Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I Love Boys, Part Dos

My eyes are watery after tucking in my six year-old soccer playing, bike riding, belly laughing boy.

This dialog is more for the days when my memory fades than for the public-at-large, but this is the internet after all, so peek into my heart.

At bedtime tonight, while listening to Jackson blow his nose 27 times, I told him how I am learning about Moses in Bible study and today I learned about Moses's mom. 

Me: "Did you know that she loved him to pieces, just like I love you, and she obeyed God, made a special basket for him, put him in the reeds and let him go."

Jackson: "Well, she didn't let him go, she hid him."

M: "Right, but she didn't hang out and watch. She trusted God to take care of him. Just like I let you go to school everyday. I trust God to protect you. And someday I'll let go of you when you go to college, and I'll let go of you even more when you get married.

(I sense a teachable moment so I burst into monologue, expecting to find Jackson sleeping at the end.)

M: "When you were born, and every day after that, we gave you over to Jesus. You are mine to take care of right now, but really, you are his."

(My monologue is interrupted by soft crying and Jackson reaches for my neck, burying his head in my shoulder.)

J: "Mom, I don't even want to get married. I just want to stay with you."

M: "Oh, baby, someday I promise that you really will want to get married. But that's a long time from now and you can stay with me for awhile."

(Still crying. Keep in mind the child is tired.)

Sniffle, sniffle.

J: "Ok, mommy."

So we pray, we sing, and I give him one last kiss.

I stood up in the dark to shut the door, and heard his precious voice again.

J: "Mom, one more thing...Do I have to go to college in another state or can I just stay right here?"

Of course, I wanted to tell him that he could plan on hanging around FOREVER, but I hear that's not healthy and I don't think his daddy would go for it.

Then I quietly shut his door and choked back tears of my own.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Some Critical Issues

We are safely home from the mountains, all tired out and refreshed at the same time. All four of us slept in the same room, which is usually a prescription for disaster. Jackson has the unparalleled ability to sleep with the same loudness that is usually reserved for outdoor playground settings.

However, we were so exhausted that I managed to sleep a few hours and revive myself with strong doses of coffee in the meantime.

Just like at home.

So now that we're back, I am tending to Very Important Bidness.  Notice I didn't say "Important" Bidness.

But I could have.

1) Last night I finished reading "Twilight," by Stephenie Meyer. 


In case you're in a cave (or more sophisticated than me, which is more likely), her series of books have caught like wildfire and everywhere I turn, click, or talk, people are reading them. It is not fine literature (like "In Style" or "Everyday Food") but IT IS SOME GOOD READIN'.

Given the premise (vampire love story), it sounds a little wacky, and I don't like sci-fi (unless it involves Ewoks) or animal stories, for that matter.

But I couldn't put this book down. Now I've got to start the next ones before the movies come out in November. Guess I won't have time to clean the shower today.


I will write more eloquently (per my usual style) about this grand topic. 

But for now, just know that my excitement rivals the birth of my kids. Brad entered us in the post-season ticket lottery, and we were accepted. I'm not exactly sure what that means, except that I think we can buy tickets and have to figure out how to get to Chicago.

No big deal, it's only 1,000 miles away and the cost of fuel is similar to our mortgage payment.


3) My precious niece comes to visit today. She is 2 1/2, so I'll be lacing up my running shoes to keep up with her, while her parents have a leisurely vacation in the mountains. 

Rylie is really into princesses, a phase that has eluded Lilly, so I will get my Little Fancy Girl Fix.

Also, we're going to attempt family pictures while she's here, which causes me to pour sweat and question all fashion judgment simultaneously.

Oh, and my face also broke out in anticipation of this blessed event. 


4) "Dancing with the Stars" is back! Just knowing that makes me want to bust out the nude-colored pantyhose that I haven't worn since fifth grade band.

I didn't get to watch last night (because of the aforementioned vampires), but it's at the top of the TiVo queue for this evening.

After taking family pictures, I need to calm myself by eating pizza and looking at perfectly sculpted bodies. Doesn't that sound relaxing?

5) Today is my dad's birthday. After a unexplained brain hemorrhage a year and a half ago, I'm thankful in an entirely new way for each birthday he celebrates.

63 never looked so good.

And would you believe this is what I read this morning:

"Now I know that you save your anointed, O Lord;
You answer from your holy heaven
With the saving strength of your right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
But I will remember your name, O Lord my God."
Psalm 20:6-7

God is so good.

Dad, if I were with you, I'd buy you a Starbucks to celebrate. (Or barbeque, or Mexican, or a bowl of soup.) 

You are the best!


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Taking Dating to a New Low

Some very sweet friends of ours volunteered (for whatever crazy reason) to take the kids on Saturday afternoon, with promises that we wouldn't have to pick them up until the next morning.

Before I could convince them that they'd gone crazy, I dropped off the kids and high-tailed it out of Dodge in case they smelled the salt and changed their minds.

With an entire afternoon and evening ahead of us for the first time in both recent and distant memory, Brad and I spent the first thirty minutes staring at each other wondering what to do.

After moving an air hockey table to the basement and rearranging some furniture (I wish I was kidding), no epiphanies for outrageous fun materialized.

So I suggested we harken back to the early days of marriage and go grocery shopping together. Apparently when we were young apartment dwellers, we had little need to divide and conquer the weekend errand list. Instead, we did it together!

Home Depot. 




Eating out three times a day.


If you're starting to picture a scene similar to Beanie's existence in Old School, you are dead on.

So despite feeling a little nerdy, we headed out to have fun and sample ourselves silly.

In the parking lot, however, we spotted a Big Lots.

After a quick conference determining that neither of us had ever been to Big Lots, we whipped into a parking spot and began to live on the edge.

Not like we thought Big Lots held untold treasures we'd been missing, but there was some freedom of spontaneity. Had the kids (love them!) accompanied us, there's no way I would've taken the extra time to wander aimlessly through aisle after aisle of Miscellaneous Junk.

I'm not even going to put Big Lots in the shopping rotation, but at least now I know I'm not missing anything at all. If I ever feel the desire to shop in a Central American-style bodega with an unbelievably eclectic mix of products, most three to five years beyond their ideal shelf life, Big Lots is my place.

After our minor distraction, Brad and I actually made it to the grocery store, or La Food City, as we call it. (Someday I'll share the story on that, but just know that we never actually utter the words "grocery store." It's always "Lafooceetheey.")

Ironically, we ran into a friend of ours in produce. Well, sort of. 

We barely recognized each other because neither of us had our kids chained to the cart or running around wildly using bananas to blast unassuming old ladies. I stared at her way too long and she was hesitant to shout out our names because we didn't have our offspring to confirm our identity.


Which is exactly why we need to get out more. And by the way things were going, not to the grocery store.

We actually had a great time together joking around and discussing some of our favorite and All-Time Grossest products.

A lot of lightbulbs came on for me as to why Brad takes forever to run to the store. He is magnetically attracted to each and every endcap, whenceforth he thoroughly scrutinzes the product and stares at it for awhile.

I am usually blowing through Lafooceetheey with only ten minutes to spare in which I need to purchase thirty items and arrive at preschool without a speeding ticket or a fine for being late to pick-up.

So after all that excitement, we were understandably hungry.

This, of course, called for dinner out, which led to a discussion about a shower. I kind of thought I would brush my hair, put on another layer of makeup, cover my stained shirt with a scarf, then head out the door.

Brad lovingly suggested I might want to shower first because I was looking a little greasy. (Which was most certainly true, but I didn't really care like I probably should.)

This is not the conversation of teenage lovebirds.

If someone had told me at 18 that my husband would one day be begging me to shower before a dinner engagement, I would've snorted and called them a liar.

But there we were.

And truth be told, Brad was right. A shower did make me feel surprisingly clean. That is one of the joys of a loving marriage--Brad knows me even better than I know myself. Or he just prefers the non-greasy look. Whatever.

He also wanted to watch the first half of the football before we left, so it was truly a win-win.

California Pizza Kitchen is always one of our favorite lunch or dinner stops. I think I love every single food that they serve. I won't detract from this very focused blog about our date to discuss my favorite menu items, but believe me, I could. Because, YUM.

Anyway, we sat at the bar, watched the second half of the football game, used free appetizer coupons, shared a waldorf salad and thai chicken pizza, and watched commercials for the first time since 2005.

It was great.

Sometimes on dates, we feel the need to discuss all the pressing, big issues we only have time to discuss in 4-minute fragments at home.

But Saturday night, we just plain had fun. We screamed at great plays, made snarky comments about the lame commercials, and discussed our favorite restaurant tortilla chips.

And that is why I love Brad.

He is serious, fun, seriously fun, never takes me too seriously. That is a smart man.

Oh yeah. We finished the night by renting Baby Mama.

Oh my lands alive, it is hysterical. We saw it in the theater with some friends and a packed house full of high-schoolers.

Let me just say that those of us who've actually given birth laughed a million times harder than the sophomore cheerleading squad who've never had the Rebel Force invade their bodies.

I think it was even funnier the second time. If that is possible. 

So here is the moral of the story: I love being married and I love lame dates. 

So does Brad. 


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I Love Boys

After the usual parade of cookie-devouring grade school boys came through the house like a tornado, they filed downstairs to the basement to play.

Just short of a dozen boys, ranging in age from three (some siblings tagged along) to eleven were yelling and doing other loud and probably somewhat-frowned-upon things.

Truly, they're all great kids (individually, for sure, but the mob mentality gets the best of 'em sometimes.)

Anyway, I got my laugh for the day when they left the basement door open, and this is all I heard:

"Let's play that game again when all of our parents died and we're home alone!"

"Yeah! And we're all teenagers!"

"I'm 16!"

"I'm 14!"

"I'm 18!"

"Yeah, and remember the best part? All Mom and Dad left us was a bunch of GUNS and GUITARS!"

I certainly could not hope to leave a richer legacy.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Happy Fall, Y'all!

Math is not my best subject, but here is an equation I know by heart:

football+cool weather+pumpkins= FALL

I will never leave or forsake summer as my favorite season of all, but fall is near and dear to my stomach. As much as I adore summer for the weather, I love fall for the food and sports. Plain and simple.

Winning my affection is as effortless as turning on ESPN and opening a can of pumpkin. Then I will be joyful forevermore.

Oh, and one more thing I love about fall: decorating!

This next sentiment might be a little bit blasphemous, but here goes...I love decorating for fall even  more than I love decorating for Christmas.

There, I said it.

Not sure why, but there is something so peaceful about autumn and something terribly frenzied about Christmas. (Except for the laid-back Santa I saw yesterday at Big Lots who was wearing a bathing suit, sitting in a hammock, and lip-syncing to "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere." Really. Things like that should be OUTLAWED.)

The first thing I always do is get out Old Faithful:

After many, many years, I still love her to pieces. My precious wreath has proudly hung at four homes, survived three moves, and is older than my children.

My aunt helped me make her with my glue gun and the best artificial gourds Hobby Lobby had to offer in the late 90's. Truly, she is the Audrey Hepburn of wreaths.

I always like to mix in a little new with the old, so I scanned through some blogs, caught some inspiration, and made this for my front porch (next to Old Faithful):

I am a big fan of Funkins because I love both fun and pumpkins.

The girl whose idea I shamelessly borrowed found her pumpkins pre-lettered at a little shop. I, however, turned to my black Sharpie and drew the letters. Not perfect, but still cute. And using pots instead of candlesticks allowed me to camouflage the dead geraniums that graced our front porch the last few weeks.

Next year I might go for the candlestick version, but for now, this works.

Now here is Old Faithful II:

The basket o' fall is another standby that I've had for looooonnng time. My same Crafty Aunt (the Wreath Goddess) helped me throw this together. She is the knowledgeable and wise Yoda of decor and I am the (formerly) Young Jedi who is easily tempted by the dark side.

My favorite thing about the b.o.f. is that it's easily transportable. As much as we'd all love to just make a centerpiece and set it on the table, that's not really practical unless you don't actually use the table.

The other NKOTB this year is my prized collection of chocolate:

Candy corns don't even register with my tastebuds, but the dark chocolate M&M's, peanut M&M's, Reese's peanut butter cups, and Hershey's mini's are pretty much a food group unto themselves.

It's probably dangerous to have such goodness readily available, but the clear jars hold me accountable.

Those containers, by the way, are priceless. Like Old Faithfuls I & II, I've had them for ages, but constantly change their ribbons and fillings.

There are a couple other fall vignettes that still need some tweaking, so maybe I'll post pictures when I'm done.

Of course, I kept saying that all summer while I mistreated my bedroom windows, the kids' bathroom, playroom, and some other little areas. I also planned to highlight some extra-fabulous garage sale finds. But it didn't happen. My bad.

Anyway, tonight I am going to make my friend, Jen's broccoly cheesy corny potatoey chowdery soup, chase it with peanut M&M's, and watch football.

Life is good.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Photos! Of Cheese! And Toast! Together!

I have to admit I was taken a little bit off-guard by the many people who've never once in their entire existence partaken of cheese toast.

After a some very intense of research and consulting many knowledgeable Cheese Toast Sources, it's my conclusion that cheese toast is a decidedly southern cuisine.

Therefore, I've constructed a tutorial about cheese toast so that your life may be enhanced by its goodness.

(At least no one can accuse me of focusing on the unimportant things in life.)

The people-pleaser in me wants to apologize in advance for all of the photos because they are terrible. I'm not trying to be P-Dub or anything, but I am just trying to be helpful.

Unfortunately, "helpful" takes horrible pictures. AND, I should add, cheese is really hard to photograph. Any sharp cheddar-loving girl can tell you how amazing perfectly melted cheese looks right out of the oven. That beauty, however, was lost on my mad photo skillz.

So tie on your apron and let's go!

First of all, turn on that broiler to high. Whoo hoo! Go broilers! If you have a toaster oven, by all means, use it. But please don't use your regular ol' toaster. Trust me.

Ok, start with two pieces of bread (if you're trying to cut back on grease and carbs. If not, you may want more.)

Now, I know many grilled-cheese lovers enjoy a slice of buttery white bread with their grilled cheese, but this is your warning that white bread isn't the best companion of cheese toast. And we're not making grilled cheese. This is his fun-loving cousin.

Go with a grainy (but not too grainy), sturdy, whole wheat.

Next, the cheese.

This is key.

There are two ingredients in cheese toast, y'all, so it is extra-important not to mess them up.

DO NOT, in the name of all that's cheesy, use American cheese. 


You need something that can be sliced.  And nothing too fancy. Save your goat cheese with fig for another occasion.

The Cheddar Family & Kin are best suited for this type of work. Since I wasn't prepared to give a full-on Cheese Toast Tutorial, my fridge wasn't adequately equipped with the ideal cheese. But I didn't let that get the cheese toast down.

You know those ginormous blocks of cheese in the refrigerator case that look breathtaking and nauseating all at the same time? Call in those dogs for cheese toast because the slicing of the cheese is a secret to the amazing taste.

Look, I'll demonstrate:

(No, there isn't mold on the cheese. I had just dropped it in some flour I had out on the counter from baking pumpkin bread.)

By my best estimations, that cheese is about one-quarter of an inch thick. And honestly, you could go thicker.

Next, lay the cheese out on the bread.

I know that if you're new to this, you're wondering how something with  a 2.0 degree of difficulty could be so tasty? Well, trust me, it can.

Cheese Formation is critical at this juncture. I worked with the skill and precision of a dairy engineer to fit those slices perfectly on the bread. If there are spots where too much bread is exposed or the cheese is too thin, you will have dire consequences.

And if you have to take a bite of cheese amdist the engineering, go right ahead.

(By the way, are those pieces of bread mocking me? Why do they remind me of my deceased Mickey Mouse toaster?)

Next, pop those beauties under the broiler.

This next step is very important for those of you who, LIKE ME, have incredibly short attention spans: DO NOT WALK AWAY FROM THE BROILER.

I know that is hard not to forget (trust me, I've burned my share of cheese toast), but don't do it.

It only takes around 2 minutes for the cheese toast to reach it's broily perfection.

I understand that you could unload the top rack of the dishwasher, transfer the laundry from washer to dryer, rearrange the pillows on the couch, and save a child from choking in that amount of time.

BUT DON'T because your cheese toast will be lost.

(I risked melting my mascara to get that photo so you'd better enlarge it to fully appreciate the temperature and wondrous powers of the broiler.)

After your entire life has flashed before your eyes in two minutes (or whenever the cheese is melted (but NOT bubbly...that is too long), take it out right away and go save that choking baby.

Look at those deliciously lumpy gobs of sharp cheddar cheese. It started to run over the edge, but didn't evacuate too much.

The cheese performed splendidly and melded together just like it's supposed to.

There are some days I feel led to eat it with a fork, and other days I need to pick it up and eat it like a slice of pizza. Today I felt forkish.

Have. Mercy.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Colorado: America's Dairyland

I just want to thank y'all for all the help with my toaster.

I haven't made the purchase just yet, but I think tomorrow will be El Dia de Toaster Nuevo. 

Instead of the toaster/torturer, I've been using the broiler to do some toasting and melting duties while Mickey is down and out.

For as much as I like to cook, I didn't have a working knowledge of The Broiler and it's many capabilities until a few years ago, when a friend who actually doesn't like to cook introduced me to her.

It sounds crazy, but it had never dawned on me to push that little "broil" button and just watched what happened.

That's because I had no memories of my mom ever broiling anything. We were a Toaster Oven Family and that is where my love of small (large) appliances began.

When I mentioned this to her, she died laughing.

Apparently, she and my dad had a somewhat ugly fusing of toaster/broiler preferences at the onset of their marriage and he and his dinky toaster won out.

My Gran (her mom) was an avid broiler-user and created all kinds of deliciousness with its high heat and super melty powers. However, the love of the broiler didn't join my parents' marriage almost 40 years ago.

So then my mom and I started talking about our favorite broiler recipes.

Which brings me to one of the best broiler sensations of all times: Cheese Toast.

Have you had cheese toast lately?

It is one of my favorite snacks this side of a spoonful of peanut butter. In fact, my college roommates and I used to alternate between chile con queso and cheese toast as our favorite dinner options.

(Health, wellness, and costumes were our top priorities.)

Anyway, it seems cheese toast is a lost art these days.

As part of our daily after-school ritual, the neighborhood kids have somehow roped me into making dozens of chocolate chip cookies everyday for a snack.

Initially, when we decided the Black Horn Posse could walk home by themselves, I bribed them (to ensure their safe arrival) with cookies.

Ever since then, around nine of them tromp through the front yard and into my kitchen, slinging their backpacks all over the place, politely requesting (they're working on the charm thing) chocolate-chip cookies.

And here's the kicker: not just cookies. Hot cookies. Freshly baked. Warm cookies. On the one day I didn't have them coming out of the oven, the kids made me microwave the cookies so the chips would be gooey.

So today I had the audacity(!) to suggest cheese toast as a (questionably) healthier snack alternative. 

You would've thought I suggested pad thai noodles the way they scrunched up their faces and asked, "What in the heck is cheese toast?!"

"Where are your mothers and what have they been teaching you?!" I demanded.


I always thought cheese toast was a staple in every child's diet.

It is like eating cake on your birthday or black-eyed peas on New Year's Day. (Don't even tell me if you don't do that.)

Do I have a point to this blog? A theme? A thesis?

Of course not.

Except to say that I am nominating Cheese Toast for President with Diet Dr. Pepper as its running mate.



Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Smell of Burnt Toast is Wafting Through My House

Ok, internets, I need some serious help.

We're having a major problem with our toaster. Or should I say "toaster."

A more accurate descriptor is a "burner and torturer of formerly edible bread."

I am a HUGE fan of the toaster, and more specifically, the toaster oven. However, I am not a fan of small appliances and the space they require.

I like the activities small appliances perform (you know, brewing, blending, chopping), but I am categorically opposed to them sitting on my counter.

The exception, of course, is my coffee pot. It is beautiful, used daily, and part of my soul.

I love blenders, food processors (big and small), mixers, and toasters. Electric can openers and elaborate juicing machines that allow you to create beverages(?) out of celery and carrots aren't so high on the list.

Nothing makes me happier than a clean, crumb-free, countertop. It's like the universal signal to moms that it is okay to sit down (unless there is a large pile of laundry on the couch.)


To give you more information on our Personal Toaster History than you've ever desired, let me just say that for years, we SWORE by the toaster oven.

I appreciate that it not only toasts bread, but it reheats pizza perfectly and makes a fine tuna melt, all without turning on the big oven.

However, the toaster oven? LARGE. UGLY. LARGE.

And if y'all think I have room to store one under my cabinets, than you haven't seen my organizational "system" that has plenty of room for odd-shaped and precariously stacked casserole dishes, but no room for the 9x13 pans I actually use.

(Someday when my self-esteem is soaring, I will take pictures of the inside of my cabinets then wait by the phone while Dr. Phil calls to stage an intervention.)

So anyway, when we put the house on the market awhile back, it became obvious that the toaster oven had to go. It was also shorting out more often than not, so we chucked it.

Being that Jackson has eaten approximately 7 million Eggo waffles since birth (give or take), it didn't seem possible to go without any toasting system for a month.

So Holly stepped in and donated her Mickey Mouse toaster that (allegedly) imprinted a Mickey Mouse face on each piece of bread.

I agree that the idea of marrying Mickey Mouse and a waffle is charming, but let me just say that the image of Mickey wasn't exactly precise. Or clear. Or visible.

I'm not sure if you can tell, but that is smoke that accompanies each and every piece of toast that dares to enter the toaster.

Do you know how long we've been carrying on like this?


I am a fool (or optimist?) because each morning I think that it might not smoke.

But it does.

And here is the picture of Mickey on the clear side:

Now here is a picture of Mickey on the side I flip over so the kids will still eat it after I slather on enough butter to conceal the burned taste:

Doesn't that just make you hungry for breakfast?

Truthfully, it only burns like that when you let the toaster run it's full session and the toast pops up.

I've avoided the smoky outcome several times by manually popping the toast before the cycle is over. 

Of course, the waffles are still icy or the bread is still bread, but hey, NO SMOKE!

This morning, the straw that broke the Mickey Toaster's back was when I toasted the chocolate chip zucchini bread before spreading on a thin (ok...thick) layer of peanut butter.

(I like a light and healthy breakfast.)

Well, the zucchini bread was too big to fit and broke into a several chunks that I had to pry out like I was playing a game of Operation.

(No worries...I still drowned each and every crumb of the chocolate chip zucchini bread in peanut butter and ate them. All of them. And had seconds.)

So clearly, we have a toaster problem.

Which is why I need you to tell me what kind of toaster I should buy?

Of course, I'd like this one, but if I had $319 sitting around, I'd be out shopping at Nordstrom instead of blogging about toasters.

I need some insight, opinions, and help. 


Because I will be toasting that zucchini bread again tomorrow.


Monday, September 08, 2008

They Don't Teach You This Stuff in College

This past weekend was full of sporting merriment, which in my opinion, is some of the best kind of merriment there is. I mean, what is better than the start of college football, pro football, and the U7 soccer league?

I'll tell you what: junior golf.

A few months ago, Brad stopped by Play-It-Again Sports in search of some kid-sized irons. Our goal, of course, is to begin Jackson and Lilly's illustrious golf career by chipping some balls over at the park across our from house. It is just like a real fairway except that the houses along it haven't signed up to have their windows broken by shanked balls.

Brad called home, all excited about the prospect of millions of dollars (Jackson) and adorable golf outfits (Lilly). (Or me.) (Or all of us.)

Anyway, he pulled into the driveway (waving the clubs out the window for emphasis) and called the kids over to see Their Future.

Unfortunately, the clubs were a little long. We were only $2 into this venture (apparently we're going to invest in quality clubs just as soon as they start making contact with the ball) so Brad took matters into his own hands.

Now if there's one thing I simultaneously love and hate about Brad, it's his handiness and love for do-it-yourself projects.

Good things have come of it, like the amazing custom shelves for our playroom, my PBK knock-off changing table, and basement shelves strong enough to hold the 1985 Bears defensive line.

However, there are some drawbacks, like the fact that we've lived in this house for over a year and have no prospects of having any sort of backyard before the grandchildren arrive in a couple of decades.

(I am seizing this as my opportunity to love him for who he is.)

Well, Brad decided that before the golf careers of our Mini Me's could take off, he must cut the golf clubs down to size.

This involved several steps:

1. Watch YouTube videos to see how other people have cut down their clubs.

2. Believe YouTube is a reliable source of information.

3. Convince me that he should use several power tools to imitate the "brilliance" of complete strangers featured in YouTube videos.

By now, you may understand that I don't believe YouTube to be a credible DIY resource.

A few months ago, Brad decided we should try E-85 (you know, the corn fuel) in our cars. His source for this epiphany?

Watching YouTube videos featuring other Chevy Suburbans that didn't blow up. That is hardly the standard of excellence we strive for.

Or so I thought.

We filled that tank with E-85 and haven't looked back.

Nor have we blown up the car, so I suppose those lunatics are on to something.

Well, the "golf club cutting experts" on YouTube beautifully demonstrated that we should get out our air compressor and blow the grips right off those clubs.

I was skeptical, especially considering our Barry Bonds of Air Compressors is strong enough to inflate an innertube just by looking at it.

Not about to witness the clubs blasting through the front yard and hurting a small child, I waited inside while Tim-The-Toolman-Taylor cranked up the compressor and went to work.

A few seconds later (I told you it was strong), Brad came in with the grips successfully peeled down.

The next step was to go in the basement and use some sawing device to trim about six inches off the clubs.

I honestly wasn't aware that we had power tools with metal-cutting capabilities, but I will keep that in mind next time I am trying to wrestle the wire-cutters to separate the stems from my Hobby Lobby floral bunch. 

Like a kid in the power tool aisle, Brad literally came bounding up the stairs (picture Santa's enthusiasm, but thinner, and carrying golf clubs) with the irons successfully shorn down about half a foot.

Somehow, he sealed the grip back on, then took Tiger and Tigress over to the park to start printing money.

So all this to say, maybe YouTube is a fantastic news source that I've been denouncing all this time. 

And I am prouder of Tim-the-Toolman than I let on.

But when I start looking to YouTube for fashion advice, somebody PLEASE stop me.


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Here's the Deal

To continue a summer-long theme, there has not been much blogging from these parts.

For June and July, I blamed it on the extreme amount of time I spent outside at the pool and lifeguarding the front yard sprinkler situation.

It doesn't sound dangerous, but when there are approximately 4 million children in your neighborhood and most of them try to use the sprinkler simultaneously, things can get a little dicey.

Plus, I was busy keeping The Cabana clean. When I wasn't picking up wet towels and swimsuits off the wood floors (as I repeated "Earthly treasures. Rot and decay."), I was busy removing our weapons cache from the powder room sink.

(It's a good thing they don't give you the full range of responsibilities when you enter motherhood, isn't it?)

And when I wasn't uncovering panties in the junk drawer, I was scrambling to remove them from under the stepstool before company came over.

Then came August, a few trips in different directions across the country, back to school hoopla, and the realization that I hadn't actually unpacked all of our moving boxes from over one year ago.

Now don't get me wrong, there's nothing I'd rather do than organize miscellaneous childhood memorabilia and come to terms with eight large bins of Christmas decor, but really.

Also in August came the Olympics.

No one told me when 2008 began that I had a very intense, emotional, TWO WEEK COMMITMENT, during which time I would sleep very little, eat very much, and consider a career in kayaking.

Or truly, if I'm running on Dara Torres' biological clock, I have a good decade of training before I begin my career as a swimmer.

As an aside, you all can have Michael Phelps and his eight shiny medals.

Has he ever had ANOTHER HUMAN LIVE INSIDE HIM for 9 months and then beat the French?

He is so overrated.

Well, kind of.

During the past few weeks, I've started to fantasize about what my life would be like when the children go back to school and I have a few moments to think. 

In peace. And quiet.

And talk. Or not talk.

And go someplace. Or stay home.

And clean. Or throw things in the laundry room and shut the door quickly.

I envisioned myself at Panera, laptop open, iPod humming, typing calmly away. Of course, I'd be savoring a latte and debating between a turkey panini and chicken salad sandwich for lunch.

(My daydream is currently interrupted by watching the 4 million children ride their scooters down our large hill in the middle of the street at top speed WHILE DOING STUNTS, with no thought to the fact that a bloody accident could cause death, or more gravely, postpone my Panera Dream by a week or more.)

(Excuse me for a minute.)

I'm so excited to be all alone and perhaps write, and far more exciting, read a blog or twenty. 

It sounds so heavenly to relax for just an hour without answering questions about poisonous deadly creatures and talking sassy and Barack Obama.

But then you know what?

I will miss those very things.

And the very people that ask those questions.

And I will wonder what those people are doing. And if they're smiling? Or scared? Or wanting to hold my hand? 

And if their friends are being kind? And if they're being obedient?

And I will wonder if his teachers see his tenderness? And need for approval?

And I will wonder if her teachers know she has an intuitive sense of humor? And tries to be quiet, but it's just hard.

I look outside again and there are My Two--amidst the 4 million.

The voices and squeals that can be heard through windows are riding bikes, riding Jeeps, and riding scooters. Their hair is flying, their clothes are dirty, and lunch is still on their faces.

And soon?

Soon it will be quiet. And calm. And still.

I can't decide if I'll like that or not.

But I'll let you know while I'm drinking my mocha.