel trying not to pass out. I'd forgotten to pack my asthma meds and the lack thereof had finally kicked me in the ass.

Mom, will you make me some baked oatmeal?” This is a concoction that was served to YellowBoy at camp, and he's been living off of it since. I can just hear the conversation at your house right now,

Mom? Watcha reading?”

Some crazy lady who wouldn't get up off her butt and spend ten minutes to make a simple dinner for her son.”

What was she not making?”

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 stick melted butter
1 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Mix. Pour into lubed 9x13 pan and bake for 35-40 minutes at 350. It tastes like a granola bar, only it's cheaper and they drink milk with it. Adds up to good in my book. Which might not match yours...but there ya' go.

Here's where it gets ugly. At first I explain about the heat and the packing and the tiredness and the horror of heating the kitchen with the stove to bake. He just calmly looks at me and says,

Mom, remember when you got back from being gone, and I asked you to make me a sandwich, and you said you're so tired from traveling and that I can make my own sandwich? And then the next day you said you were sorry and that if you'd been thinking of it the right way, you would have spent the five minutes making me the sandwich. This is like that. Can I have some baked oatmeal?”

Of course I cave. If something I did over a year ago has made such a big impact that he can quote me, then I've totally blown it. Baked oatmeal it is. Want some? It's a lot easier to eat than crow.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Of Course I'm Perfect: Part 1

The campground is waking up around me. Some wake up slowly, with whispers that I can doze through. Some are still asleep and nothing stirs at their place. I propose that they are people without children, or dogs, because the families with kids and dogs come with moms who yell, “Stop IT!” to the dog (oh, how effective that is, listen, he's STILL barking) and “Don't touch that to the kid!” (who gets that phrase repeated to him over and over and over again – much like the barking dog gets his phrase). Ineffective parenting bugs the crap out of me. Yes, I'm a perfect parent.

Ok, I'm not. I am, however, a parent who is observant, and since there's a lot of bad parenting all around, there are plenty of counter-examples to avoid, if one just observes how NOT to do it.

Don't tell a kid that, “If you ______ , then I'll________ ,” unless you really, truly mean it. The first time you don't follow through is like poking a tiny hole in a balloon and pretty much all your credibility is drained out in a few short encounters. “Well, she doesn't usually, actually _______ so I think it's worth the risk.”

Don't give kids treats to shut them up. “Ok, fine, have another ice-cream sandwich, just let me talk to ___________ on the phone and don't come in here again!” However, I'm all for a bribe. “IF you can leave me alone for ten minutes, and you sweep the kitchen and take out the trash, THEN you can have another one.” I'm not heartless, nor the sugar police, just trying to keep it real. And get my kitchen swept.

Listen to your kids. Don't tell them, “I'll talk to you later, right now I'm...” If they're actually wanting to talk, don't miss it. Wish I'd learned this one sooner.

Yes, it's really 2:30 am MST. Insomnia sucks. So does my writing at this hour, but I haven't posted in a week and so I'm back to the paranoia of people forgetting me...bad blogging...bad parenting...both bad...good-night.

What's your biggest parenting blunder? Willing to share? I'll share mine tomorrow when I can think more clearly.  You can probably tell right away where the part I wrote while camping ends and the part I wrote in the middle of the night takes over...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

SkinnyBoy: You Is Kind, You is smart. You is important.

Feeling blue. SkinnyBoy has moved to Florida. As in our chances of crossing paths again are as slim as he is.

He used to be our neighbor, lived four houses away. He spent as much time at our house as he was allowed, which was pretty much 24/7 in the summers, and during the school year, he'd show up for our carpool almost an hour early to “hang out, I was ready for school.” I fed him breakfast. Made sure he had lunch money or packed him a lunch. His Dad had lost his job even before the Great Recession hit. I know things were tough at his house for a multitude of reasons, so we did what we could to help, though direct help was completely refused. Out of respect for him, let's just leave all that there.

After I dropped him at his house on school days, with his over-stuffed back-pack and french horn, he'd shut the door with a, “See you in a minute!” and would be back at our house almost before I could turn the car around and hit our driveway. He stayed for dinner a lot. Eventually of course he had to go home to do his homework, but so did my boys. Worked out great. Just for reference, my boys are 2 ½ years apart, he's right between them age-wise. He and I share a birthday. With Obama. And Best :-)

I love this boy. A boy of integrity, great work ethic, always cleaned up his dishes and offered to do chores. We pay for chores around here, don't believe in “allowance”. There are of course some “because you live here” chores which don't pay (dishes, laundry, trash, recycling, vacuuming, sweeping) but others do. He did a lot of those. Loving video games as much as my boys, he did those to make any spending “frivolously” possible, I'm sure.

Two years ago they lost their house and moved across town to a rental duplex. That didn't stop our boys who have bikes, he'd just ride over here and knock, just as if he'd run down the hill. Friendship continued almost interrupted.

A month ago he began preparing us all. “My Dad is maybe getting a job in Florida.” Wow. Job great. Florida not so much. Dad got job. He came over to say goodbye while I was in Texas. I didn't get to give that skinny little body one more hug. I didn't get to tell him, one more time, my version of this quote from The Help as Aibileen did Mae Mobley, “You is kind, you is smart. You is important.”

I asked him once why he liked being over here so much. “You're always happy to see me, I know you love me, and it feels really nice to be here.” Hold on to that thought dear boy as your life is about to change. May you find another family that makes you feel that way. Good bye, SkinnyBoy. Good bye.

Monday, July 9, 2012

MMM: Monday Movie Meme @ Nicole's Place, The Madlab Post: Polling the Jury

I love Mondays. It's nice to know that there's a prompt waiting for me, a meme that will welcome me (and you, should you choose), and that folks will be dropping by. I kinda want some folks to drop by. I took an accidental nine day blogcation and I'm of course paranoid that everyone, all 387 of you, will have forgotten me. Sigh.

Nicole has given us a great topic for today: Polling the Jury. Check out her post for the full scoop, meanwhile, these are the movies I've chosen that have voting in them. (It doesn't have to be a political vote – just something where votes count.)

I immediately thought of one of my favorite movies, and NO, it's not because it was Matthew McConaughey's break-out movie, though hubba hubba I'll check out those flat-front khakis and all that sexy Mississippi sweat any time. I love this movie because of the relationships between Jake and those around him. He has a mentor, a funny buddy, an assistant who provides some amazing chemical tension while the wife is tucked away safely, a worthy adversary in the slimy DA (I do love me some Kevin Spacey, I will admit), and a client who couldn't be further out of his social network. It all works. There are parts of the movie that are very hard to watch, and it's R+ if you'd asked me to rate it, but wow, it's good. Oh yeah, the voting. The jury votes guilty or not guilty.

Unlike my previous selection which I've watched multiple times, this one I've only seen once, but it must have made some impact because as I was pondering voting movies, it immediately came to mind. Probably because I'm a big fan of Reese Witherspoon. It was made in 1999, and has some other great actors who are still around (Matthew Broderick, for example). It's about a high school class presidential election, and I love any description of a movie that ends with, “Chaos ensues.” It's a favorite phrase of mine. Give it a try.  Both the phrase and the movie.

I think I'll leave it at two movies today. Got blogs to visit. My road-trip car has been parked at the same campsite for over two weeks now...(see button in sidebar if you don't know what I'm talking about).

What election movies did you find recommendable? Have you seen these two? How ya' been? I've been missing you and itching to blog/write/visit, etc. It's just this pesky thing called family responsibilities and priorities of life that keep getting in the do you handle those when the blogosphere's siren song is calling your name?