Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cat Tale

Just another adventure in the New House Saga. A toddler (not a cute little kitten, but definitely not full grown) cat has chosen our back door step to call home. (When she is not hiding out under the grill cover or sleeping on my daughter’s window sill)

I grew up with cats; I liked them, a lot. But something happened when I left for college, got married and had three kids. I just didn’t like cats anymore. Probably because over the years I have become more germophobic and OCD in the cleaning department. Could also be because whenever I touch a cat or think about touching a cat my eyes swell up and itch like crazy. If you have read me you know we ended up with two cats for the kids when their guinea pig died in front of them on the first day of summer two summers ago. I now have two pre-teen cats that I never touch but clean out their cat boxes every morning. I am not a fan, but I tolerate them on most days and have minor meltdowns and internal temper tantrums on other days.

The hubby is an animal lover and everywhere we go, animals of all kinds are attracted to him and love him. In college he had a pet squirrel. Must be his amazing heart and spirit. Apparently something I am lacking.

I do not want to be responsible for this cat, I do not want to pay for it. I do not want my kids to become attached.

In the last week we have:

Fed the cat twice a day – it eats the can of food every single time like it hasn’t eaten food in months. Last night we bought 5 more cans of cat food.

Given the cat water to drink (the kids think it likes bottled water best…..)

Given the cat a place to rest its head in our dry/warm garage with an old comforter.

Jumped a mile each, every time we look out a window and see its little face peering in.

Checked it for claws/sex and determined its paw is not hurt despite the fact that SHE raises it every time she sits up.

Put her on a waiting list to be spayed, and adopted both of which have very long waiting times.

Yelled at our house bound kitties to stop harassing the cat on the other side of the window. (as if they are taunting it)

Named her Katie. (my sweet little girl with an equally large heart and spirit as her Dad lovingly wrote a note to go with her in case someone adopts her describing her every tic.)

Despite my best intentions, I am pretty sure we now own one female toddler OUTDOOR cat.


I try to tell myself, enjoy the little moments in life. But try as I might this one aggravates the heck out of me.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Lobster Litany

I might have eaten Lobster off of someone else’s fork ONCE before in my life. It might have been at a Red Lobster.

I ate Caviar when I was 11. I was at a fancy brunch with my friend. We were getting food from the buffet and the “blackberry” jam on hard toast looked really yummy. My first acting lesson happened when I put the jam covered toast in my mouth and quickly discovered there was no sweet explosion of berry taste happening in my mouth. I made it through the chew and swallow ordeal by squeezing my legs together under the table so hard I had bruises later and tears in my eyes then. I told them it was fantastic.

I grew to like bleu cheese, brie, portabellas, sushi and a few other delicacies but living in the middle of Amish country, I tend to eat your standard fare on a regular basis. So I was excited to be invited to my first clam bake and order one Lobster for myself.
On Friday someone at work said, “Oh you will love the Lobster tail – have fun!”

So of course I was picturing yummy Lobster tail.

I’m not stupid; I have seen live lobsters in the tank at the grocery store. You have to keep them alive to be fresh, I get it. I know what I am eating. I know they have to dump them in boiling water to kill/cook them. I just didn’t THINK or KNOW that at a clam bake, there is a cardboard box sitting on the deck filled with live lobsters awaiting their death. I didn’t KNOW or THINK the lid would be removed and the kids and men would be lifting the lobsters out of the box to touch them, talk to them, ohhh and awww over them. I didn’t plan on seeing those 10? Little back legs moving all about…..

I left the scene when I was pretty sure they were going to be cooked. I heard the men talking about the screaming to scare the kids. I broke the news to MY kids what was going to happen and that I did order one of their tails to eat and the tail would be at our table.

So when someone called me over and plopped a whole red lobster on my plate, I knew my old acting lessons were being called to action.

I took that plate which was much heavier than I planned like a champ. The tentacles were dipping into my salad and stabbing the skin of my baked potato, and the beady little eyes were aimed my way, but I took that plate and walked through the crowd like I owned it.

Inside, I was screaming:

Thinking quickly, I knew I couldn’t go back to my table just yet. I needed to figure out what to do. I felt like I had a few moments earlier when I was in the bathroom and there was no toilet paper left. I McGyver-ed my way out of that one, I could MacGyver my way out of this too.

I followed the guy in front of me who had two full plates of lobsters. Unfortunately he was sitting pretty far from where my table was. His table was inside, so through the crowd I went staring at the back of his Polo Jacket all the way and NOT at the beady eyes of my soon to be dinner partner. The guy was greeted with cheers at his table when they saw the lobsters. I quickly looked around and found a spot to rest my plate in an inconspicuous corner (On top of a pinball machine) and watched the action. Once I saw how they ripped the lobster apart, I left my post with complete and utter dread. I walked heavily back to my table outside knowing what I was going to have to do. I passed two garbage cans and I am telling you I would have dumped that dead cockroach right in there if those garbage cans were not being watched.

I know you are all yelling at me right now. I am sorry. I do eat meat. I love red meat. I do. I know animals die/are killed in order for me to eat them. But they do not get dumped into boiling water and then immediately put onto my plate for me to do the ripping apart of. I do not purchase them with legs, eyes and antennae intact. There is a difference. If I go to a pig roast, I see the pig, but my final plate does not come with the pig’s nose on it.

So I sat at my table. The picnic table where I had to elegantly place myself into the middle of, one leg at a time while holding my lobster laden plate so as not to let it fall on the head of my child.
The hubby glanced over while eating his CHICKEN and I knew not to look into those eyes. I picked up that lobster and gave it all I got; I pulled the tail right off while clutching the little shriveled up legs and head, its eyes squishing into my palm. The tail came off pretty easy but there was liquid pouring out. I put the remaining body on the table in front of me and felt at this point I could deal with the tail. UNTIL the guy across from me said – “Hey, you can eat the claws too – pull those off.” I smiled at him.

Thanks buddy, got it.

I think I was able to get three teeny tiny bites out of that Lobster. I scraped and dug and worked it like an expert but all I could get were these measly pieces. I was like an ice princess with my Lobster body. Calm, Cool and Collected. I offered the claws to the other men at the table and played it like I was one of those girls who are too full after two bites of dinner. Meanwhile, everyone else was eating like champs.

Later in the night someone got hungry and starting eating clams and I had one of those moments where the words came out of my mouth but I wanted to Hoover them back in: “I’ve never had clams”, so I was given a piece of clam and I have to say, it beat the heck out of lobster. Despite the mouthful of sand.

I will never eat Lobster again. Lobster and Caviar and Venison. Not happening. No way. No how.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hotel for Cheaters

They built a hotel for cheaters in the town we were living in. This was an extremely family friendly, with excellent schools, conservative quaint little town. But just off the highway in an industrial area, a little hotel was built. It was tucked way back in-between the warehouses. It was advertised in a way that made it very clear it was for Cheaters. Not like the kind of cheaters in cards or Monopoly either.

The kind of cheaters that might like a hotel that is advertised as Out of the Way. Each room with its own private entrance inside a private garage for your car.  No windows and rooms that come with indoor hot tubs, showers built for two, king size beds and PLENTY of privacy. No check in or out.

There was a lot of controversy over it, so of course as soon as it opened the hubby made reservations. How fun would it be to stay in a Cheaters Hotel BEFORE all the cheaters got there and NOT be cheating?? Kind of like we were cheating the cheaters….

I have to say this was one of my most memorable weekends. –NOT in the way you think ONLY, but because it was the first time in a long time we got away, just the two of us. We splurged on an overnight sitter for the three kids, it was mid-December and snowing, (one of my favorite things) and we were just getting over a scary time of the hubby being the hospital after his recent diagnosis with MS. We hadn’t gotten any Christmas shopping done yet and we were panicking. Across from the hotel  there was an outdoor shopping mall also very new, with our favorite shops and a plan was set in place.

We did the mysterious check in (the hubby was instructed to check in earlier in the day and was given a remote for the private garage door entrance) we admired the in- room Jacuzzi, lack of windows, big TV and huge bed. Like any married couple with three kids we headed for dinner, coffee and a walk in the snow covered walkways decorated with Christmas lights. As you know, I can picture exactly what I was wearing and I can still taste the peppermint mocha, feel the snowflakes and remember the quiet on our walk.

The following day we did all of our Christmas shopping in one swoop, were lucky to have found a rare shipment of Wii’s in a random store and convinced the clerk one of them belonged to us and not the several other people waiting in line, and then went back to the room to wrap all the gifts.

We cheated a lot that weekend – We cheated the cheaters, the kids, the shoppers, Christmas, and our recent string of bad luck. It was one of the best weekends I have ever had.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

TAKE your kids to a Concert

When it was just the hubby, our first born and I, we went to Disney World every year. Then we had two more kids and we watch Disney movies on DVD instead because they are just slightly less expensive than the trip.

When our son watched Barney 24/7 as a little guy, we added Universal Studios to our trip so he could see the real thing. I think he stopped watching Barney after that trip.

The day I came home from the hospital with our second born, I took the first one to the movies because the hubby thought he needed to know I was still there for just him.

A week later I took the first born who had been telling me how much he hated me to a live Blue Clues show.

(I couldn’t tell you one thing about either of those events except the little guy told me he hated me for having THAT baby on both of the rides home)

The hubby has camped out in front of the Game Store for the newest video game releases.

Our son has had nicer phones and gadgets than either of us have.

We have bought and re-sold mini-motorcycles, three and four wheelers and everything on wheels for the last 14 years. Unfortunately, I am pretty sure all of the wheels in this house will not pay for the third car we will soon have to buy.

The kids wear the name brands now and I get a new shirt at Target every few months. I think the hubby bought his last name brand clothing in the 90’s.

I am currently planning how I am going to spend my time in the car waiting while our son rides his bike at an indoor track in the middle of the NO WHERE all winter long.

But my latest #1 Mom moment occurred last night when I took our oldest to his first concert. My Chemical Romance and Blink 182.

I am a pretty hip momma – I love alternative rock music, know how to use and where to get the latest gadgets and feel like I keep up with the trends and times. When I bought the tickets a few months ago I was excited that this was a good mix of what we like and what our son likes.

I DID NOT however, think about WHAT THE HELL I WOULD WEAR TO A ROCK CONCERT (where the majority of the attendee’s are under 20.)

Like I said, I am trendy and hip in MY MIND, and I think I look OK , But I stopped shopping for trendy clothes when the kids needed clothed. This called for something a little more thought out than a Target T-Shirt. After an emergency meeting of the minds, the thoughtful hubby picked me up a Harley Davidson shirt that cost more money than the darn concert tickets.

The concert was at an outdoor arena and we paid top dollar for the parking and the low price for lawn seats. (typical adult thing to do) But when we got there and the darkening clouds were threatening a grassy mud fest on a steep hill, we upgraded our tickets and were able to sit right by the stage UNDER the pavilion. It never did rain, but the upgrade was worth it.
Travis Barker can play the drums like a mad man and I feel like I saw a little piece of history in the making.

Our son had a smile as wide as a dollar bill on his face the whole time.

And, don’t worry, our youth, despite the low pants, tattoo’s, dark clothing, and weird hair, they are just fine. I saw more drunk passed out people at the Dave Matthews concert last year than I did last night. The only people causing any kind problems were my age. The crowd was as amazing as the bands. I had needlessly prepped our son on what he might see at a concert and he didn’t see any of it (he must really wonder what we did when we were younger…..)

I had so much fun, and despite the ringing in my ears, and still seeing strobe lights when I blink, guess what I am doing tonight? Looking for the next concert to go to. It was that much fun. Even if I only had four hours of sleep and had to go to work today.

Moms and Dads – take your kids to a concert. Enjoy their music and interests. They fall from your tree, so there is bound to be some similarities in interests.

It was one of the best decisions I ever made.

For a little taste of what we saw you can check out this video:
(posted by someone I do not know at same concert, who is much cooler than me (our vids didnt come out so good) Thanks!

Friday, September 9, 2011

What I Never want to Forget

I can still remember exactly what I was wearing that day. Mostly because I relate my clothes and shoes to memorable events. But I remember the exact skirt, jacket, blouse, shoes and purse.

I had a four and 1 ½ year old at home. The hubby and I were working opposite schedules. I worked during the day and he worked nights, but was up all day with the kids. I still don’t know how he did it.

The hubby, our girl on his shoulder and our boy in the Polo shirt with our neices and nephew close to this time

It was a beautiful morning. The kind of morning where you can’t imagine it being anything but beautiful anywhere else. I actually remember the sky being the most perfect color of blue.  I look at pictures taken on this day and notice a glimpse of perfect blue sky and it seems so odd.

 Work was a little quiet. So when the hubby called me, I happily answered only to hear him say- “Get to a TV NOW.”

We really didn’t have a TV at work that you would watch on a regular basis, but I knew there was a small one in the conference room that we sometimes showed videos on. I knew he was serious and I couldn’t get anything to come up on the internet. I could hear in the background his favorite TV program, Fox News very loudly and what seemed to be some chaos.

By the time I hung up, got the TV working in the conference room, several more of us had gotten similar phone calls from parents, husbands, wives, our clients.

We all gathered in the conference room at the same time and miraculously the phones stopped ringing from that point through the rest of the day.

When we turned on the TV it was the exact time that the second plane was hitting the second tower. We thought we were watching a re-play of the first hit. We all still thought that this poor plane was mis-directed somehow and was crashing through New York. Terrorists didn’t even cross our minds.

Within seconds we realized we had not just seen a re-play. We had seen real time horror.

It’s a blur from there. Our TV at home was on 24/7 for the next 7 days. We slept in front of it. We would periodically wake up and watch. When we finally did turn the TV off, the quiet bothered us so much and we felt so attached to all that was going on that we had to turn it back on again.  I felt like I was doing something wrong when I didn't have it on.

These are the things I remember. These are the things I never want to forget. I promised not to. Despite the devastation and shock, I never want to forget the sense of pride I felt to live in America, to have the President we had in that moment, to live in a country where men and women sacrificed themselves for our country, where firemen and police officers were only heroes, where people in a small town nowhere near the events stood outside waving flags at the cars as they drove past.

Sometime on day 2 or 3 we had little mini flags in the house – I have no idea where they came from, but my 4 and 1 year old took them outside to the porch and I watch as they stood there in their jammies and waved those flags at the cars as they drove by. I didn’t tell them to do this. Even more amazing, in the background was a rainbow.

Sometime on day 3 or 4 we noticed how quiet the sky was. I never noticed before that I was NOT noticing air traffic, I had become immune to it. But the lack of sound in the sky was deafening.

Sometime on day 4 or 5 there was a massive American Flag covering an entire wall at work. There was not one single house that I could see that did not have an American Flag waving. There was not one single car that did not have an American Flag print-out in their back window.

I miss those flags.

I miss the camaraderie we felt towards each other.

Years ago we watched a 9/11 documentary with our now three kids. One wasn’t even born and the other two really do not remember. Sometimes I wish they had been older. 9/11 made a difference in how I think and how I express my patriotism, but no amount of re-calling events can impress that upon them.

I do not want to forget EVER.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I fell down the stairs.

A good flying-up-into-the air-full body slam-down-thud-thud-thud kind of fall.

I heard a crack, cried, then did a combo laugh-cry.

The kids were horrified – including the quiet hardly-know-he-cares teenager. I had to throw in the laughing so they knew I was ok.

I realized pretty quickly the crack most likely was the step and not me. I just broke my pride and my back side. My bum is a lovely color of purple and blue and if the hubby casually smacks it one more time I may just have to casually …. ( I can think of a few equally torturous things to do)

This was a great excuse to spend an entire labor day on the couch in jammies watching movies. Unfortunately, we picked some really depressing ones (The Beaver, & Everything Must Go – don’t bother paying for those just catch them if they are ever on) but the one that I really liked was a documentary called The Elephant in the Living Room. This was amazing. However it was based in my state and now I am seriously worried about all of the exotic pet owners out there. Seriously, in Ohio alone, 15,000 lions are living amongst us. But watch the movie, it was really well done and probably hasn’t gotten the credit it deserves.

Then I spent an hour watching teeny tiny ants in my kitchen – not a lot of them. It is the strangest thing. They seem to come in from the window, just a few here and there and walk back out. We have had an exterminator out 3x since we moved in because I am a pest hater. I am still obsessing about the snake skin and the occasional spider that the kids will see, then tell me about but not quite know how to explain to me where to find it. I love that.

And then, this morning, I was looking for a pair of shoes.

I wish!

Let me explain shoes and me.

I love shoes. I have a lot of shoes. I take care of my shoes. When I was little I threw temper tantrums when my shoes got any kind of scuff or dirt on them.

I keep all of my shoes in their original packaging and boxes. I moved my shoes carefully, the boxes are labeled and in order by style and color and I looked in every single shoe box because I had to label them of course.

I have good feet. Shoes are the only guaranteed thing that will fit me and look good. Some people like jeans, jewelry or purses. I like shoes.

So I am in the cupboard where my shoes are kept, (in the basement - the largest cupboard I could find) and I am looking for the box that holds the particular shoes I wanted to wear today. I opened a box that I thought contained these particular shoes and just stared open-mouthed at (well, frankly I had NO clue what I was staring at) it appeared to be shoes. Once I settled, I realized the shoes I was looking at were completely covered in green fuzzy MOLD.

COVERED. Completley. My Shoes.

The box they were in was fine. The cupboard is fine. But now, three boxes later, more mold on my shoes.

I had called the hubby down to see, to console me in my nightmare, but that really didn’t go over well. It probably isn’t good timing at 6:30am to freak out about the discovery of moldy shoes, then tell him to not mess the order the boxes are in (because I did spend 3 hours putting them in that order) while he is trying to figure out what could have happened. Needless to say we argued. Loudly. At 6:30am with the windows open...

I had to leave for work. In tears. With three boxes of moldy shoes to drop off in the garbage on the way out the door.

And I have to call him to tell him to buy a dehumidifier for the basement and try to be nice while doing so.

Then thanks to my Mom who did actually console and understand my shoe plight (she was there for the temper tantrums when I was little and GETS it) found a home remedy of mixing alcohol and water to clean the remaining shoes.

Then I will move them somewhere else – I have no idea where and I didn’t just spend eight hours at work worrying about it (it was more like nine hours including drive time)

But it’s just shoes. I know this. I know there are a lot worse things in the world than some moldy shoes, a bruised butt, mysterious snake skin, invisible spiders, poop in the pool, and little teeny, tiny ants.

Like worrying about the 15,000 exotic pets living in Ohio that could get loose.

I mean it’s not unheard of that a Boa Constrictor would ever get loose right around the corner from me or anything….

It’s just shoes.

PS – One de-humidifier, a new home for my shoes in an upstairs closet, another call to the exterminator, and a good shoulder to cry on and I feel normal. Now if only I can find the body that goes with the snake skin and I’ll be fine… (and some new shoes, of course)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Does the Fair have Snake Charmer's do you think?

It’s Fair Time

Our county fair is this weekend and since we moved, we are now just down the street from its entrance. Not quite close enough to make money on parking on our lawn like all the other people are doing, but close enough to walk.

Doesn’t a county fair just make you feel good? Despite the itchy eyes, dust, dirt, mud, occasional slur, (I mean any hoot or hollar is kind of worth it)  and witnessing of gluttony, there is just something about a fair.

I love looking at the horses, and cows – well, it is kind of hard explaining to the kids to walk quickly in case of a kick, blow-out or gusher. It would be NICE even to see their heads and not their hinds, but still, the sheer size of those animals is cool to see even if you are speed walking through the barn.

Then there are the pigs, goats, sheep, chickens and bunnies. If you can stand the smell in the 100% humidity. I still imagine a Charlotte up in the corner of a stall somewhere…..

The food of course is always once in a year worthwhile. If you don’t mind the lack of napkins and place to sit and eat it properly. Just don’t wear a shirt you love. It might break the bank, but fair fries, funnel cakes, Italian sausage and lemonade are just so good and worth it.  (  I said we walked there, right?? )

This year I actually walked through the buildings where they had iron workers, tree carvers, quilters, weavers, broom makers, and candle stick makers. All the dying arts. This was helpful when trying to avoid the rides and games section. The kids were too tired and hot to complain about my rule when it comes to rides and games.

Did you know you can enter hay, wax carvings, bread, and photography into the fair?? Yes, HAY.

So tonight we are attending the Demolition Derby and if you know me you know that I have this weird love of destruction-sports – camper pulls, figure eight races, and demo’s.

And of course the kids have earned a few dollar bills for the games section that I have said no about a thousand times over.

But after a week of the following, a good old fashioned fair is exactly what a good psychiatrist would order:

We started the week with the third day of school and a call off already. Looks like we are going to have to cut milk out of my daughter’s diet and see if that works.

I had a few work days from hell and then one of my vendors sent me an email that was like reading the funniest blog post ever. I thought how dare he be wittier and funnier than I am, and he doesn’t even write a blog! But he did make me laugh out loud in the middle of a miserable day.

And then.......
and then folks - this is the real clincher of the week:

 I got a phone call from my daughter who claimed that she found some SNAKE SKIN on the floor of her bedroom. Of course I told her NOOOOO, it’s something else for sure.

After a little yes and no and your crazy’s,  I asked her to put her pessimistic brother on the phone. As predicted, as he walked to the crime scene he told me there was no way it was snake skin. And then, yes then, He said:
         “That’s definitely snake skin, Mom.

So I hung up and went back to work in complete denial.

When I got home the snake skin was in a plastic container and the scene of the crime-  my daughter’s American Girl Doll bed,  was shown to me.

ARE YOU KIDDING RIGHT NOW?? I have a snake in my house????

This so called skin was definitely the real thing. American Girl Rebecca could have a nice pair of snake skin shoes if she wanted to!!

This house of mine, that I adore…. is giving me something to write about isn’t it?

A freaking snake in the house. Somewhere, lurking.

You know, I have cleaned this house from top to bottom several times. We have been in every nook and cranny. Where on earth is this snake??

So now I am on my way to the fair to try to relax, to try to stop my nervous break down…. And to make sure no one gets their shoes dirty while finding a snake charmer.....

and I thought Maple Queen was bad......