Tag Archives: wtf

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*

Six degrees of Facebooking

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So I find that several of my friends are friends with other of my friends, and sometimes it freaks me right the friend out, knowhatahmsayin?

Middle school classmate, friends with Tammy (whom I know through a nursing school classmate more than 20 years later) and friends also with Darren (whom I know through an old motorcycling friend).

Oh, that old motorcycling friend?  Also went to high school with someone else  I know, but we didn’t realize this until I’d been friends with them both for years.

And that someone?  Friends with a guy I went to high school with, and hadn’t seen since graduation, but we bumped into each other at a party for the someone when she left for France this summer.

I guess what’s freaky about it is that I know them all through such different channels, and probably would never have even known of these connections were it not for Crackbook.  I mean Facebook.

Pneumonia kind of sucks.

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So I returned to the doctor on Monday because I didn’t really feel substantially better.  I didn’t feel much better at all.  I’m not sure that I felt any better.

Nebulizer, more antibiotics, inhaler, four more days off work.  REST, she said, and push fluids.

Ugh.

I suck at pushing fluids and I suck at resting.  I excel at dorking around, but not so much at actual resting.

Blogging is restful, right?

And playing Plants Vs. Zombies is also restful.  And Skyrim, after the children are at school.

I’ve heard that napping is restful.  I suck at napping too, but it turns out that if you hold still on a couch and try to watch a Pokemon movie with a child, a nap will overcome you whether you’re good at it or not.  I just didn’t know!

O These Children

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So last night we let the Collective Spawn dork out to their respective Nintendos and just play and hang out.  It was the end of the first real week of school and they were all pretty tired.  At the appropriate time we herded them off to bed thinking smugly to ourselves that they were so exhausted they would sleep well.

Ha!

The middle child kept getting up.  MAMA I CAN’T SLEEP.  For two hours.  Finally at 11pm she stopped.

I was not foolhardy enough to think that this meant she would sleep in.  I have known these children for some time and it is apparent that these particular children do not “sleep in.”

At 5:40am the youngest child entered Grown-Up Land to inform The Lovely Rhonda that she could not find her sharpened pencil with which to do her Giant Workbook of Kindergarten Fun.  She was duly notified that at 5:40am nobody was the least bit interested in finding a pencil, sharpened or otherwise, with which to do anything non-violent and that she should be backing slowly out of the room by now.

Actually it went more like, GO BACK TO BED OMG IT’S 5AM WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU.

Naturally I now had to use the restroom and in doing so found the middle child, the completely knackered one with the dark circles under her eyes, cozily playing her Nintendo in bed.

I am sorry to say that I did not merely creep back to Grown-Up Land to inform TLR but instead removed the Nintendo from her clutches and stated that it was 5am and she should return to sleep.

Mayhem ensued, and the shrieks of the unjustly persecuted rang throughout the house.  It is only by some miracle that the oldest child never woke up.

I finally got out of bed at 6:50ish since I was coughing too hard to sleep anyway and found the middle child snoring and the youngest one sobbing in her bed.  An hour later.

Youngest child is now working on her workbook and finding reasons to enter and exit her room as often as possible in the hopes that she will find one of her sisters awake.

My mother once told me that when you wake up in the morning and lay in bed figuring out exactly how soon you can feasibly return to bed, you are an adult.

I think I have been an adult since I was nine.

Library Connections

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So my kid is going to a new school this fall.  It turns out she’s kind of smart, and they cloister these smart kids in an enclave to keep them out of trouble.

The school is one that we’ve been to before, for toddler/preschool story times put on by the county extension or something.  We knew of them through a friend that I’d met taking Delia to story times at the library.  His daughter Julia was within a month of my daughter’s age, and we met at the library pretty often and had occasionally exchanged babysitting and the like.  He lived near this school and his wife worked there as a classroom aide or something.  I’d lost touch with him and hadn’t seen them in probably five years.  Rumor was they had moved away.

Despite the crummy summer cold I’m afflicted with, which seems to be crawling resolutely into my ears, we went to the school tonight for the “meet your teacher” night.  I don’t remember ever having those when I was a kid — you just showed up on the first day, lost and alone, and were deeply traumatized as God intended.  Now they get to go in the night before and put their stuff in their desks and meet the other kids and eat ice cream or hot dogs or whatever.  This generation has it so easy.

When we got there, one other little girl had already arrived.  I was still getting my bearings when suddenly her mother looked at us and gasped, “Is that Delia?!”  And there they were.  Julia is in Delia’s class and they will be sitting next to each other.  They don’t really remember each other, but they were buddies once and perhaps they will be again.

Whole thing just keeps blowin’ my mind.

La Fitness (It’s French!)

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So I took a lengthy hiatus from the gym because I broke my foot.  And then I got busy and lazy and you know how it goes.  Shut up.

But I’m back, and today I went for a lap swim.

The pool at my gym is smallish and warmish, also shallow, because it’s trying to be a jack-of-all trades.  It has to be long enough to swim laps in, warm enough for the fragile old people to do their water aerobics in, and shallow enough so most people aren’t in danger of drowning.  There is no lifeguard.  While I’m not worried about the drowning thing,  I kind of wish there was a lifeguard just so people would be more inclined to follow those little social rules that apparently they don’t feel inclined to follow when no gym employee is in attendance.  I am speaking of the following three violations:

1. Some lady left her flip-flops right in the center of the stairs that lead down into the water.  Really?  Because this is your private pool and no one else will need to descend those steps, Your Majesty.

2. The guy sharing my lane would stand up at the end of the pool, splash water toward the drains that run around the perimeter of the pool about a foot from the edge, and then spit into the drain while continuing to splash it.  He did this at least five times while I was in the pool.  Kudos to you for at least flushing away your bodily excreta, but seriously.  Nobody else feels the need to spit on the drains.  People walk there.  If you can’t swim without spitting maybe you should take up a different hobby.

3. There was a creepy looking guy in the hot tub who was probably just trying to put some hip muscle or another in the path of the water jet, but it looked rather sexual. I am in favor of maintaining a bare minimum standard of decorum in public places, and if what you’re doing looks a lot like having relations with a hot tub jet, maybe you should find some other way of addressing your problem.

Other than that it was a good swim.  I’m a lousy swimmer but it’s easy on the feets and you certainly get a workout.  Of course, Flip Flop Royalty Lady was getting dressed in the locker room when I got out of the shower and of course we both picked the same bay of lockers to put our stuff in so I had to be semi-unclothed in front of her.  This appeared to offend her tender sensibilities.  She looked at me like I was Jack the Ripper.  Apparently this is Her Majesty’s personal locker room as well.  She hurried out of there like she was on fire, which was fine with me.

Am I the only one who can’t make a rolled towel stay in place?  I feel incompetent in this regard.  Is this a skill mastered by teenaged girls the world over, and I’m just towel-impaired?  I always spend my time clutching desperately at my towel and hurriedly pulling on my clothes over my too-damp body.  Ugh.

Once I was dressed I pawed through my gym bag looking for vital necessities and did not find them.  The gym bag is a delight, a gift for Christmas from the children, and I love it, but it did not contain the three personal care items without which I cannot function: hairbrush, hair-taming product, and deodorant.  I have longish, curly hair that is prone to frizziness issues.  And although I am not usually smellier than most people (at least I hope so), it’s hot out.  I absolutely SWEAR that I saw these things in the bag when I was getting ready to leave.   What is wrong with me?

I had intended to stop at the grocery store on my way but I had no choice but to go straight home.  My finger-combed POW! hair would frighten people, and not having deodorant on is a guarantee that I will panic and generate a flop-sweat.  Whatever I thought I needed at the store will just have to wait until I am properly groomed.

But hey!  I went swimming!

Warranty Wars

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So about a year ago we got fed up with our crappy minivan and bought a nicer one.  It was used but so much sexier than the old one, with the seats that fold into the floor and power doors and this thing in the stock which tells time.  We named it Moby Titanic (as it is large and white) and we love it so moishe.

When we test drove it, it did this alarming thing at freeway speeds wherein the entire vehicle swayed distressingly when the brakes were applied.  We told them that if they fixed that thing, we’d buy it.  They allegedly did, and we bought it along with a warranty.  Even our mechanics agreed that the warranty was a good one.  We were assured that we could use it at our preferred shop, the one with the aforementioned mechanics.  We’re quite loyal to this shop as they saw us through nursing school when we were Broke Ass Poor.  At that time we had my car which was/is pretty reliable, and then The Lovely Rhonda also had this extremely shitty Volkswagen Passat.

We called the Passat “Flopsy” due to the antenna that should have stuck proudly into the air at a jaunty angle from above the rear window.  It didn’t.  It was distressingly flaccid, so the car became Flopsy.  (We could not help ourselves.  Shut up.)  This phenomenally terrible car broke down, like, a lot, which was really difficult for us to manage given that we were so very BAP.  The very good people at Peterson Automotive did everything they could to keep us mobile at shockingly minimal costs, and for this we are fans for life.

Anyway, a few months after we purchased the minivan the brakes started doing that thing again.  We spoke some choice words to one another regarding the integrity of dealerships and then we took it to Peterson’s and they fixed it for real.  Except that a few months later it started doing it again.  We mentioned this to them at the most recent oil change and they were so apologetic.  They felt bad that they hadn’t fixed it right the first time, and told us that they would fix it correctly and charge us only for the parts by way of apology.  We were super cool with this and dropped it off last Wednesday, and that, my friends, is where the real fun began.

Once they got it all taken apart they found that the master cylinder was starting to go, and this was going to be a bigger repair than anyone anticipated.  It was time to invoke the Warranty.   We’d have to pay only a small deductible.  Yay for warranties!

Oh no, said the warranty company.  The dealership has to release the van to allow it to be worked on somewhere other than the dealership.

No problem, we thought.  We talked about this when we bought it.  We’ll just give them a little call and all will be well again.

We were so naive.

It was almost comical how nobody would call us back.  For two solid days.  TLR spoke with every manager they had, and salespeople, and office ladies, and possibly the janitor.  She resorted to leaving voicemails for the owner of the dealership.  Everybody had to check with everybody else.  Nobody could give us an answer.  Finally TLR went down to the dealership and raised a wee ruckus.  I believe the F-bomb may have been dropped.  You know I don’t approve of such violence but people, by this time it had to be said.

One of the useless managers commented that the police could be called.  “Oh, that’s fine, I’ll dial the number,” said TLR, brandishing her cell phone with what I am sure was a flourish.  “They won’t arrest me.  All they will do is make it so I can’t come here.  And then you can’t fix my van here, so I win.”  That shut him up pretty comprehensively.

The only satisfaction won that day was that the dealership agreed to lend us a car off their used-cars lot so that we wouldn’t have to rent one, as by this time an easy repair that should have taken a couple of hours had now stretched into a three-day battle and it was now Friday.  Nothing would be resolved until the next week and we both had to work on Monday, in opposite directions from home.  We picked the car up on Sunday night.

Since we didn’t need to schlep any kids around I had opted for a sedan.  They lent us a virtually nondescript NissHonYota Narcoleptor 6000.  These are great cars that would run forever if only people could stay awake long enough to put miles on them.  Sadly they have the highest accident rate of any modern sedan, domestic or imported, because they are so mind-numbingly boring that drivers routinely fall asleep at the wheel and crash them into things.  It was Fugly Grey with an automatic transmission.  I think the seats might have been clad in Midwestern airport upholstery fabric, but I couldn’t muster the energy to care one way or the other so I can’t really recall at this point.  It’s a miracle I’m still alive.

Monday and Tuesday came and went with still no contact from the dealership, shocking I know, and as those are busy workdays for The Lovely Rhonda, Destroyer of Worlds, no progress was made.  Wednesday she was home and able to verbally harass them make polite inquiries by telephone, to no avail. This had been dragging along for a solid week.  We were starting to contemplate small-claims court as well as perhaps calling up the lesbian posse for some sliding-scale, child-care-provided fully accessible picketing.  Nobody does it old school like lesbians.

Yesterday she finally spoke to the one magical wizard of a manager at the dealership who reportedly had to all but throw acid in the owner’s face to get him to agree to release the warranty.   I received a text: “We win.”  The argument was made that we had been loyal customers and had even referred a friend there who bought a brand-new vehicle from them.  We were fighting this hard to be able to take our repair business to our favorite shop.  Did they really want to piss us (meaning TLR) off? Plus I think when the F-bomb is spoken in the hallowed halls of an auto dealership they have to perform elaborate cleansing rituals which probably gets expensive owing to the difficulty of finding virgins among the sales staff.

Thus we merrily skipped off to Peterson’s to collect our perfectly-repaired van, only to drive it directly to yet ANOTHER dealership for a recall repair on the ignition.

Brace yourselves, internets.

TLR called to check on the timeliness of the repair, as we had made it clear we had to get it back by a certain time.  Uh, that guy is at lunch and he’ll call  you back when he gets back around 2pm.   No, says TLR.  We need to pick it up at 2.  Oh.  Well uh that guy didn’t get a chance to let you know and I hate to be the bearer of bad news but now your key doesn’t work in the ignition we fixed so you have to pay $220.00 for a new key. 

At this point I blanked out a little because TLR’s head started to spin around on her neck and her voice dropped enough octaves that those whale microphones picked it up.  The guy could not get off the phone fast enough, and called us back a minute or two later to report that the dealership would cover the charge for the key and how soon could we come pick the van up?  You could hear him sweating through the tiny phone speaker.

We win.

Pride, Proud, Prude

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So today was Gay Pride in Portland, across the bridge from Vantucky where I live.  I used to live in Portland and Vancouver’s Gay Pride is kind of miniature and boring (no offense), so I’m more inclined to go to Portland’s.  Thus we sat on aluminum bleachers for a butt-numbing two and a half hours watching rainbow-clad individuals from literally ALL walks of life.  The bleachers were located directly in front of one of the premier gay clubs (The Embers) and there was an umbrella’d booth of big drag queens giving hilarious color commentary.  Aside from the hardness of the bleachers, it was a good time.

We don’t take our kids to Gay Pride.  It’s not that I’m not all SUPER GAY PROUD and stuff, although to be truthful I’ve been out for so long (more than twenty years now) and I consider it to be just a slightly different facet to my otherwise ridiculously average life that I feel kind of… post-gay.

I mean, I don’t go to GINGER PRIDE.  There’s no parade for BUNION SUFFERERS.  We PSYCHIATRIC NURSE MANAGERS don’t hang out at the waterfront all day extolling the virtues of underpaid social service jobs and purchasing specialty merchandise from one another.  So in a way, I kinda don’t get it sometimes.

But then I remember how we sometimes get killed for being gay, how we’re denied basic rights that heterosexual folk get just for being straight, and how difficult and isolating it is for gay etc. youth (or adults for that matter) to come out to their families, so I do get it.

I just wish I didn’t have to.

The whole Pride thing is supposed to be somewhat family-friendly, with parade participants handing out candy and stickers and balloons and Mardi Gras beads to the kiddos, but there is one large reason why I don’t want to take the kids to Pride.   And that would be the scantily-clad folk, of all persuasions, and the minority-sexual-proclivities type groups who march in the parade.

I just don’t want to try to explain to my 8-year-old what BDSM is, or why some people are into leather.  There was a guy marching in one of the leather-enthusiasts groups in black leather underwear wearing a mask that covered his entire head, and his bare back was red with welts from being slapped with leather implements by others in the group. There was another fellow similarly clad suspended from a — well, let’s just call it a “specialty recreational swing,” on a trailer pulled behind a vehicle in (if I recall correctly) the same group.  There was a woman standing near him and he was rocking in place such that it simulated (very superficially) a sexual act.  This is not something I think is terrifically appropriate for children to see.  Speaking just for my child, she’s wicked smart and doesn’t miss much.  I think that this kind of knowledge is burdensome for children.  If she’s too young to really understand what sex is all about, she’s much too young to see this.

I just don’t think this highly sexualized stuff belongs in a parade in public spaces.  Sometimes that makes me feel prudish, but I have always felt this way watching Gay Pride parades, which I started doing long before I had a child.  I thought the entire point of Pride activities was to support and educate — and I suppose the argument can be made that these groups are trying to educate — but I am not sure that this venue is appropriate for this.  None of it interests me in the slightest but I know that there are people of all orientations who find it compelling, I don’t judge and all that — but does it belong in the Gay Pride parade?

I managed not to get too sunburned although I can’t say the same for The Lovely Rhonda.  I did offer the sunscreen to her but she declined.  Next year I’m just going to spray her like a protester.  IT’S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD.

Toh-oast!

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So we recently bought a new toaster oven.  It has a little dial you turn and it ticks while it’s toasting, and then when it’s done it goes DING!

Today The Lovely Rhonda was making some toast and I happened to be standing by when it went DING!  This caused me to sing out, involuntarily, “Toh-oast!” in a sort of high-pitched, quavery voice.

There’s a lovely movie called Billy Elliot, about a British boy growing up in the 80’s whose mother has died, his father and brother are striking coal miners, and his old gran lives with them all.  And he wants to be a dancer.  It’s a great movie, there’s certainly more to it than this, but the reason why I mention is a scene where Billy is making Nan some breakfast.  The toaster launches the finished toast into the air, and Nan sings out, “Toh-oast!” while Billy deftly snatches it out of midair.

Okay, so I haven’t thought of that movie in ages, and here I am singing TOH-OAST!  to the DING! of the new toaster oven.

This evening I sat down and started rummaging around in things on the interwebs and suddenly thought of a site I used to look at called Found.  It’s a site where people submit little notes and pictures and things like that that they’ve found.  I looked it up and the fourth or fifth thing to come up was a tiny scrap of paper that said, “Nor Dad!  I don’t like Borx’in!  I want to be a darn-sa!”

Which of course is a line from Billy Elliott.

It Ends Here

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Dear The Lovely Rhonda,

Please.  The paella pan?  The large round deep non-stick pan with the stubby metal handles?  The one we use a lot?

It’s non-stick.  It does not need to soak.  Nothing sticks to it.  Hence the term, “non-stick.”

And when you place it across the sink, balancing on its two stubby handles, it is as a pendulum.  And when you fill it with water and allow the detritus within to congeal into an unappetizing sludge overnight, you are essentially setting a trap for the unsuspecting Helpful Spousal Unit.  For when the HSU attempts to tip the horrible pan so that the sludge pours off into the sink, the merest touch sends it into a mad flip, dumping its contents rapidly into the sink and cascading over onto the floor, the aptly-named backsplash, and the HSU.

After the initial shock and the ensuing lengthy swear-fest, the HSU will bend down next to the sink and re-wipe the floor with a soapier sponge than the first try, thereby dragging her hair through some standing sludge-water remaining on the lip of the sink.

So I say it again:  IT ENDS HERE.

Kindly leave the pan down in the sink.

Yes, I know it sits at an angle and can’t soak that way.

And again I say, it does not need to soak.

In fact — and forgive me if I’m getting ahead of myself here — I daresay you could actually scrub the pan, rinse it, and leave it to dry on the stove, and the experience would leave you none the poorer.

In fact, your HSU might stop plotting ways to get back at you and start leaving you little love notes in your lunchbox.