Friday, June 30, 2006

Why I love the Teletubbies

I know most parents would rather be subjected to a Clockwork Orange inspired Barney marathon than watch 5 minutes of Teletubbies. Not me! I love those kooky bastard Tubbies. As far as Barney is concerned, just hand an uzi over to all your neighborhood toddlers; I may not buy into the whole guns don't kill people, people kill people argument, but if the NRA could change their motto include toddlers snuffing out PBS's purple dinosaur gang I'd join.

So here it is, why I love the Tubbies...

Video: Cracker at 8 months. (57 seconds of pretty much the same thing over and over) That's his baby happy noise btw.

Video: Cracker at 34 months. (12 seconds) Link says it's still processing at post time, hopefully up in the AM

Now please note, I never actually get the camera out until he's already been hysterical for 5 minutes, so this is after it's already been funny two dozen times. Imagine that.

I must admit, I do have one growing concern: every time they say "big hug!" he runs up to the boob tube and tries to get his arms around the 28" screen. Hmmm.

If you're interested in joining our cult, may we recommend our current favorite, best suited for the 2 and up crowd Go! Exercise with the Teletubbies. For the wee ones, we like Baby Animals.

Sneaking in a non-Tubbie watching favorite: here's another. (18 seconds)

I have no idea why the sound gets lagged behind the video image. Oh well.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Never a dull moment

Today I have a lot of crappy things I need to get done while the Cracker is napping. My dad, who is the sweetest guy, sent me a Starbucks gift card I got in the mail yesterday. (I wish he'd give J some lessons.) So on the way home I decided to get a drink on my dad to enjoy while I sit on the couch procrastinating by watching Dr. Phil, even though I *hate* Dr. Phil. The only time I watch him is when I have things that I really don't want to do, and then to make it bearable I yell at the TV for fun.

We pull into the parking lot and head for the drive thru.

S: Welcome to Starbucks. Order when ready.
Me: Yes, I...
(interruped by yelling from the backseat)
S: I'm sorry, I didn't get that.

(He didn't get the cookie. Instead he got to have zucchini muffins I made when we got home.)

*new word

Monday, June 26, 2006

I learned something new today

Do you know what a leader hose is? Not lederhosen, but a leader hose?

Over the weekend I finally broke down and bought a hose reel thingamajiggy so that instead of just throwing the front yard hose down where I used it last I could wind it up all nice and tidy. I've been putting off this purchase forever, simply because I wanted the cheapest thing possible. What would have cheapest would have been a little wall mounted thing, but our house is stucco, so that would have been an ordeal.* Since I'd already had to buy a new hose last week because the other one (again, cheapest I could find = mistake) got a big gaping hole in it right where it attaches to the house, I figured I'd try to get this hose to last longer than a year by buying it a little hose house.

Yes, rolling up the hose after use is my most recent attempt at curb appeal. Don't you want to be my neighbor?

The next morning I haul the sucker out. J follows me outside to watch.

I carry it over to the spigot and put it down. I unwrap all the packaging, including the little four foot hose that came with it. Hands full, I start heading towards the trash.

J: What are you doing?
Me: Throwing this stuff away.
J: The hose too?
Me: Yeah. I thought about saving it, but what are we going to do with a little piece of sample hose?
J: A what?
Me: Uh, the sample hose? (Duh.)
J: Honey, that's not a sample.
Me: Sure it is.
J: No, it's not.
Me: It's just a little piece to help you envision what your own hose is going to look like on the reel.
J: No.
Me: Yes.
J: No.
Me: Yes.
J: No.
Me: Honey, what the hell else is a 4 foot section of hose good for? Of course it's a sample!
J: Uh, no. You use it to attach the reel to the house, and then your own hose to the reel.
Me: That's stupid. Let's just toss it.
J: No! Here, let me show you.
(My modern woman Who needs a man? self steps aside as J comes over to put it together.)
J: See?
Me: I don't see why we need to do it that way. Why not just attach it to the house directly? The new hose has this cool little reinforced sleeve so that it won't kink at the spigot. It's from Costco.
(In my world, everything from Costco is primo quality. If it's from Costco, you know it's good.)
J: Because it will get stuck, like this, when you try to wind it up.
(10 seconds of silence)
Me: But they don't match.
J: What?
Me: The big hose is light green, but the little one is dark green.
Me: They don't match.
J: Are you freakin kidding me???
Me: Fine. Whatever. We'll do it your way this time.

*Home improvement life lesson learned in 2001: you CANNOT hammer into stucco. I was full of holiday cheer that year, and trying to attach Christmas lights with finishing nails to the outside of our apartment in Hell. "Hey J, what am I doing wrong? Every time I try to pound a nail in the stucco falls off? In chunks!"

Wanted: Wife

Whenever things around the house get out of control, J offers to get me a wife. In his mind, it will be easier to deal with two women than actually help me himself.

What a guy.

There are a few rules to this wife thing. First, I have no money to pay her, so she must work for free. (Yeah, that's original, ain't it?) Second, J does not get to have his way with her, no matter how uninterested
Cracker helping out, January 2006

or bitchy I am. (He has already agreed.) In fact, let's just have her work days, and maybe the occasional night or weekend when I am scrambling to make our house presentable before guests arrive.

So it's not what you may think: I don't want a maid, a handyman or a nanny...more like a combination of all three. Someone who will do all the things I hate to do and do it the way I want it done.

It's not that I hate all my housewife and Mommy duties, just certain little bits.

1) I will go to Walmart and fill two carts every other week, but my wife will unload the car and put everything away.
2) I will clean the toilets, but not the showers. (Weird, I know. I don't love to clean toilets, but the shower and tub, OMG, please don't make me.)
3) I will vacuum the carpeted areas, but not clean the hard floors.
4) I will do the dishes, but not unload the dishwasher. (Why oh why do I hate to unload the dishwasher so much?)
5) I will change diapers and peel pee soaked underpants off my child, but not take out the trash.
6) I will keep the counters crumb free but not spray the perimeter of the house weekly to keep pests out.
7) I will do the laundry, but not fold it, hang it, or put it away.
8) I will cook all meals, but will not also try to entertain my child at the same time.
9) I will wash the cars, including windows and wheels, but not take them in for oil changes.
10) I will start home improvement projects, but not finish them.
11) I will tend to the gardening, but not pick up tumbleweed. (Those suckers are thorny!)
12) I will open the bills and write the checks, but not balance the check book or go to the post office.
12) I will handle tantrums and meltdowns, but when he's happy ask that I get a few minutes here and there of peace.
13) I will take the Cracker to the potty 20x/day, but after that I stop.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Is there a support group out there for me?


I have just returned from the local naughty shop where I purchased my third, yes third, vibrator in just 5 (okay 4 and a half) months. Remember how I pointed out that 90 cents worth of batteries from Costco for 2 hours of use was cheaper than Starbucks or even a Therapist? Yeah, I was wrong.

Including tonight I have now spent $102 + tax excluding batteries in four and a half months. (The only way I can live with myself is to break it down by cost per month. Do the math with me.) And I'd be willing to buy a more expensive one if I knew it would last, but right now I don't dare.

What the hell is my husband, who is sleeping and doesn't know yet, going to say? Well, after almost 9 years of marriage (yes 9, and I am 28...we're freaks, I know) I know exactly what he is going to say:

"Woman! What the hell are you doing to those poor things when diddling* yourself?" And then he will laugh so hard that he will have to pee.

Okay, so the first one, at $22, so not my fault that it broke. It was supposed to be waterproof. It wasn't. What supposedly made it so was nothing more than a jelly ring (cheaper and flimsier than the jewelry version) that circled the base to create suctioned waterproof seal when you put the battery cover back on. It worked fine on dry land for quite some time, but then after only a few trips to the tub the sucker got corroded from water leakage and the wires going to the battery connections inside broke. Then J tried to fix it, because he's an Engineer, and he knows how to manipulate a soldering iron. But, try as he might, we discovered that when you take a hot gun any where in the vicinity of elastomer the result is smoke, then melted goo, and finally crusty melted ickiness.

Jelly bracelets and rings: in the 80's did you wear them too? Were you cool like me?

The next one, at $40, was fancier. After killing the waterproof one I had a better idea of what I wanted the next time around. Of course, one of the functions which was assured to be fun turned out to be icky and kinda hurty, but it was still worth the $ because that sucker had pow-ah. (Amazing what one more little AA battery can do!) Then, tonight, I broke it. Because it is see through, I can see what I did: two little broken wires inside. Arugh! I will still have J try to fix it, but to get to the wires we are going to have to slice open the dong and IF the surgery works, cover the incision with electrical tape which probably won't hold. So I figure it's a goner.

Okay, I really didn't want to go out tonight. I also really didn't want to deal with all this drama. The Cracker was in bed, and J was home so I could, but I really really didn't want to. So I decided to make myself a snack while I thought it over, the pros and cons of it all.

Lately, I've been trying to eat 100% healthy instead of 95% healthy, so the freezer is low on everything but frozen veggies. As luck would have it, way in the back I find something greasy that J hasn't found or else it'd be gone. I open the box, stick two on a plate. What the...?


Get out camera. Try to take picture. Batteries dead. Go to nightstand. Get batteries from my partially used collection. Dead too. Go back and grab from my unused collection even though I'm running low. Viola. Walk from kitchen to home office to set camera next to computer. Come back to kitchen. Find two of our three cats licking my snack. Two egg rolls, two cats, one cat on each. BUT THE WORST PART? THE SOUND: raspy cat tongues scraping against fried bubbles! Blech. (This was not a smooth egg roll, but maybe that's a spring roll. Whatever.)

Thanks to the cats, I now have a new soundtrack for my nightmares. (No, I am still not going to call them Pussy. I am not a man.) Throw egg rolls away. Give up on the snack thing.

Time to weigh my options.

To go or not to go?
1. J will probably not be able to fix it.
2. He's asleep and won't even be able to try until tomorrow night, if he's not too tired.
3. They close in an hour and I can't go tomorrow with the Cracker. You know, 21 and up only, even though I wouldn't take him even if I could.
4. J will be working 60 hour weeks again beginning tomorrow, and he and his schlong will be home late-late.
5. I am on the verge of ovulation...the only 4 days in a month when I actually initiate sex with the love of my life when I'm sober. No working vibe AND no man? That's just mean.


I drag my sorry ass out. On the drive I decide that maybe it's the brand. Is there no pride in workmanship anymore? Before this, the last one was 10 years old and still worked, just wasn't the "rabbit" type. (Look it up on the net if you don't know.) But I already know after gallivanting with J's sister last week going to every pervert store in the state that they have the best selection at the shop right near my house AND that they are also the least expensive, even compared to online prices. And then there's the location...this is one of the less obvious reasons to live on the edge of civilization like we do: before our neighborhood went in, that was the end of town, perfect for such an establishment, squeezed in between a Sonic and the laundry mat.

Pretty quickly, cause I know what I'm looking for, I find one by a different manufacturer. Perfect! Looks sturdier, it's sooooo pretty, excludes creepy/hurty feature, and best yet only $38.95. So I take it to the counter where they extract it from the box and fill her up with batteries. Gotta test it in the store because they don't take returns, no matter what. (I'm glad.) And the mo fo only sporadically works. The GUY behind the counter basically tells me to take it, I probably just need to learn how to turn it on. Uh, no. Turn it on and it does it's thing for a few seconds and then konks out. Guy is still telling me it's probably okay. Like hell I'm going to buy one with problems with my reputation. We both test it some more and now it isn't working at all. And of course it's the last one.

Can I also mention that this is the first time I've seen a guy behind the counter? It's always been the funny girls I'd love to go have margaritas with. And then because I'm in agony explaining why I won't buy it even though I want it, I tell him about the soldering iron. And his face is saying "this chick is whak!"

So I go back and pick up another, but by the manufacturer of the last two. Open box, batteries come out of the other one and into this one. It works, at least for now.


*his word, not mine

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Our fablous long weekend

Our weekend in Colorado was positively lovely. While the everyday grind at home is once again stressing me out, I must say that this weekend was totally relaxing.

Friday we got in decently early and had a great time just catching up with the fam. I love J's sister...she's the kind of friend I can go months without seeing and feel completely comfortable with the instant we meet again. We had so much fun that she's coming tomorrow for a visit. Yippie!

Saturday it was off to see Thomas. J's sister offered to drop us off downtown to avoid the parking nightmare, but J suggested that we instead park at the mall and take the shuttle bus in like we did last year. Long story short: as much as Cracker loved riding behind Thomas, we could have saved ourselves $60 and just ridden the shuttle bus around all day. Amazingly, the Cracker kept his underpants dry too, even though we were never near a potty. And try as I might, he will not pee anywhere but in a potty. What's the point of a wee if you won't just pee behind any old bush?

A lot of parents have asked me what Thomas looks like in person. Do they throw a printed tarp over a locomotive? No. This stuff is for real.

And if your child asks why Thomas doesn't respond when spoken to, it's because this really useful engine is BUSY thinking about his upcoming journey. I'd buy that.

The Thomas thing is really a whole event, not just a train ride. They have a petting zoo (sponsered by the FFA) and even temporary tattoos for all. We learned at the tatt station, after 3 failures, that we were the only parents who put sunscreen on their kid. "Oh, wait...did YOU put sunscreen ON HIM?!" Uh, yeah. "Oh, they won't stick if you do that!" So you mean that out of the 50 kids in line in front of us, none of them had on sunscreen?

Saturday night we all settled in to watch Son of Dracula staring Harry Nilsson and Ringo Starr, which J's sister A had bought off Ebay for their dad for Father's Day. What did J give his dad? A hug.

The day before we left, I spent an hour showing the Cracker pictures of J's family to help him remember them. He's only seen them twice in the last year and I'd really like him to have a relationship with at least J's dad. It paid off. Soon after arriving he named his grandfather Poppa. I don't know where he got it, no one else calls their grandfather Poppa that we know; he calls my own dad Pappy. But I was so happy that grandpa got at least that for Father's Day.

Saturday night we let the Cracker stay up way too late. I finally shuffled him off to bed just after 11pm because he was talking so much that no one could hear the movie. Problem: he had gotten a second wind. I could hear him having a great time taking to himself, and within the hour I also decided to hit the sack. I couldn't even kind of understand the movie because the sound was less than DVD quality and there was no closed captioning. I gave up on hot tubbing with J (hot tubbing is my favorite!) and headed to bed myself.

I got upstairs and lay down in the bed next to him. And, of course, he keeps right on talking.

"Hey buddy, it's nite-nite time. Okay? Mommy is so tired!"
(5 seconds of silence)
"Momma? Me no nite-nite now. Me wake up! Me ALL DONE nite-nite. Me go play NOW pease."
"No baby, it's time for bed. I love you. Nite-nite."
"Poppa haf two daddys cars!" (His word for Saab.)
"Yes he does."
"Poppa haf baby woof woof!"
"Yes, Poppa has a dog, but it's not a baby, just little." (fat Chihuahua)
"NOOOOO! Poppa woof woof baby!"
"Okay, whatever. It's nite-nite time now."
"Poppa baby woof woof go school in school bus?"
"No, Poppa's dog doesn't ride the school bus. Dogs don't go to school." (Wait...there's that Elmo video about going to school. Everybody goes to school, even dogs. Dogs go to obedience school...duh. Oops.)
"Me need haf dog my house. Otay?"
"No, we're not getting a dog."
"No. You have three cats."
"No, me need dog! Me no need titties. Me haf twee titties. Me need dog pease!"
"No." HELL NO.
"Momma? Poppa house E-I-E-O. Poppa haf moo!"
"No honey, Poppa doesn't live on a farm, he just has a lot of grass." And a bunch of 4 wheelers in the yard and maybe a ride on mower in the shed. "The cow isn't real. It's a stuffed animal."
"I know!"

What seemed like hours later, he finally settled down and we started to go to sleep. Then J came in and hell broke loose. Ugh. More with the all done, me wake up, yada yada yada.

Sunday morning we went to breakfast at a Mexican joint. Yum. The Cracker gave us another new word: salsa. J can not handle anything remotely spicy, but some how just living in the Southwest has made my child a salsa whore, even though we never have it at home. (Except me, at night, once he's in bed.) It's just weird.

In I-am-a-food-nazi-news, Poppa and the gang were absolutely amazed once again by what the Cracker will eat. First, because I was running out the door and didn't want to deal with zippered baggies, I grabbed a big ol' bag of magic apples from the fridge to snack on at Poppa's, and he ate them. Then, at dinner on Friday, I got a full sized Caesar salad as my entree that the Cracker ate a good 3/4 of even though I didn't want to share. Salad...AND at a pizza joint! The horror! Then J's stepmom offered him apple juice, even though I said he didn't drink juice, and he took a sip and was done. I won't name names, but someone (okay, it was Poppa) called me a vegan. even kinda. It was the first and nicest thing that came to his mind, LOL.

We left Sunday night because J had to go to work Monday AM. Can't wait for J's sister to come in tomorrow! I got the impression that she's never been to an adult store with a girlfriend, so I told her I would, of course, take her. And she just got HBO (I still don't, but I rent) so she's never seen Sex and the City, so we'll be watching that too once the kiddos are in bed. Good times!

My Summer Reading List Just Keeps Growing and Growing and Growing

Problem is I'm not sitting on a beach where soft breezes and the muted sounds of playing children lull me into a state of deep relaxation perfect for reading. No, I am at home, in a hot house, with a toddler who constantly begs to watch Tubbies. I would trick myself by going taking us to the park instead, but by the time it's no longer hot as hell it's too dark to read and the bugs are out. And if we went to a beach, I'd read even less because I'd constantly be worried about the Cracker drowning.

My biggest problem: every time I start a new book, it references a gazillion others that I have to read too.

This morning I finally scored What's the Matter with Kansas? by Thomas Frank at the library. I've been dying to get my hands on this book for weeks now. Not 50 pages in I also know I must also read: One Market Under God, same author, Bobos in Paradise by David Brooks and Don't Think of an Elephant by George Lakoff.


Books that I've started in the last few weeks:
Home Alone America by Mary Eberstadt
Raising Boys by Steve Biddulph

Books that are also on the short list, physically in my house just waiting to be read:
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
The Blue Jay's Dance by Louise Erdrich
The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg
Sunflower Houses by Sharon Lovejoy (a super cool gift from my Aunt)

And ones I still need to get my sweaty hands on:
Penguin History of the USA (great series...I just reread Latin America a few months back)
Between Worlds: The Making of an American Life by Bill Richardson

The only book I've finished in the last month:
The Lazy Husband by Joshua Coleman. Terrible title, but OMG I really liked this one! ROFL Next time J pisses me off I'll be buying it used on Amazon to keep in the house. I found it at the library when I was looking for something else, and I almost didn't borrow it because of that darn title. Even if your husband isn', it's got some great stuff about the roles that mothers play in a two parent hetero household, both SAH and working moms. (Nothing new really, but I like hearing a man say it.)

And just so you know that I like the tube too, other goals I hope to accomplish before Fall hits:
-Rent seasons 1-3 of Sex and the City. (I have seen a lot of them on Fox, but hello! they cut out all the best parts! I already own seasons 4-6 and have watched them dozens of times, but I really want to make sure that I've seen absolutely every episode.) The vibrator one? I haven't seen it!
-Rent season 2 of Grey's Anatomy, but it doesn't come out until Fall. I think I've seen them all now, but I must rewatch without distractions.
-Catch more of the Daily Show. God, Jon Stewart...I love that man!
-See more of Ann Coulter promoting her new book on cable (yeah, I'm pretty darn sure I'll never agree with a single thing the woman has to say, but she's a trainwreck I can't turn away from)
-Heck, if there's time, I'd even like to watch more of the O'Reilly Factor LOL (my poor dad is disgusted that I'm helping his ratings, but I love listening to him whine about the liberal media)

My beautiful sister in law is coming to visit tomorrow and bringing her perfect almost 7 year old son with her, so I'm off to clean. Not too much though, because she'll understand. But a little. Litterbox needs to be moved from the guest room if nothing else.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Leaving town

Tomorrow morning bright and early we're hauling our asses to Colorado. This will be our first car trip with the Cracker in a year, so we'll see how that goes. He's great on a plane if that helps, which I'm sure it doesn't. I'm crossing my fingers and bringing lots of snacks. Oh wait...we're taking J's car. Crap. I can't believe I just thought of that NOW. No eating in J's car. Okay, what to bring, what to bring...

(Yeah, I know, you're thinking: portable DVD player. No flames here, but I'm not going to go buy one, or even try to borrow one. It's just not me. He already gets way more TV than I'd like at home. We'll suffer loudly instead.)

Along with visiting the fam, Saturday we're going to go do "Day Out With Thomas" again. It was a hit last year, and I think this year will be even more fun. The Cracker also has an older boy cousin who is amazing with him we'll get to see. He's almost 7, and this kid is perfect! He knows just how hard he can rough and tumble with the Cracker and never ever does anything that drives my paranoid mind wild with worry. It's quite the sight to see the two of them rolling around getting out all their childhood frustrations. It's the kind of rumbling I never see between the Cracker and friends who are his own age and it always takes both J and I by surprise. THIS is big boy stuff.

As for the leaving town part...don't bother breaking in. We have a monitored alarm system protecting our (10 year old beat to shit) Target furniture and Teletubbie collection.*

It's just not worth it.

Have a great weekend!

*Before you decide we're total assholes for having a home alarm, I promise to share with you why soon. It involves my kick ass mom.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

This Whole Summer Thing Is Really Starting to Piss Me Off

Ugh. I am a slug. Even with all the shades closed and no opening of doors allowed the house hit 99 yesterday by 6pm. So as far as cooking inside and laundry goes I am officially on strike; only the coffee pot and the TV and are allowed to be turned on before 9pm. As I went to stick a Tubbie tape in for the Cracker this morning the local news had the regional map up. Even with the mute on, I could still see the word "hot" in big fat letters sprawled across the entire state. This is me, bitching and moaning.

To escape the heat, last Saturday I suggested that we take the Cracker to the mountains for a little baby hike and nature lesson. The heat had also gotten to J enough that he didn't even put up a fight. Off to the mountains we go!

When we finally got up there (taking the super duper long way around because extreme fire danger has closed the road up right near our house) it was an amazing 61 degrees. Totally worth the 1/4 tank of gas it took to get there in back in the SUV.

We used to hike up there every week Spring through Fall, but we've been really lazy lately since our neighborhood is also a great place to walk. Our last trip to the mountains was on the way to the pumpkin patch in October. Bad parents! We need to start going again.

As great as it was, it was also a little sad. Our favorite trail head was mysteriously set ablaze a few weeks back, prompting a closure of almost the entire ranger district. Even in areas not yet touched by fire this season, the dryness was more than apparent. I'd say that about 1/3 of the evergreen trees were totally brown. I stopped to chat with a ranger who said that as soon as we get 3 inches of rain everything will reopen, which at this point means winter.

As always, the mountains provided a great learning experience unmatched here in the 'hood. First order of business was to find a place to picnic. We had just sat down when a little caterpillar came out to mooch. The Cracker wasn't all that impressed, even though I couldn't stop yelling "look at all the legs! Do you see how many legs that sucker has?" We finished up and set out on a hike.

Almost immediately we ran into a gazillion butterflies, which ignored us enough to let the Cracker get really close. He has now decided that butterflies eat flowers. Whatever. He doesn't get the bee nectar thing either.

Further along we ran into a grasshopper. Okay, now we had someone's attention. Poor J was in charge of tracking it down, pointing it out, then making it jump again. The Cracker was hysterical. He couldn't stop laughing and peed his big boy pants. This was good for a 1/2 hour of entertainment. We finally moved on when J's back was too sore to keep stooping.

J and I were prepared to let the grasshoppers be the highlight of the day, but along came a ginormous pile o'poo right in the middle of the trail. It was either from the world's largest dog who drops it like a cow, or I don't even want to know. The pile was a nice, fresh stinker and we smelled it long before we could even see it. Blech! And, the highlight part...millions of flies had found it before us. Nice, fresh and with flies...the Cracker was delighted! J was disgusted. I was breathing through my mouth trying to let him have a moment of awe before pulling him away.

We also played with pinecones, moss, sap, and walking sticks. Near the end of the hike I made the mistake on showing him some exposed roots and giving him a little lesson. That too was amazing, and J cursed me all the way back to the car as our little seed pointed out every root for no less than a quarter mile. You know, because walking with a tired toddler uphill isn't slow enough already.

By the time we were done, the Cracker, who didn't want to leave, couldn't even stand let alone walk. The little legs were just totally worn out. Mission accomplished!

After having a wonderful educational Saturday, we gave ourselves permission Sunday to laze around the house and do nothing. The highlight of our day was a thoughtful debate on whether or not Ann Coulter had always been that nuts or if she's recently had a breakdown. Still undecided.


I was going to wait until I could show you a picture but that's not going to happen for at least another week. Know where we were a week ago Sunday? Church? No. Having lunch at Costco? Good guess, but no.

We took our son to the tattoo parlor to watch Daddy get inked. Who says we don't have family values?

J had been planning on it for a while now, but I gave him a little push by reminding him to make an appointment with the artist. Gotta have the sucker healed before my high school reunion in August.

You see, I find tatts on a man sexy. As long as they don't say or have a picture of someone's mom, Jesus or anything inspired by a Big Johnson t-shirt I'm down.

It's very cool, just a little bigger than I had anticipated. J is thrilled with it. The Cracker couldn't care less. It's just started the peeling stage a picture will have to wait.


New Cracker words and phrases over the weekend:

Me...and! Joomph! Joomph! NOW MOMMEEEE! Mommy joomph too! (In this heat I can only jump around for a few minutes. I suck at playing grasshoppers.)

Wake up! Eyes open! Hi-dee! (Has decided that Mommy sitting means mommy is naping. Not true. Peels my eyelids back even though they are already 90% open. That's a bad touch.)

Meatballs! (From singing "On Top of Spaghetti" He tried a meatball last winter and hated it.)

Me go ow-side and play! (My response: It's too hot.) No mommy, is snow-ging ow-side, snow-ging ow-side NOW! Not hot! Is cold! Seeeeee snow?(FYI No. It's on the brink of 100.)

And the one that made us laugh...picks up the phone to talk to my mom: "Hi Nana. Buy me more gucks (trucks)."

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I am Hippie Chic

(Turns out that the technical problems Blogger has been experiencing the last few days are ongoing, so I can’t get in to finish my almost done posts…again. So instead let me start another!)

As I mentioned earlier, LLL is Western state #4 during our pilgrimage though out the Western US. We moved here from Hell, also located in the Southwest, when I was 7 months pregnant with the Cracker.

Back in Hell, I had a regular OB/GYN. A young, professional, petite woman who I loved because she always let me stay late to ask really stupid questions. A fifteen minute check up was actually closer to an hour, every time. She never rushed me, and treated each concern as a legitimate one. What a gal! Guess that’s why my 4 o’clock appointment never actually started before 5:30. But she was totally worth the wait, and her lobby had some kick ass mags too.

Our first meeting, around 8 weeks, was by far the most fun. We were going to do an ultrasound! Woo hoo!

I lift up my shirt to expose my rock hard abs. “Oh no,” she said. “This is going to be a vaginal scan.”


She takes out a friggin dildo and starts to lube it up. My jaw is on the ground. The panties are coming down.

What? Why? Wait…

“The baby is still too small for an abdominal ultrasound. This will provide us with the best view.”

J is dying. Dy-ing. He can’t resist. “That thing doesn’t vibrate or light up does it? You aren’t going to make me jealous?”

Either she’d heard that one too many times before or was totally lacking any stirrup side humor, but the chick didn’t even flinch.

“Are you ready?”


And there went the dildo, up my nether regions.

The next ultrasound didn’t go much better. In fact, it was a lot worse. She started out as usual by asking me “how are you feeling?” which, of course, is what any OB/GYN would do. But this was THE appointment, the much anticipated was a penis or a vagina growing inside of me? appointment, and I was there WITHOUT J. I lost it.

What did this amazing woman do? The woman who couldn’t even crack a wry smile at J’s solution to lightening up an uncomfortable situation? She held me…for AN HOUR. She nodded and handed me tissues as I blubbered uncontrollably between sobs.

Between the vaginal ultrasound and now this…I was in love.

J had just moved to LLL, without me. Everyone knew layoffs were coming, but details were, as always, unavailable. But because he was such a good guy, a stellar employee and expecting his first child, someone high up told him that while he didn’t know for sure, he guessed that because J was still fairly new, this time his name was going to be on the list. This wonderful soul also told him that there was an opening in LLL, a better position even, and that J might be able to qualify even though he was still just a babe in his career. J received this information Tuesday, went in and officially applied Wednesday after we’d had the chance to talk, interviewed Thursday, and moved to LLL Saturday. Because everything happened so quickly, I had to stay behind in Hell to get our affairs in order, coordinate the out-of-state move with J’s company, and quit my own job.

I had to go to my ultrasound alone.

Two months later I joined J. Other than one other incident*, I was just fine by myself. J’s company flew him home every Friday night, and he’d go back Sunday afternoon. I had a bunch of wannabe grannies at work who took care of me 5 days a week, J’s mom** in town, and a few friends. I enjoyed the excuse to eat out, and spent the rest of my time dreaming.

When I got pregnant with the Cracker I was in the best shape of my life. My job was basically an excuse to work out 40 hours/week and get paid for it, or at least that’s what it became when they saw I was willing to help out with the heavy lifting. It was the only time in my life that I had a flat stomach, abs to kill, and girly muscles in all the right places. After the first month of it kicking my ass, I became Wonder Woman.

Being unfamiliar with the inside of a gym, the transformation my body made was as much a surprise to me as what happened during pregnancy.

One day, before we learned that J’s boys could swim, I was sitting on the side of our apartment’s pool, swishing my legs around in the water. Suddenly I noticed that there were these weird hard swollen spots on my legs, especially when I tensed a muscle.

“J, look at me! Eew…what the hell is that? Do you see my leg?”


“Look, just look!” I tensed my leg.

“Honey, those are muscles.”

“No! No? Really? They’re gross.”

But then I got pregnant with the Cracker. The guys at work who I was lifting with started freaking out if I even dared to reach for a friggin paperclip. These were the same guys that when I’d ask for help with a 200lb marble table top would yell back “don’t be a pussy!” and continue on with their “So I was pounding her in the ass…” story until I went over there and threatened to pound their ass in an entirely different kind of way. I loved the attention they lavished upon me, but it was sometimes annoying.

The wannabe grannies? They quickly figured out that the Cracker really really liked key lime cheesecake. (Honestly, what I wanted was a nap, but I was along for the ride.) And as luck would have it, the employee entrance to my place of employment in Hell was 10 feet from the front entrance of a Cheesecake Factory. Five days a week, before I could even haul my sorry ass over there, these women would coordinate their lunches so that they could get there first and bring it back to me. All I had to do was sit down in the lunchroom, napkin tucked into my collar, and remind them to bring a fork.

Rock hard abs…gone. Ass…growing faster than the baby.

When I arrived in LLL, my hippie chic self was ready to find a new OB/GYN, one who would be hopefully in the same state when the Cracker decided to make his entrance. But in LLL it’s all about the midwives. “That just won’t do!” I told every practice over the phone. Click. I was used to an OB dammit, and only that would do.

Midwife it was.

As I finished my pregnancy, I grew to see that midwives are not the cheap alternative. For me they were actually much better! Women who know women and have BTDT. And so for my next pregnancy I will happily call my midwife and catch up on old times while she brings does what my dear husband can only dream of.

I know what you’re thinking. WTF? What about the DMV? Everyone loves a good DMV story!

Yeah, that’s still not solved. I threw Cracker in front of the TV this morning because DMV business can only be conducted Monday through Friday 10-5. There was no other alternative, like waiting until his nap, because these mo fo’s never pick up after 3. I made a million calls TO THE CAPITAL which meant entering the longest calling card pin that money can buy a gazillion times because I had already learned my lesson last month. Calling out of state? Reasonable. Calling long distance in-state? To the CAPITAL which is only 45 minutes away? A one minute call at 15 cents/minute turned out to be $4.26 with tax. No shit. Fucking Qwest.

Anyway, I check my email while I’m on hold.

Another funny from my dad! Sweet.

One of his best friends has unintentionally raised the hippiest daughter ever. How hippie? She doesn’t believe in diapers, AT ALL. Not just the kind that I use that are killing the planet; even the cloth ones.

“Oh” you’re thinking, “she’s potty training.”


A few months ago she and her 1 year old son came to live with my dad’s friend for some reason I don’t recall at the moment. My dad’s friend and his wife, her mother, were horrified. Their beloved grandchild was running around the house 24/7 peeing and dumping everywhere. And she was pregnant, and didn’t really feel all that inclined to clean up after him. So these wonderful grandparents, who wanted to make sure she felt welcome, went out and bought diapers.

“Yeah, we don’t really like diapers. They seem uncomfortable. He’s fine!”

What the heck do they say to her? She’s pregnant. They love her. And they want to remain in contact with her and her soon to be 2 children.

Anyway, she just had number two, and grandpa has a sense of humor. Names and locations have been replaced to protect their identity.

Email title: “Don’t Try This at Home, Folks”

Well folks…a bit of news.
Last night my #2 daughter XX and her husband XY gave birth to their 2nd child, a baby girl.
Previously they had decided on a "modern" birth-- midwife (who lives in another town) to deliver at the birthing center in another city. (As opposed to a nice safe hospital name nearby.)
Evidently, they decided to go for an "ultra-modern" process and had the baby AT HOME with XY delivering (showing up Brad Pitt who was scared "shitless" sitting in medical facility sipping oxygen during his baby's birth).
Anyhow, they avoided having to arrange for baby sitting for their firstborn who slept through the event, they also avoided the high cost of gasoline not to mention the bridge toll.
Just 5 days ago their very wise mid-wives had given XY and XX an emergency delivery kit in case they could not make it across the bridge in time.
XX called us last night around 2:00 am while awaiting the arrival of the mid-wife and passed the news to her sister's name omitted. According to sister’s name, her parting words were:
"I've got to go, now the placenta is coming………….. XY!!!!"
Any wonder that what little hair I have left is all gray??
Weight = a good weight
Length = seems normal
Time of birth= last night
Gender = female
Name = who knows

I wrote back right away. “Dad, don’t worry. I may like midwives, but you won't be getting a call like that from me.” He was probably at least a little relieved.

You see, in LLL, J and I are everyone’s "hippie" friends, just because there aren’t any real honest to goodness hippies here.

A very good friend, my vibrator loving friend in fact, is the one who came up with the term hippie chic, just for moi. I have some of the politics, the ugly comfy shoe fetish, but I still buy my clothes at Target, the Gap and Old Navy. NO REAL HIPPIE WOULD EVER SHOP THERE.

*That a whole ‘nother story, that believe it or not, I am not going to share right now.

**I do like my MIL, but we are not close. She and J = even less close. It got to the point that I was terrified to even do my errands in Hell because SHE LIVED A MILE AWAY FROM US and she still didn't know I was pregnant. We just never saw her, and I had told J he was going to be the one to break the news. So here I am, running around 6 months pregnant, shopping at the same Costco, the same Target as her, and she didn't know. We joked that he'd tell her when we decided to move. Hell was never meant to be permanent, and we knew that even before moving there. But that was really what happened in the end. We suck. "Hi, I'm seven months pregnant. It's a boy BTW, and we're moving to LLL. J is already there. How've you been doing?" I wish it weren't true.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Why me? Part One

This morning Cracker woke up on the wrong side of the crib. Nothing usual these days, right? No, today was different. Today he was my little boy again, 2 instead of 3. He wasn't pissed at me or even the world. This is the kind of day where I know what to expect. This is the kind of day that I know how to handle. It's going to be lots of hugs, kisses, gentle words, cuddling with his favorite blankie while I hold him like a baby and gently stroke his hair. Today, you see, the universe has been plotting against him, and nothing is going to go his way. Today everything is TRAGIC.

When tragedy strikes, the scene plays out in slow motion: first his face falls, then it falls some more. A little pout emerges; his lower lip begins to quiver. A sad little hiccup of a cry escapes and big, fat tears start silently rolling down his cheeks. The sadness in his eyes deepens and his face scrunches up until his lids are completely shut. A series of tiny sobs follows, bringing with them the commencement of audible crying. The rest of his body follows, shoulders hunch inwards, back folds over and he melts into this little ball of a guy. Why me?


He wakes up perfectly happy. We go pee, flush, wash hands and he's off to the playroom to make sure we haven't sold his toys on Ebay. Nope, everything is just as it should be. He grabs a truck and continues to the kitchen to grab a cup of water I always leave for him on his high chair. Except this morning I forgot to fill it. Oh, the pain! The world has run out of water.

Tragedy has struck.

As soon as he calms down, he finds the courage for breakfast. He wants a welwoh spoon for his yogurt because welwoh is one of his newest words. They are both dirty. (Because I'm nuts I don't trust hand washing. Everything must go in the dishwasher, case closed.) Green, red and two separate hues of blue just won’t do.


We sit through 35 minutes of Sesame Street for Elmo’s World to come on, but it’s a repeat from one of his videos.


It actually rains (very uncommon here) but it’s way too windy to go out and dance like hippies in the driveway for all the neighborhood to see. (And there's lightening too, so hell no.)


We have an accident.


He wants to wear his favorite Matchbox fire truck underwear (that have been discontinued so I can’t get another pair though lord knows I’ve tried) but I didn’t have a chance to wash them after a poo explosion last night.

Will it ever end? My poor baby, he's only been up two hours.

But like I said, dealing with tragedy is something I'm good at. It doesn't drive me nuts like a tantrum or plain ol' defiance. You just can't get angry when tragedy strikes. It's just too darn sad. So you stay at home, have a quiet, low profile day and try to make the best of it. No trips to the park...he'll fall within 5 minutes and then want to leave. You don't go anywhere where you might be tempted to buy him some big new toy or a dozen ice cream cones just to see one little smile, because honestly, that will just go South too. The toy will break. The ice cream will be dropped, yes, all 12 times. There's just nothing you can do.

But today we can't stay home. WE HAVE TO GO TO THE DMV TODAY. Grrrrrreat.

(Part 2, dealing with the DMV, I'll write tomorrow. I'm drained. I'm going to go soak in my big tub with an assload of bubbles and hit the sack early. Good night.)

28 Signs of Aging

Inspired by the fact that I will be half way through 28 tomorrow

1) Run around the house hourly turning off lights

2) Worry about saving for retirement

3) Replaced credit card debt with a mortgage and car payment which leads me to

4) Own 2 unquestionably reliable cars and

5) No longer budget half of our income for towing and unexpected repairs (AAA actually threatened to drop us for abusing their "unlimited towing")

6) Stopped getting pulled over for looking too young to operate a motor vehicle by myself (age 23)

7) Finally enjoy the fact that I look years younger than my actual age (thanks Mom for the genes!) not to mention

8) No longer get carded for R rated movies (through age 25) but

9) Missed my opportunity to be featured in Dateline NBC's "Babies Having Babies" and

10) Too old to even be considered as an extra on MTV (pretty sure I'll live)

11) Occasionally watch America's Funniest Home Videos even when Cracker isn't in the room

12) Would rather have a subscription to the Wall Street Journal than People Magazine

13) If I don't get to watch the local weather report at least once a day watch me go all ape on your ass

14) Let's do our drinking at my house or yours. Bars are SOOOOOO expensive!

15) Drink only when entertaining or being entertained

16) Love to share my medical horror stories (not related to childbirth or binge drinking)

17) Missing: 1 gallbladder and

18) My girlfriends have started showing me their age spots

19) Finally resigned to the fact that I'll never be a size zer0 again (it's been 15 years afterall)

20) 18 months of showing everyone my boobs (aka breastfeeding) has made me my most uninhibited self ever, but NOBODY wants to see my goodies

21) Ever seen anyone over the age of 12 and under the age of 30 wearing Crocs? Me neither.

22) America's favorite summertime shoe, the flip flop: wear them for 3 hours, back stiff the next day. 5 hours? Can't get out of bed.

23) Sleeping anywhere other than in a bed = excruciating pain

24) Worry about teenagers moving onto my street and keeping me up at night.

25) Occasionally feel an urge to slap and/or duct tape the mouths of teenage girls like this*

26) Top text messaging speed: 1 word per 5 minutes

27) If I spill, oh, let's say JAM on my sheets right before bed I will get up and change them instead of picking up the chunks and putting scotch tape over the wet stain and then not washing them for another few weeks.**

28) High school reunion this summer

*Yes, this is me, shortly before my 16th birthday. Anyone have a time machine so I can go back and tell myself what an asshole I am? Considering that there is less than an hour of me on video between the ages of 3 and 25 and I managed to find this in the first five minutes, you get my point. And no, there was no orgy. (Don't know what's up with the audio looked fine when I downloaded it.)

**I was roommates with Everybodywantstoseehernakedgirl, who bounced around in sports bras and daisy dukes even on those rare occasions she was outside of the gym. I became notorious in a dorm of 500 for being Everybodywantstoseehernakedgirl's crazy roommate with the scotch tape fetish. Yup, that's me. University of Colorado, 1996-7. Guess I'm no longer ANON.

Long Overdue Shout Out

To my peeps over at, who mentioned me over the weekend. It's off the front page now, as internet fame is so fleeting (but luckily archived!) so here's the link. It even came with a poll!

I'm not normally much of a pusher, but c'mon, it was based on my PENIS post. SO YO, CHECK IT! These are the kind of people we want to be friends with.

PS The results are IN. J and I have decided to call woman parts bits for now should it come up again, which of course, it will. (We'll save cooter until he's older.) Thank God we've finally figured this one out.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Turns Out They Do Sell Cheetos in La La Land

The Cracker and I were down at the local grocery store today. (Still no magic apples BTW.) I go down the bottled water aisle, which also happens to be the chip aisle.

Cracker, 11 months old, February 2004

As I make my selection, the Cracker wanders over to the other side.

Then, in horror, I see him pick up a bag of store brand cheese puffs.

My mind races, but the voices in my head are calm. Put them down. Step away from the bag.

After 15 or so seconds of consideration, flipping the bag over to inspect the back, holding them up to his face trying to see through the clear view window, he gently replaces them on the shelf.

Phew! Look at that! Look at MY kid! Just say no to Cheetos!

I put 90% of my attention back to finding water. The other 10% is watching Cracker out of the corner of my eye. He's still checking out the snacks, but I KNOW that I, MOTHER OF THE YEAR, having nothing to worry about.

"Here!" I spin around to see him grab a bag of the shelf, run back to the cart and throw it in.


"WHAT are you doing?"
"Me buy deese."
"We don't buy those. WE* DON'T EAT THOSE."
In his best mom you're such an idiot voice, "NanaPappy buy deese. Me eat DEESE NanaPappy house. Otay?"
"No, not okay. This isn't NanaPappy house."
I take them back out of my healthy cart, and ask him to put them back. He does it, but with a sad puppy dog face.

After they are back on the shelf he turns to me.

"Mommy, me go poo."
"NOOOO. Me go poo (insert something unintelligible)."
"You went poo on the potty earlier?"
Um, no, you farted a few times, but nothing actually came out. I will admit it was a good effort, even if you were stalling to try to get out of taking a nap.
"Me no eat den."
That's right. Farting does not earn you an M&M or even a sticker.
"Me eat deese? Pease? Me go poo."

And, since I'd already been dethroned, we compromised. We bought a minimart sized bag for 99 cents and agreed that he can have one when he poos.

Now for an example of what great parents I have. My dad, who has the best sense of humor and the quickest wit of anyone I know, calls my mom's Cheetos shriveled monkey dicks. (Never buy the puffy kind...they suck.) And my mom, who hails from conservative New England, who is no longer conservative after more than 30 years living in California, still is very decent, especially in public. She even began writing down mouse mattresses instead of feminine hygiene products when I hit the double digits. Why? Because try as she might, her daughter failed that class. You see, there was this one incident: Around 4th grade, I wanted to buy any and everything that came in a trial size. We're back in conservative New England when FDS hits the market, and CVS has a big fat display of it. "I'm going to get this" I tell her. "No, put that back." "But Mommy...please! It's deodorant for women. I'm a woman!" Whining, begging, and pleading ensued. "But it's MY money!" Yeah, that's totally a conversation you want to have with your premenstrual daughter in front of elderly shoppers picking up prescriptions. Even now that I'm all grown up and I can still find a way to embarrass her, you know, at Costco, on the phone, long distance, by accident. So she still puts SMD or MD on her list, just in case I show up. Can't say shriveled monkey dicks in public, now can you, even if it is really very clever.

*It's not that WE don't eat junk, WE just don't let the Cracker eat OUR junk. J hides his Chips Ahoy, Cheez-Its and Lucky Charms in a secret cupboard. I hide my unpasteurized cheese in the meat drawer, and TGI Friday's potato skins under the frozen veggies. Every night, at 9:01 sharp, J and I almost kill each other trying to get into the kitchen. And I don't mind if the Cracker eats these things at other people's houses, I would just prefer him to not think it's a meal option at home.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Greetings from La La Land

No, it's not just a state of mind. It's an actual place, and I live there.


In the last 9 years, J and I have filed taxes in 4 different Western states. We were so into the nomad thing that we actually moved for funsies 3 times within the same apartment complex. We've lived in big cities, little cities, hot cities and cold cities.

LLL has been home for 3.5 years now, and it's bliss. It took me a year, but now I am in love, hot monkey love. Why?

A few weeks ago I pull out of a Starbucks drive thru and turn right into a parking lot aisle. I'm going in a straight line, 10mph, and not breaking any traffic laws. The lot is basically deserted BUT I'm not giving the road 100% of my attention. I'm trying to shove change back into my purse and reason with an angry toddler who *thinks* he wanted a designer coffee but didn't get one. Basically, a textbook case of those distracted drivers we all love to hate.

Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I see a guy make a quick U through some empty parking spaces from the next aisle over. We both slam on the breaks and avoid hitting each other by less than a foot. Even at 10mph, the force with which we both overcame the momentum of hunky steel made it pretty dramatic.

What happens? We exchange smiles, wave, wipe our foreheads and say "phew!" and go about our merry day. No horns, no rude gestures, no screaming match.

Ahhh...the serenity!

There is also no rat race in LLL. The Joneses? Yeah, they don't live here. Even though the ethnic mix is pretty diverse you don't hear about a lot of gang wars on the news. I'm not saying that it's utopia, just that we've all managed to learn to peacefully coexist.

Of course, there are a few downsides too.

(News crew knocks at door)


Good day Ma'am. Dan the Man with KLLL news. May we have a few moments of your time?

Sure! (Pats hair.)

We're here about your son, Soandso.

Oh, yes. (Beaming) He's a lovely boy.

(Clears throat) Actually, we're here to get your reaction to the news that he has just been arrested.

Oh? (Unconcerned) What for?

His 17th DUI in 12 months.

Oh. (Gazes lazily at the stars)

Do you have any comment?

(Completely unfazed, she shrugs)

Do you think that perhaps he might benefit from some jail time?

Hmmm... (Actually *thinks* about if for a moment; shakes head.) No, not really. He's got kids, you know.

Our research indicated that his exgirlfriend has a restraining order against him, and that he's never even met two of his children.


We understand that you have two other boys.

Oh yes! And a daughter too!

Your other sons are currently serving sentences for DUI as well.

Hi kids! If you're watching, I love you!

The state has been trying to crack down on DUI. Ignition Interlock (breathalyzer installed in vehicle) for first time offenders, increased sobriety checkpoints, multi million dollar media campaign and tougher jail sentences. What do you think will help?


God, Ma'am?

Yes, it's all God's will.

Another downside to LLL? My dear son, who is now 3 (in case you hadn't caught that one already) is absolutely positively dumbfounded by grass. Every time a neighbor invites us to see a new little patch of sod that they will have to fight like hell to keep alive, my son simply cannot help himself. He drops to his knees, lets out a little oooooh, and then proceeds to roll around in it, manically laughing until I drag him home an hour later kicking and screaming. Poor kid.

J is not nearly as enamored will LLL as I am. It's mostly brown year round, and we constantly fill our trash can with tumbleweed. (Growing up his family, who lived in another state, used to call where we live now BROWN TOWN. I'll get you a picture later.) His biggest gripe? It really bothers him that all the senior citizens at our neighborhood Denny's are packing heat on their walkers. He says that makes Denny's not so family friendly. And that local social etiquette says it's okay to leave your teeth on the table while you eat. Ya just can't please some folk!

In contrast to LLL, I grew up in a little town just outside of San Francisco. Surrounded by redwood forests, the ocean, the bay, the creeks, the perfect Mediterranean climate, I believe it must be one of the greenest, most lush places in the world. Tourism floods the area all year long. There is never a dull much to see and do!

But the downside? Yes, California = expensive. I could sell my 1 year old 1900+ sq foot 4 bedroom house with a big yard on a cul-de-sac go back to work so we'd be a double income family and *might* be able to afford the rent on a studio in the crack district. But that's not what bothers's the people. And so we will call it LE&B, for the Land of Excess and Bitchiness.

Is it really THAT bad? When my parents bought me this car so that J and I would stop risking our lives every day, the neighbors inquired whether or not is was sticking around. They were worried that a 6 year old car with 30K miles, friggin *perfect* brand new condition inside and out would drop their property values. Do you see the headlight washers? (It even had tushie toasters embedded in creamy leather seats, heated side mirrors, dual-climate control and 3 driving modes: economy, sport and winter. I so didn't deserve this.)

"Opal" My 1993 Volvo 850GLT, R.I.P.

Now, what I really wish we'd done is towed MY car back from Colorado to LE&B so that my parents could have turned it into a planter.

"The Hobo" My 1984 Volvo 240GL, R.I.P.

With 388K, every motor mount broken (for all 4 years that I owned it Jiffy Lube refused to change my oil); both sides of the front end smashed; no working brake lights; "Eat shit" written on the headliner in Sharpie by the previous owner; an automatic transmission that loved turn off the entire car randomly at 75mph on 1-25 in Denver; a sunroof that wouldn't open but would store water until it became a waterfall when you hit a red light. Power steering...gone, which I've been told makes it harder to drive than a car that didn't have it in the first place. Except for the turning off part, it came to us this way. With just over 200K miles, J's dad picked it up for us, and he was took us from A to B for nearly 200K miles. (He didn't even know that I had a Volvo fetish. Imagine the luck!) He felt bad for that we were trekking through snow and waiting for busses just to get groceries we could barely afford. Poor car, even I trashed it a little. You see, dumb bitch from California didn't know that while it was okay to scrape snow off the windshield, you shouldn't do the same ON THE PAINTED PARTS. Yup, first big storm, I scraped the clear coat and then some off the entire car. Luckily, because of the color, you couldn't see it unless you were close-ish.

And can I just tell you that I LOVED that car? I really did. It was my FIRST car, and it had OUR NAMES on the title. It gave us freedom and great memories.* I cried when they finally towed it away, even though I knew Opal was in California, junking up the 'hood, waiting for me to come get her and drive back to college.

Anywho, getting back to the LE&B but staying on the topic of cars, let me tell you how people treat each other when driving there. (Remember that story way back up at the top?)

In LE&B, you not only tailgate, you try to see how close you can come to causing an accident just because you're better than everyone else. The closer you come, the more at fault you are, the louder you yell, the more you cuss and gesture. Forget the horn...but lean on it anyway. Because, apparently, the more you act like a psycho asshole in the LE&B, the less at fault you actually are. If you're evil enough, you can even make it the other person's fault. Great, ain't it?

When visiting the LE&B with Cracker, my mom sends me out each morning around 9am to hang at Starbucks and just relax. What a kick ass mom I have! Except, the Starbucks I go to happens to be the second closest to the Golden Gate Bridge. Also, it's got great freeway access where as the other one doesn't.

This is one high volume shop, even at 9am. But man, can those baristas work magic! Walk in the door and get in line behind 20 other people, order the most complicated bitchy drink you can fathom and still walk back out the door 2 minutes later, drink in hand. (They really are that good.) But because it's the LE&B, all anyone can do is bitch. They stand in line with their shallow friends and complain loudly about the service. They even make threats like "maybe we should call the district office and tell them how horrible the service is here! I'm going to be late for work!" Just because it's a $4 cup of coffee doesn't mean it's made by genies you assholes. They do this even though they just walked in and the line is oh so fast; they do it until the nice person behind the counter smiles and says, "your usual is ready. That will be $4.68." Then, as they just now get the bright idea that maybe it's time to start fishing for their wallet, they bite back "Finally!" I take one look at their elaborate hair, their perfect makeup, the acrylic toenails, their designer clothes and the fact that it's already 9am and I know that when they are 30 minutes late it's not going to be because of the 2 minutes they spent at Starbucks, and I boil over. I cannot tolerate such rudeness when people are working their asses off AND accomplishing the impossible. I say something, because the baristas can't. And honestly, while it's absolutely verbal abuse, they're so used to it that they don't even roll their eyes or exchange questionable glances anmore. They don't even blink.

The LE&B is home to many celebrities, who I must say, know how to act in public even though almost no one else does. (Except for George Lucas, who is an ass. He came into every retail establishment I worked in and I had the displeasure of waiting on at least a dozen times. And the people who he sends to do his errands are asses too. Not only can you pick them out by their attitude, they TELL you who they're running bitch errands for.) Occasionally, there was some fun on my side of the counter. For example, Carlos Santana, who is always out playing chess in the square, came in a week after I started a bookstore job. "Hey, where do you have books on our neighbors?" In a rare moment where I was able to actually get my brain on board for the task at hand, my 16 year old self asked "uh, mean, like Canadians? or, like...Mexicans?" "No man, aliens! UFOs man!" "Sure..." Of course, my hip hop gansta rap self didn't know who he was, but I got filled in later.

The LE&B is also home to well known comedians. Dana Carvey lives in my dinky hometown, and Robin Williams in the next dinky town over. It's where they get their best material.

Dana Carvey was on Leno last week, which is why I'd waited to post this, hoping a transcript would pop up on the web. Still nothing. Instead, let me try to paraphrase, but it's all Dana, and there is no way to do him justice. He mentioned the county by name and described the unique subspecies of woman found there.

In a nutshell, he named those women at Starbucks! Specifically, the older ones. Cougars. You walk behind their perfectly manicured clad selves in skimpy tennis gear...they have no thighs, zero% body fat, big guns and huge perky boobs (that yes, you can see from the rear) and a healthy glow. These women...perfection! Then they turn around, they're 80+ years old, and for no good reason they roar and try to rip your eyes out with their claws.

Dana Carvey's a genius.

*We used to tempt fate by taking it on long road trips in the middle of the night. We even used to do it on the hood at 2am on the side of highway 287 on our way to Southern Colorado. Once a trucker came through on the desolate stretch and honked at us. Fun! (BTW, we were barely nekkid even though we had both had fabulous bodies back then. It's cold in Colorado!)

Coming Soon

Right now I have 5 drafts that are only minutes away from completion. (You know, it can be more fun to start a new one than finish the others.)

But instead of giving you new reading material I am going to go take a shower and put on something sexy from Target so that my man will be not be driven back out the door by my BO. And then, because I'm still trying to make up for the fact that my subconscious mind dreams of hurting him, I will also make dinner. You know, take the hot dogs out of the package and stick them on a plate so that he can get to grilling even before his shoes come off.

In the works: offing Barney. Just keep it on the down low.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

It's All Apples and M&Ms to me

Can you tell the difference between these two varieties of apples? The Amazing Cracker can!

Apple #1

Apple #2

Apple #1 is a Gala Apple. You can always find them at the grocery store, and they are one of the cheaper varieties.

Apple #2 is a Pink Lady apple. Most grocery stores carry them, but certain times of the year they are impossible to find. And because they are fam-damn-schmancier, even the pesticide laced ones are twice the price of any other apple in the store.

Why do I care?

Because every grocery store in a 50 mile radius of our home is out of apple #2. And even though I already knew better, I thought I'd try to sneak apple #1 past his nose again. You see, he decided months ago (the last time I tried to substitue) that he won't even kinda consider ingesting apple #1. But apple #2? I have to limit him to 5 a day or he'd never eat anything else.

So what happened? Tears. He took one look, not one bite, but ONE LOOK at apple #1 and started to cry.
"Me no eat dis apple! Me eat my apple! Mooooom-meeeeee!!"

This, for us, is the difference between 2 and 3. And if I'm scaring you, the Cracker at 2 was too easy and we knew it. Other parents had warned us: if they're easy at 2, they'll make up for it at 3. Same scenario 3 months ago? "No da dou." Yes, he really said "No thank you."

Now for the Devil candy portion of our post, just to even things out a little.

A scene between J and the Cracker a few weeks back in the throne room:

J: Good job! You peed on the potty!
C: Yeah me!
(J pulls out the treats.)
J: Now, in my left hand there are 3 M&Ms. See?
C: Seeeeeeee.
J: In my right hand there are five. See?
C: Yes!
J: Which hand do you want?
C: Dis one! (Points to left hand.)
J: Cracker, look. Left hand 3. One, two, three.
C: Otay!
J: Right hand 5. One, two, three, four, five. You with me here?
C: Yes! One, tdew, twee, orr, fife! (starting to twitch in anticipation)
J: Right! Now, which hand do you want?
C: Dis one! (Left hand again.) YEAH ME! (jumping up and down and clapping)
J: Are you sure? Are you absolutely sure?
C: Yes! Da dou Daddy!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Penis. There. I said it.

What the hell did our parents do without the internet? I mean, where else can you ask 1000 moms at 2am if it's normal for your 18 month old to spend hours a day humping anything he can lie down on? And that the condition only worsens when he's watching Teletubbies?

My most recent quest: I NEED 4T John Deere unpants. This will solve our one accident a day problem, right? Or the fact that he won't tell me he's going to lay a big fat turd until he's half way done?

But, unfortunately, all I found is that there is at least one other mom out there who is as dulusional as I am. Maybe when Google is finally forced to turn over their records the Department of Homeland Security they can let Hanes and Fruit of the Loom know for me that yes, there is a market for them. (Little + boys + underpants + farm + equipment is sure to raise the terrorism flag afterall.)

Shit, you can't even find a "gently used" pair to buy on Ebay, so I know they must not exist. How do you think he'd look in a thong instead?

In Cracker news...this morning he used the verb to have for the first time. How, you ask?

"Mommy...Daddy...I...have...a...wee!" Which of course launched him into an 8am discussion of everyone we know and whether or not they too have a magical something hanging down between their legs.

Okay, I pride myself on being liberal, but I just can't bring myself to encourage my 38 month old to call it a penis, at least not yet. Because at some point he's going to not only tell us, but the 92 year old woman carrying her oxygen tank around Target. Wee it is.

And as I asked my 2am know-it-all-internet mommy friends a few months back, what the heck do you call women parts? Let me tell you that opened a can of worms I didn't expect it to. Vagina? No. Wait, does that include the urethra? All I could do was point them in the direction of Oprah's favorite how-to-find-your-G-spot experts, the Berman sisters.

I did get one kinda okay idea. I don't want my son to go around thinking that he has a penis and girls have nothing. Best suggestion: hair. "Boys have a penis, girls have HAIR." But wait, from what my girls tell me, while most of them are shaving, their husbands are not.

Shoot me now.

Fast forward a few hours: I call my parents, who are shopping at Costco, and share with them our newest linguistic accomplishment. And then I launch into my whole spiel about the possible implications of saying penis in public. "Doesn't it seem a little weird to say penis in public? Even if it's a little kid? Mommy, my penis hurts. Mommy, my penis is itchy. Mommy, why is my penis so big right now? Penis! Penis! Penis! "

Five minutes in, my mom says, "Uh...honey...I really need for find your father. I can't get the phone off speaker."


Wow...I got my first comments

Two of them even! If complete strangers are actually reading then I guess it's time to finally share with some people I really admire.

My main reason for waiting is that I wanted to give this a chance to grow into whatever it was going to be. You still have to go back quite a few posts to get the full mix, but it's out there now.

Thanks guys!

Friday, June 02, 2006



(The real post is down below, I just had to blabber a little first.)

In case you can't tell, I've been a little whacko lately. J is stressed at work, and I am stressed at home = not the best combination. No, we're not fighting, just emotionally and physically exhausted.

A really BIG BOSS came to town, and this was only the second time they'd met. Their first meeting had been during a massive reorganization, complete with job reassignments for everyone and even a few layoffs. J is brutally honest, which is both one of his best and worst qualities. He'd been afraid ever since that first meeting that what he'd said could have been taken the wrong way. (It wasn't.) Then, a bunch of disgruntled customers came into town to bitch. They didn't want solutions or answers, just to give everyone they could a really hard time. J is not on the project, but he's been sort of a mentor to the person who is. And this person just graduated from college last December and is not comfortable with public speaking, especially with an angry mob. So one of the bosses asked J to drop in and lend a helping hand. And he tried. But they were determined not to leave happy, so it was a lost cause, and the solutions they need are on their end, not J's company. Frustrating all around.

Me? Keeping the Cracker happy lately has been a challenge. It's too hot to play outside for any length of time, which is where he longs to be, and my bag of indoor tricks is getting old. Our living conditions? I know that no one expects me to have a perfectly clean house with a toddler home all day, but it doesn't mean I don't want one. While I'm usually pretty proud of how well I manage (using naps and nighttime so that my son doesn't think I'm a maid who just also happends to be his mother) it just isn't enough lately. My house es un disastre total, the laundry is piling up to record levels, and I need to go shopping. Me time? Yeah, I need more of that, but I also long for more Cracker time, as if that were even possible. I put him in bed and then have to fight the urge to go back in and just spend a few more minutes.

Oh, did I mention that I'm PMSing? Big surprise there!

Which brings me to this post, which I've been meaning to write for a while now. I was semi-emotional before, but along with the pounds a few extra hormones stuck around after becoming a mother. J constantly teases me for finding the only heartwrenching story involving children on cable and upsetting myself. Yes, I am now one of those chicks who occasionally needs a good cry. Well, there was nothing on cable the other night so my mysterious mind stepped up to the plate. I share with you now in hopes that once it's out there in the world I can let go a little.


We were visiting preschool a few weeks ago, having a grand old time. The Cracker and I were building a corral of blocks for "orses." We'd gone over to the play kitchen too to bring them back some snacks, and I was amazed that out of all the fake food to pick from, he'd decided on apples. Had I told him that horses liked apples? I really don't think so, but his choice didn't seem arbritrary. He told me that horses eat hay and apples...period. "Do cows eat apples?" I asked. No, just horses. And in that moment I was just so proud of him, because his whole life is about learning, whether the information comes from us or not, and he's so excited to get up each day so that he can learn more. Totally natural, I know, but still truly inspiring.

I couldn't help myself. I leaned over, grabbed him, gave him a big fat kiss on the cheek and told him "YOU are the COOLEST kid I know! I love you!" His whole body melted into one big smile. You could tell he knew I was proud of him, and he was oh so proud of himself too.

Just then, another little boy came over. For some reason, I've always had a bad feeling about this kid, which makes me feel like the most rotten adult ever for making snap judgements about a four year old. He looks right at the Cracker, locks eyes with him, and says "He's not cool. He's stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid. You can't be my friend. I don't like you."

My sweet baby's face dropped. Did he really understand it, the weight of those words? God I hope not. But I know that to some extent he did; he understands everything. In an instant our moment was stolen. You could see it in his face, even his eyes. Bewilderment. Sadness. Shame.

What I really wanted to say was "You're the one that's not cool. Nobody likes you. You're ugly and you're mother dresses you funny. Fuck off." Instead I said, "That's not true! He's very cool. Besides, you haven't gotten a chance to know him. He's just a lot younger than you" BUT HE SURE COULD TEACH YOU A LOT ABOUT MANNERS. This kid is not the cutest kid ever IMHO, and I really do think his mother dresses him funny, but now I'm just being mean.

The school is a Co-op, a very hippy dippy one. Parents take turns working in the classroom assisting the teachers. And his mother was there. And she heard the whole thing.

She was mortified. She came running over and after apologizing to us, gave him a stern lecture, and sent him to go sit off by himself. I hadn't made the mother/child connection until then, and I never would have guessed that this sweet, delightful woman was taking that monster home with her.

That's the thing about parenting. Every time you think you know what's coming, you get caught off guard.

Stick him in a group of little girls he knows and my Cracker is the life of the party. He has lots of little friends and many seem to naturally look to him to set the tone. He's not the biggest and he's not the oldest. Gosh darnit, he's just fun to be around! But get him into a group of kids he doesn't know, especially if there are more than 4, and he's brutally shy. He stands back and won't play until invited, and even then reserved would be a dramatic understatement. So with school, J and I had anticapated that the challenge would be making him feel comfortable not only with a bunch of kids he didn't already know, but a bunch of kids who already knew each other. (It's an all ages class, where the older ones help the little ones, and the Cracker is one of only two new students next year in a class of 12.)

When the kids went out to play, one of the teachers pulled me aside.
"Is Cracker okay?"
"He seems okay now."
"Just so you know, normally we would have stepped in, but since his mother was here..."
"Oh, I know." No doubts here.
"He's having some issues right now. We're having a bit of a struggle steering him back to a glass half full state of mind." And I got the feeling from the way she said it that the poor kid is going through something at home.

No matter how hard you try, there are things that you just can't protect them from. And while it's a terrible feeling, that's the real world. I just want to postpone it for him as long as I possibly can. Imagine going through life with the confidence of a toddler: never being embarassed or ashamed or worried about what other people are thinking. How liberating it must be. They do what they do and like what they like because they have no idea that others may not agree with them.

Once that innocence is gone, it's gone forever.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

My Poor Husband

Last night I had a dream, or at least I was pretty sure a dream until J was able to confirm it. Yes, a dream, and I suspected as such, because in my dream I was skinny again. La la la la la...

In my dream I awake to find his hand on one of my...err...boobs. I pushed it away violently and said, in my most sarcastic, disgusted, crazy wife voice, "AS IF!"

When I asked J about it, he laughed. "No, that didn't happen." Then, after it had really sunk in, he looked a little panicked, but tried to keep the mood light.

"I guess you really have some issues with me."

Ugh. Bad wife!