Wednesday, April 30, 2008

They Should Make Spell Check For Posters

Wouldn't you agree?


Survive a Riot and Avoid Being Shot By a Police Officer

This appeared on the front page of my iGoogle this morning under my How To Of The Day. Very educational. Thought I should share as some of you may be involved in Riots more often then myself.

Survive a Riot - wikiHow

I also found helpful while visiting wiki's How To:

Avoid Being Shot By A Police Officer

I would have thought brandishing a weapon in front of the police when they are trying to arrest you would be a good thing. Shows what I know and how useful wikiHow really is.


My Old Man

This began as a reply to my last post and then it got too long so I decided to make it its own post.

My parents are no spring chickens, my dad will be 70 this November and yet a lot of my favorite bands were introduced to me by my dad. The Smiths, They Might Be Giants, Bob Dylan, The Cure, Billy Bragg, The Pogues, New Order, R.E.M., Paul Simon, Tom Petty, The Beatles, Tori Amos, Brendan Benson, Boomtown Rats, Bad Religion, U2, The Who, Bruce Springsteen, Dan Bern, Fairport Convention, and the list goes on and on with music my dad has played for me. They bought me my first CD when I was 7, it was Howard Jones, Cross That Line, I am not sure they were fans themselves but they let us watch a lot of MTV (back when the ‘M’ stood for music and not moronic) and I loved ‘Everlasting Love’. I also remember him recording Paul Simon’s ‘African Concert’ and watching it together over and over. ‘Graceland’ is my all time favorite, sorry I can’t think of anything that beats it, record.

He owned record stores in what he refers to as his 'first life' but means first marriage. He and my mom opened a record store a couple of times but they could never make it work for one reason or another, but we always had a huge collection to listen to. They had about 11,000 LPs and an archaic record player in a room full of Springsteen, REO Speedwagon, and Roger Daltrey posters. We stayed up late quite a few nights before the inevitable split listening to some of Rock’s greatest. They were never fans of The Beach Boys though; I had to hear them from my neighbor.

My dad took me to see my first concert, Tom Petty, for my 12th birthday and he took me to see a lot of other bands when I was a teenager including but not limited to Nine Inch Nails, David Bowie, They Might Be Giants, Paul Simon, Smashing Pumpkins and more but I have honestly forgotten a great number of shows we saw.

My dad was also a huge fan of the mix tape and my sister and I were always recording over them to make silly tapes of ourselves goofing off. After destroying a great many of these tapes and being asked several times to stop our silly mix tape shenanigans (and after having blank tapes purchased for our personal use) my dad one day just lost it. He told us to stop recording them and I quote because I will never forget it, he screamed “You’re killing my God d**m friends, STOP killing my God d**m friends”. We got the point and because we were afraid we would be convicted of some sort of tape slaughtering we never recorded over another tape ever again. I think they made CD-R’s for my dad’s sake.

My dad still listens to a lot of music, he is a fan of The Shins, Teagan and Sara, The Dresdon Dolls, The Decemberists, The Moldy Peaches (sorry I can’t share the love with you dad) and a lot of older stuff. He still shares some music with me occasionally but it happens less and less.

Anyways, these are for you Dad. Thanks for sharing your love and interest in music.

But I hope you all enjoy.

Is it weird that I think Bob Geldof is slightly attractive? Does that make me lose cool points? Does that leave me at a negative number?

You can purchase this concert online probably. I know you can purchase 'Graceland' online. I am not saying that you should think about it, I am saying that you should.

I could probably just keep on going and going but you guys probably want me to stop.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

My favorite band. Ever. Don't you already know?

No, it isn't They Might Be Giants, or Guided By Voices or R.E.M. or The Decemberists or Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. OK, truly I have no idea who my FAVORITE band ever is and I don't even know why I would pretend to know, there are just too too many GREAT bands to narrow it down to just one.

But a band I love very, very much.

The Smiths. I came to love them backwardsly, if that is a word which I seriously doubt. I was a fan of Morrissey and I met this boy who was good looking (loved that long hair,think Robert Smith)and cool(he was a musician) and had good taste in music (The Cure,Dylan, The Smiths, R.E.M,Luna,Material Issue, blah, blah, blah) and he had some Smiths albums and I borrowed them and well the rest is sort of history. I love this band. My parents did play them a lot when I was younger but I don't remember becoming a fan until much later. When they were already done.

Have I ever mentioned that I think I was born ten years too late?

Anyways, here are some of my favorites.

Ok, Ok that's enough.


p.s. The good-looking musician, I married him.

I Hope You're Alright.

My friend from my old hometown had her baby last Monday. Her beautiful son was born early in the morning weighing 7 lbs and 15 oz and measuring 21 inches. My friend came home on Wednesday. Her little boy is still in the hospital. Nothing severe. He had a little jaundice and a little trouble eating that was a result of her Gestational Diabetes. She is understandably upset and says it is harder to be at home without him suffering sleep deprivation from worry than having him home and suffering sleep deprivation when he awakes hungry and wet in the middle of the night. Two days before her delivery, her mother had a heart attack and is still in the hospital. She has been dividing her time between visiting both of them in the hospital.

I feel truly bad for her, she seems to be having a difficult time right now. Having had what was labeled a high risk pregnancy I spent months worrying (unnecessarily) about premature labor and phantom twin syndrome, long stays in the NICU, underdeveloped organs, bed rest, birth defects and the list goes on. Fortunately being pregnant was far easier for me than getting pregnant. I never had to go on bed rest, though my doctor warned me that at 18-20 weeks I might have to. I never developed Gestational Diabetes though I became slightly anemic near the end of my pregnancy but that was easily controlled by a once daily Iron supplement. I never got hypertension or morning sickness. I got huge but I delivered two good sized babies. The worse thing that happened to me was also the best thing that could have happened. I made it to 38 weeks and 6 days and begged for an induction that resulted in a 20 hour labor and delivery of two healthy, never even saw the NICU, babies.

I wonder pointlessly, why things are so hard for some and so easy for others. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason for this. I have PCOS and have battled infertility for years, but in the end I had a healthy easy going pregnancy but I was still enraged when the doctor scheduled five weeks between my visits. My delivery was difficult and didn’t follow any sensible person’s birth plan but my children came straight to my room and got to stay with us and came home with us four days later. I could consider myself unlucky or extremely fortunate. It just depends on which view I want to take.

I have this silly plaque that used to belong to my parents, it says ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ It’s the cheapest little thing you have ever seen but the phrase has always stuck out in my mind and I often think about this saying. When times are difficult I tend to think in extremes but when I look back I tend to feel a little foolish, because things aren’t usually as bad as I have perceived them to be and I often come out of an experience having learned something, however small and trivial. And I often feel stronger. Not stronger in the physical sense but in the fact that I feel that now that I am stronger and more capable of handling more and more challenges; and life always seems to be sending us more and more challenges.

I hope that my friend’s son comes home soon and that she can come out of the experience feeling stronger about herself. I can only imagine the strength one would need when going through such a difficult time.

Monday, April 28, 2008

What's In a Name?

I have been busy today combating laundry. I thought that I might win when during dinner our son, who hasn’t passed a “void” diaper in days, adorned his swing with such delights not fit to mention here. So giving up the battle for another day (I put THAT load in before ending the battle) I decided to post.

Now that it has been almost four months since that troubling and traumatic delivery of mine I have decided to unveil the twin’s names. Not that you all care, just that it will make posting about them so much easier on me.

Are you ready?

Trauma, so named for the traumatic events leading up to his birth, is really named Cooper Alexander Montgomery, that’s right folks, we gave them two middle names in the same fashion as my little brother. He isn’t named after any family members. He isn’t named after the eldest Manning. He isn’t named after anyone on the Simpson’s. He was almost named Indiana Jones, but I won the coin toss, so he wasn’t.

Trouble, so named for the troubling events leading up to her birth, is really named Bailey Elizabeth Avery, that’s right folks, she couldn’t be given only one middle name when her brother had two. She is named after my sister’s dog. No, she really isn’t. Her middle name is the same as my paternal grandmother’s but other than that we just wanted to test how long a name one could fit on a social security card. Her whole name fits because our last name isn’t very long. Coop’s second middle is Montgo on his card.

Ah, now isn’t that a load off.

-If you can guess my name, I will take you for a ride in my hover car, but you only get three guesses and if you are wrong, I get your first born.

So guess carefully.

Friday, April 25, 2008

I Hope I Don't Depress, I Was Merely Hoping to Impress

We have a friend who is a musician. He writes beautiful songs like no one else I have ever heard. His name is Brian Hall. He used to play out quite a bit but he is a little shy and our 'music scene' here has always left a lot to be desired. He works at the local Barnes and Noble now trying to help people find pleasing music. He is one of the nicest people I have ever known, scratch that, he is the nicest person I have ever known.

He played this song live once and I got shivers and well, really cannot explain the way I felt about this song. When he was through someone said something like 'thanks for depressing us Brian'. I never heard him play it again. He probably truly felt bad that he depressed someone. I told him once that I loved that song and I wished it was on one of his c.d.'s. When we were in the midst of recording our second album in his studio he gave me a copy of the song on one of the master c.d.s.

I was touched that he made me a copy and have played it for others who look at me like I am crazy when I say that I love this song. PLEASE listen to it. If you don't see the beauty in this song, I am sorry for you. It was not easy to find a way to get the song on the internet for you to hear, I would appreciate you giving it a listen. I hope it doesn't depress you, but it is the saddest song I have ever heard.


Thank you blogger for your help.

june's School of Suggestions for Vehicle Manipulation

I want to be a good parent.

Being a good parent involves setting good examples for children to follow. Good examples like being patient with stupid people and their stupid actions.

I have a problem with this and that problem is best magnified by my severe road rage.

I don’t recall when it got so bad but other people (Ward and Tater) point out that I have a tendency to talk, often and not kindly, to people sharing the road with me. I contribute it to the fact that I am just rather unlucky, always following behind the person who doesn’t know where they are going or how to drive. And I also claim that I only talk to other drivers when other people are in the car with me, and this is true, when I am alone I make fun of these drivers in my head only.

Now, let me add that I do not scream and cuss at other drivers, that would be immature. I tell them where they should go (like into another lane) and give them advice (you had better not hit me). I am only trying to help see. Ward likes to point out that they can’t hear me so I should refrain but I have been doing it so long.

I am not saying that I am the best driver ever. That I certainly am not. I am the only person who I know who has been in a terrible accident. I am scared of being in an accident ever again. But I try to lean more towards being neither an offensive driver nor a defensive driver. I think being a daredevil driver or being too afraid behind the wheel can cause too many problems. I try to be the best driver I can be with the exception of my conversating with other drivers. What I truly wish is very selfish; I wish I could be the only driver on the road.

For several years between going to school and seeing a R.E. in another town, I was driving 800 miles or more a week. Maybe it’s from all that driving but I just feel that so often people drive too fast or too slow, either making me think they are irresponsible for driving too fast or getting on my nerves for help making me late. They put their turn signals on way too early or brake and turn at the last moment causing my groceries to end up in my lap.

The problem is I love to drive. When we go out, especially on road trips, I like to be behind the wheel for several reasons. The time goes by faster, I enjoy it, and I am a tad bit controlling and this way I get to control when and where we stop. I hate asking someone to stop so I can use the restroom.

Anyways, now that there are children in my vehicle whenever I go anywhere I need to tune down the Dr. Phil talk to other drivers. But it’s a bad habit to break. And I have so much advice to offer.

I am thinking of starting a driver safety course. Here is the video that I will be using in my 4:30 minute course.

I do condone driving while playing a musical instument. I'm sure it's safe.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

"The Best Thing To Come Out Of England Since The Road to Scotland"

So some of you may think I have forgotten to post a music blog, but no, I was saving up so I could post several videos of one of my all time favorite artists.

One of the most overlooked artists ever looked in my opinion is Billy Bragg. He writes songs about love and politics. He has a voice that is unique and easy to listen to. And he's british.

My dad was a fan and I grew up with 'Back to Basics' as a common background sound. A few years ago I had the chance to see him live and the performance only boosted my interest in him. He was asked by Woody Guthrie's daughter to put music to some of her fathers lyrics and the outcome was a collaboration with Wilco on two albums, Mermaid Avenue and Mermaid Avenue Vol. 2 which are definitely worth a listen. My favorite song by Bragg is 'Help Save the Youth of America' which I couldn't locate for you but I found a few decent runner ups to share.

I understand that Bragg may be an acquired taste for some but I think he is pretty good and I think you should give him a listen, if you don't care for him you will be happy to know that all the clips are very short as far as music clips go.

This first one is 'Greetings to the New Brunette' and is the original music video for TV.

This next one is a runner up for one of my favorites, It's "Lovers Town Revisited" and its short.

This last one is the most recent a collaboration with Kate Nash doing one of his biggest 'hits' "A New England". "A New England" doesn't start until he begins singing, the first thing is the first verse from her hit 'Foundation'. This is the best version of 'A New England' on You Tube, but he does it better on the album Back To Basics, but then again he was 21. This was taped in March of this year. Man, he's getting old. But I still love you Billy.

She screws the words up a couple of times but he doesn't look like he's going to hold that against her, though I might.



I LOVE Spring!!

Today the twins and I went on a visit into my hometown to see a friend from high school's newly remodeled kitchen. They did all the work themselves and she has been dying for me to come and see it. It looked really good, better than I was expecting actually. They did all the work themselves, tearing out old cabinets, installing the new ones, staining the cabinets, coutnertops, tile backsplash.

Anyways. I have a tendency to start a post about one thing and talk about something else so now that that little tangent is over let me tell you what I thought about on the 45 minute drive. As if you really care.

First, I thought about going to Arizona later on this year and how in the world we are going to travel with little babies. When are we going to travel? How are we going to afford it thanks to constantly rising fuel and airline prices? But I still really want to do it. Any survival tips? I would love to hear 'em.

Secondy, I thought about how much I love this time of year. I love the weather. You know, that long sleeve t-shirt and shorts, get out the flip flops weather that we here in Virginia only see for a short time. Well, it is here and I love it. If the temperature outside would only stay 75 degrees I would be pleased. But it won't.

I love the smells. Yes, that right, the we finally cut our grass-flowers are in bloom smell. That quiz I took where I said Cookies were my favorite smell-I misspoke. The smell of cut grass is perhaps truly my favorite because this is my favorite season. Next to shopping season in the mid-fall/early-winter anyways.

I love that it's staying lighter outside later into the day. Last night when we put Trauma and Trouble to sleep it was still light out. I could have mowed the grass, but we watched 'There Will Be Blood' instead (*****). I love that when I got home from Romp N' Roll our neighbors, the only ones I like, were outside putting seed and straw down in one of our continued desperate attempts to grow grass on this horrible soil in the neighborhood. I like these neighbors and now that it is actually light out when they get home from work I can chat with them again in the evenings. We tend to be summer buddies.

I love that it's cookout season. I love having people over and with the deck addition we can now have more people over and maybe more often?

I was watching my friends son jump on their trampoline and I was thinking about all of the wonderful things to come in the years ahead with children. Her oldest son's T-Ball season starts up this Saturday. I look forward to all these things that will run me ragged.

And I drove home thinking about all the things that I want to do outside. Clean the garage. Plant grass seed and fertilize. Mow the grass again. Kill the wasps that are already accumulating. Wash the vehicles. Yes, I know we have small children (yes, i heard you whispering 'good luck with that' to your computer screen like i couldn't hear ya). Now, where did I put those carrier thingamajigs?

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Don't you agree?


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Am I Going Bald?

My hair is falling out.

Ward pointed it out and it is coming out by the handfulls.

I am afraid to go to sleep.

At this rate I might wake up bald.

And I mean the balding looks good on Ward, but I don't know about me.

I have those round cheeks and all.

My hair is also turning gray.

Those darn children.

I just know this is all their fault.


Whatever Happened to Chester?

We have been in our house now for almost two years. It has gone by very fast.

When we were building the house the neighbor on the hill, he wouldn't even wave at us if we waved at him. He thought we were laborers. His name is Billy. Our subs, they kept hitting his mailbox. He had mean words with Ward about it even though we told them right away we would replace the mailbox (and the stupid things are not easy to replace because the Homeowners Association picks them out and has someone make them out of iron, but they are done so cheaply and cost a fortune). Then we were asked not so nicely to never ever park any vehicle that had anything to do with construction or us in general to park on their grass which isn't really theirs but the county's. EVERY day I had to keep no crossing tape up to keep people from parking on the grass. One day while fixing the tape I lost my keys.

I assumed in their grass, but I couldn't find them. Billy has a son. He is bizarre. During construction he would 'dumpster dive' into the huge dumpster on the site. I would bring some of our trash from our old house and put it in the dumpster. One day little kid, we will call him Damien because he reminds me of the kid from 'The Omen' asked Ward if he could "go dumpster diving just one more time?" For some reason Ward said yes. A few days later I saw him in his yard playing with some of my things. It was really strange. So anyways, I thought maybe little Damien took my keys. So I went over there to see.

I am walking up their very long driveway and Billy turns and looks at me like 'what are you doing coming into my yard you lazy construction filth'. He doesn't even walk towards me, he just stands there waiting for me to walk up to him. I tell him who I am and that I have lost my keys fixing the yellow tape.

"What do you mean you're building the house next door?" He asks. He cares more about my introduction than the fact that I can't find my keys. I tell him we're building the house and he looks at me confused. Again, he asks what I mean, like are we going to be residing across the street from him? Yes! "What about the people with the Cadillac?"

My mother-in-law's boyfriend drives a Cadillac and they came by very often during the construction phase. Billy took one look at Ward's old F-150 and my KIA and figured there was no way we could afford a house like this, no, it had to be the people with the Cadillac's house.

"I yelled at your husband about my mailbox. I didn't know he was the owner."

So you see it's OK to treat people like dirt if they are just the ones constructing the nice house but not if they are going to be the owners. He asked if he could come over and see our house. He kept going on about how nice it was and kept asking about the people who owned the Cadillac. He probably thought they were paying for the house or something but I don't really care.

He was never friendly again if you could call that one encounter friendly and I don't.

Flash forward a few weeks. We have moved in. We sell our old house and finally bring our three cats (actually our third cat Crookshanks was picked up at the dumpster right after we moved in, she was pregnant with kittens and we are fools) and two dogs to the new house.

Our two cats, Sammy Davis Baker Jr. and Chester Copperpot, they are both black and white. They are cats. If you have ever owned a cat you know that you don't OWN a cat they OWN you. And they do as they please and they come when they want. Anyways, Chester had always been a little odd (his story is long and a blog for another day) and would disappear for days. As soon as we brought him here he disappeared for a few days. Sam is really needy and befriends all children. He seeks them out, especially little girls and has been fortunate enough to find himself residing in houses beside little girls his whole life. Maybe he thought Damien was a little girl.

One afternoon about a week after the cats came home to live here I get a knock at my front door. I open the door to find Damien standing there (the kid is all of 9 or 10) in his Sunday best. It was Tuesday. He is blinking his eyes over and over and over...

As he's blinking his eyes he says to me and I will never forget it because of the bizarreness of the whole interchange:

"Are your parents here?" he asks blinking rapidly and looking like he is going to try and sell me something.

"No, actually they are out."

"Um, do you have a blue cat?"

"Uh, no. I have black and white cats." I respond as I am thinking about the way this kid is blinking and wearing clothes that little kids don't normally wear.

"Can you get it to stay over here? It keeps coming in our yard and rolling around on the grass. My dad told me to come over here and ask you if we should take it to the dump or"

At this point my curiosity has turned to anger that this kid and his father are plotting how to kill my cats and do away with the evidence but have been decent enough to give me fare warning and that is exactly what they were aiming for, a warning, a threat and I say in my not so nice tone:

"I will take care of my cat thank you."

And I shut the door on Little Damien.

Now I know I am an adult and he is a little kid but he is scary and I just couldn't stand there at the door any longer listening to him or I might have gone mad. I was very angry and I thought about going up there to their house and giving their whole family a piece of my mind but I am as big a wuss as I am an over-reacter so I let it go.

I never did anything with the cats. They hate to be inside, especially Chester.

And then shortly thereafter, Chester went missing. I have never been able to get the thought out of my mind that Hilly Billy's family had something to do with my cat's disappearance.

They have a little dog, we sometimes joke that we are going to take him out. But we are animal lovers and are only joking. The little Damien, he throws rocks at the pint sized animal. I feel sorry for it.

The Devil, I mean Damien, didn't have my keys and maybe he didn't have anything to do with Chester's disappearance but I still think the kid is pure evil.


p.s. Maybe Crookshanks was a botched attempt at "dumpster delivering" a cat and our neighbors are mad about it.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Oh So Funny!

So as you know we don't watch much TV around here. We heard about this here, and we think that they're very funny. We try not to recomend things unless we really enjoy them, but we think you will.

Ward was laughing so hard at this that he was crying.

Just do yourself a favor and click that link.

-Both of us.


A little known fact about me.

Or a well known one.

I'm not really sure.

I am scared to death of spiders. I mean terrified. Just now for instance I was going to take Trouble and get the mail but when I opened the front door there was a spider, a little one maybe but looked huge to me. I had to close the door with a broom and forget about the mail. I can't go outside now. Yes, THAT spider was at the FRONT door but I can't go on the back deck and last Friday I saw a GIANT spider in the garage so I may not get to go out side...ever...again.

You may think I am joking about this but since the encounter at the front door I keep feeling something crawl all over me. And my sister told me she almost sent me a picture of a brown recluse bite. That folks, is just too much to handle. The idea of a spider even gives me the heebie jeebies.

I try REALLY hard to overcome my irrational fear because spiders outnumber me on this earth. I once unfortunately came across a statistic on the discovery channel that there are 100,000 spiders per acre of land. We have .9 acres and our house covers about 1800 square feet of that acreage, so you have to figure that there are 90,000 spiders in our yard and that our house has displaced a number of them, potentially making them very angry.

When I was pregnant, I LOVED being in our jetted tub. By the end of the pregnancy I lived in the tub and Ward made jokes that our children were going to come out with fins (think Arturo, Geek Love readers). Then one day, I saw a spider on the vanity. Just ignore it. I told myself. But then I walked to get a towel and he WATCHED me. I am not making this up and I am not crazy. I went to get Ward immediately to remove the arachnid. I do not kill spiders, my mother told me when I was a child that if you killed a spider someone you loved would die in return (she was sooo CONNIVING) so we just don't do it. Anyways, Ward went to move the spider outside and it attacked him and ran away from him and the poor thing had to be washed down the drain. I could bathe in peace again...until...A few days later I was taking a bath at 3 am and out of the corner of my eye I saw it. The same spider. OK, it was either the same spider who climbed out of the drain to seek revenge on us or we had an infestation of this particular arachnid. I stood up (yes, naked). I couldn't call for Ward he was asleep. I couldn't get out of the tub. I took the book I was reading, A Briefer History of Time, and did the unthinkable. Mudered a family member.

Then I felt compelled to look the spider up, it was small. It was red. It looked like a crab and walked like one too (sideways). As I looked them up in the middle of the night I started to feel like I do after a horror movie. I wasn't to get any sleep that night.

And before my children were born I feared, I mean really feared a spider getting in their crib and biting them and their crying and I wouldn't know why. I still fear this.

That movie, Arachnaphobia. I didn't know it was a comedy until I met Ward. I still think it's a horror movie and I still can't bear to watch it.

Ahh theres a spider on my scre

Crunch Time!

The X-man's Party is 3 p.m. Sunday. That leaves me with approximately 49 hours to get our house in shape, our laundry done, our Dyson put together and broken in, our deck furniture back on the deck (after the stain dries), our lawn mowed, a quick (as if that can even be done) trip to the grocery store and get food prepared.

So in 49 hours you would definitely think one could do all of these things but already this morning I have been on the phone a dozen times, looked up recipes on the Internet, emailed my sister-in-law for recipes, did tummy time with the twins, and lost myself in photo album filing and picture frame updating. And now writing a blog post.

At this rate I will get nothing really accomplished but I will have children whom recieve a good share of my attention (they are napping from all that high head holding this morning) and wonderfully chronicled photo albums and delicious sides for the party and that doesn't seem half bad to me.

BUT, I found myself actually thinking this morning, Now why did I go and fire those insufficient house cleaners?

I had to remind myself that they weren't that good and it's my responsibilty to clean and keep clean this big ole house. When I was a kid my grandparents used to shut off a great bit of their house in the winter so they didn't have to heat it. I am thinking that could be a solution. Close off rooms so I don't have to clean them. Could be a little perturbing to our guests on Sunday though.

Bathrooms? Oh, we've closed them down for spring so we don't have to clean them. Something to drink? Oh well we've closed the kitchen down for spring as well. And the laundry room too (not that anyone would need to go in there), it gets so dusty in there that we've just decided to go with the spit-up look. We think it's quite becoming, don't you!

If you think about it, it would be good for the environment. And just because I drive a Canyoneer doesn't mean I don't care about the environment. I mean I have energy star appliances and that has to count for something even if I don't own a Prius, right?

I probably really should get started...on something.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Chik'N Parmigiana

I love to cook. I don't do it so much anymore because, well I just don't have as much time. But honestly I would rather have a real meal anyday instead of frozen burritos or frozen pizza no matter what my trash man tells you. Now that spring is upon us I think I am going to make a vow to start cooking more. I love this time of year because you can get more fresh fruits and vegetables and being a vegetarian this is paramount to my meal planning.

A lot of people ask us questions such as "What do you eat?" or "Do you get enough protein, iron, ..." Well, first off we just don't eat meat. So that means we eat everything else and that includes milk, eggs, cheese etc. Secondly, the world is much more vegetarian friendly than it used to be. There are plenty of sources of protein and iron and B vitamins in our diet. Sure we have to be a little more careful to make sure these things are included in our meals even if they are in the form of supplements but we don't mind and neither should other people. In some ways we are probably more conscience of our diets than we would otherwise be because of our beliefs.

But going back to that first question. What do we eat. We eat lots of veggies and cheese and bread (my favorite thing in the entire food pyramid) and yes, a lot of junk. But we also eat a fair amount of meat substitutes (but not too many because I am slightly worried about the amount of soy {infertility} and because I don't want to be dependent on these 'fake' substitutes) because they allow us to include many more entree-like selections to our meals.

For example, I love Eggplant Parmigiani but it is hard to make at home. I have tried and it takes a lot of time and the outcome has only been so so to date. So the other night I used Chik Patties from Morningstar Farms to make a Chik'n Parmigiani meal. Ward and I were pleased with how quickly the meal could be thrown together and how decent it tasted. Now I have been a vegetarian since I was 14 and have NEVER had real chicken parmigiani so I have no idea how 'close' mine tasted to the real thing. But I don't really care. I am just happy to have something else quick and tasty to make for dinner when Joy calls to ask me what I am fixing her son for dinner (yes, folks, my m-i-l really does this).

I have also found recipes online for zucchini cakes that are supposed to taste like crab cakes and Fake Tuna Salad. Again, I have never eaten the real thing (or don't recall ever eating these things) in my carnivore days and I don't know if I will even attempt these fake versions. I just like the fact that there are all of these recipes out there reaffirming my beleif that raising my children vegetarian will not be a problem, for our family anyways.


p.s. These recipes also give me something else to offer my bean hating, lasagna bored friends.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Happy Birthday X-man

The x-man’s birthday is right around the corner and this morning while baking cookies for a family gathering Rhapsody played a song that never leaves me dry eyed after listening. The song brought back memories of that monumental day in the hospital a year ago, I thought I would share.

My sister got pregnant with the X-man weeks after our first failed attempt at IVF, they were lucky enough to get pregnant on their “first try” and she didn’t want to tell me for fear of hurting my feelings. At the time we had three of our nephews and a niece here from Arizona. The first night she called during dinner, I told her I would call her back and forgot. The next morning she called when I was on my cell phone, my niece gave me the message to call my sister back at work.

I stepped out on the deck because there was a lot of noise in the house. I called her at work. “I’m pregnant.” I was surprised but happy, I would finally if nothing else have a niece or nephew who resided in the same town as me to spoil. But at the same time I was a little sad that she had told everyone else before me because she was afraid I couldn’t handle the news, it started to rain, I didn’t come in. I took two minutes to feel sorry for myself and was fine, ready to revel in the enjoyment of someone so close to me having a child. I didn’t tell my nieces and nephews but I went and got a gift and left it on her doorstep to find when she came home that evening.

Early on in her pregnancy she asked if I would like to be present for the delivery. I wasn’t really sure, I didn’t know if it was a good idea but she sort of insisted so I agreed.

That day was amazing. Where as the birth of my own children was stressful and involved a lot of personal pain and drugs, the X-man’s birth was one of the most miraculous events I have ever been a part of. I am not trying to take anything away from the birth of my own children, but at the X-man’s delivery I was able to look at it from the outside, a family in the making.

The day before the birth I made a mix tape, the last tape (C.d. actually) I have made. Because I like to name all of my mixes and because we were in the midst of the last of our IVF’s, I named the tape On The Eve Of Expecting. A double entendre which suggested both the X-man’s arrival and the hope that I too would be pregnant soon. Kate Bush was amongst the songs on the mix.

My sister spent most of the weekend of April 14th at home in early labor. On Monday, the same day as the Tech shootings she went into the hospital only to be turned away. Finally, on Tuesday they admitted her ready to induce her but they didn’t really have to because she had progressed far enough along to let nature take its course.

I arrived at the hospital a few hours after they did. For most of the morning it was just my sister, her husband and I. We spent about two hours walking the Mother Baby Unit hoping to speed up contractions occasionally stopping for her to manage through a contraction.

The morning went along without a whole lot of progress so when Rachel called almost begging me to meet her for lunch, no one seemed to mind me running out. I would pick my brother-in-law up something to eat as well.

By the time I returned to the hospital a great number of family members were in the waiting room and they weren’t letting any of us in to see her. At this point I felt truly miserable for having left her.

After some time in the waiting room my brother-in-law came and got me. Not wanting to take any pain meds she held on for as long as she could before asking for some. She had finally agreed to an epidural and was starting to feel a little better. When I had left she was all by herself in her room and in good spirits with an occasional visit from a nurse. When I returned she wasn’t herself and the room was chocked full of hospital staff. It caught me off guard and I tried to act like I though it was normal. I think she was taken off guard at how quickly things had changed as I know I was. She was having chills, a reaction from meds, and I tried to do what I could to calm her and finally asked her to try and calm down for me because she was worrying me. This seemed to work but in retrospect I feel bad even putting that extra pressure on her to calm down for me.

Things calmed down and we talked and watched t.v. a little. She said she was glad I was there and I was too. I really appreciated her wanting to include me in the miraculous event that is birth. Because of my mother’s insistence she was asked to be present for the birth as well as my sister’s mother-in-law (though I think that had been planned all along). For some time it was just the five of us and a nurse. I was so surprised how little the doctor was present.

The delivery was incredible. I won’t go into much detail because we all know what is involved in a delivery but I have never witnessed such an amazing sight and perhaps never will again. At one point my sister rubbed my hand and said she was glad I was there, I was too. It meant a lot that she wanted me there. When the X-man arrived her reaction was precious, that moment when all her hard work was over and rewarded so beautifully.

My adorable nephew, X-man, was born at 10:17 April 17th, 2007 weighing 7 lbs even and measuring 20 inches (exactly I think).

As soon as he was out they took him over to a table to be weighed and measured and do APGARs. The grandmothers and his daddy went to look at the wonderful bundle before them. I stood by my sister, holding her hand and watching her look over at her new family.

The little man was beautiful but was having the slightest bit of trouble breathing so it was decided that he should be taken to the NICU for brief observation. This broke my sisters heart to hear as anyone who has carried around a little bugger inside them for so long to have him taken so far away can imagine. It seemed so unfair that he had to leave her side so soon even if only for a little while. She was so upset and it broke my heart as well to watch. They had his daddy carry him to the NICU, maybe to make her feel better about him having to leave. I stayed with her as all the other family left to spread the news of the pint sized new arrival. I tried to reassure her but I was worried too and I knew that she just wanted to see him so bad.

She was too sad to be visited by those in the waiting room. She was also in hormone crash time and in a lot of pain, both physically and emotionally.

A short time after we were all allowed into the NICU to see the X-man. I felt a little bad that we all got to go in and see him before my sister was out or recovery but she wanted everyone to go and see him. He was kicking and crying. The lungs were fine.

At around midnight my sister was released to be moved from delivery to Mother Baby. They wheeled her through the NICU to see her little boy and her attitude was changed immediately. She was able to see for herself that her little man was OK.

The rest of the family headed home and my brother-in-law ran home quickly to take his mom home and swing by their house to take out their dogs. My brother and I stayed with our sister. I had an appointment with my RE an hour and a half away at 8 a.m. but I wouldn’t leave the hospital until my nephew was out of the NICU. At a little before 2:30 a.m. they brought him in.

I got to hold him. I fell in love with my nephew then and he has continued to steal my heart for the past twelve months every time I see him. Even though I got pregnant that month and now have my own children they have in no way lessened the love I have for the little X-man.

Happy Birthday, Little Dude.

The next morning I had to get up early for blood tests and an ultrasound. On the way up there I listened to my mix c.d. When this song came on I broke down, all of the emotion and events from the previous 24 hours poured out of me. I had been so frightened that something was wrong when he was born and was struggling a little to breath and I was so overjoyed that he was finally here and healthy and I could only imagine what it was like for my sister.

So sis, this one’s for you.

Happy April 17th to you as well X-man’s mom.

Destined to Underwhelm

We apologize that our trip to Frederick wasn't all the doom and gloom we built it up to be. I don't know if people were on their best behavior because it was such a large gathering or maybe they all feared being blogged about or maybe they aren't all that bad, that family of mine. For our sakes, I am relieved that it went so well even though I overpacked to the max. Sorry Tater and Lucy. Next time we will take less or rent a u-haul or something.

Our lives always seem crazier to me than they probably appear from the outside. We are trying to get a deck built and stained for X-man's birthday party in four days. We are trying to clean and declutter the house so that our things don't overrun us. We are trying to raise children who get us much time with us as possible which is difficult when there seems to be so much going on and so much that needs to be done.

And I desperately need to make it to the post office and the grocery store and yes, even Target but I am so overwhelmed because I can't push a cart and a stroller. Or maybe I can. I am just a little intimidated is all. Things used to be so easy. Now they are a little more complicated.

Today is Romp 'N Roll. Unfortunately, the twins have taken to napping during the typical class hours and I hate to wake them so that they'll be grouchy and frustrated but I don't want them to miss out. I want them to have all of these opportunities but sometimes I fear that I am rushing into things before they are ready because I am so excited about a future with children.

This afternoon's clip was brought to my attention by an old friend. The lady is Imogen Heap and some of you may be more familiar with her than I am but this is a really interesting clip in my opinion, so I figured I would share. The effects and the fact that this is live are really intriguing.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

We Are Still Here

We are currently working on a post about our weekend but we have so much to catch up on and some of us don’t work from home so it will probably be later today before we get anything up. Sorry for the delay especially since the weekend wasn’t nearly the train wreck it could have been.

I am in the midst now of unpacking and moving on to the next big event, the X-man’s first birthday party which is to take place here on Sunday. His parents are bringing the food and doing the decorating but I feel the need to clean out all the closets and wash every sheet we own before they come, you know all the important cleaning. I am still working on that long list of things to do in spring and I believe summer will be here before it’s completed, heck who am I kidding, the twins graduation from college may be here before the list is completed.

I also have a headache and Trouble has started throwing daily tantrums (which I thought didn’t start until much later) so I feel I really need a nap, again maybe when they are in college.

Today’s clip is a song that my dad played for me years ago and I have always just really liked it. Ward doesn’t particularly care for the song or the artist, Dan Bern, but I thought I would share nonetheless.


Friday, April 11, 2008

Perhaps We Will Make It Yet

The Canyoneer is loaded with remarkably enough room left to stow six people, this is the first time that the vehicles massive size has actually come in handy. In seven weeks we are going on a Pennsylvania/Washington D.C. trip to tag along with Ward's family when they visit the East Coast. This trip is sort of prepping us for that longer possibly more hectic trip (the number of crazy people should be a little less though). And then a month after that we are going to the beach for a week and as long as we can get there in one piece it will be our least hectic trip yet. But I can't help thinking that we are crazy for planning so much in the twins first six months of life. We haven't really gone anywhere for the last two years as we've been recuperating from the cost of building a house and all those expensive treatments. At least when the children look back they will see that their family went places, at least when they were young. My family never travelled much.

The summer after my mother left my father took my brother, sister and I to Disney World. We drove down in an unairconditioned car under the hot August sun. The trip was almost cancelled several times due to finances but my father would not cancel it. We had been promised a trip to Disney for so long (and my dad loves to travel) that he felt we needed to go. What was originally going to be a three day trip at Disney had to be cut to one day. So a fourteen hour drive each way for one day at Disney. It was my birthday, the gates to the Magic Kingdom opened one minute after I turned 13 (according to my dad's memory that I was born at 8:59 a.m.). It was a wonderful day filled with fun and great memories (even the hot trip down was oddly fun, we had to get on the road really early each day to avoid driving during the hottest part of the day) in what was a difficult time in my life. It wasn't lost on me even at 13 the sacrifices my dad had made to see that we had our trip to Disney. The five of us never went on a family trip together unless you count my aunt's wedding when my little brother was four weeks old and I don't.

Even with all the headache that this short trip to Maryland is causing I hope that we continue to take trips together as a family for a very long time to come. Next year we're planning a trip to Disney, we figured we would go ahead and get that one out of the way so we can tell the kids when they are older and actually want to go to Disney "But you've already been."

I have to pack the old lappy so that all the wonderful details of this fine weekend can be recorded accurately and frequently so I will leave you with this clip for now.

If you don't love the Violent Femmes, you should. This is one of my favorite cuts by them. Remember that tape I made as a geeky teenager for the music hater? This was the first cut on that tape.

As always, Enjoy!


ps- I love 'American Music' but I think my all time favorite Violent Femmes song is 'I Held Her In My Arms'.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Barnsley Nightingale

I have decided to wait and do the birthday shopping excursion later on today.

I have also decided that I am going to start posting some of my favorite artists and songs from time to time, an inspiration that came from this website that may or may not be the work of someone who is related to me (there, all identities preserved).

So first on the list, my favorite english folk singer, Kate Rusby. Again, somewhat hard to find on the old internet but I found something that will do as in introduction for those who have never heard her before.

I heard her on the program 'Acoustic Sunrise' on a local radio station a few years back and I was impressed at how funny but beautiful were the combination of lyrics, music and her voice. If you want to delve deeper I recommend the albums Underneath the Stars, Little Lights and 10. If you can find a way I recommend listening to the cut "William and Davy" off of Little Lights.

As always, I hope you enjoy.


Why I Suck Currently

So we are going out of town this weekend to celebrate my grandmother’s 90th birhtday and I have yet to get her a gift and I totally forgot to send my nephew a gift for his birthday that was last Saturday. So I was going to go out this morning and do some birthday shopping.

I started getting ready to leave at 9:30 a.m.

It is now 12:30 and we’ve yet to leave the house.

Soon I will probably decide to just go when Ward gets home. How lazy, I know. But it really is difficult shopping with twins. And I have no idea what to get a 90 year old woman who can’t see or a 13 year old teenage boy.

I am thinking a shirt that says “My Aunt and Uncle Whom Love Me Very Much Forgot About My Birthday and Then All I Got Was This Lousy Shirt” on a bright pink shirt for my nephew.

He’ll probably love it, don’t you think?

What teenage boy in middle school wouldn’t?


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Maybe Gift Cards Aren't So Bad

We are in the midst of spring cleaning. This is a very difficult time of year for me because I must admit that I have a shopping problem and a hoarding problem and a magazine problem and a guilt problem.

I shop too much at Target, it is still down from the old ten time a week habit, now I only go once a week. Do I spend a lot less? No, not really. Do I buy a lot less? No, not really.

I realize that I keep everything. The rose my sister gave me last mother’s day four days after I found out I was expecting. The dozen or so pillows with silly sayings on them. Every poster that hung on my wall when I was a cool teenager. All that sewing stuff I never use. That fourth vacuum. All those magazines that I want to read but never find the time to read. The Christmas stuff, a whole room in the basement is dedicated to trees and skirts, Poinsettias and tissue paper. All the fake flowers and rocks to fill vases during different parts of the year. All those Halloween costumes. Sofas.

The guilt issue? My very sweet grandmother buys us tons of things that should never have been invented and no one ever should have bought. Samples of these include (from this most recent holiday) massaging boots (the package says not to use them for more than 20 minutes and definitely avoid water while wearing them), two sets of Lullaby c.d.s (the poor woman thought that each of the twins needed their own), baked potato warmers, a locked jewelry box that I have never been able to open and a sewing kit from the 1950’s complete with rusted needles and chipped buttons. She means well folks, she really does. Which is why I can’t bear to part with any of it. The silly brass stars my half sister gave to me, gone. She probably just picked them up on clearance at Kirklands and later decided to give it to me but my grandmother really wants me to have this stuff. She truly thinks about every wacky gift. For example, this year I did not receive those battery operated ice scrappers which everyone else received (for at least the second time) because I have a garage.

My belongings will swallow me up one day because I felt to guilty about getting rid of anything.

I look at something I own. I don’t use it. It doesn’t match my d├ęcor. I don’t even understand why you would use it (i.e. rusted needles and battery operated ice scrappers). But I can’t seem to part with any of it.

We looked at the posters. We started to get rid of them and then I said “Oh, let’s keep this one of all the Beatles albums.”

So Ward said, “And let’s keep this one of The Pixies, Surfer Rosa.”

Ok, if you get to keep the one with the naked chick on it then I will also keep my Smashing Pumpkins and Luna posters.

And we didn’t get rid of any of them.

“What about this cat shaped buckwheat pillow from your Grandma?” he asks.

Well Bailey will love that one day. “And the pillow about cousins?”

Well Trauma and Trouble and X-man are going to be close and it will pertain to them.

“But we can get rid of the ‘Bad Chair’ though”, I offer.

“Now that we have kids we need the bad chair.” Ward chimes in.

The keep pile remains larger than the discard pile.

“We have enough to fill a mall.” Ward later complains.

More like a junk shop really but he has a point. I have a really hard time separating with any of my stuff.

My therapist says that it’s because I claim attachments to material things because my mom left me when I was so young.


PS- I DON’T really see a therapist. It isn’t tax deductible. Ah, taxes. Have I posted about that yet?

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Grogans Have Nothing On Us

In early April 2004, Ward and I made the decision to get a dog. We had just bought our first home in 2002 and had spent the better part of 2003 trying to get grass to grow in our tiny, and I mean tiny, backyard for a dog that wasn’t so tiny to destroy.

After much thought and consideration we narrowed it down to two breeds, our first venture into canine ownership would either be a Golden Retriever (my choice) or an English springer spaniel (his choice based on the kind of dog his brother had). After making the decision to get a dog I spent the better part of two weeks reading about these two breeds in on-line articles and at bookstores.

One sunny Sunday afternoon (in early April 2004) I stopped in at Petsmart to read further on Goldens and Springers while Ward was working (he had just started his own company just months before and was pulling 80 hour weeks to make sure we survived). I had all but decided on a Springer Spaniel when as I was walking to my car I came across a truckload of Golden Retriever puppies.

A couple had come to Petsmart with their litter of Golden Retriever puppies. They claimed that they were purebred but they hadn’t been able to prove it so they were giving them away. I picked one up and he fell asleep in my arms, I called Ward. No answer. Five minutes later I called again. And again. I couldn’t stand there all day so I took a chance, I decided to keep him and hope that my decision wouldn’t change Ward’s mind about keeping me. I walked to my vehicle, small golden puppy sound asleep. It was only after I started to leave the parking lot that the yelping began.

And it continued the ENTIRE way home. At one point I seriously considered turning around and heading back to Petsmart and dropping the dog back off. In retrospect, it would have made for a much easier year, but that isn’t what I did.

No, I took the mutt home. And everyone fell in love with him quickly. Ward was a little frustrated that I had gotten a dog without him while he was out working but as soon as he got home and the pup ran to him his mind was changed. We named the dog Maximo, and we never once called him that. He is Max, the 88 pound monster we know and love today. Our neighbors call him Max-A-Million but I have no idea why.

The first few hours were blissful. The next few months were miserable. The puppy was not housebroken by any means but took instead to breaking the house. He hated being crated because I took the veterinarians suggestion to crate him and thought she meant crate him in a travel crate. Dogs hate travel crates.

Max went to the bathroom, everywhere. He wasn’t the least bit picky. He barked incessantly for what seemed like months but was really just one of the longest weeks ever because of the lack of sleep (matched only by the twin’s arrival). In eight months time he chewed on a bookshelf Ward made, he ruined our carpet from accidents and chewing on it, he ate an entire sofa, he ruined all the grass we had grown and I thought about getting rid of him almost every day. Raising a puppy is not for the faint at heart. It was a very, very difficult time in our lives as well because we were delving into the world of infertility treatments and we had family come and stay with us and Max made it better at times and Max made it worse at times. But we kept him.

Then in early 2005 we dog-sat for my crazy mother-in-law’s Shitzu. I was completely against the idea because she had all these ridiculous wishes about how the dog was to be treated and he was to sleep in our room. None of that was to happen and she wasn’t happy about it, but we were her best, I mean only option so she hesitantly agreed. What I thought was going to be an awful weekend with Snoflee turned out to be much better.

Snoflee could have cared less about Max but Max followed Snoflee everywhere. Wherever Snoflee slept on the carpet there was Max. When Snoflee left on Monday, Max seemed utterly depressed.

Now one thing you have to understand is Max is neurotic. I doubt a more neurotic dog has ever existed. He jumps at loud noises. He hates to be yelled at. He has to have someone kick a soccer ball to him if he is outside. He needs to go outside all the time. He is depressed when alone. And so on.

I saw no other option; we had to get another dog, for Max’s sake of course.

And low and behold there was a litter of nine week old English Springer Spaniel puppies for sale in the paper. Ward was not happy about the prospect of buying a dog, he is understandably against dog farms and didn’t know why I needed a pure bred dog. I didn’t need one of course, I just wanted one. I called about the litter, she had lowered the price because the puppies were getting older and not selling. She would meet me at McDonalds in Bedford on Monday.

I took the travel crate and my brother and went to get puppy #2.

You would have thought I learned some lesson with puppy #1, like never ever get a puppy again, but I hadn’t. I took a look at the puppies and quickly picked neurotic dog #2, Jake.

Now another thing you have to understand is I was desperate for a child at this point, so I told myself I didn’t mind the puppy stage. Jake was much smaller as a puppy at first than Max was so I carried him everywhere, which is how a 55 pound dog became a lap dog. Until I got pregnant if I was sitting on the couch Jake would crawl into my lap. I grew to enjoy it, to expect it. He wasn’t allowed to do it while I was pregnant and it has seriously hurt out bond, poor neurotic dog that he is.

So we brought Jake home and took him out of the crate and waited for Max’s reaction. He sniffed him and took to him immediately. An instantaneous bond was formed. Best decision I ever made right?

Not exactly. Where Max barked at night as a puppy for weeks Jake would howl for hours any time of day and it lasted months. Where Max would go to the bathroom if left inside for too long Jake would come inside and go to the bathroom. Where Max didn’t like being left in a crate Jake would literally claw his way out. Where as Max tried to dig out of the backyard at the gate Jake tried to dig to China from all over the backyard. I went through another period of regretting my decision and once seriously thought about getting rid of both of them. We never followed through with that.

Or much of anything else. They were never going to get on the couch. But they do. How else could Jake become a lap dog? They were never going to eat table food but Max just loves Bananas. They were never going to sleep in bed with us but Jake is a good foot warmer. It is in these decisions I learned a noble lesson, be careful about issuing the word never with a statement unless you know for certain that you really would not ever.

Max and Jake are great dogs. Now. In my opinion. Jake is AKC registered but we had his manhood removed at four months so I am not sure why I bothered with the registering. Jake is as dumb as Ward claims, but he has the sweetest eyes and a good heart. He gives new meaning to his name by springing into the air sometimes three of four feet. Max is smart, he can understand several words but if you even whisper the word soccer or ball you had better put your shoes on. He is the best dog I have ever seen with children and NEEDS you to have a hand on his head whenever your foot isn’t kicking a ball.

They are crated (in much larger see through crates) when we can’t keep an eye on them and most nights (because Jake has never truly learned what housebroken means). I am afraid though that lately they have been spending a lot more of their days in these crates. I am busy with the babies or worried that they are going to slobber on a baby or wake a baby and I truly feel really bad about this. It needs to change. These dogs whom stay in their crates don’t get angry that they are crated so often, instead they just jump for joy when we let them out (Jake quite literally). They are great dogs. Neurotic, slightly annoying, but great nonetheless.

They are no replacement for children, I can assure you. But they are magnificent companions. I am so glad that I didn’t let my frustration get the better of me and get rid of them. That happens to too many pets.

And I really do think that every home should have a dog.

As I write this, Max is doing his annoying bark-whine, take me outside and please me with your just barely adequate soccer ball kicking skills.

Alright boy.


Sunday, April 6, 2008

So We Went Out Shopping With The Twins Again...


An Epic Tale of Shopping and Heroism
Starring Us

First stop. 7-11.

We stopped in for fuel (for us not the car), a coffee for me and a coke, cherry for the missus. She stayed in the car with the kids and I went in to get everything. Inside I encountered Crazy Person #1 for the day. Nothing too bad, just some lady talking to herself at the coffee station. I thought that she was talking to the man next to her, but he walked away leaving just her and me and she kept on going as if nothing had changed. When I ended up in line behind her, with my coffee, cherry coke and two donuts, I noticed that she had stopped talking and started singing. The cashier seemed irritated as she rang up the lady's coffee and two packs of menthol cigarettes, but not shocked. I should have taken this as an omen for what lay in store for the rest of the morning.

Second Stop. Sam's.

We chose Sam's as our first real stop because of the obvious bulk nature of the purchases, 7,000 lbs. of dog food, super-jumbo packs of diapers, and 2.5 million wipes. Occasionally, Sam's will have marked down items in a cart near the entrance. Today, there was a basket full of shirts that had obviously been ruined somehow (I didn't investigate personally). There was a lady (Crazy Person #2, CP2) arguing with the lady who stands at the door and distractedly looks at your membership card, it went like this:

CP2 "Look how bad this one looks. They shouldn't even charge me."

Door Lady "I'm sure if you ask someone at customer service they can mark it down."

CP2 "But it's ruined, they should just give it to me."

Door Lady "You could probably get it for a dollar."

CP2 "But look how bad it looks, I can't believe they'd charge me for it."

Me "Then why do you even want it you FruitCake?"

June "Is something on sale?"

I'm just kidding about the end there, but come on what kind of argument is that? This is a peice of crap are you really going to charge me for it? Do you really want it then? I mean what the ...

Other than that we made it out of Sam's without any real problems, but loading the munchkins back into the Canyoneer, we noticed that Trouble was good and ready for some diaper replacement therapy.

Next. Barnes & Noble.

Our next few errands were all in the same shopping center, and Sunday morning at Barnes and Noble seemed like the most obvious choice for a peaceful diaper change. So June took the little girl to the little girls room for a quick make-over, and I took Trauma to look at CD's. That's right, no REM, and not only that I was lucky enough to attract one of those really pushy-I-need-to-be-helping-you-or-you-should-leave-my-department salespeople. I left. So I went to hang out in the children's books until June got done in the restroom. Somewhere between there and me however she ran into CP3 (that's Crazy Person #3 if you're not paying attention).

CP3, she said, was some creepy old guy who thought that she was a young (baby-toting) college girl. She was very bothered by the encounter, and I, being the sensitive supportive spouse that I am, made fun of her. I told her that she should be flattered, and that she always over-reacts whenever some stud starts flirting with her. She wasn't amused, and we left the premises immeadtately.

Then. Best Buy.

Still no REM CD. June bought a bag for her Laptop so that we can Blog when we go out of town next weekend to a large family gathering, which is sure to be full of entertaining situations, so all involved should beware. But, nothing weird happened.

Last, but never least. Target.

We had a short list of about 796 things to get at Target, that's why it has to be the last stop on the trip, because June often is there to help close the store. No REM CD, dang it! We looked at Mother's Day cards, and quickly found the perfect one, which we fought over whose mother to send it to. It read: "Mom, my therapist says that it's not totally your fault for the way I turned out. Dad screwed me up plenty too." She won, it's going to her mom. Dang it again!
At the end of one isle we ran into a traffic jam, which it is always bad to stop moving with the twins, standing still enboldens the freaks, and of course some stranger took advantage of this pause to pounce on us.

"Twins? Boys or girls? One of each? You've sure got your hands full. I bet you hear that all the time. They probably get lots of attention."

"No, no one has actually ever approached us, being total strangers and all, and asked us personal questions about our family. You're the first to be so bold."

Annoying as she was, this is a common event for us, so no she does not get the CP4 title. That guy is a few isles over looking at vacuum cleaners, exactly where we're headed.
My wife has somehow convinced me that we need a vacuum called 'the absolute animal' by Dyson, which costs alot even though I don't think it runs itself. When we get to the vacuum cleaner isle, there is a guy there with this very same vacuum in his cart, this is CP4 or possibly VRG1 (Very Rude Guy#1). With his vacuum already in his shopping cart, he has managed to position himself as to block access to the much-covetted Dysons. After we arrive another guy shows up with an empty cart, "Wow, everybody wants a Dyson," he says. CP4 doesn't budge. "Is that the one you want, honey," I ask pointing at the barricaded cleaners trying to be subtle (one of my strong points of course). "Yes," she says as she crawls under CP4's cart and drags out her trophy. The whole time this guy doesn't budge. When we left that isle Mr. Patience was still waiting quietly for his turn.

One more thing to get and we're done, when who should appear in the mop isle but CP3 (the guy from Barnes and Noble). 'He is kind of creepy looking' I say to myself as he flashes me a big serial killer smile and follows us, empty-handed as he was, all the way to check out. He looks back at us and grins as we wait in line and he walks out of the store, no doubt in order to set up his diabolical ambush. We have to time our exit with a big crowd of Serbian immigrants, so as to escape undetected.

We hurry to the Canyoneer and flee for our lives. Another daunting narrow escape, and we live to blog another day.


-Legal Disclaimer- This blog is based on mostly true events that actually nearly happened to us in some way, real or imagined. Some details may or may not be exaggerated to impress and entertain our loyal readers. If anyone is offended by the posting of this blog this is a truly unanticipated outcome, which we may or may not be honestly sorry about.

Friday, April 4, 2008

I'm Glad I had Children and I Hope They Visit

An elderly woman was found by her apartment manager after being stuck in the tub for five days. Five days folks. She took a bath and then couldn't get out and had to wait until someone came to help her get out.

Five days. Of going to the toilet in the tub. Of not eating in the tub. Of sleeping in the tub. Of nakedness in the tub. Of not bathing because you are stuck in a tub with your waste, which is probably not a whole lot anyways because your not eating.

At least it was the tub and therefore water was availble whenever she pleased because otherwise maybe she wouldn't have survivied.

I wonder did she not have children who lived nearby? But then again I go five months without talking to my mother, this could happen to her and no one would even know about it. I am glad I have children and I am going to be nice to them from now on because not only do they choose your nursing home they may save you from the tub.

When I am older I hope I have children with whom I am close and I hope they visit.


Look's Like Rain To Me

Some twelve years ago I came upon this artist on a CMJ compilation with a witty little song called Sittin' Pretty (turns out Spanish frat boys love this song?). The song was funny and catchy. The artist was Brendan Benson.

Shortly after falling for this song I came upon Benson's album One Mississippi in a used record store's bin for $1. I bought it. I took it home. I fell in love with it.

Over the years I have known few people who knew who he was or liked him. Until recently. Turns out the power pop songwriter is stirring up quite the little fan base. Who knew? Not I. Maybe it's the Jack White connection. Maybe it's the iPod connection. Maybe it's the Supernatural connection. Maybe it's the fact that while poppy, it's good stuff.

I couldn't find much offered online to share with you, but give this a listen.

Hope you enjoy!


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

We Romped...

...and we Rolled!

Today was our first day of baby gym at Romp N’ Roll at 4:30 p.m. Unfortunately, I felt that a good part of my day was spent preparing for our gym outing, dressing, scheduling feedings so they wouldn’t be hungry during our 45 minute class, and preparing mentally. I was excited about getting out of the house and spending time focusing on the twins but I was also nervous of having two of them in a class when they barely meet the age requirement. (They won’t be three months until Saturday technically but I slipped in without them noticing.)

So I feed Trauma so he isn’t hungry during baby tumbling, because he is ALWAYS hungry. And we left early to put Trouble in a calm state of mind that is only reached after eight hours of sleep or thirty minutes in the car. Really folks, this forty minute class took a lot of energy from me. I can’t even imagine the things to come. Dating, sports, running for SCA President.

We got there early. As a new parent I often hear that I am going to be late because I have twins so I am making every effort to be early where ever I go. Today I succeeded. I was there before any of the other people in the class. Baby Gym is at the same time as the Princess class apparently. Yes, you read that correctly, Princess Class, which is titled Princess Party. Princess attire is optional. Not really, every little girl there for the class was in princess attire. I can’t imagine the little girl who goes in there without a royal gown on, the other girls would probably kick her out.

So one of the princesses is there with her father and he sits down beside a woman and her eight month old baby. He decides to start up a conversation with her, but it may have been his first ever, this is what he chose to open the chat with:

King: Is there Oriental in your child, his eyes look like he’s Chinese.

Unsuspecting Helpless Mother: No, my husband is Irish and I have Indian in me.

K: He’s also cross-eyed, huh. Look at that.

UHM: Yeah, a little. Sometimes.

K: And he doesn’t have much hair.

UHM: No, not yet.

At this point I am really feeling bad for this lady. She is trying to be friendly, but this guy is being a pompous jerk whether he realizes it or not. He then starts belittling his own princess.

K: She didn’t have much hair when she was born. I had more hair when I was little then she did. I was ahead of her. (Haha)

I am not making this up. He laughed about this and said it in front of his daughter like it was a competition and he’d won. Other parents were chiming in at this point about how little or how much hair there children had or were born with. At this moment, I was very unhappy. I feared I had signed up for ridiculous parent competition class and not baby gym class (which is probably ridiculous on its own anyways).

Thankfully, the Princess Party leader came in and sang for her princess girls to follow her and ended the King’s reign of inconsiderate egotism.

Then the Baby Gym Class leader sang a song for all the babies to follow her and looked at me and said “You have your hands full”.

I have twins. They are in car seats. I literally have my hands full. I had been to the post office and people said “You have your hands full.” I went to the bank, “You have your hands full.” I went into Rompy’s house “You have your hands full.” I try to smile, folks. I try to pretend these pointless comments aren’t so common, but they really are. I have my hands full is like saying, you are walking. It is really only stating the obvious. How am I supposed to react to this statement when I hear it so, so often?

And then Trauma was sleeping, and he wouldn’t wake up (OK, I didn’t try all that hard but I didn’t want him to wake up with a grudge either). I was beginning to wonder if I had made a mistake ever signing up for baby gym.

But then the class started. We were read a story. And we sang songs to our babies. And we shared stories with the other parents about the things that worry us, like meeting developmental milestones. And we played in the gym and Trouble showed me how strong she is when she held her head up for a long time and smiled the whole time. And we played with different textures. And we sang Beatles songs and Trouble shook a little plastic maraca. We blew bubbles and did baby yoga. We learned a sign to do with our babies. And Rompy (the puppy mascot) sang good-bye to each and every baby all in fifty-five minutes.

And now I am hooked.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Begins April?

Happy April Fools Day!