Monday, February 27, 2006

Funny how things work out.

We've decided to add swimming lessons to our weekly tango -Semi-private for the boys, at our local health club. The lessons for little ones are taught in the therapy pool, which is like swimming in tepid bath water; 'roasty-toasty', our big one quips. When I try to do water aerobics in it, I break out in an amazing sweat.

We got there with time to spare, in case there was paperwork. The boys had worked themselves up into quite a state of anticipation since they were wearing their new Baby Banz rash guard swim shirts and trunks. We had been requested to purchase regular boys' swimming trunks; the shorter, not too big legged kind. Yeah, right! Everything available is huge and baggy and I would describe as 'waltz-length' or longer! Try learning to swim hobbled by your stinkin' swimming shorts! The rash guard swimming shorts are fairly tight; a lucky find.

The boys were clutching their brand new Speedo kids goggles since 15 minutes before we left the house. They had cheerfully donned their Power Ranges polartec robes, and were hopping foot to foot at the edge of the pool. I told them to go ahead and get in and pulled a chair to the edge and perched there, like an overdressed (and overage) life guard. The swimming instructor did not show up, 15 minutes into our designated lesson time.

But who did show up, much to our absolute delight, was Miss Gretchen - a preschool teacher at their former school! Turns out she just hired on to coach a large team of all-age kids at our club, and was there early to set up. We chatted a few minutes and then she went to set up the lap pool for her students. The swim instructor we were supposed to meet with never did show up. The pool director came over and apologized for the no-show, and I said "No Problem, actually! We'd love to hire Gretchen, whom we know very well -- and how were you so lucky to hire her, by the way?!" So, we now have Miss Gretchen set up for two sessions a week - the only private slots she will probably have. I think we were just at the right place, at the right time. Kharma.

And our eldest starts Tae Kwan Do tomorrow. That means some therapy or lesson to trot off to every afternoon. We will be busy - It Has BEGUN!

And for every day that you think is dragging on too long, with fighting, whining young children, remember this: The days are long but the years are short. It is the best saying from my friend Sheila, who has sadly passed last December.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

What American City Are You?

You Are New York

Cosmopolitan and sophisticated, you enjoy the newest in food, art, and culture.
You also appreciate a good amount of grit - and very little shocks you.
You're competitive, driven, and very likely to succeed.

Famous people from New York: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Tupac Shakur, Woody Allen

Monday, February 20, 2006

Baby. It's. Cold. Outside.

As in totally freezin'. Colder than a witch's tit. Freezin-Ass Cold. Get-your-tongue-stuck-on-metal-objects cold. Yep, that's COLD!

Almost 20 below here on Friday night/early Saturday morning. 10 below here on Saturday night/Sunday morning. Monday morning? 20 ABOVE and extremely windy. So windy, some of our neighbors are afraid their windows are going to explode into the house. Yep, that's WINDY!

This weather, she's strange. The Greenland ice, she's melting. Islands around the world, she's disappearing. Coming Ice Age or Human-Caused Doom; whatever the cause, things they are a-changin'. Methinks Berm Houses will be all the rage in the future.

But for now, I'm enjoying our energy-guzzling, consumer crazed, plenty to eat and drink and do existence. Last Hurrah? Maybe. Possibly. Probably.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

What Not To Wear

We're being Courted by a high-end private school that is desperate for 2006-07 kindergarten boys. Long story short, I set up an interview "Just to check it out". I started to wear my usual jeans/sweater thing, then thought better of it and slipped on a nice pair of trousers and a fancy sweater, with ribbons and buttons marching down the front. It's slightly itchy, so I only wear it like too-high heels; 3 hours MAX.

And didn't notice 'til the END of the interview, after I was already home and dumping stuff on the breezeway countertop that I had ....

a RED Power Rangers Sticker stuck to my left boob like a pastie!

My mom said "Well, dear; that will just make you even MORE unforgettable".

It must've been inside my overcoat, which of course, I whipped off and left in the car before I entered the admin building, as it was a gorgeous 61 degrees here today.

Of course, I met dozens of people. DOZENS!

It also explains why the kindergarten children could not take their eyes off my sweater, and were quickly shushed by the teacher.

And I thought everyone was just admiring the buttons or ribbon trim on my beautiful, hand-made sweater.

The fact that I also had 2 slightly different colored sox on I'm sure went completely unnoticed.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Well Yippee; we get to buy a new dishwasher!

Our dishwasher went thumpers up Saturday. It's only a few years old, but I've never liked the thing. It doesn't adequately WASH the dishes, it's only job! I've tried more soap/less soap, more rinsing the dishes/less rinsing the dishes, longer cycles/shorter cycles - i.e., all the machine's tricks have been tried. To no avail. Now the pump sounds more like it's farting than draining, and the machine is picking it's own cycle; I kid you not! I pick 'Potscrubber/Air Dry'. It does not light up those choices, and comes back with 'Light Wash/Heated Dry' and then gives me the finger, to boot. Okay....

Off to the internet I trotted, while the machine did its Light Wash and Air Dry and farted the water into the drain. Found out what Consumer Reports reckons to be the best dishwasher (Not surprising; the Bosch line seems to get their nod) and then decided to go out shopping to our neighboring town to see what the appliance stores had to offer. Shockingly, there are 2 medium to high end appliance shops as well as the Big Box choices all in a few-mile range.

The entire family loads up into the minivan after many trips back in the house for water, sunglasses, cell phone, to turn off lights (I do not see how every light in the house gets turned on in broad daylight, but this happens alot) and for car keys. We arrive at the first store and Meet the Bosch's. There is a mighty array, with dazzling features. Top Rack Only Wash? No Problem! Do lots of wine glasses? Here's the solution! Need different set up? The racks collapse! Who could look at a Whirlpool after seeing The Nirvana of Dishwashers.

The boys have decided to rev it up while we are distracted. This store also features woodstoves and gas fireplaces, and the children are leaping across the flagstone floor, just missing this scorching surface and that sizzling wall of roasty-toasty fireplaces. They decide to play hide n seek while racing at full speed - whose kids are these?! Their cheeks? Rosy as apples. Their eyes? Refusing to make contact with their father's or mine. Their ears? Not working. We make a quick exit after realizing that the children are probably starving - it's 1:30 and they had an early breakfast! What IS IT about weekends?! The schedule goes all to hell. Then we wonder what in the heck is wrong with the kids.

We go out to lunch, which is a treat. Then off to the 2nd appliance store. This one has even more fancy stuff. There is a Dacor dishwasher that is 30" wide! I start to mentally rip up our kitchen to install that baby. Luckily, the husband jerks me back to reality "Don't Even THINK about it!" There are appliances with copper trim, brass trim, mirror finishes. There are appliances that I have to ask "What Is It?" (It was a U-Line Bar sink/refrigerator/wine storage unit. They didn't have the racks in it and I thought it was a sink/refrigerator/dishwasher all in one.)

We get a salesperson who had been working there One Day. She gives us a price on the Bosch model we want. Perfect! Sounds great. Today, 2 days later, I went to the other appliance store to see what price they had it for. $200 more! AHA! I went back to the 1st place and was told "She was new; real price is - $200 more."

Forget Top Rack Only washing, and the rest of the gizmos. The reality is I use 2 cycles; Rinse Only and Wash the Crap out of 'em. Let's get the one with the least gizmos and maybe it'll break down less. Or perhaps not. We'll see. But I definitely see a Bosch in my future.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Mental Health Day

Friday was decreed a mental health day off from school and work -- for dh, not me; does the stay at home parent every really get a day off? It snowed late Thursday night and through Friday early morning, and it was a crisp, glistening, pure white landscape outside when youngest woke up and trotted across the bridge area full of windows to our bedroom. "Mommy, it's snowy and it's morning! WAKE UP!" We opened up the blinds to the glorious blaze of snowy early morning light, lit the fire in the bedroom, and snuggled up with hot chocolate and PBS morning shows. I cooked breakfast and let dh sleep in a while. Then we threw on warm outfits and outerwear and trotted off to the warm therapy pool at our health club for a hour of water play. HEAVEN! The boys are still young enough that they love to be carried around in the water. There are fewer things in life more dear than holding your children close and smooching their little velvet cheeks.

The boys played so hard on their day off that they fell asleep late afternoon on the family room rug while playing with their toys. I looked over, and was treated to the sweet sight of two boys sounds asleep in separate piles of Lego blocks and Hot Wheel cars, loveys firmly clutched for safekeeping.

Dh went to work for a meeting and was able to come home at a reasonable time. He wolfed down dinner and then set up the big screen with HDTV so we could all watch the Olympics in the media room. What a fitting end to a perfect day.

Cooking Shows are the Downfall

The entire family loves to watch cooking shows. My current favorite is Daisy Cooks, a wonderful Puerto Rican woman who loves her boys as well as her cooking. Eat Great Feel Great Look Great. Not bad words to live by. Our boys, at the tender ages of 4 and 5, are eager assistants in the kitchen. They mix, mash and masticate (watch it!) with rapt looks on their faces. Their navy blue cushioned Kinderzeats are quickly pushed to the counter and they recite with no prompting "I know Mommy, NO FINGERS NEAR THE BEATERS!" Our little one does not have an adventurous palatte, but he is young yet. Our eldest proclaims "Oh, this is Yummy Spicy, Mommy!" Crunchy Carbohydrates will elicit "Oh, this is DEWISHOUS!" from youngest.

Saturday mornings do not equal cartoon watching in our home. It means a delectable array of cooking shows. However, these shows ensure that not one but two full-size refrigerators in our house are always bursting with food. And that our trousers are bursting at the seams.

Oh! Gotta go! Rick Bayless is on!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Smellin' Good in the Neighborhood

Our bedroom smells so yummy, I find myself making excuses for a quick scoot up to our room. It's a candle from The Great Indoors that is creating this heavenly scent. Cashmere Balsam, to put a name to it. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

New Paws from the $300 Club!

To completely convince you my Dear Husband works entirely too much, I give you this tale: He is unable to schedule medical or therapy appointments, have dinner with his family, take part in any chores or even - and this is really ridiculous - get new tires to replace the darn-near slicks on his vehicle! Said vehicle hauls at least one child a day and Really Important Stuff like empty beer kegs to be refilled. I finally tired of rattling rosary beads in silent supplication as he drove off with one of our exquisite children, and begged him to trade cars today so I could take care of the vehicle. They drove off after much adjusting of seat and mirros, and then my cell phone rang; would I be shocked to hear that his gas tank was on vapors? *sigh - adjust exit time by 10 minutes up to fuel car*

Today, youngest son's daily adventure consisted of not only going with me to the car wash and gas up, but also a trip to get new tires installed on Daddy's truck! Which then meant a trip to the $300 Club, also known as Costco, as we had a coupon for $60 off a set of 4 tires, and well, you know; $60! I got to push 80 pounds of children, plus a loaded-to-bursting buggy as DARN IT we went in there hungry and everything looked so lush and delicious. What IS IT about that place?! Are there subliminal messages piped in so that we just HAVE TO HAVE that doo-dad? I look at our house - it is a Costco showroom! Furniture, appliances, electronics, clothing, food and more food by the case! And it's great stuff. If it wears out too soon, doesn't meet expectations, well no problem; take it back. A friend of mine used an oriental rug for 4 years and then took it back. I think that was ridiculous, but there were no questions asked. Amazing-Costco is the Nordstrom of Discount Big Boxes.

So, we're driving off from Costco and slow down to allow someone with a big trolley a bit of extra time to meander across the drive. Eldest son quips from the back "Mommy, are you driving slow so everyone can see our pretty new paws?!"

Monday, February 06, 2006

Busy Pretty People

Well, the ol' Homestead is a regular hive today. We have tradepeople here 'mitigating mold in the substructure of the residence" which is ominous sounding, but hey; Mold Is Everywhere. Mold is kinda the New Radon - there are alot of people making alot of money by playing the Mold Card. Not one to jump out of the lemming stampede, I signed on early (and often) to have our lovely manse checked for the scurvy beast. And you know what? Those clever mold seekers found Mold. They assured me it was the 'garden variety' vs. the 'dreaded black mold'. Okay. So, mitigate away.

The phone has been ringing, the doorbell has chimed, the boys are still in their Hannah Pajamas and I've not had enough caffeine to see me through this far. Me? I've showered and solved my Dilemma Of The Month:
My underwear are all wearing out at the same time! ACK!
What To Do? What To Do?

Well, I solved the knuckle-gnawing knicker problem; I AM NOT WEARING PANTIES! Yep, I am sans panties under my wonderful Jag Jeans. When I let the tradesmen through the door this morning, I had to stifle my snickering; who would think this ordinary mother with 2 young boys shyly hanging on to her legs would be Sans Skivvies.