Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Squeaky bra syndrome.....

I have this bra. Two of them, actually. I know they fit because I was fitted for them. And they fit well, holding in the girls and all their double-d glory, but the thing is..........they squeak! Now, I'm sure one of my bra cups would make a nice nest for a family of mice, but I've checked and there are no rodents in there. The underwire squeaks when I move and it's not only annoying but WEIRD! I mean, it's bad enough when it's totally quiet in a room and your digestive noises start going off, perhaps before lunch or after a big meal. Silence, then........grrroowwwllll! But people expect that. Everyone's stomach growls. Bra squeaks? Not so much.

I first noticed this a while ago and chalked it up to the underwire being "weird" or perhaps made of plastic instead of metal? I even googled "squeaky bra" online and would you believe there were several posts about it? So, this is not an isolated incident. The offending squeak comes from the side of the bra so every time my arms move, there's an irritating squeak that is loud enough for the person next to me to hear. I can't imagine how to resolve this. WD-40 would be messy.

It's a shame, really, because these two squeaky bras fit me best out of all the many bras I have. What is it with bras? You get fitted for them, buy them, bring them home, and after a while they just don't fit well anymore. I try to take care of them - I wash them and hang to dry. Right now three of my bras are hanging on the laundry room door, and I'm sure they're quite a sight. One might mistake them for a double baby hat for conjoined twins. The cups are certainly large enough to nestle a baby's head. They'd make a nice slingshot. For boulders. I guess I could pack them with my camping gear. They'd made a great canteen. I could put a half gallon in each of those puppies!

But, alas, bras are expensive and these actually fit. They lift and separate and have "comfort straps" that don't dig into my shoulders. They do the job, squeaks and all. So, I guess I'm going to have to deal with Victoria's Squeakret. Please don't poke me in the side of the boob to hear it. I'll gladly demonstrate. Squeak!

You know what sucks?

Vacuum cleaners. That's what sucks. And I'm not talking about the power to pull a belly button inside out when applied to an adorably chubby tummy. No, I'm talking about vacuum cleaners in general, and WHY is there not a good one out there?

Here's the thing. I have always used a Kenmore canister vacuum. Probably because my mom did. And maybe her mom before me. I don't know. It's a tradition. Anyway, my latest edition of the canister vac was starting to not suck so much. Which, of course, is a bad thing in a vacuum. That, plus there were a few spots with duct tape on them. I'm not sure why. I mean, growing up, our vacuum hose always had duct tape on it, so I guess I was just following tradition again. At some point, I obviously felt I needed to replace the vacuum. Because, in this house, with three dogs and four kids, daily vacuuming is an absolute necessity. Which is why we always have tumbleweeds of dog hair rolling around, because who's going to vacuum daily? HA!

So, I purchased a "Pet Lover's" vacuum. Great on pet hair, it said. Well, naturally anything would suck better than our current vacuum so for a few days I did think it was better. Never mind that it was an upright vacuum. I thought I'd break out of the mold and try something new. After a few days, the attachments were falling off the vacuum. Couldn't get them to stay put for anything. Plus, the thing weighed a couple of tons. I was dripping sweat pushing that behemoth around. Good workout, but not exactly the type I was looking for. So, I returned it (dog hair and all, sorry Fred Meyer!).

I purchased another vacuum. This one seemed a bit sturdier and was also a bagless, upright vacuum. I wasn't too worried about liking it because I didn't plan to use it. I put my children in charge of that chore. And they seemed to think it was fine. Except instead of picking up bits of debris off the hardwood floors, it was more likely to shoot them out at warp speed, striking the unsuspecting vacuum-er in the shins. And it was heavy. Heavier than the old vacuum. About the weight of a Volkswagon Beetle. And that bagless business? I'm here to tell you, it's GROSS.

So, today I decided to use the old canister vacuum to clean things up around here. Only as soon as I started running it, the aroma of dirty dog wafted into the air. This is a problem. I even purchased little "scent tabs" to go inside the bags, which disperse "spring fresh" scent all over the house as I vacuum. You can practically see the flowers and butterflies twirling from the vacuum as you run it. Not really. Because nothing is a match for "dirty dog". That stench out-stinks them all! So, I've been wondering how to solve the problem and today I thought I should vacuum the canister vac with the upright vac and just give it a good cleaning.

I did discover that the HEPA fliter in the canister vac had never been changed. Since I bought it. A few years ago. Oops. I changed one filter, I just didn't know there were two! Perhaps changing THAT bugger would help eliminate the dog smell? Of course, that necessitates a trip to Sears to purchase the filter, which I did not have time for today, so I decided to just use the upright, bagless, heavy, icky vacuum.

But first! First, I had to empty the dust canister. After about a half hour of looking all over and cursing the beast, I finally figured out how to dislodge the dust container. I took it to the garbage, armed with a plastic grocery bag, to shake loose the dust. What a JOKE! I felt like "Pig Pen" of Charlie Brown comic fame. I stood there, in a cloud of dust, coughing and waving my arms to no avail (who was going to rescue me in the closed garage?). I shook and shook and finally rammed a flattened paper towel tube - the only thing I could access with one arm out of the recycle bin while I was gasping for breath - into the dust container and had to pick and drag all the dog hair crap out of there. What a disgusting chore!

Then, when it was all finished, I realized that there was a micro-fine layer of dust all over the container parts, plus about a million tiny holes were clogged with dust. What to do? I attempted to wipe it off with a damp paper towel. Only there weren't any paper towels, because no one in this house except me has the amazing super powers required to change the roll. So, I grabbed the closest thing - a napkin - and attempted to wipe off the dust container. But it did no good. The thing was covered and no amount of wiping would dislodge the dust.

At this point, covered in dust with both vacuum cleaners out of commission, I decided it was a sign from God that I should never do housework again and I grabbed a sweet snack and headed up to my trusty old computer to blog about it. See? I feel better already. And that does not suck.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A lot of hot air........

While we were on a road trip this past week, I noticed a trouble light coming on in the car. I looked it up in the manual, which, helpfully, said "call service". The light apparently indicated a problem with the passenger-side air bag, according to the electronic diagnostic process that cost me $114 when I took it to the dealer. They did not know the reason for this, but recommended replacing the airbag and wiring harness - to the tune of $2600! I paid the diagnostic fee and took the car home. Who has $2600 to fix their car? Not me. My son said "would you rather be safe or sorry?" I said I'd rather be safe, but for a reduced price! My daughter, who sat in the front on the way home, said "I'm gonna die!" and I said, "Well, that's why we had more than one kid!" Just kidding.

But $2600? We've been saving for a new (used) car for the kids and only have $1500 saved so far. Even if we used that money we'd have to come up with another $1100 and there might not even be anything wrong with the air bag. The dealer could not explain to me WHY this might be happening or even give me a reason why it's EVER happened. So, who's to say anything is really wrong? What if they pull the whole dash off to replace a perfectly fine air bag? I guess I'll take my chances. The car can't be any more dangerous than a car without an air bag and plenty of those are driving around every single day.

Still, it sucks. Now, I know I need to make a costly repair to my car if I want it to be perfectly safe. Kind of like when I drove my old minivan and I realized that once my kids were tall enough, the lack of headrests was dangerous to their young necks in the event of an accident. My daughter drives that van now, and I never had headrests installed. I wonder how much THAT would cost? I guess we'll just drive as safely as possible and hope for the best. One would think a safety feature that is problematic on a car would be backed up by the manufacturer. Or at least not so expensive to fix!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Quick and easy, super cheesy......

Ok, so this is not a food blog, but last night I needed to make dinner fast because it was already 8 p.m. and people were "starving" so I thought I'd share this recipe. I had spent three hours cutting up fruits and veggies, putting groceries away, making vegetable soup, organizing food, and I needed something quick. So, here's what I did: I took a package of tater tots, a package of frozen meatballs, a can of cream of mushroom soup and a bag of shredded cheddar. I mixed it all up (added one can of milk to the cream of mushroom soup) and baked it at 375 for about 40 minutes. YUM! It was super cheesy and good. I'm sure it was really bad for us and had five bazillion calories, but the pan was nearly scraped clean. I had the leftovers for breakfast. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Showing up and stuff..........

This is just a little blog post about the importance of showing up. I remember reading an article once, about Bill Gates' father, Bill Sr., and he stressed the importance of showing up. I believe in the combined power of men and women who "show up" for the people they love and the causes they believe in ~ Bill Gates, Sr.  This quote comes from an article about his book, aptly named, "Showing Up For Life".  I have not read the book, but from interviews and articles I've read about it, the takeaway message is that it's important to just show up for life. Show up for the game or dance recital or award presentation or benefit concert or charity race. Show up when the family is getting together. Show up when your friends meet for coffee or dinner. Show up to help your friend move to a new place. Show up when you say you will, and when you should. 

Too often, we say we'll "get together soon" with someone and "soon" turns into ten years in the blink of an eye. Or we say we'll help at the charity car wash, but the day turns out sunny and we suddenly have other plans. Or we'll walk the 5K race, but it rains or snows and we decide to stay under the covers at home. Or we say we'll "stop by" when the family gathers, but decide that hanging out with our friends is more important. And before you know it, all those lost opportunities and chances to just BE with the ones you love and care about are gone. People move far away. People die. People just stop wanting to be a part of your life because you never show up. 

Worse, if you say you'll show up, and don't, people no longer trust you. You become one of those permanent "maybes" and eventually you're just forgotten. It hearkens back to my blog post about being the "do-er, the planner". Those who do and never receive eventually stop doing. 

And think of what you're missing. Sure, a family dinner might sound boring to you, but you'll miss the baby's sweet laugh or the hilarious joke, or the homemade ice cream. Or the 5K race in the rain might seem like misery but you'll miss the joy of crossing the finish line soaking wet with thousands of other participants and the hot coffee afterward. Maybe you just don't feel like going out with your friends, but you can never get back those couple of hours of laughing and that might be just what you needed. 

Sure, we can't do everything or be in every place at once. But if you say you'll show up, then show up. Establish your priorities and give 100% to those. It's ok to give yourself a break now and then and just NOT do what you'd planned. But don't make it a habit. Because when you don't show up, you miss out. And you can never get that time back. Life is funny like that. It keeps marching on...............

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Celebrate good times, c'mon!

I have a pet peeve. Well, I have lots of pet peeves, but this particular one I was discussing with a friend recently, so I thought I'd blog about it. And the pet peeve is this: life is too short to not celebrate. What I mean is, you don't need a special occasion or reason to celebrate. And by celebrate, I mean, get together with friends and family and just BE together, for fun, food, an adventure, whatever. We're big on celebrating here. Sure, we do it up big for birthdays and holidays, but we also celebrate the every day - a spontaneous BBQ with the neighbors, a last-minute coffee date with friends, an open door policy that means anyone can stop by, anytime, and just hang out. It's not a big deal, nor does it cost a lot of time, money, or effort. The simplest thing - a weeknight dinner, stopping by with a coffee treat, or s'mores around the fire pit with whomever stops by - is what bonds people and makes memories. And when it's all said and done, your memories are all you really take with you.

But the problem is, so many people balk at "celebrating". Because it's too much trouble to send out invites. Because they don't want to clean the house. Because people might mess up the house. Because the thought of a bunch of teenagers running rampant through the house strikes fear in their hearts. Because they don't want to  feed the crowd. Because they want to paint first, or get new carpets, or window treatments, or re-landscape the backyard. Because, because, because.........and before you know it, they never celebrate. So, those of us who DO celebrate become the hosts. Always. Every. Single. Time. Or we're the ones who coordinate the coffee dates, or dinners out, or camping trips or softball party, or book club. And after a while, it's a little defeating to be the person doing all the work in this one-sided relationship of friends.

My friend was commenting on how she's put a lot of effort into getting a group together, only to realize she's the ONLY one ever doing it. And, though the participants of the group come and have a good time and seem to value the friendship, they never reciprocate. They are attendees but never hosts. They happily go on the group outing but never coordinate it. They show up but they don't put up. And the sad thing is, the do-ers, the hosts, the coordinators, eventually give up, thinking the friendship must not be valued enough to keep working on it in their one-sided attempt to celebrate life.

Now, speaking as a person who is the do-er, the host, the coordinator, I'm not going to change my ways anytime soon. But I'm here to tell you, it's NOT THAT HARD! Who cares if your house is perfect or you have your party catered or you can't afford to participate in a group vacation to an expensive locale? That's not what it's about. Celebrating life is about being with the people you love. It does not matter the venue or the menu. No matter the dress or success. People who want to celebrate the big and small events of life really don't care where you live or how much money you make.

So, why not try it? I know people who have never hosted a child's birthday party in their house for fear of the mess. Do it! Kids are amazing, lovable, funny creatures that will have you in stitches. Yes, there might be a spill or two and a few tears, but you'd be amazed at how well-behaved and sweet kids can be in a party setting. Never once, in all the 60 plus birthday parties I've hosted over the years since I've had kids has their been an irrevocable accident or horrible disaster. That doesn't count the many Halloween parties, Christmas gatherings, St. Patrick's day feasts and Fourth of July barbeques we've had as well. Not one disaster. Not even a broken plate. And the way I see it? If something gets broken while celebrating, well, then, that's life.

That's not to say I don't value my possessions or my home. I do! I love my house and all the things in it (well, except for the tumbleweeds of dog hair). But I've experienced nothing but respect when it comes to visitors. Sure there was the one time my daughter's friends threw Cheerios at each other and I found them for DAYS in the couch crevices, and the time someone spilled orange pop on my digital photo frame (it wiped right off and didn't damage the frame at all). There was once wax spilled on the carpet from a tipped candle (an iron and a paper bag = miracle cure!). But really? The worst part of having a party, or having friends over, or any type of hosting is the dishes, the vacuuming and the wiping off of tables afterward. Which takes, oh, about a half hour. Less if everyone pitches in.

So, I challenge you. Not the hosting type? Not the coordinator? Have a friend you've been "meaning to get together with"? Stop being the show-upper and be the do-er! Call that friend and set a specific time and day to meet for coffee or lunch. Have your kids' next birthday party at home (oh, did I mention how much money you can save?). Invite the neighbors over for dinner (make lasagna and a salad, pick up a loaf of pre-made garlic bread and open a bottle of wine - simple!). It doesn't have to be fancy, expensive, or fussy. Just do it.

And don't let those friendships slip away because you're "too busy" to get together. Stop sending the message that you'll "get together someday" when you KNOW it's never going to happen unless one of you picks up the phone, or sends the Facebook message or texts. Be the one who does it. And next time you find yourself suddenly kid-free, as I did the other night for a couple of hours, don't do what I did and think "man, I'd love to go out and have a drink but who'd be available on such short notice?" Instead of driving home and wishing you'd gone out, as I did, just call up some friends. You'd be surprised to find out, as I did, that someone WAS available and really needing to have a little break too. Next time I won't second-guess. I'll just go. Because life's too short. Just do it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mom, I'm so bored!

Today we had a chronic case of the "mom, I'm so bored" syndrome that signifies midsummer. Although the kids have not been out of school a month yet. Still, Harrison was so bored and restless this afternoon. I signed him up to volunteer at vacation bible school. Thought that would keep him occupied this week. Nope. That just gets him up earlier so he has more time to complain about how bored he is all day. After VBS, we stopped by 7-11 to get our free Slurpees and it all went downhill from there. He wanted to "do something" and "go somewhere" but would not give me any suggestions. He said he wanted a friend over and then said he didn't. It was a perfect example of how our kids expect us to orchestrate their every moment. And of how, when you are one of four siblings, and none of those other siblings are around, you don't know what to do with yourself!

Our four kids have been scattered in different directions all summer. Arlie in Spokane, Hannah in California, Hayley working and on her own schedule now that she's graduated. Even Harrison was gone for a weekend over the 4th. So, it's been rare this past week or so to have more than two of them in the same place at the same time. There is no "routine" or schedule to base our days and hours on, so everyone is a little lost. It's all well and good when there's something fun going on, but when it's idle time....well, that's another story.

As Harrison flopped on the couch and bounced around from watching a movie, to being on Facebook, to playing the guitar, he repeatedly shot down all of my suggestions of things to do. I offered up a trip to the mall, a bike ride, a walk, baking something, making playdough, painting, making a video......nothing. Finally, after posting on Facebook, my plea was answered by another kid who invited him over. And all was well. Now, he's brought his friend over to our house, they've built a fire, and are having a grand old time. Why was this so difficult? Why did it take from noon to 5 p.m. to figure out "what to do"?

I don't want to get on my soapbox, but what the hell? When I was his age, I spent every waking minute making the most of my summer. Granted we didn't have Facebook, the internet, cell phones and other distractions, but we had FUN. Mornings were spent getting together with friends and making an elaborate plan for the day. We went exploring, played games involving scores of kids, had spontaneous water fights, and ended every night playing Kick the Can in the street. We would lay in the street, one kid after another, lined up like cars, and let my younger brother jump over us on his bike! I mean, what were we thinking? What if that back tire came down on one of our stomachs? As our parents would say "well, that'll teach you to do something stupid like that!"

I had high hopes that this summer would be different. The last day of school a bunch of neighborhood boys got into a project - building a fort. They gathered tools, scrap wood and spent two entire days working and arguing over plans, hammering nails, and trying to make the "best fort ever". Well, it all fell apart when someone tore down their work in the night and they couldn't agree on how to fix it. So much for that adventure!

One thing I know for sure - when I was young, my parents didn't know where we were half the time, and that was just fine on all sides. We knew how and when to get home if we wanted to eat, or needed to be home for dinner. And our parents knew they could probably just yell for us and we'd be within hearing distance. And if not? A quick phone call to another parent and THEY could yell for us. The point is, we were outside most of the day and when we were inside, we were usually only there long enough to eat lunch or dinner and head back out. I don't remember asking my mom what I could/should do. I'm certain I uttered the "I'm bored" more than a few times, but I really don't remember her rearranging her schedule to provide entertainment for the kids. Plus, if you were bored enough, you might get an extra chore to do. And who wanted that?

Sometimes it just feels really draining to have to orchestrate every minute of our kids' lives. So, I don't. And then.....when left to their own devices, they will inevitably choose one of these activities: Facebook, cell phone, internet, watching TV. Sad, huh? They don't get bored enough to spend time finding things to do. Or things to get in trouble for. Or perhaps something that'll "take an eye out". There's just no adventure anymore. I mean, what's summer without playing "Charlie's Angels" with the neighborhood kids, using a hose nozzle as a "gun" and carting the wounded out on the toy box lid? Ok, I'm dating myself, but you get my point. My twelve year old boy should be outside, always slightly sunburned, with skinned knees, and end each day so dirty I have to force him into the shower. Instead he remains neat as a pin, nary a hair on his Justin Bieber'd head disturbed and I can't remember the last time he needed a Band-Aid for any battle wound.

I did finally succumb to his pleas of boredom today and when he asked if he could pop the balloons from a recent party, I let him hold a lighter to them until they popped. Yeah, a lighter. Fire. IN the house. Cool.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Get up and go.........

I have so much to do today and it's almost 1 p.m. and I'm still sitting in my sweaty workout clothes, blogging, instead of getting showered and ready to head out the door. Why is that? Why, when I have all the time in the world (seemingly) do I procrastinate and find a million other things to do and when I'm pressed for time, I try to cram way too much into the short window of opportunity and end up feeling less than accomplished? These are the thoughts that haunt me.......

But. I did do a treadmill workout, so I think that should almost give me a free pass to goof off the rest of the day. Because it was challenging.

However, there is a party tonight. My newly-minted adult "child" will be hosting her passel of friends and that requires a lot of pizza making, snack procurement, and the requested ice cream cake (did I order one in advance? I did not. She told me yesterday she wanted one!). Last year, she also wanted an ice cream cake (again, a last-minute request) and I sent Jeff to Dairy Queen to procure "anything". He took that quite literally, and feeling so proud of himself for finding an ice cream cake that said "Happy Birthday" on it, immediately plucked it up and brought it home. Only it was decorated all tribal-like with scary-looking Tikis on it and her party was a 20's theme. Thank God I had some leftover chocolate frosting with which I covered the offending Tiki decor. Whew. That is why, this year, I will be the one buying the ice cream cake (although at this late hour, I'm not expecting much and should probably buy some emergency frosting just in case).

I also have to return a bunch of stuff today. That is my least favorite thing to do. Jeff says I "must" like returning things because I'm willing to buy clothes without trying them on first. I usually only do that when I'm pressed for time, and it inevitably leads to a few returns. But the real bugger is that I have to return items to FIVE different stores and I HATE driving all over the place and standing in long lines just to return one or two items. Bleh. But I must. I need that money back in my checking account so I can buy more stuff!

Getting a late start just messes everything up. I know I'll be frantically trying to throw together pizzas, get snacks out, clean up whatever doesn't get cleaned before I get home, and basically being a food producing machine while a crowd of hungry teenagers mows their way through my kitchen. Ah well, I love 'em!

So, what gets you off track? What makes you procrastinate? I've accomplished a lot this morning, actually, but nothing of what I set out to do. My life is a series of unfinished projects. I get distracted by switching the laundry around, folding towels, paying bills, Facebook, checking my email, reading other people's blogs, uploading pictures, going through a random drawer or closet and many things to get distracted by. I almost never watch TV and I don't play any online games. I know those are some biggies in the distraction world. I find the Nike adage "Just Do It" to be exceedingly difficult sometimes. But, here I go! Watch me......I'm going.......really I am...........

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Whaaatttt?? I have an adult?

My daughter is 18 today. Now, when people ask me "how many kids do you have?" do I say "three kids and one adult?" Because that's what she is. An ADULT! How is this possible?

Wasn't it just yesterday that I was in labor? With no drugs? For several hours? Yelling "I don't care who gets this baby out, go get that janitor in the hall, just GET IT OUT!" Did I mention, NO drugs? I did? Ok. I'm pretty sure it was just a few days ago when my baby, hearing her new sister cry shouted "No, Hannah! It's MY turn to cry!". Wasn't it just a few months ago that my little four year old girl had her first taste of the spotlight when she danced to "Walking on Sunshine" in a bright orange and pink dance costume? Wasn't it only last year my third grader won a citizenship award? Just a few years ago that she played the violin in the junior high orchestra? Just yesterday when she received her diploma? (Well, that was less than a month ago, but you get the idea).

Where does the time go? It's filled up with the mundane - doctor, dentist and orthodontist appointments, broken arms, homework, well as the celebratory and significant - birthdays, holidays, awards, celebrations, vacations. And somewhere in between, I was given 18 short years to teach her everything she needs to know before being kicked out of the nest into adventures of her own. College looms around the corner and before I know it, she will leave this house and whether she returns will be entirely up to her. Who am I kidding? She'll need money.

It's hard to fathom that 18 years ago I was awaiting the birth of my first child, anxious, excited and totally unprepared for what was to become the single most defining moment of my life. What's even scarier to think about is that I'm 18 years older now. (That's impossible, I'm still so YOUNG! Right? Right?)

I Googled "what can you do at age 18?" and here are some of the things I discovered. She can:
- vote
- join the military
- get convicted as an adult
- enter into a contract
- get married
- buy tobacco
- get a piercing
- get a tattoo
- change her name
- buy spray paint
- buy a lottery ticket
- rent a hotel room
- rent an apartment
- get a job

None of those sound particularly appealing. And why rush things? I've devised my own list. Hayley, my adult daughter, now that you are 18 you can:
- still watch iCarly and Victorious
- do arts and crafts
- eat macaroni and cheese
- collect Pillow Pets
- buy sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and glitter glue pens
- buy "big Gatorade"
- make cupcakes
- have movie marathons
- get a job

About that job.........she got one! Sure, she's wearing a visor and an ill-fitting polo shirt and smells like onions and salami when she comes home, but she's employed and earning her own paycheck. Perhaps one day soon, she will buy ME lunch (or coffee, or shoes, or braces, or a car?). One can hope.......

So, now our house is equally divided: three adults and three kids. Sounds about right. Balance.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Hey, world! Breaking news! Summer came to Seattle and it's only July 2. It's also the most amazing Jeff Moore's birthday, so that makes it even better. I was laying out in the sun (remember that ? "Laying out"? That's what we called it before "tanning" came into fashion) all greased up with the most amazing smelling Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen (again, remember when we used tanning oil? This was similar but with the added protection of sunscreen) and started thinking about how easy summer is. That, after all, is really why we all love summer so much. Not because it's warm and we're on vacation and the barbeques are fired up. No, it's because summer is just so damn easy. For instance:

- in summer time, don't bother bathing your kids. No, instead, once a day, lay out a large tarp across the grass. Run the hose so it covers the tarp with fresh, cool water. Unwrap a few bars of soap (Irish Spring works great and has that uber clean scent all moms love). Have each kid do the slip and slide thing down the tarp and when they're nice and wet, give 'em a bar of soap and let them lather themselves up. Repeat madcap slide down tarp. Repeat. Repeat. They will be so squeaky clean, you'll WISH you smelled sweat and dirt instead of the luck 'o the Irish.
- Otter pops with a side dish of watermelon is a perfectly acceptable summertime dinner (or lunch or breakfast).
- Don't bother exercising in the summer. Really, it's way too hot out, you don't want to risk heatstroke. And in some parts of the country, you'll be sweating like a pig from sunup to sundown so you'll be burning fat like nobody's business.
- Save money! Stock up on Popsicles, Drumsticks, Eskimo Pies and Push Pops. When the kids hear the sinister tune of the ice cream man, save yourself four bucks a pop and open the freezer instead. Offer the kids a nice ice cream sandwich purchased 2 pkgs for $5 with a 50 cents off coupon. Bargain!
- Sleep naked, covered by just a sheet (preferably washed in Tide and dried with a Downy sheet for that fresh, clean scent), with a fan running. Saves on laundry!
- Cocktail hour is for everyone! While the little darlings mix up your margarita (blended, salted rim, please!), set out a pitcher of water, a variety of Kool-Aid packets (10 for a dollar!) and a big ole bag of sugar and let them mix their own concoctions.
- Throw caution to the wind and let the kids tan on the roof with their friends. The dozen or so beach towels they leave up there will give your house a quaint ghetto touch.
- Water! Water is the essence of summer. Swimming in it, drinking a cool glass of it, pouring an ice cold bucket of water over the unsuspecting head of a neighbor. Pure bliss.
- Jump on the grilling sensation! Everything can be grilled these days. Not just for steaks and burgers, grills can turn out grilled peaches, "hobo" packets of beef stew, even pizza! Try some new variations - grilled smoothies, grilled mac and cheese, even grilled oatmeal! The grill is your friend!
- When it's hot out, let's all be a little more forgiving of extra flesh being exposed. However, please do not bare your tummy unless it's taut as a drum, and keep bra-strap peekage to a minimum. Doughy, white flesh is one of the true tragedies of summer.
- Never rise too fast from a wooden chair when wearing shorts (yeeouch!)

Yes, summer is FUN! Enjoy it while you can, for tomorrow it may rain. (No, really, it's supposed to rain tomorrow).

Pooping at Target..........

Yes, I said pooping. So, as the title suggests, this blog post will be about poop. And if you don't like talking about bodily functions, then just skip it. If you think bodily functions are hilariously funny and are not so uptight as to pretend you don't poop, then read on, my friend!

Is it just me or is there something in the air at Target that makes one need to use the facilities for that most dreaded chore? In the most dreaded place, a public restroom? Perhaps it's the smell of popcorn that triggers the response, or maybe it's walking past the teeny-weeny bikinis that makes one want to dispose of that "five pounds of fecal waste" the infomercial for colon cleansing talks about? I don't know but every time I go to Target, whatever time of day, I suddenly need to GO. And, like Stifler, of "American Pie" fame, I will go to great lengths to avoid doing the big P anywhere but home.

But I walk through the garish red automatic doors of Target, and while all is well for a few minutes, it never fails that I have to leave my half-full shopping cart somewhere near the restroom door, hoping no one decides to steal the one pair of yoga pants that fit me, or the assorted items from the dollar bin that I didn't need, and head into the stall for a little "quality time". And who wants to do that in public? NO ONE! People go to great lengths to avoid the embarrassing public poop. There's the "courtesy cough" to cover up any noise, the "courtesy flush" to minimize air time of the offending product, even the hasty retreat from the restroom (who's gonna know it was you?) to avoid the walk of shame.

Public pooping is just downright inconvenient. I envy the people who have their "necessaries" on a schedule so that there are no surprise Target attacks. My husband would argue that a daily dose of fiber therapy would  help that. Yet, somehow, drinking a thick mixture of orange-flavored goo every morning is just not my idea of a wake-up call. So, I continue to gamble with the possibility that maybe Target won't have that, ahem, effect on me. It may be genetic, however, as I appear to have passed a recessive gene on to my children. Because on a recent shopping trip to Target, one of them (I will not say who to avoid mortification) had the same problem.

Ironically, this happens at Wal-Mart too. Maybe spending money just scares the crap out of me. (Disclaimer: this blog is "out there" even for me. Still, I laughed. And it's also 2:48 in the morning so I take no responsibility for my sleep-blogging).