Monthly Archives: October 2011

True Story


So this evening The Lovely Rhonda, having brushed her teeth and made ready for a good night’s sleep, entered the boudoir (that’s fancy for grown-up bedroom) and stifled a girlish scream.


Naturally, because I am that kind of dork, I jumped up and ran to see.

Sure enough, there was a tiny little frog jumping around in the bedroom like he really, really wished he was somewhere else.  He was about the size of a dime and had some striking green on him.

A little internet research yielded up some boring blah blah blah about how this particular type of frog is the Pacific Tree Frog, smallest and most common in this area, yack yack yack.  Also, a number of adorable photos, of which I chose the most attractive for your edification:

Pacific Tree Frog

The real mystery here is how in the world this slimy little bugger got into our bedroom.  Logic dictates that if one of the cats had brought him in, they would surely have eaten him, or at least slaughtered him so he could rot quietly in one of our shoes or something.

At any rate, I captured him at the The Lovely Rhonda’s demand request and escorted him outside, which I’m sure he found confusing but was no doubt the wisest course of action.  It was amusing and so much less ooky than yesterday’s dead mouse removal.


If you give a kid a cardboard box


(With apologies to Laura Numeroff)

If you have an Expensive Kitchen Gadgetry Party, you will give your grown-up guests alcoholic beverages.

If you give your grown-up guests alcoholic beverages, they will order some gadgetry.

If your guests order some gadgetry, the Expensive Kitchen Gadgetry company will charge them each individually for shipping, yet deliver their gadgetry to your house in a large carton.

The large carton will appeal to small children and cats.

The children and cats will enter and exit the box countless times for days on end.

The entering and exiting will eventually wear the carton out and it will be smashed to bits.

You will place the bits in the recycling bin, and go inside to cook dinner.

While you are cooking dinner, you will drink an alcoholic beverage.

Drinking the beverage while cooking will remind you of the Expensive Kitchen Gadgetry party…

What's all this about cookies?

Stepparenting for dummies


So tonight The Lovely Rhonda is off being awesome at some work thing, and that makes me the lonely hausfrau.

The smallest child sustained an exacerbation to a minor knee injury and there were floods of tears, such that after I sat by her bed reading to her there was a damp spot on my pants from sitting in the various emanations.  Yes, I’m sure it wasn’t pee.

Pretty sure.

I hope.

Other than that, pretty typical day.  They’re either sniping at each other and tattling, or else they’re racing around the house whooping and hollering and playing.


The floods of tears came mainly at bedtime from the youngest, necessitating a cold pack, some kid-Motrin, a Dora book and then Goodnight Stinky Face (since Goodnight Moon could not be located).  Afterward I turned off the light and said goodnight in my usual awkward stepparenty kind of way.


Uh…  Okay?

And so we nuggled.  And I listened to her tell many interesting things about pweschool, Hawwoween, Dowa the Explowa, and (by far my favorite) twick-o-tweeting.  She’s up on the whole thing:


Do they really smell your feet?

No, she says.  Dey give you a handful of candy and you put it in the bag.

Really, she went on and on even by my standards, and I’m fairly liberal about these things.

Finally it was time to make my exit, and I put the other kids to bed after reading a Disney princess Halloween-themed book and one about how dinosaurs love underpants and how this inevitably led to their violent and tragic demise.  I felt compelled to point out how the dinosaurs and cavemen did not actually coexist, but aside from that it went smoothly.

Also, I’m fairly sure that boxer briefs had little, if anything, to do with mass extinction, but what do I know? I’m no expert on this kind of thing.

I put the middle kid to bed and as I turned to go she said wistfully, Did you snuggle?

I said, We did, a little.  But I need to tuck Delia in too.  How about a really big hug?

Okay!  she says, and the really big hug is delivered.

Fifteen minutes later everyone’s asleep.


Geide to Camping


So my mother took Delia camping for a week or so in August.  They had just gotten a nice new trailer.

Mom sent me a piece of mail today, and in it was a small document constructed of two sticky notes stapled together.

Geide to Camping, reads the cover.


Tip: (Donte go potty until the water is hookedon.)




So tonight I decided it was time to bake chocolate chip cookies with my 7-year-old.

Did you know that 7-year-olds are not, in fact, in possession of the best fine motor skills?

Also, they are not the best listeners.

This is a fantastic combination when you are dealing with dry ingredients.  I am considering suspending the dog, Mission-Impossible-style, over the stove so he can Hoover up all the spilled flour.  He would totally do that, because he is a dog.  More on that in a moment.

At any rate we managed to throw together some pretty decent cookies, and then she retreated to the Nintendo DS and yet another interminable Pokemon game.  I’m not sure why this is but she is incapable of hanging out playing her DS without giving a running commentary, often at the top of her excited, piercing 7-year-old voice, of the various things that her character is doing in the game.  Then she comes over and giddily shows me the screen wherein a tiny pixellated thing stands amid some sort of squarish map.  I HAD TO GO THROUGH ALL OF THAT MAMA AND IT’S A LOT AND I DID IT EVEN THOUGH IT WAS HARD AND A LONG WAY AND DO YOU KNOW WHAT A GROVYLE IS?  WHAT TYPE OF POKEMON IS IT MAMA IS IT LEAF TYPE OR GROUND TYPE OR WIND TYPE?  I have learned to nod and smile and back away.

In other news, the cat is almost talking to us again.  He is sleeping on the couch as we speak.  Eventually he won’t look at me with that haunted, accusatory YOU DID THIS TO ME look, right?

And the dog.  Oh, the dog.  You may recall that I recently mentioned that he was launching audible air biscuits left, right and center of late.  I invested a certain amount of thought in this recently and came up with a theory.

Otto is the kind of dog who has to have a wooby.  In the past he had a toy lawnmower that had once belonged to The Lovely Rhonda’s kids.  He had chewed the handle off and worked his way steadily through the superstructure until finally it was a rather unlovely sort of undercarriage with wheels, which eventually fell off.  He would get excited about a noise he heard outside and would run out, grab his beloved lawnmower, and race around the yard with it.

Sadly, the lawnmower finally disintegrated completely and so he scrounged around the yard and found a basketball, which he promptly deflated.  It had once been blue with an attractive Chuck E. Cheese motif, but over time and hard use (after deflation) had turned completely black.  Otto chewed it relentlessly and over the past couple of months bits of rubber and canvas could be found strewn around the living room.

Huh.  And in the past couple of months the dog’s flatulation had reached epic, noisy proportions.  He would tear one off and we would brace ourselves for the room-clearing stench that followed.

We took away the basketball, and guess what?  He found a super-tough canvas toy to chew, and the air quality of The Burrow has improved substantially.


The High Life


So Friday morning, as I languished around the house recovering from a long night of digestive issues (yes, I know you’re both tired of hearing about my digestion, just be thankful I don’t go into detail) I noticed that one of the cats had some extra junk in his trunk.


So I retrieved the cat carrier from the garage and off we went to the vet.  OH WHAT FUN I’M HAVING, announced the cat at the top of his formidable, bird/rabbit/mouse-hunter’s lungs.  I SURELY LOVE THIS LUXURIOUS CAT CARRIER.  ARE WE GOING TO THE OPERA?

Except it came out sounding more like STOP IT, YOU’RE KILLING ME, I’M DYING, I DID NOT AUTHORIZE THIS and so forth.

It was a surprisingly short appointment.  The vet agreed that yes, it looked like an abscess there at the base of his tail, they could lance that thing and clean it up and have him out of here in a jiffy.  She gathered him up and opened the door to the mysterious back area where nobody is allowed to go.  I heard a small cheer go up when she announced the abscess to the techs.

Yes, we’re gross that way, everyone loves an abscess draining, she says.

Say no more, says I, nurses are the same way (even psych nurses).

The best part?  They have this new antibiotic shot for cats.  Lasts for two weeks.  No more poking Clavamox down his fangy little pie-hole twice a day for fourteen of the longest, scratchiest days of your life!

Once home, the ungrateful little curmudgeon (who had been so all over me at the vet’s) wouldn’t let anybody come near him and instead bolted around the house switching his tail and licking furiously at the shaved spot.  It looked like he was trying to outrun his own butt, so at least we got some entertainment value out of our hundred and fifty big ones.

Cut to yesterday morning.  The wife and I are headed to the mall, because that is where the library branch is.  This is our idea of a good time and besides I have some seriously overdue materials about to burst into righteous flame.

We’re driving along and I hit a little bump and the front end of the car goes, emphatically, CLUNK.

Nooooo, we chorus.

I make a turn and it repeats the CLUNK.

Nooooo, we chorus again (because that worked so well the first time).

So that is how we ended up at Sears, where America not only shops but also has its cars repaired, if the cars make terrible noises on a Saturday and America needs both cars to be operational by Monday morning.   My car’s ten-year-old struts were finally toast, along with some other bits and pieces associated therewith.  And a few hundred dollars later, the front end of my car is all fancied up.  No more clunk, and it also doesn’t make that SQUEAK! SQUEAK! sound it used to make going over speed bumps.

Other people get to go to Hawaii and Disneyland.

We get to repair things.

We’ll get to have a real vacation someday right?  Right?


Yes, I’m a girl


So a friend of mine reposted this… thing on Facebook.  I’m having a little trouble with it.

“Yes, I’m a girl. I push doors that clearly say PULL. I laugh harder when I try to explain why I’m laughing. I walk into a room and forget why I was there. I count on my fingers in math. I hide the pain from my loved ones. I say it is a long story when it’s really not. I care about people who don’t care about me. I try to do things before the microwave beeps!! I listen to you even when you don’t listen to me. And a hug will always help. Yes, I’m a girl!!!!! Re-post if you’re proud to be one, come on girlies xxx”

I’m really not particularly rabid in my feminism in that I do my best not to shove it down anyone’s throat and am not terribly reactive if I find something somewhat (or rampantly) offensive.  That being said, this still just bugs me.

Let’s just take a closer look, shall we?

I push doors that clearly say PULL.  = Essentially, I’m not too bright.

I laugh harder when I try to explain why I’m laughing.  = I am unable to control my emotions.

I walk into a room and forget why I was there.   = I’m just so scatterbrained!  *giggle*

I count on my fingers in math.  =  Math is so hard!  Only boys can do hard stuff like math!  Let’s go shopping!

I hide the pain from my loved ones.  =  It is my lot in life to be a martyr.

I say it is a long story when it’s really not.  =  I complicate things unnecessarily.  Tee hee!

I care about people who don’t care about me.  =  Again with the martyrdom!  Also, other people’s feelings are more valid than mine, AND I’m not too bright.

I try to do things before the microwave beeps!!  =  This is so stupid I can’t even make sense of it.

I listen to you even when you don’t listen to me.  =  Martyr, unimportant, etc.

And a hug will always help.  … Oh, I defy anyone to try to hug me if I’m pissed.  THERE WILL BE BLOOD.



So tomorrow night we’re going to see The Blue Man Group.

Since we kind of got jacked out of an actual restful vacation of any kind, we comforted ourselves with inexpensive season tickets to a bunch of Broadway shows, and this week it’s some guys in blue rubber outfits doing strange things onstage for money.

Oh, as if you haven’t done worse for less.

We’ll have to get a sitter, which is always fun.  Yes, we pay someone to attempt to herd the little beasts into bed.  This is usually met with varying degrees of success, i.e. at least one of the little darlings will resist all efforts.  Often this results in one or both of the others not being able to get to sleep either what with All The Excitement.  So, we pay yet again in that the next day some combination of the Collective Spawn are grouchy, tearful or both due to lack of sleep.

(I would gladly turn a blind eye — indeed, would pay a handsome premium, even– should the sitter care to employ the Spock pinch or similar on one or more of the offending parties, but sadly they don’t seem teach this time-honored technique to your modern child care enthusiasts anymore.  Why, I don’t know. IT MAKES NO SENSE TO ME.)

And, just in case we haven’t suffered enough, we are met with the one-two punch of the CHUCK E CHEESE PRESCHOOL FUNDRAISER EVENT on Thursday night followed by the magnificent ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CARNIVAL on Friday.   They do serve beer at Chuck E Cheese, although I am skeptical that anything so magical as beer could possibly be included in the qualifying receipts for this kind of thing.  It brings me great sorrow to announce that no alcoholic beverage of any kind is served at elementary school carnivals, a topic about which I have previously posted.

(It’s funny, I talk a lot about alcoholic beverages for someone who actually indulges rather infrequently.  And you’ll notice that it’s referenced nearly exclusively in relation to parenting.  PARENTHOOD IS SO MAGICAL OMG.)

This is one of the weekends wherein I will not have children for part of the time, so at least one of us will be able to recover from the ordeal enough to lay around the house and complain about how bored I am by Sunday afternoon.



It’s Picture Time!


So today my kid brought home her school photo.  This year we didn’t have any prints made, just had them burn it to a CD.  We can get prints made anywhere.

So here ’tis:

2nd Grade, 2011

She looks sort of like she needs a haircut or something, but she doesn’t.  Let’s just say that I wasn’t the one who put her on the school bus that morning (and it wasn’t The Lovely Rhonda either).

We also had the kids’ photo taken at a studio.  Behold:

September 2011

This makes my kid look huge, but to be fair the younger ones are sitting on stools.  However, I did measure Delia the other night.  She’s 4’5″ tall.  At age 7.

Sure hope she likes jokes about basketball and how the weather is up there.

Miller Time


So our friend had the baby.  C-section, went well, baby lovely, mom recovering.  Daddy Man arrived a couple of hours ago and I’m sure that baby has him wrapped around her perfect tiny little finger already.

Barbie’s entire wardrobe exploded into our living room earlier today, and there was much resentment among the small fry that we had the GALL to request (okay, demand) that it all be picked up before we would allow lunch to occur.  Every army moves on its stomach, so eventually we had what had to pass for compliance.  This reminded me strongly of when I was a kid about Delia’s age and my cousins (on my father’s side) would come visit.  I had inherited an impressive array of Barbies and Barbie accessories from my glamorously teenaged aunts (on my mother’s side), and it always looked like a glittering sequined hurricane had tossed my bedroom after my cousins had left.   After a time or two my Mom and my Aunt Joyce wised up and the cousins were required to help me pick up the bajillion impossibly tiny outfits before leaving.  It had been overwhelming to me at the age of 7 to gather all that up and I was ridiculously grateful when this new policy was put into place.

We shoveled our own kids into bed in a timely fashion tonight as there was evidence of exhaustion, and it has been a blissful evening of gaming in the silent dark ever since.   Goodnight, internets.