Monthly Archives: September 2011

When you care enough to scrawl the very best


So the last Mother’s Day that The Lovely Rhonda spent with the Ex-Mr. Rhonda didn’t go so well.   Rhonda recalls that she was working that day, she worked in those days as a CNA a couple of shifts a week, and was in nursing school full time.  She also had two small children (ages 1 and 3).

Those of you who have experienced nursing school will understand that this is like saying, “in her off hours from the prison work gang breaking rock on the railroad with sledgehammers all day, she wrestles alligators down by the river for tips .”

I would like to note that there is a large deluxe grocery store about a half a mile away that sells chocolates, flowers, and greeting cards.  Yet this is what she was presented with:

I'll just leave this here.

It gets better.  The inside:

Because Mother's Day is all about YOU.

Now, to be fair, the grocery store was a WHOLE HALF MILE AWAY.  And then there would have been all those decisions to make: which flowers?  Balloon, or no balloon?  Mushy card, or humorous?  And which of these bottles of red wine goes best with chocolate?  WHO HAS TIME FOR THIS OMG.

She came across this little gem while packing to move out (and subsequently in with me, yes it was scandalous, shh) and showed it to me and I insisted that she save it for me to blog about eventually.  And today is that day!  Because here is the card that I received for my birthday from The Lovely Rhonda:

JUST A LITTLE JOKE HERE. Move along, folks, nothing to see.

And the inside, where she attempted to draw an owl because I like owls:

YES IT'S AN OWL. Shut up.

We were both very busy before my birthday and she talked about getting me a card, but I told her to buy me a latte instead.  And she did, and I also got this.

I sense the beginning of a ridiculous tradition…

Birthday Hijinx


So I had a birthday last week.  It was rather low-key, in that instead of having some massive shindig we spent the day shopping and running errands and then went to see “Bridesmaids” which was so funny I nearly peed my granny panties right there in the theater auditorium.  This is what we elderly folk do for fun: push the incontinence envelope.

The children were all excited to have cake.  We punished ourselves by getting chocolate cake, because we don’t do enough laundry around here.  There was some discussion about lighting a chronologically accurate number of candles but since we hadn’t taken out the necessary permits from the fire department ahead of time, we were forced to go with a lesser number that symbolically represented the grand total.

Then came the gifts.  The Lovely Rhonda had already presented me with tickets to STORM LARGE for tomorrow night, and frankly the fact that she hasn’t as yet put my belongings in the driveway is the real gift here.

But the children.   Just before the cake lighting there was a certain amount of furtive craft-making at the table, and the results did not disappoint.  Ladies and gentlemen, exhibit A: the card from Elder Spawn.


See the stink waves coming off the monkey?

Note the red curly hair.  That’s me on the left.

Not to be outdone, Rhonda’s oldest, Middle Spawn, made a card also.


And I look like one too!

And again with the crazy red hair.  Where do they get this stuff?!

The  youngest is an avid Dora the Explorer fan.  She is only four years old and yet she crafted this wonderful map:

Who do you ask when you don't know which way to go?!

Now with rodents!


So our manny moved out yesterday.  I’m sorry to say that it was the hottest day of the year thus far, or nearly so (like I care enough to fact-check this detail) and also that I was kinda snappy.  Snap snap snappy.  Hormones + extreme heat + other stuff = snappy.  Sorry about that!

Luckily a good friend agreed to come over and help, and for this reason the manny, and many innocent bystanders, live to see another day.  Really, I (and so many others) cannot thank him enough.

Today I’m home alone and taking advantage of this by sitting around in my underwear gaming and watching Friends re-runs cleaning the now-empty spare room.  I’ve already cleaned the area rug and dragged it outside in the stupid hot sun to dry and be relieved of the stink-molecules left by the manny’s venerable dog, Taco.  The original plan was to drape it efficiently over the swingset, but it turns out that a sodden, recently-wet-vac’ed 8’x10′ area rug weighs about a bajillion pounds (that’s 0.45 bajillion kilos, for you Canadian readers) and as mighty as my hormone-driven cleaning fury may be, it was no match for the rug.  I’m sure the neighbors enjoyed listening to my desperate grunting as I gave it my all, but in the end I was forced to lay it out on the grass.  The lingering aura of seething disgust should be all that is needed to keep the pets off of it while it dries.

I then vacuumed the room in preparation for cleaning the crappy carpeting.  Eventually we will have something a little less crummy in that room than industrial low-pile rug with no discernible padding, but for now this will have to do, and it might as well be clean.  Since I had the Suckerator 5000 running I went ahead and started vacuuming out the Multi-Purpose Room, a delightful combination of laundry, pantry and storage, and at one time our closet.

Oh, imagine my delight when I found a pile of shredded … something whitish?  And the unmistakable brown pellets of MOUSE INTRUSION.   And then!  When I moved a rolling tote aside — THE ACTUAL MOUSE.  Who was alive and well, and really miffed that I’d uncovered his little empire. He scurried back and forth a few times and then darted behind the laundry machines.  THERE IS NO ESCAPE, MOUSE FRIEND.  RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!  If I’d been faster with the Suckerator hose the mouse might be spending some quality time in the garbage can but man, that little bugger could scurry.

We had a mouse invasion once before but haven’t been troubled by the little dears since calling the exterminator.  It appears that the mouse may have gotten in some evening when the manny had the sliding glass door to that room open, as he informed me a couple of days ago that the cats had been camping out in the laundry room, which was unusual for them.  Now that the manny and his dog are gone, and so are the food and water dishes from the laundry room, the mouse’s source of income is gone too.  It looked like the mouse had been chewing the corner of the room in an attempt to get out, as the vinyl baseboard (the something whitish) has been gnawed but the wall behind it appears intact.

We have three cats.  Why do we have three cats if they can’t keep the laundry room clear of one stupid mouse?  *shakes fist in general direction of cats*

(FYI, the rug in that room was filthy and the rinse water was not just a deeply satisfying shade of chocolate brown, it contained actual sediment.)

Negotiations are now underway


So yesterday, because we have limited intelligence, we loaded the Collective Spawn up for a drive to Scary Acres, a piece of forested property owned by my Aunt Scary.

She’s not really scary.  Well, not that scary.  She called herself that in jest when she gave a birthday card with a shark on it to Elder Spawn.  One of her sons wondered if it wouldn’t be too scary for Delia, who I think was turning just a year old, so she jokingly signed it Aunt Scary.  Delia doesn’t spook easily and the card didn’t phase her, but she will forever be Aunt Scary to us.

At any rate, there was, predictably, an episode in which the two younger spawn chose to strike one another with stuffed animals and poke at one another with their various appendages, screeching all the while.  Entreaties to cease and desist had no effect, and so The Lovely Rhonda raised threat level to Defcon 11 and Pulled The Van Over.  The stuffed toys were confiscated and dire warning was issued.

Thus did negotiations begin with the older of the two.  WELL I CAN’T SETTLE DOWN WITHOUT MY STUFFED NAME BRAND BEAR ™ SO I’M GOING TO SCREAM UNTIL I GET MY WAY.

No, you are mistaken.  If you scream Name Brand Bear ™ will become the property of the acting government of this van and subject to appropriation for war efforts, i.e. stuffed into Rest Stop Garbage Can.


No, again you are mistaken.  You may not call your mother a poopyhead. You may be quiet and read or look out the window and NOT poke anyone with anything, and after a time you may receive your property back.

WELL THEN I’M GOING TO (continues to threaten various acts, all of which were shot down)

Finally she was forced to concede and sat in mute fury for a time, during which we generals sat up front and discussed allowable acts of protest:


Gestures are permitted so long as the tongue remains hidden from view and no middle fingers are utilized.


Thinking bad thoughts is not a violation of the Chrysler Town & Country Convention of 2011, but may lead to disciplinary action in the event that the aforementioned thoughts are voiced loudly enough to be heard by any occupant of the vehicle.


No item may be thrown within the confines of the vehicle.  Items thrown become the property of the presiding command.


Perpetrators of voluntary emesis will be barred from transportation in the vehicle except for purposes unrelated to voluntary leisure activity.  Allowable activities include school, the dentist, and interminable boring grown-up errands.  In the event of fun leisure activities, such perpetrators will be left at home with the manny while the rest of us have alleged fun at establishments specializing in activities such as, but not limited to, bouncing on germ-riddled inflatable equipment, playing console games at pizza parlors featuring costumed rodentia, and climbing through claustrophobia-inducing tunnels until somebody gets lost.


Duly noted.


Your room at the nunnery has been reserved since the day of your 20-week ultrasound.

WELL THEN can I have a fruit snack?

Never Again I MEAN IT


So we paid off my two crappy high interest rate credit cards recently.

It turns out that credit card companies really hate it when you want to pay them off, and they make it difficult to do so.  You have to OVERPAY them and then they issue you a refund.

I sat in the loan officer’s office and called AdventureCard first.  I need a payoff quote, I told the Hired Stooge.  I’m closing my account.  Okay! came the cheerful reply, here’s the amount, and I’m closing the account per your request.  And then the usual folderol about how they could possibly help me in any other capacity, and have a nice day, and whatever.  Seemed easy.

Too easy.

A month later, long after receiving my check, they attempted to assess an interest charge.  I called them.  Well I see no record of a request for payoff.  It looks as though you just made a balance inquiry, says Bitchy Account Representative.   But I didn’t make a balance inquiry, I tell her.  I specifically stated that I wanted a payoff quote.  Well Hired Stooge should have explained the process which is that we estimate the accrued interest for ten days past the date of your call and you pay that and then we refund you the difference, says BAR.  But he didn’t do that, he just told me a number and that was it, I tell her.  Well I wasn’t there and I can’t confirm that, it’s not recorded here, she says. Well then you need to talk to Hired Stooge, then.  Because we based the loan on the amount he quoted me.  Yes ma’am, she says.  But you still owe for the charge.

The next day The Lovely Rhonda calls back, speaks firmly to someone higher up the food chain, and the charge is dropped.   She’s so much better at this than I am.

On to BlasterCard.  The account was overpaid (because their representative actually gave me a payoff quote and not a stupid balance) but two weeks later they attempted to assess an interest charge.  I called them today.

This should be read with a comically exaggerated Heavy Accent, Not Otherwise Specified:

Hello ma’am my name is (something foreign), how may I help you?

(I explain the issue)

Yes ma’am, I do show a balance in your favor of sixty dollars and some change.  I can issue that back to you in the form of a check.

(No, I said that a charge was assessed two weeks after the account was closed, the balance should be twice that much, that’s why I’m calling.)

Yes ma’am, I can send you that amount of sixty dollars and some change.


*fumble fumble* Yes ma’am I must place you on the hold while I look into this matter.

(precious minutes of my life pass during which I age exponentially faster than usual; when our friend Some Foreign Guy returns, it is all I can do to hold the phone up in my shriveled, decrepit hand)

Eh, yes ma’am, it will take some days to look into this matter.  You must to call back on the Tuesday.

And so I shall call back on the Tuesday.  To arrange for my own money to be returned to me.