Monthly Archives: November 2012

Three Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed

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So The Lovely Rhonda and I went to rearrange one of her girls’ rooms today.  She wants a desk like my kid has now, and we figured why not?

Oh, so many reasons why not.

First thing we find out is that one of the four drawers (two each side) of the captain’s bed is defunct.  The little screws that affix the drawer track to the bed were completely pulled out.  And the composite wood/glue stuff the bed is made of is not the sort of thing you can repair easily.

Okay, so we’ll put that side of the bed toward the wall.  We start removing things from all the drawers, so we can move the darn thing.  And of course we find that the drawer that backs up to this one is similarly broken.

A short conference is called and it is decided that we must make an emergency trip to Ikea.  This bed must be replaced.

Then the smallest child in the house, as we are gathering shoes and coats, calmly enters the bathroom and vomits copiously.

Change of plans.  I will run to Ikea alone.  Nobody else really wanted to go anyway and we can’t take Barfy McPukerpants with us.

On the way there I return a call from an old friend who is in town for a few days.  Unfortunately he is in town because his mother passed away.  But he’s got some time to hang out before getting back on the plane tomorrow to return to his wonderful family, and for some inexplicable reason he’s willing to spend it with us!  So I meet him at Ikea and he is patient with me as I communicate with TLR using the only means available to me in Ikea, the text message.  I think they block cell signal for the same reason casinos have no clocks or windows — to cut you off from reality so you will spend more time, and therefore money.  Stressed people who have to either send a million tedious text messages or else — horror! — rely on guesswork and long-distance mind-reading tend to lose all touch with sanity and make expensively bad decisions.

At any rate we finally obtain the needed items and head back to The Burrow, where we surprise TLR because I did not tell her that my friend was coming too.  TLR then runs a few errands with the one of her children who is not throwing up while Graham and I begin demolition on the old bed frame.  What we find when we remove the mattress is that the metal bracers that run diagonally from the center of the frame to the corners are suspiciously bowed and bent.  As if, say, children — certainly not OUR children — had been, oh, perhaps, JUMPING on the bed.

That can’t possibly be the situation, because OUR children would NEVER do that.  Perish the expensive thought!

Oh well.

We then begin assembling the new dresser which goes about how you might think.  Go ahead and conjecture amusingly to yourselves about how we put pieces on upside down or pounded dowels so hard they broke through to the outside of the dresser shell, etc. etc.  This will save time and keystrokes at my end.

When TLR returns she is not in any mood to cook so I take over (meatloaf, and it was delicious) while she and Graham finish assembly of the dresser and bedframe.  This involves rather more hammering than I suspect is strictly called for in the instructions, and at one point I was rather breezily asked where one might find a set of drill bits in the shithole that is our garage.  But aside from these things I stayed ignorant of the entire process, as is my wont.  I am not a fan of the assembly process if it is not taking place under my specific, rather exacting specifications.  These specifications include the tedious sorting of materials and painstaking, step-by-step adherence to the instruction manual in excruciating detail.  Since virtually no other human being of my acquaintance will follow this process, I usually leave the room and get drunk find something else to do until the project is completed.

At last the dresser and frame are done and the children, after a stern lecture about Why We Do Not Jump On Beds, and furthermore How Many Weeks Of Allowance a new bed frame might cost a child caught jumping on a bed, are all either asleep or close to it.  The pukey child spent some time napping on the couch and appears to be over the worst of it, and tomorrow morning we will finish what was supposed to happen today.

They say life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.  I say, life is what happens whether you like it or not and this is why wood glue and alcoholic beverages were both invented.

Holiday update

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So, Thanksgiving was yesterday.  And it wasn’t bad, overall.  We had a friend over with her kids, and The Lovely Rhonda’s parents came, so it was a reasonably hectic affair.  I’m not sure if I would have enjoyed it as much without some chaos and mayhem.

We had a smallish turkey and smallish spiral-cut ham and the usual side dishes.  Our Thanksgiving is short on innovation but long on pie.  I am the only one who likes cranberry sauce and this is okay with me.

Today we attended a bazaar at a rec center in Portland.  Soap, particularly goat’s milk soap, is popular at these things.  As are crocheted items.  I saw a dress, about toddler-sized, that looked like it could stop a bullet.  It was dense and variegated and I wondered how many potholders died that it may live.  We bought a few things and moved on.

Tonight I attempted to assemble two small wire-mesh drawer things from Ikea.  We got these for a bit of storage by our desks which we will need once school begins.  I followed the instructions supplied within the packaging, but disaster struck as I put together drawer number three of the first thing.  I put it together with the flanges facing in instead of out, making it a perfectly nice little tray but not so much a functional drawer.  Thus it has been ordained that I should be journeying to Ikea in the morning to purchase eight more small plastic widgets with which to secure bits of the drawer to other bits of the drawer.  The widgets, or as I believe they are called in Swedish, Wÿdgëtts, cleverly mushroom into useless globs of plastic the first and only time they can be used.  To their credit, Ikea may charge me only about a dollar if anything for them.  I guess they figure the privilege of laughing at my ineptitude after I leave is payment enough.

That and some cleaning and rearranging of the children’s rooms is how the day shall be spent.  Let the good times roll, hallelujah, and be thankful for Ikea’s As-Is department.

Crazy Cat Lady

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So I have this extremely affectionate cat.  His name is Heals, or as I call him Healsie, and he’s a black and white tuxedo cat.  You’d think he’d be more dignified than he is since he’s wearing a tux all the time but he’s definitely the farthest thing from suave and debonair ever.

This morning he entered the bathroom where I stood in front of the mirror getting ready for work.  He’s one of those cats that hug, so pretty soon he was standing on the counter wrapping his front legs around my neck.  He especially enjoys doing this fresh from the great outdoors, but this morning at least he wasn’t wet and dirty.  His paws were pretty cold though.

So I’m petting him and he’s rubbing his face all over my face and it’s all just a giant love-fest, and then he climbs me like a ladder until I’m holding him like a baby in the crook of my arm.  He’s still got his front leg around my neck and he’s rubbing and purring.  Until I try to set him back on the counter, at which point he climbs as high as he can get.

This is when I text Rhonda, “Heals is wrapped around my head.  It’s really making it hard to put on mascara.”

I have to go sit on the couch and hang out with him for a while in order to get him off me without getting scratched or snagged.    He curls up on my chest (because I’m sitting all slouchy) and pretty soon here comes Hermione, the Traditionally Built Cat, and after sniffing at Heals for a while she makes a huge point of laying across my legs while somehow keeping her back to me in disdain.

Then I realize that I’m sitting on the living room sofa covered in cats listening to holiday music, which I had turned on for company because I was feeling a little melancholy this morning.

At which point I’m all, “Oh, hey, whoa,” and get up and brush myself off like Noooo that wasn’t what it looked like at all.

And I backed away from the couch and turned the radio to Adult Alternative just in case.

Why I Cannot Clean The House Except Under Tremendous Pressure

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So it’s Thanksgiving next week, and as always we are booked solid until Thursday morning.  The Lovely Rhonda is working her four-day stretch, ending on Tuesday, so she’ll be relatively useless on Wednesday.  I say that completely without rancor because her workdays are twelve hours long and sandwiched between forty minutes’ drive each way.  We jokingly call it Bathrobe Wednesday but it’s no joke; as far as I’m concerned she’s earned a day completely off.  She never gets one, but she has one coming to her.   About the time she’ll be feeling halfway human we’ll be off on an errand.  (I’d talk about what the errand is but it makes us sound all goody-goody.  We’re not.  We are fortunate and grateful and humble.)

So it’s up to me to clean the house for the holiday, and I accept that with my usual grace, i.e. wretchedly and with great reluctance.  It’s not that I don’t value cleanliness and as I stated above, it’s not because I don’t think I should have to.  I just don’t wanna.

Here’s part of why I don’t wanna:  It will take me bloody ages, because I am a perfectionist.  I figure, if I’m going to clean, I’m going to do it right.  So, I can’t just clean the kitchen counter off.  I have to rearrange the entire kitchen because it’s been irksome to me how crowded the canisters are.  I can’t just vacuum around the couch, I must also take a damp rag to the arms where the dog chews his rawhides and leaves gummy crusty patches, and I must remove the cushions and clean under them and vacuum the dog hair from them and take the rag to their spots also.  I cannot just shove into a drawer the various pencils I find all over the house now that all the children can write yet cannot put a pencil away under pain of death, I must sharpen them and put them in the pencil cup.

Now, if there is someone coming over in an hour or two I can do those things, but not when I have an entire day to clean.  So far today I have done the things described above as well as repaired a book’s torn/ragged cover, washed every blanket/afghan/item of clothing that I come across that might be minutely less than clean, and dusted a shitload of owls.

Oh, and blogged about it.

 

Wedding prep has begun!

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So now that our wicked, ungodly relationship is now considered boring enough to be sanctioned by the state we’re suddenly in a fevered pitch to get this party started.

We’ve got the date, the venue, the minister, the food, the cake, the flower girl, the ring bearers, the best (handy)man, and the invitations dealt with, or in progress.

Oh, and I can barely type because of this:

We picked up a bunch of odds and ends today: the flower girl’s basket, the boxes the ring bearers will bear the rings in, the invitations we’ll be mailing, the book we’ll use as a guest book, etc.

I’m too practical to engage in the wedding machine too much — you can spend a lot of money, even at an inexpensive craft store, on specialty items for a wedding, but I just can’t see buying a little white satin pillow that will never be used again to carry the rings fifty feet up an aisle.  Not for twenty bucks, especially.  And we’d have to buy two because we have two ring bearers.  I’d rather spend the money on things that matter, like the rehearsal dinner.  And booze.  Plus, with three kids and a handyman to support, every penny counts!

Except I want a big rock.  The end.

Battleship

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So this morning the children decided to play some board games in the living room.

We had the tremendous foresight to locate the bookshelf full of board games directly to one side of our bedroom door, which opens conveniently right square into the living room.  This is because our bedroom used to be the garage, or part of it.  At any rate, in this way we can keep a sharp eye right from our bed on what the children choose to do in the mornings, provided they decide to do this in the living room.  Luckily for us they often do, and we don’t even have to strain our ears because they also choose to do it at the top of their lungs.

This morning, for what I believe may have been the first time, they broke out the “Battleship” game handed down to us from a neighbor who was moving away.

For a bit of background, my brother and I had a “Battleship” game.  I remember that it had two consoles, one red and one blue, and as I was the younger I was pretty much obligated to always be the red console.  To this day I never choose red if given a choice.  I didn’t like “Battleship” all that much but it was definitely better than “Stratego,” which bored the living crap out of me.  He would ask me to play and I would say no and he would then bargain, offering to play as many as five games of “Sorry” in exchange for my listless participation in just one game of “Stratego.”  Ah, fond memories of childhood.

This morning they merrily sang out combinations of letters and numbers, or, in the case of the youngest, randomly chosen letters OR numbers.  Occasionally someone would score a hit.  Some time into it I realized that the expected sequence of events, wherein the lucky scorer would choose combinations near the hit to ferret out the rest of the ship and sink it, wasn’t really following.

By this time we were both awake so I asked The Lovely Rhonda wonderingly, “So… do you think they’ll ever realize they should try to choose locations near the hit?”

And she answered, without skipping a beat, “… Nope.”

And we laughed and laughed.  Because it was totally true.

And then there was shouting and the game had to be put away.  The End.

 

The Committee Has Spoken

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So probably both of you have heard that marriage equality passed in Washington, meaning that gay folk can finally make their status semi-legal.  Yes, yes, it turns out that several of us are seeking to be bound by the holy bonds of matrimony, and so far eleven states in the union have decided that if we want it that bad, so we should have it, or at least what version of it is obtainable without federal recognition.  Which of course is an ongoing struggle, but not one I’ll go into here.

The point here is that suddenly I’m engaged to be married.  MARRIED.  LEGALLY MARRIED.  (Sort of.  See above.)

When The Lovely Rhonda and I got together, four years ago, it was amid pretty much a metric ton of strife and we clung to each other like life preservers in the boiling seas of nursing school, familial disapproval, societal disapproval, angry ex-spouses, financial hardship, you name it.  Each one of those things could have split us up.  One might expect that perhaps once the stress died down a little (NOT THAT THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED OMG) we might have found that all that stress was the only thing keeping us together, but it turns out that we’re disgustingly happy.  Still.  After four years and some change.

So we’ve chit-chatted about getting married, always in the theoretical, and early on I opined that legal marriage for people like us would not happen in this country in my lifetime.

You can see how well that’s working out for me.

JUST KIDDING!

Anyway, the Family Committee has been hard at work deciding things in light of this new development.

It was decided last night over Swedish meatballs at Ikea that yes, in fact, we should marry.

Then later, after we had returned home, three-fifths of the Committee summoned us to Committee Headquarters for a wedding-planning meeting.

Somehow during this meeting one of the Committee members, no names mentioned (IT WAS RHONDA), brought up the fact that the party of the second part had never in fact ASKED the party of the first part to marry her, ON BENDED KNEE AS IS PROPER.  This was expressed with much eye-rolling and tiny jerks of the head to indicate that the party of the second part had best get going on this before the party of the first part lost patience with the whole thing.  Therefore was I obliged to assume the position and make my request.

At this point the party of the second part had to obtain consensus from the remaining three Committee members, and the dog, who all agreed, gravely and with a certain amount of sneaky face-licking on the part of the dog, that it should be so.   And thus was the engagement formally entered into the record, i.e. posted on Facebook.

A sub-committee will be meeting today to discuss food, decor, etc.  It looks like this thing might actually happen, unless of course some more people who want to hog the misery civil rights find another way to try and keep us down.

It turns out we won’t be kept down, and even if it were never recognized, we will still carry on being our gay selves and having our gay families and living our gay lives.  We’re not just pretty strong.  We’re gay strong.

 

The Big Clean-Up

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So when I was a kid I occasionally received books from the “Weekly Reader Book Club.”  I don’t have any of those books anymore but occasionally I come across a title in a bookstore and I always buy it for the kids.  One such title is “The Big Clean-Up” by Harvey Weiss.  I found the copy we have now when I was at the beach the weekend before I found out I was pregnant with Delia.  It was about a boy whose mother tells him to clean his room.  He has a big dog named Maurice and as he sorts through the junk in his room, he imagines himself and Maurice building things out of the items or in some way needing them.  He ends up keeping everything including the cardboard boxes his mother gave him to sort the things into.

That kid could be my daughter, a child who may someday be a true hoarder.

Okay, that’s a bit harsh, but she wants to keep EVERYTHING.

Which is why I can only do a really thorough cleaning of her room when she is gone.  That was today, and here is the end result:

The super fabulous Halloween quilt was a recent gift from my mother, who made one for each of the girls because she is awesome like that.

The net groaning under the weight of the fifty bajillion stuffed animals is staying but the intent is to reduce its load somewhat.  This is nearly as painful for me as it is for her.  I pick one up and think, “But I’ve seen her play with this, she loves this one,” or, “This one was a gift from my grandmother who is no longer with us,” and I get nowhere.  The Lovely Rhonda is far more ruthless, which is why she is Not Allowed To Help.  I figure, eventually most of them will wander off of their own accord.  Or the net will collapse and we will get FEMA money.  Either way.

We got rid of her bunkbed on Saturday.  We posted it on Craigslist for free, because the new owners would need to disassemble and reassemble it.  It was originally purchased at Ikea, which means it came in a box of five hundred thousand individual pieces of wood, forty different kinds of fasteners, and one (1) Allen wrench.  A very cheerfully determined woman came for it.  She knew the drill and brought her own Allen wrench.  A captain’s bed, courtesy of my cousin Heidi whose daughter has outgrown it, now takes the bunkbed’s place, and a little desk makes an appearance for the first time.  She’s thrilled at the thought of a desk because she draws and writes a lot and really would like a place to do this in her room that isn’t the floor.  Every pencil I found in her room is sharpened and ready in a box on the desk.

She hasn’t seen it yet.  She’ll see it when she gets home tomorrow.

I won’t show her the recycling bin full of old school papers and broken-down cardboard boxes.  She’ll never miss them.

Halloween Horror Story

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So yesterday was Halloween, or if you are so inclined, “Hallowe’en,” and so we dutifully tarted the Collective Spawn up in costumes and allowed them to beg the neighbors for candy.  The costumes are what makes this different from an average evening.

The two older spawn decided they wanted to be rockstars, so we procured or scrounged up rockstar accoutrement such as spangly fingerless gloves, dollar-store hair extensions, inexpensive red lipstick, and eyeshadow in parrot-plumage colors.  Glittery pink-handled dollar-store microphones and peace-sign bling finished off the look.

I think the oldest was most excited about the makeup.  Eyeliner pencil, the eyeshadow, a touch of mascara, blush, and the red lipstick and suddenly my 8-year-old looked like a teenager.  I told her so and she got all excited.

If I wasn’t so lazy I’d get the better pictures off the camera but it’s been a long day.  Then you will see them all, and in focus too.

So we live in Suburgatory and for the most part it’s not a bad neighborhood, aside from the people in the rental house kittycorner to our backyard who decided it was a good idea to do a variety of interesting activities in the middle of the night recently.  It began with them pouring gasoline — I assume it was gasoline as it was being poured from a small red plastic gas can — onto their firepit fire, causing it to blaze up scarily.  Then, after lighting up their yard (and everyone else’s) with one of those super-bright hand-held spotlights,  they fired up a chainsaw and lopped a decent-sized limb off the entirely unassuming tree in their back yard.  After this they attacked the tree with, and I am not kidding, a machete, all the while laughing and talking loudly as though it were not a) midnight and b) a populated area.  We called the police twice, first during the chainsawing and then again when they disgorged a fire extinguisher on the firepit, filling the entire neighborhood with dense, smelly smoke.    It was therefore deeply satisfying to watch, Gladys-Kravitz-style from behind the patio grape arbor, the ensuing reverse-mayhem as they suddenly rushed into the house, after which one of them meekly returned to the back yard to turn off the light and quietly take a hose to the firepit.  There has been nary a peep from them since.

At any rate, it’s otherwise a quiet neighborhood and so it was especially disturbing when a teen a few houses down decided it would be fun to dress in a long black robe and scary skull mask and leap out from behind a box hedge and scare the living crap out of the children as we merrily Trick-or-Treated down the block.  Two of the five (we had extras with us) burst into tears.  I mean seriously!  Jump out of the bushes and scare other teens, but not the elementary crowd!  They’ll probably be scarred for life.  I’m surprised we didn’t have a bed full of children the next morning.

Okay, I’m not surprised, because I am a cranky old lady and cannot sleep with children in the bed.  They wiggle and snore and breathe on you.

They actually did all right, considering.  But next year I’m taking a can of Mace with me.  SCARE MY CHILDREN WILL YOU PUNK  *PSSSHHHHH*