Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Things we do differently when the cat's away.....

I'm not particularly fond of the times when my husband is away on a trip. For one thing, I have to take care of the animals. Which I don't like much. Especially when "taking care of them" means getting up close and personal with their stomach contents or, worse, the contents of their backsides. Ew. Also, I have to make the kids' lunches every night, not just on some nights, and I have to do all the driving to and fro, and is it really necessary to make dinner for the kids EVERY night? Sigh. That's one thing we do differently when the cat's away. Hm. Jeff is not much like a cat. I'll call him the Catfish. There, a fishing reference. More appropriate.

Usually when the Catfish is away, I enjoy my "alone" time and the novelty of "just mom and the kids". But this time I'm sick. Like sicker than a dog sick. Well, not sick like that because my dogs just barf all the time, so I'm not THAT kind of sick. But I have a stuffed-up head, a sore throat that would give strep the willies, coughing so hard I'm dizzy, and the requisite exhaustion that comes along with all of that. I have not missed a day of work (not sure if that's a feather in my cap, or just really stupid, because I shudder to imagine how many people I might have exposed to this illness). I have not missed an appointment or other obligation with the kids. But on Monday I was really tired. Arlie and I made an executive decision to skip dance class. Right after we made an executive decision to stop at Safeway on our way home from the airport to pick up a chicken dinner. And while we were there, we spotted a new Little Debbie product (basically just Ding-Dongs) and I said "do we need to try these?" and Arlie replied "We do! And dad's not home!" Into the cart!

Today was another tiring day. I actually fell asleep in the afternoon due to sheer exhaustion from being sick for almost three weeks. I told Hannah what to make for dinner (and she did it - bonus!). But before that, I had stopped at Target and bought toilet paper (because of course we ran out) and there was a lovely coconut cream pie on sale. So, I purchased it for our "Dessert and Dance Moms" night on Tuesdays. It's sort of a new tradition - watch a trash TV show and have a dessert together once a week. Catfish does not understand our obsession with this show (and frankly, neither do we) but it's the point of just being together for an hour.

Tonight on the phone, Catfish yawned boredly (is boredly a word? It is now!) as I spoke of my health woes. Of course I could not see him yawn, but it was implied in his voice. Then, he proceeded to tell me that if I had any type of bacterial infection, the z-pac I just finished would have made me feel "significantly better" within 24 hours and that since it didn't, what I was dealing with was a virus and I certainly did not need the second antibiotic the doctor was ordering. Well, thank you Dr. Catfish. But I'm pretty sure if HE were home alone, sick and the only one in charge, he'd sure as hell want something to make HIM feel better. He even went so far as to say that eventually I would get better from the virus and it "would be a shame" to give the augmentin credit. Certainly. A shame. And to that I say, STFU. Because I'm bustin' my ass over here AND doing it while sick and if it were him, he'd have taken a sick day off work and SLEPT ALL DAY! Preposterous. Show me a mom who ever does that and I'll show you.....well, ok, maybe I'd show you a healthy person, but still. The point is, there are no sick days when you're a mom. Or when you don't have the kind of job where you are required to get a sub when you're gone.

I'm joining Catfish in just over a day and I surely do hope to enjoy some sun in California. I just hope I'm well enough to enjoy it. Because at this point, sleeping all day DOES sound like a vacation to me. That, and an ibuprofen cocktail. Salud!

Monday, March 19, 2012

The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day........

Today I woke up at 6:15 a.m. after having slept only four hours. I lay in bed until 7, at which time I had JUST enough time to get ready for work and dash out the door. Just as I was leaving my room, I received this text: There is dog crap and barf downstairs. I had to leave. This, from my son, who DID have a bus to catch. But still. So, I went downstairs, abandoning any notion that I might have time to grab something quick to eat on the way out the door, and instead set to cleaning up a trail of dog turds and two large spots of dog vomit on the carpet (always the carpet, never the hardwood). I could not find ANY type of carpet cleaner so I quickly decided to make my own using vinegar, baking soda, and dish soap. Only I mixed it in a tiny bowl. So, of course, the volcano effect happened and the mixture poured all over the counter, and dripped down the cabinet fronts. I hastily wiped it up and scooped the mixture into paper towels to use as carpet cleaner. I did a cursory job of scrubbing the carpet, grabbed my purse and lunch, washed my hands and left - 20 minutes late. No breakfast, but thank God for the nice people who sometimes put treats in the staff room, I grabbed a muffin that had been there since the Friday before, and a clementine.

After work, I had to take my daughter, her boyfriend, and a friend to the airport, and pick up my other daughter from the airport. I had JUST enough time to dash home from work and collect them. As they loaded the car, I took an opportunity to pee (my first that morning), and when I got upstairs, I found cat poop on the floor. I yelled through the closed door of the kids' bathroom where my daughter was taking a shower "there's cat poop on the floor! I have to go!" and ran back downstairs to get in the car. Only, I realized the dog was missing. I went back in to search for the dog, finding him nowhere in the house. He had obviously taken our rushed situation as an opportunistic time to escape and wander the neighborhood. He came back after a short search and I locked him in the kennel. Stupid dog.

I went to the airport, dropped off kids, picked kid up, stopped at Safeway to pick up a chicken dinner, fed everyone, went to a dress rehearsal, took the kids to Dairy Queen, came home, made lunches, picked the chicken clean and made chicken salad, boiled the bones for broth, cleaned up the counters, paid bills, canceled a dentist appointment, made a list for tomorrow, helped kid register for next year's classes, and now I'm finally tucking in with my computer. Did I mention my husband is out of town? I just want sleep. And to have no pets. And a snack.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

First world problems........

Today I am reminded of some "first world problems" we all face. You know, those niggling little annoyances that add up to big drama among us privileged to live in the U.S. of A. Here are some examples from my own home (disclaimer: while most of these come from my offspring, a few are mine, all mine):

- "I need a new phone, seriously! Only half my keys light up and it's just CRAP! I NEED an iPhone!"
- "My fastest game of solitaire is 58 seconds."
- "My phone is SO SLOW! Seriously, I have, like, NO signal!"
- My son, no kidding, just pulled up a stool next to his charging iPad so he could keep using it while he waits for it to charge.
- "Where's the remote?" followed by a furtive half-hour search, while missing the show they want to watch because no one will walk up to the TV to change the channel manually.
- A thirty minute argument over doing the dishes (which would have taken 15 minutes to do).
- "If you get me an iPhone, then all the apps I buy will help starving children in Africa" (HUH?)
- "I need a smartphone so I have WiFi on car trips!"
- You know that iCarly episode where that stupid dummy puppet from Victorious interviews all the iCarly characters and shows their bloopers? I've watched that about a dozen times MYSELF, so my kids have watched it more - why? Because we have On Demand and they can. P.S. it's not even funny.
- Dog barks downstairs. Mom texts several kids to "let the dog out". Mom hears from downstairs all the kids yelling at each other to "let the dog out!" No one lets dog out. Dog pees on floor. Rinse. Repeat.
- Since we're so lucky to have things like toilet paper and Pop Tarts, is it any wonder that first world people don't bother to put the toilet paper on the roll thingy or throw the Pop Tart box in the garbage when it's empty instead of leaving it on the pantry floor?
- Hearing people bitch over $3 for a drink at the theatre where they just paid $50 per ticket to see a show.

True story.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Teatro Zinzanni!!!

Jeff surprised us tonight with tickets to Teatro Zinzanni! I LOVE THIS SHOW and I can't say enough about how amazing it is. You really MUST see it. I've seen it in Seattle four times and in San Francisco once and I can honestly say it's the most entertainment you'll get in a show - so many incredible acts and a fabulous dinner to boot.

The story behind the story is this: Jeff and I saw a show in San Francisco featuring Christine Deaver. Now, this woman is HILARIOUS! She was so entertaining, and stopped by our table several times, referring to Jeff as her "little nugget". We took pictures after and when I returned home, I looked her up on Facebook. I friended her. She accepted my friend request. I enjoyed reading her posts about her life on and off the show.

Then, several weeks ago, Arlie took some pictures of the sunset one evening from our house. They were taken out a window, but they turned out fabulous! Just really stunning sunset photos. So, we put them on Facebook. And Christine Deaver "liked" one of Arlie's photos. I told Arlie about it, and explained who Christine was, and Arlie was smitten. Someone famous had "liked" her photo! I told her all about Teatro Zinzanni and how much I loved it and how we really needed to go someday. I messaged Christine to tell her how thrilled Arlie was that she liked her photo. Christine messaged back that it was now her computer screensaver. Arlie was even more thrilled.

I really wanted to take Arlie to see her show. Problem is, you pay through the nose for this incredible evening. And with a family of six, I just wasn't seeing how we could afford to go. At this point, Christine was in Seattle for her new show "Caliente" (co-written by her and "El Vez" - you just have to go see the show!). And yesterday, I got an email with a special offer for tonight's show. Tickets nearly half price. But still pretty pricey. I forwarded Jeff the email with a smiley face - just a "wish we could go" but not ever thinking it would happen. But.....Jeff did it!

So, of course we got all dressed up in sparkles. And we headed to Seattle. And we enjoyed one of the most priceless experiences ever. Because, not only had Christine reserved us a special table, we were treated to special treatment by many cast members as well, AND Christine pulled Arlie into the show twice! The first time, she was a "contestant" on "Super Caliente" - a game show to determine who was the "hottest". It was between Arlie and a Kenny Rogers lookalike. Well, sort of. First, they had to dress up in a fruit headdress a la Carmen Miranda, complete with a fluffy "skirt" and dance the macarena. Arlie shook her groove thang and won the contest hands down! Then, "round two" was to do a drum solo (on a drum set complete with gizmos to make lots of fun sounds). Arlie won that too! She was deemed "hottest" and given the distinction of being "La Reina" for a day, complete with crown, fur robe and a sash! Later in the show, she got on stage to do her drum solo again during "La Bamba". She was the star!!!

Christine came by again to tell Arlie what a great job she did. A random woman (who was more than a little inebriated) came up to our table and asked Arlie if she was 21! We all laughed and said she was 14. The woman laid $21 on the table and said "Happy Fucking Birthday" (followed by "sorry, mom and dad!") before walking away. Arlie's first tip! (And it wasn't her birthday).

We got our keepsake photo and Arlie was given a special photo of her and Christine and "El Vez" (known as "Tres" and "Cinco" in the show), signed by Christine.

What an amazing, unforgettable night! I can't WAIT to go again, and take all of the kids this time. Just watching the girls' faces during the acts was priceless. A contortionist/hoop dancer, singers, dancers, a trio of acrobats, amazing rope and pole acrobatics, and a percussion/tap act that was really unique. Every time we see this show, we see something that amazes us and makes us gasp. Watching Arlie, with her mouth agape the entire time, at times clutching the sides of her head and just staring in amazement, was worth every penny. And Hannah had the best seat in the house, as every main actor interacted with her (she even held Cinco's pants and whisk for him!).

I've loved the show since the first time I experienced it five years ago. But I never knew how incredible it would be to share it with my kids. I only wish I'd had all four of them there with me. Amazing, amazing night! Thank you Christine and Teatro Zinzanni, for making such an unforgettable experience for my family!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

I hab a code.......

So. I have a nasty cold. I'm not even sure why it's called a "cold" because a.) it's not caused by the cold, b.) I'm not feeling particularly cold and c). cold is the last thing I want to be when I have a cold.

I know where I got this cold and I know who I got it from. I work in a kindergarten classroom so any one of the little rugrats could be a culprit but I'm placing my bets on the short one with the yellow snot shooting out of her nose at lightning speed every time she sneezed all over me, the desks, and the general classroom last week.

Now, I'm sure many of you are thinking: why on God's green earth did this mother send her child to school with a gross cold? And while I'm with you on this one (because of the unpleasant result I'm experiencing), I know how hard it is to discern between "really sick" and "not sick enough to miss school". I usually err on the side of caution, figuring a missed day is no big deal and they'll surely feel better with a day of "rest" (read: glued to the couch watching TV). But I've been known to send my son to school with a fever I didn't realize he had, my daughter with stomach cramps that turned into an appendectomy (which, as it turned out, wasn't her appendix after all!), and have had to rescue another child from a horrendous bus ride more than once when a migraine presented itself right at the end of a school day. So, I get it. We screw up sometimes.

But this child TOLD us she had a cold (not like we couldn't tell from the gallons of snot), and clearly her mother knew as well. Doesn't every mom know that if your child has snot that is an actual COLOR you should keep them from the general public? Gross!

I once got a cold that lasted three weeks from the most disgusting from of direct contact ever. I was a nanny for a child who had a bad cold. I'm not too particular about taking care of sick kids - I figure I'll take my chances - so I happily accepted working even though I knew she was sick. I practice good hand-washing and figured I could shield myself from her sneezes. But when, in one fell swoop, she sneezed all over her hand, then proceeded to put that snotty hand IN MY MOUTH, I knew I was doomed. I mean, how do you even fix that? The damage was done.

I've built up a pretty good immunity to kid sicknesses over the years so it's not often I pick up their germs. When I was 15 I started working at a daycare center. In my first year, I contracted strep throat no less than EIGHT times! The first time I had it, I thought I might die. Never had I experienced such horrendous throat pain. After that, I became an expert at detecting the first symptoms and finally just called the doctor who would prescribe antibiotics over the phone.

Gradually, I became somewhat immune to the kid germs and, after I had a few kids of my own, I seemed to be iron-clad. I almost never picked up their illnesses; I had my own special set of germs. But over the past few years, I've become more susceptible...perhaps it's a result of getting older? Lordy, I hope not!

At any rate, I know what to do. Rest, Vitamin C, lots of fluids......HA! Who has time for that? But I will solemnly try. Because unlike the old days when being sick wasn't as much of an issue - although changing diapers while throwing up is decidedly unpleasant - I now have a job and must be at work Monday through Friday. No longer can I lounge in my pajamas while putting on movie after movie for my delighted toddlers. But now that my kids are older, they really don't "need" me. Really. SERIOUSLY! Do you hear me, kids? Leave me alone! (Unless I text you to bring me a drink, or some Advil, or make me a special treat).

Pass me the Kleenex.........

Saturday, March 3, 2012

You're doing it wrong......

Today, for your reading pleasure, I will provide a tutorial for all the things you are obviously doing wrong around the house. Through careful research and observation, I have learned what is, clearly, the "right" way to do things, because I am outnumbered in my home by people who do them this way.

First of all: cereal. If you enjoy cereal from time to time, you have probably observed the obviously faulty packaging. The cereal itself is packaged in a waxy bag that, once opened, can no longer be closed. In fact, just the opening part is challenging, and one must rip and/or cut it with scissors in such a way that most of the cereal will now fall INTO the box instead of OUT of it. Very disconcerting. Then, the box itself has a design flaw in that one is expected to push a tiny tab of cardboard into an equally tiny slit in the cardboard on the other side of the box. IMPOSSIBLE, I say! My genius children have discovered a way to get around these confounding problems. They simply leave the box open and the bag gaping. That way, the next time they want cereal, they don't have to take ANY extra steps to get to the flakes inside the box. What if they become stale, you say? No problem! They simply don't eat the cereal, leave the box standing wide open for months, until which time mom pours the stale wares into a giant ziploc bag labeled "duck food". Yay for feeding the ducks! I think next time I go to the store, I'll buy the most expensive box of cereal and just pour it directly into the retention pond at the end of my block. Same difference.

Now, let's move on to cheese sticks. Those darn things are SO convenient. They are low-fat, nutritious, and conveniently packaged in an easy-to-open plastic wrapper. Now, I prefer to open the package slowly as I bite each piece of cheese and when I'm done, place the plastic wrapper in a proper trash receptacle. My children, however, prefer to rip the whole thing off at once, devour the cheese and throw the wrapper on the floor. Yes, the floor. This astounds you? Clearly this is the proper place to put a cheese stick wrapper, because there's been one on my floor since yesterday morning. In the hallway. Nestled in a bundle of dog hair. A mere few feet away, my kitchen is spotless. But, alas, there is dog hair and a cheese stick wrapper in the hallway. Who put it there? That is the great mystery. Why? Because it's the right way to do it! How long will it lay there? Until I, and only I, stoop over and pick it up. Because no one else in this house can see it.

Now, here's how you do laundry. You wear your clothes until you have nothing left. Then, you borrow underwear from your stepdad's drawer because you are too lazy to wash your own, and you don't want to go commando. You stop wearing socks, insisting that the "no-sock" look is now in fashion, and you pull a sweatshirt out of the dirty laundry numerous times until that fateful day when you get an actual obvious stain on it that you can't hide and now you're really f*cked. What to do? You hoodwink your mom into believing you no longer have any clothes that fit. You mention this when you're at Target, exactly when you're passing the display of t-shirts that are on sale for $8 each, and after getting mom to buy a couple of those for you, you mention that your jeans don't fit and here are a pair on sale, and by the way, you could use some new underwear. Mom, under the influence of the hazy glare of Target lights and screamin' deals, buys you what accounts for a new wardrobe and you get a few more weeks' worth of clothing without ever having to touch laundry soap. Eventually, though, you WILL have to wash something. So, the best way to do it is to cram everything into the washer (lights and darks be damned), and make it really, really full so that when the spin cycle starts, everyone in the house resorts to "duck, cover and hold" because the whole-house shaking MUST be an earthquake. But no, whew, it's just the washer going off-balance again! After the clothes are dried, leave them in the dryer indefinitely and use that as your personal closet until someone finally puts your clothes in a basket because THEY need the washer and dryer. After that, use the basket as your closet, and if, by some rude chance, someone actually dumps your clothes onto a clean blanket on your floor because they need the basket, do NOT, by any means, finally hang and/or fold anything! Simply walk all over the clothes for another two weeks until you decide they are "gross" and need to be washed again. Repeat washer-stuffing process or trick mom into a shopping trip to Target. Repeat. Repeat.

Here's another fun cleaning tip for the bathroom. Whilst brushing your teeth, it's always fun to try and dribble a spitty blob of toothpaste directly into the sink, or, even better, ON the spigot. Leave it there indefinitely, adding blobs from time to time and see what a fun sculpture you can build with just toothpaste and your own spit! What? You were rinsing it down all this time? Fool!

And lastly, here's a fun decorating tip for the kitchen and surrounding area. Every time you open a package or unwrap a piece of candy or gum, leave the wrapper (or those colorful tear-off strips) lying around all over - the counters, table, floor, coffee table. These will add a pop of color to your otherwise boring decor, and provide a nice little treat for the dog from time to time, which can result in the most amazing and colorful dog poopies you've ever seen! In addition, they sometimes blow off the counter, mix with dog hair and make colorful "dust bunnies" (or "dust puppies"?) which scurry up and down your hallway in a most amusing fashion. And if they're lucky, they will stake a claim and take up permanent residence, like the cheese stick wrapper currently in my hallway. Come by and say "hey" to our newest resident!

I hope this has been helpful. I hope you have not been straining yourself by doing foolish things like closing cereal boxes, picking up trash off the floor, wiping up toothpaste accidents, and doing laundry regularly. That would just.....make sense. And who wants to be sensible in this crazy world?