Water in Lake Erie and Soap in a Soapdish

>> Saturday, May 30, 2009

I'm working on packing our clothing for an upcoming vacation. Of course, with the airlines charging by the bag, I am trying to pack minimally. Nonetheless, I am still a mother, and I must pack matching outfits for the two year old. It isn't like packing for me, where I throw in all 2 pairs of shorts, both pairs of jeans, and the 5 shirts that still fit and figure it out later. It isn't like packing for darling husband. Actually, I don't know how to pack for Darling Husband ... I let him figure it out. (Which is why we end up with two giant tubes of toothpaste each time we travel together, and the hairbrush we both use is almost always left behind.)

Now, I've long ago given up the idea that some people can match outfits without help. This is why the clothing industry invented Garanimals. After numerous Saturdays seeing my son come down the stairs wearing plaid overalls and striped socks, I learned that Darling Husband is one of those people that needs help. So, I started putting the clothes away in matched sets. The orange shorts were placed right underneath the matching orange shirt. Same with the overalls and matching shirt. Now, I have a stack of t-shirts and a stack of shorts, for the more experienced among us to freelance, but there are two complete stacks of matched outfits for the initiate. Or, should I say, there *were* two complete stacks of matched outfits. To hear it told in this house, they magically stay in neat matched stacks when I am in the room, but as soon as I leave, one half of each matched set disappears.

My son comes down the stairs wearing an orange shirt from a matched set, and blue shorts. "Where is the matching orange plaid shorts?" I ask. "I don't know," comes darling husband's response. "It wasn't with the shirt." Hmm, I think. Did I not stack them correctly? I go into the drawer, and there is the pair of shorts ... right on top. Hmm. A few days later, the same thing happens ... but this time its a yellow shirt (part of one matched set) and a pair of overalls (from a different matched set). Apparently, the mates to both were missing. Mysteriously enough, they had returned themselves to the drawer (on top) by the time I got into my son's bedroom. Very strange indeed.

As I go to pack my son's clothes, I am astounded at how there is no mate to any matched set in the drawer. All of the mates are in the wash ... worn with other things.

Now, one might assume from all of this that I think my husband is blind, or silly. I think neither. See ... I do believe there are gremlins that come around and move things when we aren't looking. I spent my entire childhood looking for things my mother sent me to find. Inevitably, they would not be there, and inevitably, she would go looking and find them right where she told me to look. I would then get teased mercilessly about not being able to find water in Lake Erie or soap in a soapdish. I would wail, "It wasn't there!" Alas, my wails were only cause for more teasing. "What do you mean it wasn't there. I just found it right where it wasn't."

I believe my husband. I do. Things don't stay where you put them in this house. Just ask my diaper bag. Or better yet, try to find things in my diaper bag. It isn't me. I asked my mom to find a plastic baggie full of diaper wipes when we were out together. After routing through and dumping the whole bag ... nothing. Of course, the baby was lying naked on the ground with an unexpectedly full diaper, and I have nothing to wipe him with. *sigh*. I solve that problem, then go home to make another plastic of wipes to take with us ... only to find the original baggie tucked inside the diaper bag ... right where we were looking for it all along. I'd blame the diaper bag, but its my second one, with the same problem. The other one was so small it is hard to imagine how anything could hide in it.

I have no explanations for this, except gremlins. And, it isn't just me. My sister lives this way too. She uses a little prayer to tell the gremlins it is time to bring something back. "Dear St. Anthony, please come around. Something is lost and needs to be found." Then she steps out of the room, waits a few moments, steps back in, and finds her "lost" item, right where she was looking for it. The gremlins just needed a second to put it back while she wasn't looking. Or maybe its the Borrowers. Remember those books? Maybe they weren't fiction ... except the Borrowers never returned anything, despite their name.

I'm wondering when the gremlins will return my GPS. You see, I can't seem to find it right now, and I'm a little bit concerned. I'm hoping it will be before we leave on our trip, but I'm running out of hope. I think they took it on their own vacation and we won't see it again until they bring it back. See, I know they have it, because I know exactly where I left the GPS, and it isn't there anymore. That's how I know it's not just my ongoing battle with the forces of chaos -- it's something more. After 36 years of living with gremlins, I know they aren't sinister, but for sure they are annoying. I'm sure they sit around and chuckle at me, too, when I can't find my car keys ... clipped to my belt, or when I can't find my sunglasses ... on the top of my head. These things are completely my fault, but I'm sure it gives them endless sources of amusement to recall when I am pleading with the air for them to bring it BACK for crying out loud ... and it isn't even them this time.

So tell me -- do the gremlins live with you, too?


Computers Lie and Cheat.

>> Friday, May 29, 2009

Computers lie. I know my techie friends would say that it has nothing to do with computers, but everything to do with the idiots who program them (speaking for yourselves, boys?). I can't agree. No one can possibly program a computer to taunt me this way.

You tell me. Do they lie?

This blogger says my first post was at 6:18 AM. I was in bed. Then it said my second post was an hour later. It was actually about 7 hours later. I don't get it. But don't be fooled. I don't get up at 6AM to blog for you guys. That would really be psychotic.

Yesterday my Wii Fit said I was 47 years old. Today, my balance test was worse, but it said I lost a pound and my new Wii Fit Age is 38. ?????? Then it proceeded to tell me that my weight loss (over a 24 hour period) was at an appropriate speed, but did I know that my weight fluctuates by 2 pounds throughout the day, so I might not have lost anything. Um ... okay. So I went through all that text to have it tell me that I've done a good job accomplishing nothing, but it made it sound good! This sounds like a husband's lie to me ... "you always look good to me, honey," and it is probably doing it to keep out of trouble, too!

Every week I set my laundry to dry. It buzzes, and quite often, something isn't dry. So, then I go to push "10 minutes" (or 30) to let it go again. Without fail, it switches itself to a sensor dry mode, runs for 5 minutes, and nags me with the buzzer until I come and get it again. Who programmed it to do that, and why would you bother?

And then there is Facebook. Every day I get a blurb on the side of my homepage under a section that says, "People You May Know. -- You and John Smith went to Penn State together. Become Friends with John Smith." Ummm, sorry, Facebook. Penn State is a big place with a whole lot of alums. It takes more than Penn State in common for me to want to "friend" someone.

Let's talk about modern technology. Less than two years ago, I was lamenting America's crazy obsession with the GPS. What on earth do you need one of those for? I mean, Yahoo Maps works just fine! (And what did we do before Yahoo? Paper Maps!!!!) But now, someone has walked off with my GPS (*gasp*). What on earth will I do now? I'm going away to another CITY, WITHOUT MY GPS! How will I ever find my way? How indeed? Las Vegas was fine with a map the first time, and we got lost a whole lot more often the second time WITH the GPS. Nonetheless, I am certain I will be lost in Lake Tahoe without my GPS. How will I know whether there is a Sunoco or a BP at the next exit? What if it's a Texaco instead? How will I ever cope? What if I get lost? Will I have to (heaven forbid) ask for directions? All my male ancestors are rolling over in their graves at the thought. I succumbed. I went "tech". Now I cannot do without.

Its the same thing with my DVR. I didn't understand the need for a DVR, and now I can't imagine life without it. It would be worse than living without my on-screen TV guide. I just wish we had bought the kind of DVR membership that allowed me to watch my recorded TV shows in every room of the house. I'm sure once we fix that I will actually get more work done around the house because I won't have to stop watching TV to put the laundry away. I can just go from room to room, watching last weekend's House marathon and not miss a syllable. (PS -- don't tell me who won Survivor yet. We haven't watched it. We have to get through last season's series finale of Battlestar Gallactica first. There are only ten episodes to go.....)

If I still used my VCR (or even the DVD recorder), I have a feeling I would have seen it all by now, but this is better, right? I can save more things because it is so easy to do. How did I ever survive without being able to watch House every day of the week? I would have been stuck with all the versions of Law and Order broadcast and rebroadcast on 3 networks 6 days a week, and what fun would that be?

I will say that I broke the Blackberry addiction. I no longer have a Blackberry, and you cannot email me outside my home. If I'm out, and you need me, you have to call. (*gasp*) And sometimes ... I even leave my cellphone in the car. Deal with it.


No, Seriously ... Why?

In my prior incarnation as a lawyer, things were busy. When something didn't make sense, well it didn't make sense, and I moved on. I fixed it, laughed at it, ignored it, refused to buy it, or whatever. Now, as my pace of life has changed, I find myself asking, "Why" a whole lot more. Why did someone think something was a good idea? Why here, why now? Why at all? And sometimes, am I too smart or too stupid to figure out the answer?

Here are some of the great imponderables that have bothered me this past year.

1. I bought some "take and toss" type straw cups for my child. They come with roughly 6 cups to the pack, six matching straws ... and precisely one lid. I failed to notice this engineering genius before I purchased the cups. I don't know about the children of those who designed this package deal, but in my house the lids get just as dirty as the cups and the straws, especially when the child turns the cup upside down. What am I missing? Author's edit: Several months after this post was first published, I learned that my package was incomplete. I was supposed to get enough lids for each cup in the package. The trick is that only one of the lids is securely attached to the packaging. The rest are sort of ... just there ... waiting to fall out into the display bin at a moment's notice without leaving any evidence that anything is missing so that future novice-straw cup buyers are easily fooled. Sucker me!

2. Billboards in Georgia. OK, this may be offensive to some folks, but I still have to ask. Southern Georgia is part of the heart of the US Southern Bible Belt, right? No complaints, no comments on that. My question is why are there more sexually related billboards between Atlanta and the Florida state line than anywhere else -- even Las Vegas? I wonder, did the presence of all this nudity breed the conservative elements of the baptist church, or did the pornographers put up all those billboards just to annoy the bible thumpers? What do you think?

3. Diaper Genies. I know some moms who swear by the diaper genie idea, but I just don't get it. I want the poopy diapers OUT of the house, not squished together in one unbelievably dense poop log that will never decay in a landfill before the sun goes nova. I have trouble enough breathing during a diaper change, much less trying to empty a week-old collection of poop. It's worse than a litter box. Help me with this one.

4. "Moot" versus "Mute". Seriously, people, you need to get this one right. It is far, far too easy to make fun of you if you don't. Don't open yourselves up like that! As a friend of mine said on Facebook a few months ago, "Yes, I do judge you on your grammar." I agree, and even more so, I judge you harshly when you use the wrong word. "Mute" means to be silent. "Moot" means irrelevant. Keep them straight. You almost certainly mean a "moot" point, not a "mute" one, because if the point is "mute" we can't hear it anyway.

Once upon a time I had a doctor send a group of us a "shouting" email in all caps talking about a meeting date. We hadn't held the meeting when he wanted it, but he wanted us to know that it was a "MUTE POINT BECAUSE THE MEETING ALREADY HAPPENED!" Yes, those of us at the law firm had a lot of fun with that one - a mute point in shoutface type. The point is moot so be mute about it already.

5. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. This is for all you stay at home parents. Have you ever wondered about the show? Do they come up with the plot, and figure out what tools to give Mickey with the Mouskatools, or do they come up with some random list of household items and try to figure out how to make Mickey use them? And have you ever wondered if Mickey has gone Russian? He has a "mouska-doer" that gives him "mouska-tools" (including a "mouska-map" sometimes) and we end with the "mouska-dance". Sounds awful rusky to me. Mickey, have you defected? Say it isn't so, bro!

6. Disney Eggs. Now I'm a big fan of Mickey Mouse and a bigger fan of Walt Disney World. In fact, I'm borderline obsessed, but even I don't get this. Disney eggs? In Orlando, you can go to the grocery store, go to the egg section, and buy regular chicken eggs stamped on the shell with a one-color outline of the Disney characters, about the size of pea. The only thing I can think of to say about this is ... huh?

I could go on and on, but I will stop for now. I can't stop forever because these questions haunt me, and inquiring minds want to know! Stay tuned in future episodes where we talk about ... whatever is making me grin that day.


Erma Bombeck is My Hero

Good morning, blogger addicts, and welcome.

I have no agenda to share, no cause to trumpet, and no specific goal, so I hope you aren't expecting one. Every day I have an inner monologue running around muttering to me, and I decided to beat back the demons by typing my musings. Fair warning, it all sounds a lot more clever and a lot less psychotic inside my head.

There have been a lot of changes in my life over the past 3 years, and recently I have come to find new respect for Erma Bombeck (may she rest in peace, finally with a clean closet, a working septic tank, and a waistline that respects spaghetti without going overboard). Erma had it right all along. We miss you, lady.

I think in today's crazy mixed up world, I could start a Cult of Erma Bombeck, and it would probably catch on pretty well. The woman knew a lot of truth. I honestly don't remember a whole lot about her books (but I will be re-reading them very soon and gaining a new perspective and new wisdom, I'm sure). What I remember from reading her books as a child and young adult is that she made my father laugh out loud, her kids thought she was stupid, her house was never up to snuff, and she always felt one step behind and never quite as good. Erma, I hear ya.

She talked about her bathrobe with baby spit, when the baby was 20. Every time I find myself in the grocery store with those telltale white streaks on my shoulder (the baby is 2), I wonder how many more years I will be finding them.

Erma struggled with her weight book after book. She did TV exercises programs with fit and trim trainers that claimed to have found the perfect diet in spaghetti. I bought a Wii Fit, and yesterday it told me I was *obese* and my "Wii Fit Age" was 47. I'm only 36. I think it is a conspiracy. With the same *obese* Body Mass Index, my dear husband has a Wii Fit Age of 42. Erma was right -- even electronic exercise equipment treats men more gently than women.

Erma had a dog to give her grief. I have 3 cats that fight over food, whose litter box is whose, and who has the right to sleep on the bed. They shed, puke up hairballs, and escape from the house on a daily basis. If it weren't for them, I'd be the best housekeeper on the planet. Oh, wait. I'm living in a dream world again ... in that fantasy world where clutter doesn't replicate, laundry stays done, and I never married a "collector."

Yes ... a collector. Some of you are giggling. We have a Star Wars model collection, Star Trek action figures in the original boxes, an entire closet full of comic books, and more Wild Turkey Whiskey Decanturs then you can possibly imagine. Some of them even still have whiskey in them. Add that to the Avon duck collection and the occasional canister of Eagle Rare, and I don't have any room for my 15 bookshelves worth of paper and hardcover books.

Oh, yes. Moving from the workforce to the homeforce has opened my eyes. Today the 2 year old wants to play with the cat's toys instead of his own. The one cup coffee pot is malfunctioning, asking me again to "descale". The cats are sending strange sounds down through the baby monitor from upstairs. The laundry is breeding on the floor, something is growing in the fridge, and I still have 6 piles of stuff from my aborted attempt to practice the "clean sweep" method of cleaning on my bedroom closet ... last October. I recently found a box of newspapers we moved from the last house ... in 2002 ... so my darling husband could make newspaper logs for the fireplace.

Erma, you were so right. It IS much easier to clean out the closet of your spouse than your own.

Oh, Erma. We miss ya so. What would you make of the blogging world, the Wii Fit, and internet shopping? We can only wonder and marvel at the deep and enduring truths in your musings.


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