Monday, December 19, 2011

And just when you think you've seen every bit of crazy Mary Poppins has in her bag, she pulls out a coat rack.

Yesterday, my MIL called.  We were having a rather pleasant conversation, and I casually mentioned to her that I would be stopping, on the way to her house tomorrow (which is now today), at the mall to pick up something for our neighbor as a favor.  We'd be leaving early, and this would not infringe on the time we were to be visiting for my husband's birthday/Christmas gift exchange.  Immediately my MIL got upset and told me "This isn't just his birthday, you know.  It's our Christmas celebration, and I have gifts for everyone.  I really want you to be there!"  As I continued to try to explain to her that we would all be there, she kept acting like it was some tragedy.  I know, as well as anyone else who knows anything about my MIL and I, that she does not like me that much, and so it was odd she was acting like it was so terrible that I should have a 30 minute errand to run.  Now, I also should point out, she will be coming to see us on Christmas Eve, so this is not her only Christmas celebration with us.  Now, for the rest of the story...

After 12 years, I am used to a level of strangeness.  I can predict, with impressive accuracy, when she is about to pull a stunt.  I could smell it coming, but I was a little off on what I thought was about to go down.  I thought maybe she'd have a Santa come to the house, like I do for our party.  I wasn't convinced of that, because I don't think even she is brave enough to go that far.  That part I was right about, at least for now. 

When it was time to open gifts, she had gotten something for each of us. I was taking pictures and videos (as any great paparazzi mom would do), and so I held my package to the side.  I watched as everyone opened their gifts.  One by one my husband, brother in law, and sister in law opened their gifts.  She had made everyone a personalized, photo calendar.  She pointed out that "all of the important dates are marked, too!"  I watched everyone ooooh and aaaaah over their calendars, and the pictures.  How nice of her to do this for everyone!  Everyone, but me.  I opened my package, and inside was a Farmer's Almanac magazine.  You did not read that incorrectly.  It was the magazine that they sell in the check out lines at the stores.  My "what am I looking at here?!" face was still in all of it's glory, when she looked at me and said "I felt bad, and I just had to get you something!"  Like she was planning on getting me nothing, but at the last minute grabbed something to make herself feel good just simply knowing she gave me something.  But wait, it gets better!!!  (Hard to believe that, I know!)

When we got home, for some reason, the "All of the important dates are marked!" popped into my head.  I checked July, and, sure enough, there was her boyfriend's birthday.  I looked at march, there was my sister-in-laws birthday... So I flipped to my birthday.  Nada.  Apparently nothing important happened that day.  Everyone else had their bday noted.  My sister-in-law, who was also floored by the Farmer's Almanac, hunted through the calendar and eventually found some other day marked as my birthday.  I understand.  In the 12 years I've been around, it could be hard to figure out if my birthday moves around or not.  And, even though I just explained to her, a few weeks ago, that we still would not be attending Thanksgiving because it's so close to my birthday, sometimes is on my birthday  (and therefore we celebrate my bday with my side of the family on turkey day), she decided to put me in a corner in September instead. 

I figured out that she did not want me to run my errand and risk me not being there to see the thoughtful gifts that she spent her time on for everyone but me... and that she couldn't even be bothered to get my birthday right on those calendars. 

Maybe it seems like I'm being unfair, but after 12 years of this, I've earned the right to complain about it.  Whether it's been to slip in an attack on my weight... "Here, you can have the low carb mashed potatoes *while everyone else got regular ones*, or "I was at BJs and saw these pants for you!" and handing me pants clearly way too large for me... or letting me cook a holiday meal for her, and then one hour in advance call to say she wasn't coming because she wanted to go out to campaign for a political election.  Or, after I had been cooking for several hours to prepare a birthday meal and dessert for her boyfriend, calling to cancel because her COUSIN didn't feel well... who we found outside in the sweltering heat, walking his dog and smoking a cigarette when we stopped by her house to deliver the meal instead.  It's years of this complete nonsense that had lead to me no longer "suffer in silence", which, you can imagine, was hard for me to do in the first place!

So, there you have it.  I couldn't make this stuff up.  I just don't have that big of a bag when it comes to my own brand of crazy.  But, I will hand her this, she made that Home Depot gift card look pretty freaking awesome and like a gift with way more effort and thought than I was giving it credit for, originally.  So there you have it. I didn't just wake up one morning with "Bitch Syndrome" or something, it took years to make me this cynical and cold when it comes to my relationship with that woman.  I stopped caring so much about if my telling people what actually goes on would hurt her feelings when I realized she was, quite obviously, absolutely never considering my feelings.

I think I'll be sending random birthday cards to her and her boyfriend, whenever I feel like it. I mean I don't have a calendar telling me the actual date of their birthdays, and I can't be bothered to keep track of when they are each and every year, so this seems practical.  It at least seems like I'll be extending the same courtesy to her that she extends to me.  My sis says, and rightfully so, to get my MIL nothing.  I pointed out that there are way worse things than nothing.  Giving a waitress a penny is worse than leaving no tip.  If you leave no tip, the reason could be you forgot, but if you give that penny, it's a hostile penny.  You made the clear choice to give them something virtually worthless to them, and representative of your displeasure.  That Farmer's Almanac is my penny tip.  She clearly had chosen to give me nothing, but got me a token at the last minute to ease her guilty feelings associated with that.  She didn't forget, she just purposely excluded me, and so obviously... in more ways than one. 

You cannot make this shit up.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pictures with Santa, brought to you by Robitussin Peak Cold, and someone's getting hit in the face.

I know I've been missing.  Our entire family came down with some nasty respiratory virus that's been going around.  I'm just now starting to get better.  This is NOT the time of year to be out of commission.  To make a long story short, I've been making up for the past several days of being held back due to illness and just crammed about 4 or 5 days of work into one day.  I wanted to get the boys to the mall for the traditional Santa picture, and for my oldest son to get to tell Santa what he wants for Christmas.

Last year, we took the boys on a Saturday to see Santa.  It was horrible.  The line was horrendous.  The baby was asleep (so I chose not to wake him, so no picture for him), and... while waiting in line, my son (who was waiting patiently and on his best behavior), had the monster child standing in front of him turn around and snarl at him and slap him in the face!  In front of Santa!  That is pretty gutsy.  My husband told the kid "Um, do not hit my son in the face.", and the brat's mother turned around, glared at us, and never once apologized for her child's terrible behavior.  She did, however, treat us like we had some nerve to stand there and get slapped like that.  I know, we are terrible people to just stand there like that.

Needless to say, I was not overly excited for the hoo ha you have to go through to get those cute Santa shots.  Who wants to stand in line with a bunch of screaming kids, then plop their kids in some stranger in a stinky synthetic beard's lap that some kid probably already peed in, and all in their nice Christmas outfits... oh and risk getting beat up in line?  Ho ho ho!  However, I played my cards right this year!  I gave the boys an early lunch, dressed 'em up, and off we went.  We were the only ones in line.  The non-existant wait was face-slap-free, and the boys got to spend extra time with Santa since no one was behind us, either.  The boys loved it, and we got a cute picture.  The baby didn't smile, but he didn't cry.  He just looked apathetic.  haha  He's such a serious thinker, that one. 

Upon getting home, my littlest was ready for his nap.  I got to work cleaning the house for our company tomorrow.  Almost as soon as my kiddo woke up from his nap, my oldest gave him some sort of hug then went to pull him to the ground with him, and instead slammed him head first into the corner of our coffee table, narrowly missing gouging his eye out.  Like 1/4 inch different, and the baby would not be seeing out that eye anymore.  Luckily, the eye was spared... but he has a huge shiner now for the rest of the season's holiday pictures. 

The holidays are never short on drama, are they?!  I am pretty caught up now, thanks to a marathon day of grocery shopping, gift shopping, Santa sitting, complete house cleaning, laundry doing, cookie mailing, and boo boo fixing.  Now, tomorrow, drive my son to and from school, get someone from the airport, and attend a retirement/Christmas party.  We're gonna aim for no more illness or injury... hopefully we'll make it to 2012. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ghosts of Christmas Shopping Past

I was going over Christmas list ideas for the kids with my Aunt today, and she brought up the incredulous idea of her husband shopping for Christmas (it was incredulous for both of us, as we instantly thought about what that would mean... if either of our husbands shopped for Christmas).  Talk about a nightmare before Christmas!  So, I must thank her for reminding me of the following Christmas shopping horror stories... or our very own ghosts of Christmas shopping past...

The first Christmas that my husband (then boyfriend) and I shared together, I had the privilege(?) of going with him as he did his Christmas shopping.  It was no lie when I told my Aunt that he had 2 go-to gifts back then... car cleaner, or a generic candle.  I watched as he picked up 3 bottles of Simple Green, and 3 generic cinnamon candles for the 6 people on his shopping list.  Yes, if you were a girl, you got the candle.  If you were a boy, you got the cleaner (for all your car cleaning needs, though I'm not sure what part of the car you use that on... I just know that was the intended use).  I didn't have to watch him give these gifts to his mom, step-dad, brother, sister-in-law, dad, and step-mother, and I was very happy for that.  I was also thrilled to discover that I got the obligatory "stuffed bear for your girlfriend" gift, instead of the first candle he spotted at Walmart and grabbed for every female in his family, or worse yet, the degreaser.

It was that very first Christmas, 12 Christmases ago, that I realized he did not approach gift giving the way I did.  Christmas shopping, for me, is an Olympic event, and I wanna bring home the gold!  He could care less where he places.  As I walk to my car, I hear our national anthem playing, and watch as the other shoppers watch in awe as they clap in slow motion.  As he walks to his car, he thinks he better get home quickly because Christmas Eve dinner is about to begin.  I go home, and wrap my gifts in color coordinated paper and bows with care.  He patches together whatever scraps of paper he can find, and uses an entire roll of tape to secure it together in some lumpy mass.  I wait with eager anticipation as the gift recipient opens their gift, and he often forgets to even give his gifts out.

One year he went out to Ollies, and tried to purchase Christmas gifts there.  He loves Ollies.  He would furnish his home with misprinted 3 legged sofas and tables on wheels if he could.  I had to have an intervention right then and there.  There was no way that I could allow him to purchase the factory second version of tickle-me-elmo that would spark and shout Russian nursery rhymes when you "press here" for his niece.  I told him Ollies was not for Christmas shopping.  Instead, he bought himself a $15 winter coat with a lion printed on it.  The buttons didn't match, it was unclear if it was supposed to be green or black, and the waist cinched in like a woman's coat would, but he loved it because it was cheap.

My sister-in-law told me it was very obvious when I started taking over the Christmas shopping for him.  The gifts were no longer confusing or awful.  They made sense, and were appropriate for each individual based on their personality, likes, and dislikes.

The curse of the terrible gifts did resurface one year, after we were married.  He decided he knew what I would like for Christmas, and he wasn't going to use a list for ideas.  He hated just getting people what they wished for.  So, he went out on his own.  That year I got a bottle of vitamins and a gift card for target.  He gave his wife a GIFT CARD FOR TARGET.  I think that is actually slightly worse than the vitamins.  Super thoughtful.       Super.      Thoughtful.        Only he knows me so well?  Ugh.

I can, happily, report that these are, indeed, the ghosts of Christmas past.  Last year I asked him for one thing... just for him to make the holidays nice for our kiddos.  Be merry!  He did, still, get me gifts, and most of them were not on my list.  All of them were thoughtful, and reflected that he does, indeed, know who I am.  Apparently, even the grinchiest of scrooges can finally master the art of Christmas shopping.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fickle Fritter

The following just happened in my house, this evening:

Everyone is sick.  I have pain, pretty much everywhere, and everything is stuffy and swollen and stiff.  However, there are no sick days for a mom.  My husband is starting to get over his illness, so he ran out for milk and medicine today.  So, now you're all caught up!

Husband I brought home two fritters, and one of them is mine!

Me Ooooh!  Apple fritters!  Thank you!

So, I saved my fritter for after the kids went to bed.  That way, I could sit in peace and quiet and enjoy my fritter while watching my Thursday night TV.

We took the kids up for bath, stories, and bed.  Then, I, quite literally, came skipping down the stairs, announcing to my husband:

I'll be right there!  I'm just gonna grab my fritter and a drink, and I'll be right in.  I've been saving it all day!

I walked over to the counter where the fritters were, and... there. were. no. fritters!!  The bag was gone!

Me Hey honey!  Where'd you put the fritters?  I thought the bag was next to the toaster oven.  Honey?  Honey?  Hey, hon?  *walk into the living room*  Honey, where are the fritters?

Him *silence followed by frantic typing on his laptop*

Me Dammit, honey, where are the fritters?  They better be here.  Where are they?

Him *will not even look at me*

Me YOU ATE MY FRITTER!!!  You tell me you got 2 fritters, and one is for you, so WHO got the other fritter?  I even thanked you for it?!  AND YOU ATE IT!  Did I not just say "I've been saving it all day?!"  

Him That just made this whole thing so much better.  It really set the stage for the big let down.  I didn't know you wanted it.

Me Why did you tell me you got them, and then why did I say thanks, if one wasn't for me?!  Here I thought you were doing something nice for me, and YOU ATE IT!  Like "Honey, I see how you have been working so hard, and you're really feeling sick, so I wanted to cheer you up with a nice treat.  Oh, but I'm gonna EAT it before you even get the chance to get to it!"  You ate my fritter.  What kind of person does that?!

Leave it to him to do something nice for me, and then eat the evidence.  I foresee a lot of "Remember when you ate my fritter?" moments coming in the future. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cloudy with a chance of... lies... it's all lies! (Brought to you by your local supermarket.)

I am pretty sure the weathermen (weatherpeople?) are sleeping with the supermarkets.  Stick with me... So for days I've been hearing talk about all this snow we were to get this week, yet each time I checked the weather on my iPhone, xnay on the nowsay.  Sure enough, however, we get a "winter weather advisory" as of yesterday, telling us that in the part of the state we are in, we will get 2-4 inches of snow.  It will be very heavy snow, and it could bring down power lines and tree branches!  The snow will start by 7pm, and be heaviest at midnight.  It will be super hard to see while driving, and is sure to cause disasters.  Run out now and grab your bread, milk, and TP or you'll probably starve and run out of butt napkins.  Then, when you die and the emergency crews are finally called to your house (long after the cats have eaten half your face and that dead body smell is strong enough that it's never coming out of the upholstery), they will notice that you didn't follow the weather report and make haste to the nearest supermarket to duke it out over the last roll of Charmin. 

Then tonight, like 5 minutes ago, I get the email saying "Oh shit, sorry about that.  Just kidding."  Winter weather advisory cancelled.  Then it dawns on me... there must be a reason the national weather report didn't mention the snow once, but the local news was all over it.  I do believe we are in the midst of some disaster capitalism!  (If you do not know, understand, and have the ability to sniff out disaster capitalism, do yourself a favor and read "The Shock Doctrine" by Naomi Klein.  You'll feel like a total idiot, like you were sleeping through the easiest class in school, and failing miserably.)  Anywho... there is only one conclusion... the local tv weatherpersons must be in some illicit affair with local grocery stores around here.  The grocery-persons were probably all "Well... I don't know if I can meet up with you tonight.  I'm really upset because we have so much bread, milk, and toilet paper, and I do not know what we could possibly do about it.  It's such a problem."  And weather-persons were all "Hey baby, I can take care of your problem.... can we say 'Winter Weather Advisory'?  Then I'll cancel it right around the time everyone is going to bed, and has already been out to get their emergency bunker supplies."

This is the only explanation for what happened today.  The numerous emails I got, assuring me we were getting enough evil snow to cause disaster, just to find out we were punked at the last minute?  They aren't even trying to hide their sordid affair. 

Now, I will add in one small disclaimer here at the bottom of the post:  I'm pretty freakin sick.  I have no Nyquil or anything else awesome to fight off my symptoms overnight, and to help me sleep.  So, I have decided that a little rum would probably be in my best interest. But, that does not mean I'm not right about this!  It does seem awfully fishy....

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Maiden Voyage

After hours of putting together my new Nordic Track elliptical machine, my husband told me she was ready to run.  We had placed it so I could see the TV, if I liked, and the thing is iphone/ipod friendly, so I could choose to plug in my own mp3s.  I was probably most excited about that.  I'm not very graceful or sturdy, for that matter.  This leads to problems with my ear bud wires when working out.  I always manage to get the wires caught on something, and usually that something is a part of my own body.  Occasionally that part is a moving part of the machine I'm on.  It's never pretty.  So, I thought the mp3 player compatibility was the greatest thing since sliced bread.  I was right, to an extent.  It turns out, the even better thing was being able to watch whatever I wanted on the big screen TV, and WITH sound.  Not for one precious moment did I have to suffer through Fox News or any soaps. I listened to my music, watched a bit of this weeks Community (that I had already seen... c'mon people, watch the show!  It's smart and funny.  One of the best.), and then a Colbert (I had not yet seen).  It was Heaven. 

After more than 2 years without setting foot on an elliptical, I was so proud to get in a full work out.  I remember years ago, when I first started going to a gym, how I could barely stay on an elliptical for 3 minutes.  Exercise was so foreign to me, and it sucked so bad.  I just wanted to topple over the skinny girls on their machines, tearin it up, looking awesome and perfect.  Eventually, I was the little girl on the machine, and then I didn't mind the other tiny girls so much.  Funny how that works.  Anyway, I still hated working out in front of other people.  I only went in for the elliptical, did my thing, and left.  I HATED when the guy who worked their would come chit chat with me.  And you all know how much I love chit chat, but not while I'm sweaty and gross and beet red.  Keep your distance!  I'm busy over here, and I'm pretty sure I'm actually melting like the wicked witch. 

Thank you, Sears, for having a great Black Friday sale!  My husband woke at 4:00 AM to get there at 4:30 and placed his order to bring the gym (or really the only part I loved about the gym) to me.  So, now I have everything I loved about it, and nothing I hated.  I have MY music, MY shows, no one watching me, no set gym hours, and I can wear whatever I want.  Then, in the end, I just walk upstairs and go straight to my private shower.  And that brings me to this moment.  I have all the lovely endorphins you get from exercising, making me feel good, and I get to relax and write my blog instead of drive home in the cold, dark night. 

I need to mention that my husband is currently sick with, what appears to be, a nasty sinus/upper respiratory infection, yet he still wanted to put this together for me.  On top of that, he told me I was Superwoman.  It was nice, that even in a moment where it's totally acceptable to be self-absorbed due to illness, he recognized how much I bust my butt around here.  Don't worry, I helped put it together, and while I wasn't doing that I was cleaning and organizing the basement.  Then, after it was finished, I thanked him profusely.  (I had previously suggested we skip putting it together, and take a nap instead, but he turned that down.  Our oldest was at the movies with my Mom, and the youngest was sleeping, but he wanted to get that finished for me.  Super sweet.)  He wins the day!

I should have asked him for world peace, this Christmas.  I am pretty sure he would've made that happen, too. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mother Of The Year strikes again, but now she's been working out (well, almost, but let me explain...)

This year I thought it would be great to get a remote control for our Christmas tree.  It's not that it's hard to push the button to turn it on and off, it's just I don't like to bring any more attention to touching the tree in front of the baby than is absolutely necessary (yes, we have started the "Don't touch the tree!" track on repeat for the next month or so.)  Pretty soon I had thought of other wonderfully exciting uses for this remote controlled Christmas tree.  *cue the evil laughter*

My four year old walked downstairs to see the tree we put up the night before.  He was so happy to see it, and lost his mind when *poof* it lit up like magic before his very eyes....

Me Wow!  See, Santa is watching!  He knew you woke up and came down to see the tree, so he lit it for you!

Son Mommy, it's magic!

So my one little, innocently fun use of the remote made my son so happy, and he was completely sucked into all the holiday magic.  He bought it, full on, no questions.  That's when my wheels started turning and the smell of smoke was noticeable all around me... I could use this to my advantage... he believed it!  He now really has proof Santa is watching him... let's see how far we can take this, shall we?

Later that day, my son was misbehaving (apparently, he has been possessed by some demon for the past 3 days, perhaps it's something he caught at school...), so *poof*, off went the tree.

Son Oh no!  Mommy!

Me Uh oh.  Santa saw you push your brother.  He's mad now.  He turned off your tree!  

Son No!  You need to call him and tell him I'm good now.  Tell him it was a mistake, and I'm really a good boy.

Me Well, you better get to time out, so he knows you mean business!

It's been 3 days, and he's still buying this charade.  Thank goodness that remote is pocket sized.  I just stick it in my pocket, and I can feel the buttons through the fabric and voila!  Tree on, tree off!

We have a family tradition of sending out photo cards for Christmas.  The first year was a pretty picture.  The next year, my son had a mohawk and a family member said we could NOT have that in the picture... so, of course, I took that as a challenge, and we all wore lumberjack hats in our nice holiday clothes with little happy, formal smiles on our faces.  Then, the next year it was a picture of us all in matching jammies, and my husband and I were opening two big presents.  Popping out of the presents were our children.  So, this year, we had to get creative again.  Something we haven't seen before... I think we accomplished it.  However, it may require a "parental advisory" sticker for families with young children.  No worries, it's not obscene... it's just parents should have the first look-see so they don't get a surprise reaction from their kids and go "WTF?!" and grab the card.  But, for my family who sent the "'Happy Holidays!' is how you declare war on Christmas!" emails... at least the card says "Merry Christmas!"  :)  If I could include audio in this seamlessly, you'd hear me snickering right now.  Anywho, they are on order and will be shipped out to those of you on our Christmas card list as soon as we get them.  I will be printing up the address labels tomorrow to speed things along.  Possibly offending the masses cannot be delayed.

I'll wrap up this long, Christmassy post with the good news that the elliptical machine arrived!  I had spent all day grocery shopping, cooking and serving 3 meals, doing 4 loads of laundry, logging 9 hours of volunteer work, scrubbing a stain out of the carpet, changing the kids' bed clothes, and cleaning the living room and play room, so I was very sore.  Those 9 hours of volunteer time were spent sitting cross-legged on the wood floor, hunched over a paper cutter.  My back and legs felt so painful and stuck in that position by the time I was done.  I just wanted a hot shower, muscle relaxer, tylenol, and to lay down... but the elliptical machine is a "team lift!" item.  So, I tried to help my husband get it down to our basement.  Ha.  I nearly dropped it on him no less than 4 times.  Just trying to figure out what to hold onto that was sturdy enough to carry it by took a long time.  It was just the motor part and the legs for the foot rest thingies (yeah, they probably have a real name), but that is the heaviest part and has little to safely grab on to.  After all that, I felt that was enough working out for this year, and we could just take it back.  A thoughtful friend of mine, thanks T, suggested it be my new clothes drying rack.  How resourceful!  Alas, taking it back would require taking it back up the stairs, so I guess I'll keep it for when I'm ready to move any parts of my body again.  (Maybe 5 muscle relaxers from now...)

Monday, November 28, 2011

And one more thing...

It's my birthday!  Don't get me anything, cause I'll just bitch about it.  :P 

The baby can't see over the cart and he keeps getting lost in the racks, so we don't let him go shopping anymore

I love buying gifts for our family.  I love harassing folks to get me their wish lists, to see what they've been hoping for, or something they'd like but just haven't gotten out to get it or have put it on the back burner to take care of other things before indulging themselves.  I like suddenly realizing a great gift idea that maybe they didn't even have on their list, but I know they will just LOVE (ex. my husband's ripstik last year, the American Girl dolls for my niece... etc.).  I love the hustle and bustle of shopping, or the sense of victory when finding the best price for something online WITH free shipping!  Woot!  I also love sitting at the table, wrapping each gift in matching paper, and arranging the gifts just so under the tree.  Yeah, maybe it's a little OCD, but I like it!  It makes you feel good to get something for someone else, and the paper is cheerful during the dark days of winter.  It's something I look forward to.

Now, that being said, I put a lot of thought, time, and energy into our gift exchanges.  This has turned me into somewhat of a gift snob.  I'm not talking about the price tag that came on the gift, or how flashy it is, but the thought and effort that went into it.  We all know the chronic-gift-card-givers (or CGCGs).  They always give you some gift card from some random place, and often it's the same random place each and every year.  We have a family member who gives us a Home Depot gift card every Christmas.  He was saying "For the new house!" for the full 6 years we lived at our old house.  We didn't even shop there often, and didn't need anything from there, weren't working on a project, and never mentioned our love of Home Depot to this man.  It was like "Merry Christmas, buy yourself some nails or plumbing doodads."  Eventually I figure out that someone is one of these CGCGs, and I stop busting MY ass to pick them out the perfect thing that says "Hey, I love ya and know you well, and I want you to have this special thing I picked out just for you."  Then I start getting them gift cards, too.  So, now we're in a virtual money-swap.  That is NOT the spirit of Christmas or gift exchanges, in my opinion.  That's thinking of someone in the most minimal way possible... that is thinking of them enough to remember to get them a gift, but not making it specific to them at all (especially getting them cards for places you do not know they shop at!), and when you give them to each other it's like saying "Here's $25 bucks."  "Oh, here's $25 bucks for you, too!" but instead of just swapping the money, you are demanding they use it at some certain location that they may not even like.  Keep your damn money and I'll keep mine.  It's clear you aren't into this, and it's fine.  Let's just get together and have fun, and no money-with-restrictions-swapping. 

The gift card has a purpose.  For example, you know someone likes to eat at a certain restaurant, but maybe they don't treat themselves to it too often, get them a GC and give them the treat.  You can't really box up a dinner from somewhere and have it still be good on Christmas.  Or, like my sis did for my bday, you get them a GC for a spa... a treat for themselves that you know they will enjoy (if you happen to do sister mani-pedis), and you can't really just present them a box with a little manicurist in there for them.  You NEED gift cards for that.  Or maybe they are saving up for something at a specific store, and they want GCs, or they like to buy their own clothes, and you know where they shop for clothes and they want clothes... see... you have to still THINK about the person and what they want or need or where they'd like to spend their money.  That is when a gift card is a good choice.  I do give them, when I know it's really wanted, and never chronically (as to avoid saying "I can never be bothered to pick anything out for you.").  So... remember... no money swapping with unwanted restrictions!

The most infamous CGCG in our family also gives gift cards to our children (it's either that or a coloring book, if we're lucky).  GCs for less than almost any item in the store.  So, essentially, they are telling me to go buy them a gift from them, and to pick up the extra cost myself.  My kids don't shop anywhere.  They certainly can't drive themselves to the store.  They can't really pick out anything, especially the baby.  My 4 year old can, if I remember I have the card, and then I have to use my money to make up the difference for whatever he picks out.  He never remembers he has the gift card either.  So, look, I have already bought them a ton of gifts.  As a matter of fact, it's Christmas, so I've been shopping excessively and have bought enough shit for everyone else, and my own kids, and I don't really need you to add your shopping list to my list.  I understand that this may sound ungrateful to some folks, but I'm just not interested in it.  I always put "college money" on the boys' wish list, so if people don't want to shop, but want to give them something that is a great choice.  My oldest loves to put money in his piggy bank (which we take out and deposit into his college fund).  That is much better than a piece of plastic they don't understand, that I might forget about before the magical time frame you need to use them and it starts losing money, and that doesn't make me have to go do the work FOR the gift giver (or gift suggester, really... "here, I suggest you use $10 at Home Depot.  Get yourself something you've been wishing for!  I hear they have some fantastic batteries, or maybe you'd like some potting soil, I dunno... the sky's the limit!  or, well, $10 is unless you pitch in some of your own dough.)

What my kids want is to unwrap a present from their family member.  They don't care if it's a box of cookies, an xbox, a sheet of stickers, money for the piggy bank, or anything that their family would know they love... but do not expect a 4 year old or baby to get excited over a piece of plastic they can't do anything with.  They will forget it exists in about 5 mins, and so will I, until you do it again next year.

Since I am such an ungrateful gift snob, I must point out that I did, indeed, request no gift exchange for my husband and I with this particular couple in the family.  I am totally over the money swap that's been going on for 12 years now.  When I realize that gift exchanges just aren't someone's thing, I am happy to bow out and just suggest enjoying time together over these awkward, store specific hand outs.  Of course, I do it with a smile and a giggle, and not by telling them I hate our Home Depot and would rather have spent my time using that awesome Spa gift card on some much needed me-time, than taking hours out of several days to pick out the perfect gifts for you and your wife, buying them, and wrapping them just so only to get handed credit for part of a toilet seat (but only part of one from Home Depot, don't even think about Lowes).

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Rigging up these lights!

The outside of our house looks pretty freaking awesome... but it took, literally, blood, sweat, and tears.  I put up most of the lights, and we have some sharp bushes that left prickly things in my gloves, and then just cut through my skin when I finally ditched the gloves.  I have small cuts all over my hands and arms.  But, the bushes looked great!  I put them up, as you remember, before Thanksgiving.  The weather was great.  I tested the lights before putting them up, and I checked them out twice to see how they looked.  They day after Thanksgiving, we went live, and already one of the bushes had a section of lights out.  Brand new lights.  I had to put in a replacement bulb, one that came with the set, and that bulb (and all the others that came with it) will not light properly, but at least that section is fully lit again. 

So, every bush that could be lit is lit, but we realized our garage looked dark and sad.  We decided to put icicle lights on the peaked roof above the garage.  My husband was reluctant to do it, but he agreed it would look nice, so up he went... and down he slid... and slid again... and again... nearly falling off the roof a handful of times.  It was so frightening.  We do have a very steep roof right there, and I think mixed with nerves due to the height, it was just not going to work out.  We agreed on the spot... no icicle lights... ever.  We got some rope lights, instead, to frame the garage.  I put up my wreath above the garage, and got a new bow for it... I tested the lights, strung them up, tested them again, went in to get back to work on the interior decorations.  Right before dinner, we took the kids outside to see the lights.  The rope light, the brand new rope light, has a section out!  WTF  Now, I have to unclip all those tiny clips, and go exchange it tomorrow so it can stop looking stupid.  But, at least we could tell it will look great when all is working.  I'm just so frustrated that all the hours I put in, all the testing I do, and something goes wrong anyway.  It will be fixed!

Most of the interior is decorated... the little tree is up, but the big tree is not up yet.  We ran out of time and energy.  I haven't had a moment to rest since I woke up, until now.  Of course, the cat has already been feasting on anything made of pine.  Then, she hoarks it up, yes that is the technical term for what cats do after they eat fake pine needles... My husband got busy spraying bitter bite all over the low lying pine, and my son was very curious about what he was doing. 

Son Daddy, why are you spraying chemicals on the decorations?

Husband Well, because Molly keeps chewing on the tree and garland.  Then, she gets sick.

Son *stands there in silence, thinking about what my husband just said...* Hey, Mommy... why do you keep chewing on our tree?!

Husband MOLLY, son, MOLLY.

Son Oh... yeah.  Mommy doesn't eat trees.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday Ninja - I got mad skillz

I know it's cool to hate Black Friday, and any good hipster would have stayed home and publicly scorned the very idea of post Thanksgiving commercialism and made anyone who was contemplating shopping feel like a total asshole.  BUT I'm not a hipster, I'm a normal person.  (Relatively speaking, anyway.  Okay, compared to hipsters and most serial killers at least... and those people with the strange "eating dryer sheets" addictions and such.)  SO, I prepped ahead of time, and set out with eyes on the prize!

Yesterday I pulled out all the Black Friday ads, and started going through them after dinner and before pie.  I made a game plan, compared prices, and was ready to roll!

Our Black Friday started at 4AM, when my husband snuck out to get me the elliptical machine I had my eye on.  That puppy will be arriving on Thursday, just in time to work off the Christmas cookies I will be forced to taste test while baking the normal 2 or 3 million for gifts and holiday parties.  I set out around 7, got a few things I was worried about disappearing early, headed back home, met up with my mom, headed back out for a few hours, brought home lunch, put up some Christmas decorations, shopped online deals, went back to Target who overcharged me to get a credit and to pick up an extension cord for the spotlight for the front door, and came home for the night.  I was at 2 of the stores today, twice.   I think I ate dinner, but I can't even remember. 

While at Target this AM, I was checking prices on my iPhone with a barcode scanner.  (I'm all about getting the best possible price!  That means more presents!) As other people realized what I was doing, I was soon scanning prices for other folks.  Then, some lady was asking my opinion on Tag Readers vs Leapsters... I lost my Mom a handful of times, but in the end we were made it out alive, and with many good deals.  I did manage to sweet talk the guy running the register at another store this AM into giving me the coupon that I had left at home (I know, a Ninja wouldn't have left her coupon at home, but I'm a human Ninja and grabbed the wrong coupon in my haste.)  Overall, I made a good dent in my Christmas list, without breaking the bank. 

Every Black Friday, I see at least one oddball thing... last year it was a couple dressed in matching track suits, matching athletic shoes, matching coats, matching coffee travel mugs, and matching clipboards.  This year, I had the pleasure of returning to Target to get them to credit an overcharge for me, and to pick up an extension cord.  There was a rather noticeable difference between the early morning shoppers and the night shoppers.  When I got in line tonight, I had one person in line in front of me, and one person in line behind me.  The girl in front of me was buying 3 things... a teenie hot pink lacey thong, a straight iron, and hairspray... that is all.  The guy behind me was buying 3 things... 2 packs of white undershirts and a martini shaker... that is all.  As I was standing there, a feeling of glee and euphoria came over me, it was too good... too funny... too weird.  I couldn't contain myself, and I turned to the guy behind me, pointed out to him what he was buying (in case he didn't notice)...

Me Undershirts and martini shaker... just the essentials, huh? *with my serious face*

Him  Yep, I thought I might throw in a flat screen, but I decided against it.

Me It's probably not that bad sitting around in your undershirt, drinking martinis and staring at an empty wall... at least not if you drink enough martinis!

Him This is true.

When I told my husband about how much fun I was having in the check out line, he decided it was probably best if I didn't go out unsupervised anymore.  Boo!

And, one last thing, in case you were wondering.... NOW you may turn on your Christmas lights.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The trouble with not hosting Thanksgiving? No leftovers!

I hope everyone had a nice, relaxing holiday!  We had a wonderful day, and we were lucky to spend it with family.  Every day I am thankful for my fabulous family, and having everything we need.  They say the secret to success is realizing you already have it all... well I am well aware of that!  My two beautiful boys, my hardworking, loving husband, my mom, and sister, are so great that I can't help but know how spoiled I am to have them all.  I'm also thankful for such great friends.  (Especially those of you who humor me and read this, and, in the ultimate gesture of kindness, pass it along to others to read)  It has been an amazing year, and I sincerely wish everyone the same happiness in their life that I have in mine.

Okay, so that was enough serious mushy business... I have a party to go to in January, so I am frantically trying to shed those last few baby pounds.  Those stubborn ones, that are clinging to me for dear life.  I hate them.  In my disappointment with the slow pace at which they are coming off, I realize I'm fighting an uphill battle thanks to some saboteurs.  Between my husband bringing me the chocolate candy bars from Germany that I so love, real non-diet soda, and pies!!, and then Starbucks and their sinful PSLs, and my sweet Grandparents telling me I look nearly malnourished (WHAT?!  haha), the world wants me to plump up, apparently!  I wish I could see what they see, but instead I see my pre-pregnancy jeans sitting there, staring me down, mocking me, and a little black dress I need to look good in soon.  So, black Friday elliptical machine deal, here we come!  I noticed the one I like has a water bottle holder, but I wonder if it has a Christmas cookie holder? I mean, it has a calorie counter, so as long as I know how many calories are in each cookie, I just have to stay on the elliptical until it says I've burned off that many or more, right?  So, it's only logical to assume that is the healthier way to snack.  Cause, we can all admit, no one is skipping the cookies this year.  If anyone tells you they are, they are a lying and probably ate the whole batch... in bed.

Happy Black Friday!  :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How long will this torture last?

Our Internet has been down all day. It's like living in cave man days. I've had to resort to extremes just to get through the day, such as reading an actual paper & ink book, watching news on tv, writing this blog post on my phone (tedious, indeed), but mostly cleaning. I almost didn't shave my legs, in the Neanderthal spirit. I considered wearing animal skins, but opted for my fav pair of A&F lounge pants. Hey, I couldn't be insane. So we'll see how long this lasts. Probably long enough for people to forget about us until the bodies start to stink.

Friday, November 18, 2011

You don't hear the pilgrims complaining....

News flash: There is no "war on Christmas". If you have been in any retail setting since Sept 1st, you'd see it's more like "Christmas on steroids." You can't turn your cart around in any aisle without being attacked by a gigantic, inflatable Christmas representative.  That is actually the complete opposite of a war on Christmas, it's like being bombed by Christmas itself... or in the very least being flash mobbed by a very puffy Christmas army.  There are networks on TV with "25 days of Christmas", all Christmas play lists on the radio starting on or before (in some cases) Thanksgiving, Christmas specials and movies starting on Thanksgiving, heck I even got a Christmas card from a local business days ago!  Christmas isn't being chased off by anyone, it's getting bigger, stronger, louder, and brighter each and every year.  So where is this war on Christmas?  Even if you could find a few folks who actually get upset by Christmas, how could you even remotely believe or worry that Christmas is in any danger of being wiped out, forgotten, or forbidden? 
If there are any holiday casualties of war, I'd first go with Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving has been massacred by the ever expanding Christmas empire.  Christmas has taken over... heck, black Friday has encroached on Thanksgiving evening.  Even Halloween has been put on notice.  My husband has photographic evidence of this.  Early in October, he went to Lowes for some home improvement supplies, and there, in the seasonal section, was an enormous, light up, inflatable Frankenstein lawn decoration next to an enormous, light up, inflatable Santa.  If I were Halloween, I'd be worried.  Pretty soon you'll be able to start your black Friday shopping as soon as the kids are tucked into bed after they finish trick or treating, and soon after that people will stop decorating for Halloween altogether, and will opt for their Christmas trees and icicle lights instead of tombstones and fake spider webs.   
Now, before you start your hate mail, and start calling me a Scrooge... I love Christmas!  I really do.  I go all out.  I have a wrapping paper theme each year with 2 different, yet coordinated papers to wrap with.  I make about a million cookies.  I relentlessly play Christmas music, and I throw one hell of a Christmas Eve party where Santa himself shows up and gives gifts to the children.  I am also hosting Christmas day at my house this year.  I'm just not too blind to see that this war on Christmas crap is just that... crap.  It's not real.  It's just something people made up to make people feel angry and oppressed.  They often site "Happy Holidays" as proof of the war on Christmas... (see my previous post Happy Holidays! Because there is more than one, you know! ) People who celebrate Christmas are told they should be angry and upset over the injustice of being told "Happy Holidays!".  It's keeping Christmas down!  By not saying Merry Christmas, people are being hateful to them.  So, let's all step back for a minute and examine this... by saying a phrase that clearly includes Christmas (Happy HolidayS), you are being oppressed and excluded.... so you prefer everyone being obligated to say Merry Christmas, which excludes every other holiday, religion, and culture except for Christmas and those who celebrate Christmas... seriously?  I mean, c'mon... oppression and exclusion is only not okay when you feel it's against you?  (And remember, we've determined that you're not actually excluded in Happy Holidays, that is all about inclusion.  So if you feel like you or Christmas is being denied, you need to stop because that is absolutely false.)
So the next time you get one of those emails or feel the urge to repost one of those "war on Christmas" status updates, please step outside of your house, away from the computer, and look in the direction of a shopping center.  If you are too far away to see the Statue of Liberty-sized Rudolph on the rooftop of the mall, you should at least be able to spot the blinding glow of the twinkly lights that have been up since before you had to pack your white shoes away for the season.  Just follow the scent of candy canes and pine, and you will find Christmas, alive and well, and bigger than ever.  Nothing can compete with it, and let's be honest, nothing tries to.  So, pull the candy cane stick out of your butt, and let people enjoy their HolidaySSSSSS.  All of them, and whatever that may be, so that you may worry less about being angry about something that doesn't exist, and instead you can fill that once-angry space with fun, happiness, memories of your family around Christmas, and maybe a little too much of Aunt Edna's fruit cake.  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hell hath no fury like a woman with spell check

There is this Facebook craze right now with saying something we are thankful for every day until Thanksgiving.  I didn't participate so far this year (mostly because my answer is almost always "indoor plumbing").  However, today I owe a debt of gratitude to something special...

Thank you, spell check, for letting me know douche bag was two words, and not one.  I'd hate for that salty email to have gone out with any type of grammatical errors in it.  I'd hate for any spelling errors to take away from an accurate portrayal of my seething anger.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cats, if only there was some way to lift them...

The family has been keeping me rather busy lately, and with that comes a giggle or two.  Since you're so nice, I'll share some with you...

Oh, my sister...  Well, see for yourself...

Sis: uh it's so cold in here but the cat is laying on my lap. i wanna turn up the heat so bad!

Me (and anyone who knows the approximate size of a cat): Wow, it's a total bummer that a cat isn't something you can just pick up and move. You're totally screwed.

Sis: I know, right!  Will you come turn up the heat?

Me: You'll probably just have to freeze, and then he'll start eating your face.
        I can't come do that, I have a blanket on me.   

Sis: Crap, we're both screwed.

My husband and I talking about never really knowing what others may actually think about you...

Me: They probably think I act like such a princess.

Husband: Well, honey, you do, but the good kind that helps other people and gets dressed by little cartoon birds.

Me: Like Kate Middleton!

Husband: Sure, you're exactly like her.  *wearing his lying face*

And the baby takes advantage of me trying to carefully step over a gate while holding him...

Baby: *sees I am looking at the gate and not him, so helps himself to the Starbucks in my hand, sipping some Pumpkin Spice Latte out of the lid*

Me: *catches him* HEY!

Baby: YUM!!

That might have something to do with him throwing his food at me, instead of going with his usual "all done", and then later climbing into the fireplace.  Although, he has always loved that fireplace, and often tries to climb into it.  Perhaps he was Santa in another life. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Happy Holidays! Because there is more than one, you know...

It has already started... the annual "everybody fill yourselves with rage because there is an all out war on Christmas!" chatter and email and all around ridiculous anger over nothing.  The first and most common thing to be attacked is the use of the phrase "Happy Holidays".  I find this to be particularly crazy because there are SEVERAL holidays all in a row, all of which a Christian would celebrate... so not even counting the perfectly fantastic holidays associated with other well established (and even OLDER) religions, there are at least 3 in a row.  I, like many other holiday-loving joyful (that's right, I'm joyful...) folks out there, want to share their elation and happiness over the impending events associated with all of the winter holidays we may celebrate.  We wish everyone a "Happy Holidays!" to cover all bases, and to wish you happiness and health throughout the winter holiday season, not just one day as a "Merry Christmas!" would simply wish...  no... please enjoy every last minute of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and have a rockin' New Year while you're at it.  Hey, if you happen to celebrate a winter holiday other than Christmas, I'd love nothing more than for you to enjoy the hell out of that day.  I mean, it's nicer than saying "Be Happy, Dammit!", and not as limiting as "Merry Christmas!".  What the heck is wrong with that?

See, people want to act like we are excluding Christmas... when I really think what they mean to say is "How dare you acknowledge there may be a holiday other than Christmas that someone may be preparing to celebrate?!"  The rather funny part about all this is, I never hear any Jews complain about being wished a Merry Christmas, which completely means nothing to them, and in turn completely ignores their holiday... but the Christmas lovers, they get super pissed when you say something that respectfully includes their holiday and wishes them nothing but happiness for that day, and the other holidays they'll be celebrating around that time as well.  So... WHO is waging war on what?

We have a Christian, Jewish, Atheist mix going on in our family, and so maybe this makes me more aware of the fact that other traditions and holidays exist.  I'd never assume a stranger celebrated one or the other, but I may want to show them kindness, and a genuine wish for my fellow human being to enjoy whatever it is they do celebrate.  They act like the stores FORBID Christmas, hide it (hiding it where... behind the enormous inflatable Santas that are on display before Halloween even comes around?!), prevent their employees from saying it, and what's this about hanging Christmas trees upside down?  What does that even MEAN?!  Is that the new anti-Christmas thing to do?  Would it just totally be denying Jesus or at least make him super mad to see an upside down tree?  If someone knows more on this, please enlighten me. 

In conclusion... if someone wishes you Happy Holidays, just be happy that they have something nice to say to you.  If you're gonna bitch that they weren't specific enough and narrowed it down to one holiday only, then "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."  They were being nice, you're rejection of the sentiment is not nice and really is quite rude.  I have decided, this year, when someone bitches to me about saying Happy Holidays I will, indeed, take it back.  I will, instead, wish them a very "Merry Christmas!  But I hope your New Year blows."  (You know, since that one doesn't count anyway...) 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Wear your bike helmet, or you could end up behind the library...

My husband had off today, thank you veterans!, and we thought it would be fun to take the boys to the library!  Guess what, the library is closed, of course.  Still, they have an after hours drop off, so we pulled around back, and dropped our books in the slot.  My husband had to respond to a work email (I know, I said he was off... it is what it is), so he parked after we dropped the books off.  As he was responding to the email, my 4 year old was observing the graveyard behind the library.  Of course, he had all sorts of questions.  First off "Mommy, what are those rocks?"  So I explained to him that they marked where people who had died were.  I explained how when people die, some have chosen to be buried in the ground in a box.  So he wanted to know how they died.  So, I ran down the good ol' disease, injury, natural causes... so then it was back to what the "rocks" were, and how the dead people go there, "so you die and they just carry you here and put you in the dirt?"  Sure, that's how it happens.  Close enough.

Him Mommy, why is there a big rock there with little rocks around it?

Me Well, that is a family plot.  The big rock has the family name on it, and the little ones say who is there from that family.  Sometimes families buy spaces in the dirt for the whole family.

Husband *is now looking at me, smirking.... he knows I just dug my hole deeper... no pun intended*

Him So people buy these?  That's weird.  Why do families die?

Me Well, it's not like they just die all at once.  The save spaces for each other.  *how is this getting worse, harder to explain, and sounding more like people headed to the movies than the great beyond?*

Him So you get sick, or hurt, or old, then they throw you in the dirt behind the library?

Me More or less, so who wants a happy meal!?

Him Yes!  Me!  I do!  *instantly forgets about the dead people behind the library*

We managed to make it all the way home without any further talk of dead people.  Of course, my kids didn't take long before ignoring me when I'd tell them to be careful, they were going to get hurt, etc... so I asked why they thought it was soooooooooo funny when I told them "No!" and that they'd hurt themselves?  And my oldest told me it was because that was funny, and me saying no is hilarious.  My mother-of-the year response?

"Well, you won't think it's hilarious when you don't listen to me and you get hurt and they have to throw you in the dirt behind the library."

Winner winner, chicken dinner.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I don't need my candy to make fun of me, that's what my family is for.

Ugh, my kid's Halloween candy stash is like 99% Butterfingers.  Butterfinger really pimped itself out this year with coupons, so I guess all the extreme couponers out there went and grabbed those suckers by the skid full.  (I chose to go with the Hershey, Mars, and Wonka coupons myself.  Coupons!  Woot!)  I prefer to hand out the less insulting candy.  I have never been laughed at and called a Snickers, or Milky Way, or Kit Kat... well maybe a Nerd, but that's so chic and cool right now that it's a total non-issue.  Nerd is the new jock, BTW.  (Ew, I wouldn't eat anything called a jock, FYI, so don't get any ideas.)  I have, however, been called "Butterfingers", and I don't need my dessert to remind me of that, or point out any flaws in my motor skills.  On top of being a name-caller, Butterfingers are also pretty gross.  They are not my thing.  If they are your thing, fine, I'm sure there is something I like that you find gross... asparagus, anyone?! 

It's a mixed blessing, I suppose, that my kid's little plastic pumpkin is full of these mean, gross candies I won't eat.  At least they will never make it to my hips... But it is a little sad that I can't really join in the tradition of parents stealing their kids Halloween candy while they are fast asleep, dreaming about how wonderful their parents are and how they would never do something like steal from their own kids.... 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Knock knock jokes with a hint of penis....

Caution:  Could be considered vulgar, but important to the story, and over-all funny so had to keep the original joke intact.

My son loves jokes.  If he hears people laughing, he will crack up, too.  He so wants to be in on the joke.  He used to just blurt out things like "French fries!  Get it?!  A joke!" like some little mad-libs Tourette's patient who shouts out random nouns.  We thought it would be fun to teach him some knock knock jokes.  Some easy to learn, easy to repeat, good ol' fashioned knock knock jokes.  We started with the "Boo... Boo who?" joke, and moved onto "Olive... Olive who?... Olive YOU!"  He got so good at those, we decided it was time to add to his repertoire. 

We added "Dwayne... Dwayne who?... Dwayne the bathtub, I'm dwowning.", and "Yodle-ay-hee... Yodle-ay-hee who?", and the good old Banana one that goes on forever until you say orange.  All great.  All perfect.  He was becoming a regular comedian.  I told him he should tell some to his friends at school.  I gave him one more... "Knock knock?"  "Who's there?"  "Cock-a-doodle." "Cock-a-doodle who?"  hee hee "Cock-a-doodle whooooooo!"  He roared with laughter, and then did the joke back to me.  Everything was fun, innocent, happy times.  Until about 5 minutes later.

My husband sat down at the table with us for lunch, and my son comes out with this little exchange

Him Knock knock.

Me Who's there?

Him Cock.

Me *not sure where to go from here...* Cock who?

Him Just cock.

At this point, my husband nearly falls out of his chair, and slithers away with his lunch to his office in our basement.  He won't make eye contact with either of us.  He just leaves me there.  At least he didn't follow it up with a "That's what she said" or something else that would've really made me fall apart.  But I held back the urge to laugh at this major faux pas.  Part of the reason I stayed so together was the fear creeping in.  The fear that my kid was going to take my advice to share his jokes with his class, and go straight for the cock joke.  

I thought for a second, then repeated the joke and said "Was that what you were trying to say?  You missed the best part, the 'a-doodle-who!'"  He went right back to his blurting out random things and yelling "Get it?!  A joke!", and seemed to forget about the new, lewd, knock knock joke.  I'm sure it'll all come back to him during school when they ask for the news of the day.  He'll come out with "Mommy told me a joke...."   Ugh, I'm already dying of mortification.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Demystifying the blanket

It's that time of year when my family all starts making their wish lists for birthdays and the holidays.  I am having a little trouble coming up with ideas for things I want, but I do know exactly what I don't want. 

Anything that says "Using a blanket has become too mind boggling and difficult for me", will not be making my list.  This means you, "Snuggie", and also you, "Forever Lazy". I mean, come the hell on.  Every commercial I see for these things show people fighting with blankets, as if the idea of simply laying soft, warm fabric over your body to stay warm has become downright perplexing.  Blankets, and their flat, often rectangular shape are just too hard to master.  Who has time to figure out the proper application of a blanket, and then to execute the act of placing it on the cold section of their body with enough precision and timing to get enough of the over-sized death trap just where they need it to be to get warm?  Forget putting on sweat suits, they are 2 separate pieces!  What a hassle.  You have to choose which half of that outfit to put on first, and that decision can be more overwhelming than one human being may be able to handle on their own. 

I also can't get over the commercial scenes where they are wearing these abominations in public.  Nothing quite says "I've completely given up on life" like wearing part of your bed out into public.  At that point, why bother getting out of bed at all?  Heck, the Forever Lazy even has a "trap door" so you might as well not go through the trouble of getting out of bed, and mingling amongst the living.  Just keep a bed pan next to you, and you're good to go... or stay really. 

While I still understand the complexities of using a blanket, the mind boggling method for putting on a robe, and how to operate my heater... oh and mostly while I still have some self respect... I will be avoiding anything that turns any seat into your bed, or let's you feel like you haven't left bed yet while you take your 4th pee of the day, or says "casual friday?!  let me go down to Bed Bath and Beyond to see what ugly bed linens I can wrap around my body in a "function meets fashion" type of way. 

I know the ease of these products, and the "one size fits all, and that size is 3 ring circus tent" could be appealing, but that kind of comfort is for indoors only... and those doors really need to be your own doors.  Friends don't let friends wear sleeping bags with arm holes and leg holes in any public place. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ask and you shall receive... unless it's from a jackass security guard not doing his job...

Yesterday, my sister pointed out that Tim Gunn would be at a (kinda not really) local mall.  I immediately said we should go!  (If you will, refer to my previous blog post I am a 58 year old man . )  The event was a Lucky Brand fashion show, and Tim Gunn was co-host.  There also was a Q&A session, and it was followed by an after party, where your ticket was your receipt for a $100 dollar purchase (or greater) from the store.  In the "party" you'd meet Tim, he'd sign a personalized autograph for you in his book, you'd get the book, a picture with him, champagne, food... etc...  So, we showed up the moment the mall opened, and we were the 3rd little "couple" in line.  We made our purchase, and when they opened the seating area, we sat 2nd row, directly up at the front part of the stage.  We had fantastic seats.  (Front row was reserved for employees and VIPs (mostly people who helped with the show).  Waiting didn't suck, we had fun people around us, and we just went with the flow.  The show was fun.  Tim was great.  We got lots of helpful fashion advice.  The Q&A was also fun.  I admit, I do not watch his show.  I read his book and became a fan of the man himself, as a human being, not whoever everyone sees on tv.  It's like a good movie based on a book, read the book first!  That's where the good stuff is. 

Well, we thought we were set, we arrived early, had great seats... then after the show they wanted to tear down the seats and set up some tables and it was just a huge crowd of total chaos.  Where they originally told us to go, well that wasn't right, then they herded us somewhere else, and somewhere else again, put up ropes, moved those a million times, then started at the front of the line, and asked people to back up.  Hey, genius, back up where?  Start at the back of the friggin line where people actually have a place to back up to!  I can't back up into another human being... it's not physically possible.  I am NOT the only person, apparently, who pointed this out to him.  Everyone was agitated, and upset over losing their spot or how folks who just got there were in the front somehow, and we had been there for hours along with a bunch of other people.  It was a mad house.

Finally, there was at least some organization developing.  Then some ignorant woman keeps trying to sweet talk people into letting her teenage daughter cut in line.  People keep turning her down, and then I took a moment to tell her how ignorant and rude she was, (she had been harassing the young woman in front of me for quite some time, trying to shove her daughter in front of her)  we had all been waiting.  Get to the back of the line.  So, everyone notices her sweet talking some security guard, who lets her kid in.  So I spoke to him, trying to get him to make her leave, he said "I saw nothing!" in the most smart-assed tone with the matching smirk.  I did notice, after I spoke to Tim Gunn's assistant, who happened to be coming around, and I pointed out that Tim would NOT have that since he's all about good manners... that security guard was taken off "line duty".  He saw nothing.  Wonder if he saw his job the next morning?  Tim should add that rule to his book "Don't further piss off a hot, thirsty, tired, mob of folks who have already been jerked around enough."

Luckily, all that didn't matter as we got close to the stage again, this time to meet Tim.  He was kind, gracious, and friendly.  Exactly who you would expect him to be after reading his book (or watching him on the show).  He said in his book that he doesn't just critique people's outfits, unless they ask.  He also says he can't lie.  So, I thought I could use my moment with him to get some good, quality honest feedback from someone who knows fashion.  I asked him what he had to tell me about my fashion choices for the day.  After saying "What?  You?!" like he was surprised I was even worried about it "You look fabulous!  You're beautiful, I love this little bit of sparkle, the fit, and the proportion of your outfit!  You're fabulous."  So, me and my big fat head left with a big fat smile on my face.

It was a fun adventure with my sister.  We had a good time, we made it through the hours of standing in an angry mob, and we got some fantastic pictures.  I don't often post pictures on here, as this is (mostly, save for a few of you) anonymous blog, but this time I'll break the rules. 

Here we are, just after our professional picture...

And here we are chatting as he signs my copy of his book.

Class act, that man.  Class act.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday night excitement... try not to be jealous

I thought I'd do something nice and paint my finger nails, as I am attending a fashion show tomorrow.  Well, of course, we all know I cannot have nice things.  Mostly this is because any of the 3 boys in this house destroy everything pretty in their wake, but tonight it wasn't actually their fault... well read for yourself...

Me I just painted my nails!  Yay! (long pause)  I really super have to pee.  Booooooo!
(staring at my husband)

Him  *finishes laughing at me* Wait, why are you looking at me like I can help you?  For, I assure you, I cannot.  Not at all.  In any way.

Me No!  I'm just brainstorming.

Him Yeah, I know, I can hear it.

Me  Nice.  So helpful.  Sooooooo helpful.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Stewed tomatoes make me gag, and NASCAR is, well NASCAR

Lately everyone is talking about Kim Kardashian's divorce.  You know, the one that she filed for almost immediately after leaving the church or something... Anywho... some of us have come out of the closet on Facebook to admit that we do not give a fuck about it.  All the endless updates and speculation.  Who cares?!  I have never, not even for a millisecond, cared about the Kardashians.  They are completely irrelevant to me.  I know, gasp.  I was chatting with a friend about this, yeah you, B, and asked him if he knew what I cared about more than KK... the answer?  Everything!  Now, that was a pretty rash answer, so I thought about it for more than a minute, and just with the quick list of things I really hate but are somehow more important to me than the state of her union, I'm pretty sure my answer was right.  Here's just a few examples of things I really do not care if they disappear, yet still place higher than the dissolution of this pseudo-celebrity's marriage...

1. Stewed tomatoes.  I hate these things.  Ask my mother, they make me gag something fierce.  I would rather sit in a dark dining room, long after everyone was finished eating, than put them in my mouth.  However, if I was cooking for a sick friend or a stressed friend who really loved them, I'd suck it up and find the best recipe out there and cook some up.  No problem.  I just wouldn't let my other food touch that food.

2.  NASCAR.  Just in case it is not obvious, I am not a NASCAR girl.  I mean, if I wanted to see a car go around in circles for hours, I'd just go out without my GPS.  However, my son loves the movie "Cars", and I think more than a little inspiration for that cute little movie came from NASCAR, so I do appreciate it in that respect. 

3. Pajama pants and crocs worn out in inappropriate public places.  Now, PJ pants and crocs are not all bad.  They have their place, and they are fantastic when the time is right.  Muddy garden?  Crocs please!  Chillin' on my couch?  Pass the PJ pants.  :)  However, when I'm out at the market trying to pick out an avocado, I don't want to feel like I interrupted your nap time.  If I'm dining at an establishment where the place settings include two or more forks, I do not appreciate plastic foam footwear.  Time and place, people!  Time. and. place.

4. Justin Bieber.  I do not get this craze, at all... BUT the nearby teenage girls stop shrieking and talking in those valley girl/mean girl voices to listen in blissful silence to that kid.  That is nearly a miracle. 

So, you see, just from this small list, it's rather obvious that someone's relationship status (especially someone who is really famous for next to nothing), is none of my concern.  Everyone can stop with the updates and the speculation.  No one cares, at least no one should.  Yes, it's ridiculous, but it's not news and it certainly is not important.  Did anyone notice that at least 29 people totally died from that freak pre-Halloween snow?!  Probably not.  Kim Kardashian's divorced butt was in the way. 

It's the sweet little things...

After more than 11 years together, my husband and I still write little love notes.  :)  Just keepin' the romance alive!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Remember when you were little and couldn't sleep on Christmas Eve? Yeah, it's like that.

I remember, for years, I could not sleep at all on Christmas Eve.  I'd be up all night.  Just KNOWING Santa was coming and we'd be surrounded by presents, family, music, and fun, I could not relax enough to get any shut eye.  It felt almost like being on the verge of a panic attack.  Well, I got to relive all the joys of those crazed feelings today. 

It is said that stress is stress.  Good stress, bad stress, the body does not know the difference.  Today I got an overwhelming amount of good news (news that I will be keeping quiet in order to not jinx anything, as it will take awhile for everything to fall into place before we get to our "Christmas Day").  I was so happy to get the news (and no, this is not baby news), but I did not expect how overwhelmingly awesome it would turn out to be.

That being said, I am not myself today.  I cannot even remember what it was that happened earlier (pre-crazy-good-news), that made me say "OMG, I will be writing about THAT!"  Hopefully I will return to a normal, non-jittery, human being shortly.  (Although, I totally don't mind the whole not being able to eat thing... that's like a bonus.) 

So, until my normal self returns... talk amongst yourselves.  Most of you are funnier and more interesting than me, anyway.  :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

His Mommy and other stuff my kid's nightmares are made of...

Late last night, my oldest son wandered into my room with some type of nightmare, hallucination, sleep-walking episode (sound familiar, Mom?), and told me he did not like the make-up on his face and wanted me to wash it off for him.  It took me a few moments to even understand what his request was, but I finally figured out that he was still upset that we asked if we could put silver make-up on his face to make him look more like a robot.  We respected his wish to not wear the make-up.  The idea seemed to scare him a bit, as the pictures on the make-up box were of the scary variety.  Apparently, his anxiety had crept into his dreams.  I showed him his face in the mirror, and the picture of him dressed up so he could see he wasn't, nor was he ever, covered in that make-up.  It also helped that he was waking up more, so reality was starting to set in for him. 

The poor thing had to skip like 50% of the houses in our neighborhood because he deemed them "too scary" to visit.  Now, in his defense, our neighbors really seem to get into the spooky spirit with very scary, life-like displays of hangings, severed heads and limbs... tons of blood and gore and scary sound effects.  And, also in his defense, he is only 4 years old and has yet to make friends with that monster under his bed. 

Well, I did what any top notch mother would do, and decided to ease my son's irrational fear of costume make-up by showing him that it could be fun.  So, I proceeded to doll myself up as a silly clown.  I could hear him down in his playroom, so I put on a silly hat and went down to delight him with total silliness, all the while smiling to myself over the awards I was gonna win for being "mother of the year".  Instead, I scared the shit out of him.  He literally recoiled in fear, and would not get anywhere near me.  At least the baby thought it was hilarious (the same baby that chases my 4 year old through the house with the "eyeball balloon" I bought them, hissing at his brother because he knows it scares him).  THAT son thought I was a riot, and his brother's fearful reaction only made it more fabulous.  He walked up to me, giggling and poking at my red nose.  I asked my oldest "Isn't it funny?!  I'm a funny clown!"  He said "No.  No, you're not." 

I guess this means I'm out of the running for that "Mother of the Year" award.  Perhaps I shouldn't have cleared a spot for it on my nightstand as I skipped downstairs dressed like "Devil clown, killer of all that is happy for children."  That may have been slightly premature. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Knock on the door with a Big Bang, it's Trick-or-Treat!

Tonight was trick-or-treat!  It might sound redundant to say that, considering it is Halloween... however, I came from a town that celebrated trick-or-treat on some random night that was never really Halloween, so I felt I should mention the normally obvious.  Anywho... my oldest son wanted my husband and I to dress up to go trick-or-treating with the boys.  At first I was quick to jump at the chance to be Kate Middleton, and wear my gorgeous tiara from my wedding.  I suggested to my husband he wear a garbage bag stuffed with newspaper and go as "white trash", but he thought that was not cool around the kids.  (Weenie)  Then it hit me... with very few clothing pieces I could quickly purchase we could go as Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler and Dr. Sheldon Cooper, AKA ShAmy from "The Big Bang Theory".  I only had to buy 3 things to pull it off.  I'm not sure what that says about our wardrobe, though.  All I know is, I now understand why Amy has such a boxy frame... it's her penchant for wearing way too many layers of clothing!  I had 4 shirts on to pull off her look.  By the end I had nearly no shape, and the ruffles from the one blouse did not so much seem feminine as give me more of a manish look as they poofed out my sweater that was over them (and a cardigan over that!).  I had a tank under all of it, because I always have one on.  (OCD much?).  Either way, it was perfect.  I also just wore my glasses, straightened my hair, put a barrette in, wore a plain black skirt, nude panty hose, and black flats.  Voila!  My husband wore jeans, converse sneakers, a striped long sleeve shirt with a Green Lantern t-shirt over that.  I combed and gel'd his hair in place and suddenly ShAmy was born.  haha  It was fun, especially the part where people weren't sure we were in costume, and gave us looks like we were weirdos.

My oldest son went as a robot, as I mentioned in a previous post.  It was a HUGE success.  Everyone was saying how awesome it was.  They loved the sounds, the lights, and his robot acting skills.  :)  There were several people who said it was the best costume of the night.  Who needed that blue ribbon?!  haha  That's all a Momma needs is a happy kid who feels like the belle of the ball (or whatever the dude equivalent of that would be) to inspire here to keep making these kinds of costumes.  Everyone loved the baby in his little duckie costume, but he got cold and cranky after a little while.  I brought him home, and then I got right down to business handing out spiked hot apple cider to our (adult) neighbors.  Hey, it was the only Halloween I have ever known to have snow on the ground... we needed something to keep us warm.  Plus, when do the parents get their treat?  I know, you're all saying "When the kids go to bed and we raid their candy stash."  But who wants to wait?!

We had great decorations inside and out, fun jack-o-lanterns (my Hello Kitty Jack-o-Lantern turned lots of heads, and even had her picture taken by adoring fans), a strobe light, painted pumpkins, mums, candles, pumpkin lights and a light up spider web and spider.  We were ready to go!  I made homemade chicken and waffles to fortify the troops before we set out (and before my Mom and Sis got ready to hand out candy to the masses for us so we could go out with the boys), mini apple pies, and, of course, the warm cider with some "Halloween spirits".  It was a fun night.  I think we all enjoyed ourselves, and it was great to spend it with my family and our great neighbors.  This is why Halloween is one of my favorite days of the year.   

Sunday, October 30, 2011

You need a nice soft sheet to lay your ear on... if you're lucky enough to sleep.

Busy weekend, per usual... so I'll wrap it up with a few conversations that contain important information to know or at least consider as you're moving through life....

My husband and I were watching a show with an actress we like, and she happens to have a wonky ear.  I also have a wonky ear, so now that you're all caught up....

Husband I don't know if I like that haircut on her.  It really shows off her wonky ear.  It's like a dumbo ear, but she only has one so it would be like "Dumbo the 'I can only fly to the left' flying elephant."

Me HEY!  I have a wonky ear!  Are you saying there is something wrong with a wonky ear?

Him No!  Your wonky ear is cute.  She's a beautiful girl!  I'm just saying, that haircut is not flattering because it makes that stand out so much.  It's distracting.

Me Well, it's been proven that people with wonky ears are more smart and are generally the best people out there.  

Him Sounds like someone with a wonky ear made that up.  *gives me a wonky eye stare*

Me Of course they did!  Because they are smart!  Duh.  Didn't you hear what I said about the wonky ear'd folks being the smartest, so they would know this!  Maybe she just wants to flaunt it!  If you've got it, flaunt it!

Him You're on like some wonky-ear crusade here.  

Me I'm just trying to bring attention to the cause, empower my people.

Him You could use a hobby, I think.

After our show, we got to talking about a project we are about to undertake that involves using a green screen.  For this project, we simply need a blue or a green sheet...

Me Oh, we need to get on that photo project!  I need to find a blue or green sheet.

Him Maybe you can find one at Ollies or somewhere cheap.

Me There is no need to go to extremes here, I can just go get a cheap set from Target.  They have all sorts of colors for pretty reasonable prices.  It doesn't have to be the fancy sheets, just their cheapest set.

Him Like, what thread count?

Me There is no thread count.  When you're looking for the cheapest sheet you can find, they don't bother to mention the thread count.  It might say something like "It's a little better than newspaper... just sleep on it!"  or "Need to cover that dead body?  Eh, this'll do if you ain't got nothin' better."

Him Or it just says "Has threads?  Yes, we used one."

Me Oh it's like one of those cheeseburger cats... "I'm in your sheetz, stealin' your threadz."  Although, our cats wouldn't sleep on that.  They are 375 or better, type of cats.

And last, but never least, I got to reminisce with my sister, on facebook, about the time when she cut her hair and tried to cover up the crime the day before her pre-school pictures....

Her (This picture was taken) the day after I chopped off my hair (on one side), and mom had to cleverly tuck it behind my shoulder for the picture.

Me I remember that day oh so clearly.  You tried to blame all the hair on the chair on the cats. haha

Her hehe

Me So clever... if our cats were blondes...

Her And persian...

Me And able to cut their own hair.

Ah memories!  Especially memories where my little sister is the one getting in trouble instead of me, for once!


Friday, October 28, 2011

Is Halloween snow considered a trick or a treat?

We are expected to get our first snowstorm of the season tomorrow!  Just one thing... it's not snow season, yet!  It's not even quite Halloween.  (I'll take this moment to point all climate-change deniers to exhibit A...)  I had the unfortunate coincidence of my usual grocery shopping trip falling on the day before the snowstorm.  I had to really gear myself up to go out amidst the crazies, stocking up on milk and bread like they won't see the light of day for the next 2 weeks.  Forget that we are expecting temps to rise after tomorrow... it's the apocalypse!  It's not even like we live somewhere that doesn't get snow.  We are used to this, yet the panic always hits.  There have been actual fist fights over TP in this town on the eve before past snows.  I wish I was exaggerating. 

The snow before trick-or-treat is strange enough, but for me and my family it had another strange twist to it.  My grandfather turned 80 back in August... yeah when we had that freak earthquake.  I joked with him that his birthday shook the entire East coast.  We had planned a nice family dinner as a surprise for him, but that's when natural disaster #2 struck within the same week!  The hurricane hit.  Not wanting to risk injury in the heavy rains or dealing with power outages, we rescheduled.  It's hard to get the entire family together, so the party was put off until tomorrow... when we are to have another freak act of nature that has the potential to mess up our plans again.  I still stand by the explanation that my very own Pop-Pop is quite simply a force of nature.  We shall see what happens... oh, and my Uncle, one of my Pop's 3 children who are taking care of this dinner, went in for emergency surgery today.  You can't make this up.  I only hope that if the snow mucks things up, we can tell my grandfather about the party so he doesn't think his 80th passed without proper celebration.  At this point, we are probably all "off the Christmas list!", as he would say. 

I guess this snow will also cancel the outdoor Halloween party and costume contest tomorrow.  I busted my ass on my kid's costume this year.  He is a robot, with all the bells and whistles (lights and robot sounds), and I wanted to enter him in the contest.  So, if you see a crazy woman with her robot child knocking on people's doors, asking them to please judge the costume... it's just me, looking for a high five for my hard work.  There were tons of costume contests when I was a kid, but now that I slave for hours over costume creations, there are none to be found.  At least I always win the contest when it comes to my kid and what he thinks about the costume!  That is the most important, after all.  (Awe, yeah, mush mush... But seriously, where's my blue ribbon!?)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Exactly like "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown", just without Charlie Brown... or the pumpkin

I'm wild about pumpkins, at least as much as any other suburban housewife who loves to put pretty shit on her porch.  The kind of shit that says "Look how homey my home is!  (In case you didn't notice people living inside)" and "Don't step on my gourdes or I'll stick ya!"  I mean, "Welcome, friends."  I used to have an adorable little scarecrow, but after years of sun exposure, it was looking more "haunted house" and less cute autumn decoration.  This year, I filled in my empty scarecrow space with a larger bale of hay, mums, and more pumpkins of assorted sizes.  We made a big deal out of going to the pumpkin patch to pick small pumpkins to paint.  We chose 2 larger pumpkins for carving (which we haven't done yet so they don't rot before trick-or-treat).  We had a great little set up out there, until tragedy struck...

Something is eating our pumpkins.  It almost looks like a little pumpkin horror movie set on my front porch, which is not quite the message I was looking to send.  There are pumpkin guts everywhere.  The baby's little painted pumpkin is completely gone, another small pumpkin has been completely torn in half and it's guts strewn all over the other pumpkins and the hay, and both of the huge pumpkins have bites out of them, as well as the 2 other painted pumpkins.  It's kind of a pain in the butt that I have to go buy 2 new big pumpkins to carve, but the worst part is having to clean up the sticky seeds and innards of our casualties.  Perhaps I'll just leave it like that, and give one of the big pumpkins the pumpkin carving knife for trick-or-treat, and stage it more like a Pumpkin murder scene.  Everyone loves a little gourd on gourd crime for Halloween.

This puts a serious kink in my plan to carve a Hello Kitty pumpkin.  I just don't think she's capable of that kind of violence.  I'll have to switch to Bert from Sesame Street... after all those years of living with Ernie, I'm sure he's ready to cut a bitch.


Told my husband I wanted to put poison on the pumpkins so the animals (whom we assumed were the foxes that we see out and about) would not want to eat them.  He pointed out that they would still eat them, and then we'd have a dead fox problem.  I don't really want to kill them...just turn them off from my porch.  Maybe I could put a TV out there playing old Glenn Beck episodes from Fox News.   

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I have an addiction, sir!

I think my favorite Starbucks and I are perhaps spending too much time together.  Today, my barista tried to suggest a hot beverage other than the one I religiously order because he thought he knew of something different I'd like to try.  When I order, it's with conviction and urgency, never uncertainty.  I do not think I look open to suggestion when I'm jonesing for my fix.  I'm pretty sure I don't even look fully human at that moment.  It's not until about halfway through my GrandeNoFatPumpkinSpiceLatteLightWhip that I start to resemble something more socially and fashionably sophisticated than a wild chimp. 

I clearly have an addiction.  As soon as I get that cup in my hand I begin to feel more calm and pulled together.  I am almost convinced they put some type of illicit drugs in their coffee, because clearly there is something possessing powers above and beyond your everyday run of the mill caffeine at work here.  I don't even care.  The euphoria I get from that cup of Heaven is worth it. 

Almost 2 years ago I had a birthday party.  I requested there be no gifts, but folks who didn't get that message or who wanted to get me something anyway, showed up bearing gift certificates for Starbucks.  These enablers... I mean friends... were unaware of each other's gift of choice.  I ended up with nearly $200 in free coffee.  Because I cut back on my caffeine while pregnant, I JUST used up the last card.  Now that I'm paying for the coffees myself, I think I heard my husband mumbling how he'd wish I had a crack habit instead.... something about it would be less expensive.  Oh well, ya like what ya like!  (Plus, didn't I already mention my suspicion about the ingredients of this magical brew?)

So anyway, stand back Mr. Barista!  Do exactly as I say, and no one gets hurt.  Well, at least after I've actually had my coffee... before that people might get hurt.  It's probably best for everyone's health and well being to hold off on too much interaction before I've had my fix.