Monthly Archives: July 2011



So today The Lovely Rhonda is at work and I’m whiling away my time on frivolous pastimes like dealing with the many piles of junk accumulating all over the house.

Those of you who know me well (all both of you) may recall that I have a Junk Threshold, which, when met, elicits a metamorphosis in which I grow fangs, claws, horns, and a bifurcated tail.  The hayfork doesn’t appear unless I’m also hormonal, which never, never happens.  JUST ASK ME AND I WILL TELL YOU SO.

Today I’m sifting through random piles of oddments and such, using the bed as a sorting table.  It’s peaceful, although there is an alarmingly large pile of THINGS I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH.

Among the treasures I’ve unearthed so far: photos, filing, loose change, treasured elementary school keepsakes, broken things, things that aren’t broken but serve no purpose to anyone, Chap-Sticks, widgets, thingers, etc.  And this:

Written on the back of a 2009 JCAHO fact sheet.

And this, written on the occasion of the purchase of a blanket for another of the children:

Picketing was next, so we capitulated.

Oh, the humanity.  Imagine what terrible parents we are, forcing this poor child to suffer with almost-soft hand-made quilts instead of comfortable machine work!  I’m pleased to report that once we were made aware of these inhumane conditions, a bright, comfy machine-made blanket was procured for this sad, shivering, underprivileged child.


Sex Trg


So today I attended a training that I signed up for a few weeks ago.  Good thing they send out email reminders about this kind of thing, because all I wrote in my calendar was “SEX TRG 9AM.”  It turned out it was a training about how to talk to our clients about risky sexual behaviors they may be engaging in and how to perhaps gently steer them toward safer practices.

I know, I was disappointed too.

Now, anyone who knows me very well (all both of you) were probably surprised to hear that I had signed up for this.  In fact, I myself was surprised to hear it.  I sat in the training, flop sweat pooling around me, and thought, “What was I thinking?!”  It was as though I was waking up in a terrible nightmare in which I had voluntarily signed up for a training in which the topic of sex might come up.  You know, by chance.  Occasionally.


Because it turns out that I’m kind of … what’s the word?  Well, I’m accepting of the fact that people Do Things.  They may even do Things That I Would Never IN A MILLION BAJILLION YEARS Do, Or Even Think About.  But hey, that’s their business.  I can accept this, and possibly even joke about it furtively after several bracing shots of anything alcoholic.  Oh, and a complete personality change.

But please don’t make me talk about it.  My larynx goes on strike and every red corpuscle in my body heads for my face, so that I might glow and broadcast my general I WISH I WAS ANYWHERE BUT HERE AND THAT INCLUDES THE ORAL SURGEON’S OFFICE discomfort more adequately to one and all.

You’d think as a nurse I’d get over this but it turns out that there has been a scarcity of occasions to ask total strangers whether they bareback or engage in the act of rimming.   I’m sure over time, particularly after my soul has finished dying completely, I’ll be casually insouciant about it and perhaps then the nightmares will stop.

At one point the instructor, a fearless, affable, slightly scruffy gent with a wallet on a chain and the beginnings of what will no doubt be an impressive bay window given time and enough chili dogs, whipped  out a pad of Post-Its that he had written various Practices on.  We were to go over to a wall where there were signs: NO RISK, LOW RISK, MODERATE RISK, HIGH RISK.  We would choose a category and place our sticky beneath the appropriate sign.

My neighbor’s sticky: HUGGING.



I decisively chose my category (LOW RISK,  but in case you’re curious, it’s actually NO RISK; it turned out we were a “pretty conservative bunch” per the instructor) and as I then had a few idle moments to myself, I wondered about the sticky pad.  I’ve seen people make little flip-books out of them.  If I were the instructor, I would totally while away the time I spent waiting around for people to unclench enough to talk coherently about sex making a flipbook out of my sticky note pad.

Noooo I certainly would not make the flipbooks about stick figures engaging in risky behaviors, because I’m too repressed.

Okay, I might, but I would never admit to it if anyone caught me and I’d totally blame it on the intern or something.

It was actually a pretty decent training, full of interesting statistics, so it’s a shame I’ll never be able to communicate anything about it to anyone.  Good thing he’s going to send us all the powerpoint, so I can just fire up the presentation and scurry from the room on a pretense!

If anyone asks, it’s a reasonable accommodation to prevent me from bursting directly into flame.

Happy Camper


So today my mother and stepfather met me and the oldest offspring at Ikea.

Mom and Mr. Wonderful (he really is wonderful!) recently bought a travel trailer of the sort that one hauls behind one’s gas-guzzling behemoth (in their case, a fairly newish Suburban).  When one arrives at the RV park, one hooks the trailer up to various amenities such as water, “drainage” of some kind, electricity, etc., and proceeds to camp in style without all the pesky hard ground  and hissing lanterns and cold nocturnal trips to whichever bush had been chosen.  Ah, cherished memories of youth…

They’re headed to a park on a lake east of here by several hours, to meet up with some friends and enjoy a local festival (rodeo, parade, etc).  Evidently they’ve lost their minds because they have decided to share this bucolic pastime with a seven-year-old girl.  Who, as of this morning at 8:00, was so giddy with delight that she made no sense whatsoever.

So we breakfasted on the $1.99 big breakfast (not half bad) and loaded up all of Delia’s junk into the behemoth.  Sentimental little thing that she is, she skipped gaily over to the car and jumped in, belted herself down, and fairly vibrated with eagerness to be gone, barely begrudging me a dismissive, perfunctory kiss and hug.

I’m only a little bit offended.

I know this is going to be a fantastic trip.  How I know this is that as we wandered up to the cafetorium at Ikea, fondling various merchandise along the way, Delia spied a small white rubber animal-shaped lamp that glows from within, of the sort one might use as a nightlight unless you are cheap and use ones from the dollar store like we do.  She admired it and Grandma sprang into action, insisting that she needed this lamp, SHE MUST HAVE IT OR SHE WILL NEVER BE HAPPY OR FULFILLED.  Thus we exited Ikea clutching a rubber lamp shaped like a fat little … something with ears.

To his credit, Mr. W. only rolled his eyes a little, and I think that was mostly at the thought of precious! driving! time! frittering! away!

I am informed via text that they were quite near the lake by 5pm, at which point one assumes the cell signal petered out.   No doubt Delia has convinced them that marshmallows are very commonly eaten at our house before bed, and Grandma will shortly be struggling to pronounce the names of the spells in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

I wish I could have joined them, but she is having a grand adventure and some much-needed Grandma bonding time.

(I miss you, Monkey Face!)


It’s A Wrap


So we went to see the last Potter film at midnight last night.

Actually, the local MegaMovieTheaterCorpInc had an 8pm showing of Part The First for five bucks, so we figured what the hell, we’ve got seven hours of our meager, insignificant lives to devote to this cultural phenomenon.   We’re just pathetic that way.

It happened that I hopped on the internet at just the right time to score tickets to both parts.  This was pure, magical luck.

We got to the theater at 7pm and were told to get in line.  The good news: we would be released into the wilds of the theater at the end of our Part The First and be allowed to enter whatever auditorium we’d be seeing Part The Second in, before the teeming masses of nerds, dorks and geeks that were piling up outside. Actually we referred to them as Muggles, as in, “have they let the Muggles in yet?”

We faced the daunting around-the-building line and I recall saying to The Lovely Rhonda, dubiously, “So… we have to find the end of the 8pm line?”  “Yep,” she said, and then briskly, “or — HEY! HOW YA DOIN’!” and launched herself into the unwitting arms of one of her nursing school chums who was loitering in the line about 15 people away from the front door.

And that is how we scored fantastic seats to a sold out show after a paltry 15 minutes in line.  TLR’s friend had been waiting since 1:30pm.  We so owe her.  I think we’ve gone beyond “we owe you a beer” straight into “we owe you as many pitchers of blended margatinis as you would care to have.”

And so we watched Part The First, and the audience was lovely, very attentive as though in the company of old friends — which I suppose you could say we were.

But of course we were all nervous about our seats for Part The Second, so midway through the burial of Dobby — ONLY THE MOST POIGNANT SCENE IN ANY OF THE FILMS TO DATE — a steady stream of Potterites began tiptoing out so as to race more swiftly to the next destination.  We gave in to this (HUSH WE CAN WATCH IT ON DVD NOW MOVE! MOVE! MOVE!) and found when we arrived at auditorium 16 that we were something like the 5th and 6th persons to enter it.  Yay!

We partook of the popcorn and drank of the soda, and shortly after midnight it began, and we were rapt and enthralled and entertained, we laughed, we cried, it became a part of the collective us — and then, it was over.

Just like that, a ten year journey is done.

What comes next?




So we had this minivan.  At the time that it was purchased for us, a wee tiny rubbing sound in the front end went unnoticed.  This tiny sound grew in size and violence (particularly after The Lovely Rhonda hit that one rather comprehensive spot in the road with the metal plate and the big bump) until it was all you could hear.  A co-worker drove it to get lunch one day and came back with great big eyes: WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOUR VAN OMG THE FRONT TIRE SOUNDS LIKE IT’S GOING TO FALL OFF.

It was a bad strut, made worser faster by the bump but clearly on its way out regardless. Expensive repair, but not harmful to the van mechanically to drive on.

Over time, the van also acquired a wee tiny rock chip in the windshield.  Which, barely a week or two later, as I drove to work one day hitting the typical little jars and rough spots in the ordinary roads hereabouts, suddenly went, very quietly, crick.  And became a gigantic smile in the glass, from eyeball level on the driver’s side, down to a few inches above the dash, and back up to roughly the same place on the passenger side.  And which occasionally grew by a few millimeters as the months wore on.  Our insurance?  Yeah, big deductible.  And what with the ANNOYING RUBBING SOUND we were not that interested in sinking a bunch more money into it.

It had the usual wear and tear inflicted by young children, mainly in the form of cracker crumbs and ground-in fruit snacks, plus a masterpiece of marker art drawn by Middle Spawn one afternoon “because ALL THE OTHER GIRLS had something to DO but not ME and I was BORED.”   So, typical stuff.

Oh, and the biggest problem of all: financed by the in-laws.  I’m sure nothing more need be said about this altogether unsuitable state of affairs.  And the credit union wouldn’t refinance them off of it because of its age/infirmity/over 100k miles.

So today TLR awoke with a wild hair, and after lunch and a bit of casual shopping she and I headed off to the local purveyors of used automobiles, where we met a tiny man with a wicked giggle who showed us a truly gorgeous minivan.  Okay, it IS a minivan, and it’s white (but not silver, which we were hoping to avoid, so yay).  But within the subset of white minivans, this one stands out nicely.  Many delightful features such as stow-n-go seating, rear defroster and rear air conditioner (you would not believe how those ordinary things make a huge difference vis-a-vis rear visibility and/or cranky overheated whiny children), windows that go down AND up, and those nifty doors and rear hatch that open all by themselves like MAGIC when you press the clever little buttons.  And it’s only two years old!

Yes, it’s a minivan.  But there’s room for all our traveling crap within, and the children all get to sit hygienically apart from one another where they must go out of their collective and individual ways to be more annoying  than usual.

And while we waited around for all the bean-twiddling and manager-talking-to that has to take place, inevitably, wherever cars are sold, we got to check out the new Camaro.  Only 14 more years until the youngest leaves home and we can get one!

Don’t Poke The Bear


I had been allowing Elder Spawn (now age 7, if you can believe that) to ride her bicycle up and down the sidewalk to the west of the house while I was outside doing various gardening tasks and washing the car.  When a car would come I would walk over to the street and peer westward to determine if she was safely out of the road and doing as she should.  She always was.

This evening as I wrapped up the things I was doing to the front yard, she was again riding up and down the sidewalk with my permission.  A couple of flashy cars with loud music emanating from within came down the street, and as was customary I walked over and squinted into the sun — just in time to see my curly headed be-helmeted child swerve off of the sidewalk into the street in front of the first car.  Not directly in front, but still.  In front.

Bless their hearts, the drivers slowed to a stop and pulled off to the right.

At this point Mama Bear roared to life and in a voice that the world has never before heard I yelled, “DELIA!  DELIA GET OFF THE ROAD!  GET ON THE SIDEWALK!  RIGHT NOW!”  Yea verily, it was as if the heavens had been rent and the very voice of God was commanding her, so quickly did she get off the bike and walk it onto the sidewalk.

She knew she was busted but good, and walked her bike back to me blinking back the tears.  I asked her gently if she had known the cars were there, and she shook her head.  I told her that was why she must always ride on the sidewalk and never go into the road, and she walked her bike to the garage and went into the house without another word.  She stewed in her own juices for a bit and then I rescued her from her own worst critic — herself.  The Lovely Rhonda was already in there talking to her as she hid beneath her blankets.  Poor kiddo.  I think I scared her to bits.

Bet she doesn’t do that again for a while.  Good thing.  I don’t think I could take it.