I love these people!

Friday, April 27, 2007

I've gone and shot off my mouth to the point that people think I am some kind of neat freak.
Well, the freak part is right.
As far as neat goes, I am really conflicted.
I would love to be able to say screw it - my house is what it is!
But... I really do like a clean house.
But... I really don't have the inner commitment to keep a house up to my own standards.
Or my mother-in-law's. But that issue has taken the interstate out of town.
Thank you Dwight D. Eisenhower.

So 'hire the cleaning done', you say.
Good idea.... but then you get a whole new set of stress.
Say the Happy Housekeepers come on Tuesday,
well, that means on Monday night you have to make sure every family member has all their crap picked up and put away,
because Happy Housekeepers only deal with dust and dirt and fingerprints and tub rings. Or else you have to pick it up yourself.
Which is easier?
Nag it done, or do it yourself?
Usually do it yourself because typically it is just you and the cats around when cleaning needs done.
So you run around the house picking up
17 pairs of shoes, 2 backpacks, 40 pounds of blueprints and a half dozen sports bags - some of which are toxic -
as well as numerous pairs (sometimes not pairs) of socks
that apparently just fly off feet at will.
Newpapers..... phone books... blankets.... drink glasses.... empty juice boxes... wadded up Kleenexes (barf!)....
no, not real barf....
and crap,NO not real crap but,
Oh Crap as in: you never got the sheets washed from last week so there won't be clean ones to have the Happy Housekeepers put on the beds...
and on
and on.
And you can't just throw all the stuff in their rooms like you usually do because then their rooms won't get serviced by the Happy Housekeepers and that's a waste of money. Remember?
We have talked about how cheap you are?
So now, not only are you still doing all the picking up,
you are doing it on someone else's schedule,
and under pressure,
and you probably had a bad day at the office and forgot to pick up the 3 sheets of peculiar foamy stuff that your daughter needs for some ridiculous extra credit poster project and
oh shit, you are out of milk.
How can the damn calves go through a GALLON A DAY?
Why can't they just drink soda like other kids -
soda doesn't require refrigeration and can be bought in large...
unrefrigerated quantities.
And as long as they are drinking soda they might as well be playing miniature golf
which we all know leads to regular golf and
pretty soon they are mainlining smack.
All because you had to go and hire the Happy Housekeepers.

Well, aren't you proud of your-self!
Well, it's Monday and I have survived the weekend with the in-laws. Luckily Alpha talked them into staying another day so that they could watch her basketball game tonight. Remind me to reward that girl with something like....oh...maybe a new...hmm...place to live?

Actually, in my complete panic last week, I may have given you the wrong idea. Although, I do not like anyone to see my house in it's usual condition, let alone Mrs. USA-Housecleaning a.k.a. my mother-in-law, I really don't mind a visit from Homer's parents. In fact, if I could send my family away and take a week off work, make that TWO weeks off, to clean my house from top to bottom until it resembles the pristine condition of their house, then I would actually WELCOME a visit from the in-laws.

True, Mrs. USA-Housecleaning does have a few sharp spots on her tongue. But, the new, improved, crazy-minimized Jane just lets it roll. My MIL will never get over the fact that the girls spend less time with them during the annual trip to From-Where-We-Came than with my people (have I mentioned that each and everyone of both our families live all together in another part of the country?). This is because Homer's side of the family is TWO people - Gma and Gpa. That's it. Jane's side, however, is Gma, Gpa, uncles, aunts, a godmother, many cousins and several very good summer friends - all of which Alpha and Omega want to spend time. Now mine is not an enormous family by any means but surely you can do the math. Mrs USA-Housecleaning only sees that she DOES NOT GET EQUAL TIME with the 'other side'...the dark side....the *gasp* Lutheran side. And I know that I will never find the words to make her see what everyone else can CLEARLY see. So I just switch the subject to baked goods. She loves to talk a good recipe.

Another advantage I have is that my in-laws do seem to like me. They realize that a weaker woman would probably have plopped their son right back on their doorstep years ago. I have not only allowed him to stay but have made several improvements. I do love a good fixer-upper. The very last time Homer dared to utter the words "my mom used to do that for me", I promptly rung her up and asked if she would take him back. Her actual words cannot be posted here but the gist was that he's mine now to do with as I see fit.

As for the ants, not a one dared to show its face but one of my dear little tattletales DID tell Mrs USA-Housecleaning about the briefcase incident. Turns out she is quite freaked out by ants so I couldn't help but throw in Meg's tale of the ant in her ear. She was still shuddering over that last night. Cool. Thanks, Meg.

Anyhoodle, I did, in fact get the bathroom cleaned on Saturday morning. By myself. Homer had a meeting..... yeah, uh huh, sure. And my garbage disposal is fixed. Turns out my father-in-law has decided to become evolved. He no longer has a problem with women doing 'manwork'. He not only sat comfortably on the couch while I worked on the disposal, the good man kept my laptop warm - for hours.

So the men in my life may have let me down, but the internet did not. Thank you WorldWideWonderWeb for containing all the info necessary to unjam a garbage disposal WITHOUT having to stick my hand into the sickness. IN FACT, the W-4 told me not to, under ANY circumstances, put my hand in there. I liked that advice. Turns out, that you can just stick an allen wrench-type thingy in the bottom of the disposal - underneath the sink - and turn it until you clear the problem. Wow! Who knew?!

I did make the in-laws Thai food on Saturday night, which they had NEVER in their long lives had before. They seemed to like it and even talked about VISITING a Thai restaurant at home.....IF I would write down what they had so they would know what to order. I suppose when you get to be 80ish you don't want to waste your time and money ordering the wrong thing at a restaurant. Especially when you don't have all that much time and your bossy daughter-in-law keeps urging you to make your money last for as long as possible.

Oy! Can you even imagine if Mrs. USA-Housecleaning became destitute and had to come live with us full time???? She would die of a broken dustmop, I fear.

Oh, Ricky!!

The 'good' news of my day is that Fred and Ethel (my parents-in-law) are scheduled to land at our house for a 3 day visit. Today! This very today that comes just THREE days after tax day. And after the weekend where I used all my available task energy on taxes instead of on my weekendly cleaning ritual. True I made a choice, but tax prison scares me only a little more than the jaundiced eye Ethel gives my slipshod ways.

I was an hour late for work this morning because I cleaned my way out of the house - erasing all the peanut butter fingerprints as I backed to the door. I also made sure the scent reservoirs in the Wallflowers were filled. I mean if the place smells good, it MUST be clean, right? Wrong. I doubt even the Wallflowers will overpower the smell of the jammed garbage disposal. Thank you Homer who blames Alpha who blames Homer. It happened the weekend Omega and I were gone so probably only the cat knows what really happened and he takes bribes so you can't believe much of what he says.

To their credit, they did try to un-jam it – but did not try to take it apart. I was hoping it would spontaneously fix itself because just the idea of dealing with food debris makes me retch… heartily. I can’t even stand food floaters in my dishwater. Dishes must be pretty close to spotless BEFORE I will hand wash them. Right now my Diet Dew is backing up my throat a little bit just talking about it. But I’m thinking…….just maybe…..I can hook Fred into some plumbing work. He doesn’t like to see women get their hands dirty.

The other little problem that will surely shout ‘Welcome to the JaneFay Family Zoo’ is the ants. Yes I said ants. A week ago, shortly after I vacuumed the dining room, I noticed that someone had dropped a bunch of little somethings all over the floor. I was about to launch into an ‘I live with a passel of slovenly oafs’ lecture, when I saw that the somethings were MOVING because they were ANTS! And ant central seemed to be Homer’s briefcase. I picked up the briefcase and found HUNDREDS of ants underneath! Well, launch a few screams and toss in some expletives and people do come running. Homer dashed out the door with the bag. Omega grabbed the Dust*Buster and started chasing after ants. This is where those video game skills finally come in handy. I just pointed – she ran them down and sucked them up.
Turns out that Homer had a bag of raunchy grapes in one of the secret compartments of his trusty Swiss Army briefcase. I knew things would get lost in there when I bought it for him but it just seemed so…..so Swiss Armyish! I couldn't resist. But tell me honestly, would that ever happen with a woman’s purse? I don’t think so.

Now, even though I have banned that briefcase from the house, I still see an occasional ‘friend’ who must have wandered too far from the mothership. Ethel will find them, I know she will.
Maybe CatTwo will bring in another rat - that'll make the ants seem pretty insignificant, I think.

And then there’s the bathroom problem. You already know I’m no Becky Home-Ecky so I might as well air my dirty porcelain as well. See, although the guest bath has a nice Jacuzzi tub, it has no shower. And using Alpha/Omega's shower requires taking stairs, which Ethel does NOT do. Nor does she do baths because that requires sitting down low where the knees won’t go and I, personally, have NO desire to try to extract a slippery, wet, NAKED mother-in-law from the bathtub – ewww, so that leaves the master bath shower which, if you remember, is not guest appropriate. So far I have not had time to tackle it with bleach and chisel, but I informed Homer this morning that he is going to remain in the bedroom with me on Saturday morning, pretending to have sex until we get that bathroom spotless. And, if Ethel comes knocking we’ll just breathe heavy and say ‘Go...ahh... away...ohhh’ and if she gives any indication that she thinks we're cleaning instead of...umm, you know….. well, then I’ll just put the briefcase under her bed.

So, wish me luck. My time online will probably be limited to their nap time and by that time I will probably ALSO need rest time. Got that? Have a fabulous weekend! Do it for me.

Be nice to your children, they'll pick your nursing home

Looking forward to the golden years:
Morning chat at the house.

Lola: Dad, loosen your belt, you look like a nerd!

Homer: Don't tell me what to do. You can't boss me around.

Lola: I can when you're old and I put you in the nursing home. The cheapest nursing home I can find, because you are such a cheapskate.

Homer: I am not a cheapskate, I am frugal.

Jane: Oh, when she puts you in the most FRUGAL nursing home she can find... where they only change the diapers once a day.

Homer (pointing his finger): YOU (to Lola) are not nice to call me a cheapskate and YOU (to Jane) are not nice for taking her side.

Jane: You kidding? I don't want to be stuck in a dirty diaper all day.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Taxed to the limit

Aah, it's April 18th. A beautiful day! The sun is shining. The birds are singing… okaynotreally.
The sun may be shining on the backside of the clouds and the wind has probably blown the birds half way to Kansas. But since I try to stay positive and my back is actually to the windowed wall of my office, I can pretend. Not so different from hallucinating, I imagine.
I am tired and a wee bit cranky today. I was up WAY past my bedtime last night, but I will not get sucked into poor-me mode. I am, instead, going to enumerate my thanks for so very many aspects of yesterday.
First of all, thank you IRS for only having ONE tax day per year. I bet the sadistic urge to shift to a semi-annual system is overwhelming at times.
Thank you to my husband for finally looking over the tax forms I printed days ago at 8 o’clock last night and for not being able to come up with that receipt for the $5 charitable contribution you made to Mothers Against Men with Bad Abs (M.A.M.B.A.) which would have required me to screw with the TurboTax and reprint the forms. Again. And recalculate the entire state form. Yet again.
Thanks to Workforce Services for kindly providing ONE copy of a withholding statement even though I am required to send in 2 and presumably keep one for my records. They always want you to keep one for your records.
Thank you to my sweet daughter who stood before me at 9pm with her W-2 in hand asking what needed to be done with it.
Thank you to the IRS for making extension forms available online.
Thank you to whomever…. removed.... Acrobat from the family computer (they never open pdf’s?). WTF?
Thanks to Adobe for providing me with a TWENTY minute download of Acrobat 8 and various opportunities to upgrade to a bigger, smarter, more sexy Acrobat.
Thank you to my former favorite television station for having a cutesy remote broadcast from the main post office showing ‘the guy in the Lexus dropping off his taxes at the last minute’. Woo hoo! It was so kind of you to mention that only a few post offices around this metropolis were open until midnight. And then… not bothering… to tell us… which ones…….?? Or how to find this out.
Thank you to my online newspaper for responding to my search for all variations of the words post office, open, late, tax day…….. I found the article telling me to prune my apple trees to be very helpful. Do it now, it says, before the flowers OPEN. Guess what? Too LATE!
Thank you to my husband’s company, whose truck was parked behind my car at 11 pm last night when I set out with my finally completed tax forms in search of a post office that was… OPEN LATE. Since I had no patience to shuffle vehicles, I drove their truck and felt very tough with my payload of three pieces of IRS mail.
Thank you to my grocery store for not having TWO pimply, high school boys with shitty attitudes whine to me about how much trouble it would be to make two copies of that hateful form for me.
Thank you God for giving me the facial resources to project a very good ‘don’t make me call your mother’ look.
Thank you to the US Postal Service for switching up the post offices that are open late. If you had left them the same as last year, I would not have been able to drive aimlessly around the city looking for the Main Post Office.
Thank you to my husband (again) for leaving a hard hat on the seat of his truck. I felt quite powerful cruising in my Mickey Mouse pajama pants and fluffy slippers, wearing a hardhat and driving a big truck. The hardhat may also have reduced the damage inflicted by the man-flashlight, also found on the seat, which I used to beat myself about the head as I realized I had no cell phone, not much gas and no address for the post office as I was driving around the ghetto part of town. Yay me!
Yes, thank you me, for finally spying the massive 10-acre postal facility, popping a u-turn on a busy street, weaseling my way into the long line of equally-desperate tax outlaws and FINALLY depositing the envelopes IN the bin. BEFORE midnight… in my jammies… in a hardhat… in (not) my Toyota truck…. OH WHAT A FEELING!
Oh, and thanks to all of you who DON’T suggest that I finish up this little tax project before the deadline next year. That is NOT the way I roll, THANKYOUVERYMUCH.

He says, she does

Okay, I’ve taken a fair amount of crap about the drain cleaning post so I feel the need to explain some things.

First of all, Thystle, I can’t use what I don’t have: my eyelashes are invisible without mascara and, well, if there were breast mascara, I’d use that, too.
And Stepmonster, the reason I have a husband is to keep the toilet seat up and wet towels on the floor. Really? Yours does plumbing?
Meg? I would love to call a professional, but this was the sink in the master bath. The amount of housekeeping attention that a part of my house receives is directly proportionate to the amount of public display it gets. The rest of the house is bad enough but if I brought a plumber to ground zero, well, I would have to kill him before he called the EPA and I just didn’t have time to bury a body.

It’s rather ironic that I grew up in a family where Dad was the Fixer-of-Everything. He was our electrician, plumber, mechanic and carpenter. My mother was the painter, seamstress, cook (I use that term loosely), financial whiz, picture hanger and exterminator. I was so intent on finding a mate who could cook, so I wouldn't have to, that I totally overlooked all that other stuff. When Homer and I met, I still lived within 10 miles of Dad so I never even thought to check Homer’s home repair references. Oops.

Then we moved a thousand miles away from our families and bought a house and set about trying to muddle through the little things that needed attention. This husband of mine brought at least 200 Craftsman tools to the marriage so I wasn’t na├»ve in thinking things would get fixed. But then Homer started getting assigned to work projects that sent him from one end of the country to the other… sometimes for weeks at a time. He did manage to come home enough to knock me up a couple of times – as if I didn’t have enough to do. But a clogged toilet really can’t wait for ‘the man to get home’ when the man is in Tennessee until next month. If you think cleaning out a drain is gross, try living with the smell of a clogged one. After a week, the dog even starts to screw up his nose in disgust.

So you think to yourself “it’s not rocket science, I can figure this out” and you do what you have to do AND you save $50 to spend on NEW SHOES. Then you get a little braver and you start looking for trouble by replacing functioning faucets and light fixtures with nicer ones. Pretty soon, you are so full of yourself that you have started demolishing a cast iron tub with a sledge hammer screaming “I am WOMAN!” Then you find out that your state does not require any sort of license or even training to use power tools and Santa brings you a beautiful table saw for Christmas (which you engrave your name all over in the event of a divorce). And before you know it, if you still have all your fingers, you are in charge of remodeling and maintenance.
I may have mentioned before that I count beans for a living and Homer is an engineer. That might lead you to believe that I would handle family financial matters and he would, well, engineer things. You would be wrong. Over the years we have determined that cross-occupationing (I just made that up) is the only way to go. I would much rather tile a bathroom floor than research mutual funds. At the end of the day I am sick of financialish things. As for hiring the professionals, I am pretty picky about how the job gets done and I’d rather not have to nag strange men with low-slung pants into meeting my specifications. I’m a one-man nagger of a guy who rides his pants too HIGH. My exceptions are plumbing if pipes need to be moved, changed, or soldered and electricity because as Homer says “If it bites and you can’t see it, don’t mess with it.” I have to agree with Homer there.

Lynn and Sleepdeprivedmomma – bravo for having done it yourselves! SDM – any points you lost for hurling were more than made up for by the fact that you were 8 months pregnant. That just seems physically impossible.
And Cindy? Please come back from Wonderland. Homer contracted the yard care out to Omega years ago and we have not allowed him to even lift the hood of a vehicle since the unfortunate vocabulary lesson of 1993 caused Lola to ask me what a *bleep-bleeper* was.
“Oh, honey, that’s something under the hood of a car and if your grandma ever hears you say that she will be stuck in Hail Mary mode forever.” Yeah, after she strangles her son with her rosary.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Oh Captain, My Captain

Continued from the trip.....
If you look very closely at the picture titled ‘Prince of Poop’ you will see in the background a man putting away groceries. Groceries that that very man determined the need for and drove to the PX and bought all by himself. This was just one day after I saw him folding clothes as soon as the dryer buzzed, and a few hours after he emptied the dishwasher. It is true, I saw it with my own eyes and I meant to tell my niece that she is probably the luckiest girl in the world. He is a Captain and he is very captainish. But he is not only a very smart, nice, good-looking, captainish guy – he can clean! Not only can but does!
Truth be told, I shouldn’t have been surprised. We knew the first time we met him that he was a keeper. My niece brought him to my parents’ lake cabin about 7 years ago. We were all eating dinner outside around the picnic table. We were having manly barbequed food like steaks and burgers and such, as well as ‘indoor’ food like potato salad and corn on the cob. Well, when we ran out of corn at the table, this man that my niece brought, actually got up, took the empty plate into the kitchen and dished up a bunch more corn. All by himself. Well, I tell you, my jaw dropped and I looked at my sister-in-law and her jaw dropped and I said "I want one" and my sister-in-law said "I want one" although we both knew in our hearts it was too late for us.


In true ‘we all share a brain’ fashion, this weekend my universe ran parallel to Steph’s (Kitty’s Cattitude). I, too, made a baby-run with my youngest daughter but, judging from the pictures, hers was a little more exciting than mine. I, sadly, did NOT get new tires out of the deal. Or Bubba Gump food.
I told you that I was taking off on an 8 hour drive (one way) with Junie. Well, it was supposed to be a family trip but when Homer had to bow out for work-related reasons, Lola stepped up and volunteered to stay home to go snowboarding with him. So he wouldn’t be lonely. What a trooper. That was okay, because standing in the 3-hour passport line yesterday I remembered how naughty those two girls can be when they are together. I would not have survived with a single nerve.
So off we drove to see the 3-month-old baby of a most very favorite niece (my namesake, no less). This is her first and she has done a very good job. He is healthy and happy and loves his great aunt more than he loves just about anyone on this planet but he has promised not to tell even his mother about that because she does, after all, control the food supply. We played and exercised and made goofy faces at each other and I taught him how to juggle but he has promised to keep that on the down low, too, because we wouldn’t want his dad to feel inadequate that he wasn’t able to teach him first. His dad is such a nice guy.
While we were there the weather was unseasonably unreasonable. Let’s just say it would have been a beautiful Christmas. So we stayed inside and played with the baby and watched the tube. Kat, you would be so proud, we even DVR’D! Yes, it was incredible – they had 492 channels and STILL they said “there’s nothing on today”. And they said that the next day and the next. But it didn’t matter because that’s not the show we went to see. I will try to pull a picture of him off my camera but I’m pretty sure that his unbelievable sweetness will not be sufficiently represented. You will just have to take my word for it.
I also give you my word that that little boy is the Prince of Poop! He poops at least 10 or 32 times a day. They have a changing table set up in the living room which is good because otherwise we would barely have seen his mother. Now I know why they had the zillion pack of baby wipes under the table. I had seriously never before seen that many wipes outside of a store.
The drive itself was fairly uneventful which is probably an understatement considering that we traveled through 367 miles of Wyoming…..twice…..and that pretty much qualifies me to hand out some Wyoming tips. First of all, if you are thinking about stopping for gas in Wyoming and the sign says ‘next services 28 miles’ and you are tempted to think for even a minute that you have enough gas to drive another 28 miles, you might be wrong. ‘Next services’ does NOT mean that the services will be open, even in broad daylight or that you will be able to find the services that supposedly exist at that exit. Never drive around Wyoming with less than a half tank of gas. Trust me on that because, if you do run out, you may not find a single soul willing to pick up a crazed roadtrip-weary woman and her too-perky daughter. Just kidding, I didn’t run out of gas but I did slide below empty on down to the bargaining-with-God part of my tank. Whew!
Also, I never really realized that all road signs are written in a particular font until I got to I-80 exit 358. Otto Road is definitely written in the wrong font – a little too “Impact”y as opposed to the official “Series E Modified” font. I looked that up. Somebody should know about it.
Oh, and if you are wondering what has happened to every plastic grocery bag that you have ever lost to the wind…….they are all stuck in the fences lining I-80 in Wyoming. They have hurricane force winds that deliver these bags from all other states and Mexico. I think if you saw what I saw you would be more careful with those bags. You would also encourage makers of those bags to consider making them a bit more biodegradable. I guess the potential exists to eventually create solid fences with those bags but believe me when I tell you there is no real need for sound walls in that part of Wyoming.
I’m not sure even why those fences are there. As near as I could tell, they don’t restrain any livestock. I think their main purpose may be to keep the plastic bags and the tumbleweeds from mating. Think about the prospect of THAT if you’re bored.
Anyhoodle, we are back safe and sound but not a bit lighter. The body count for this trip was 6 bottles of Diet Dew, 6 Black Cherry Propels, and 6 or 8 waters which although they contain NO calories, do require QUITE A FEW rest stops. Which is good, because a fast trot up to the facilities is the only way to get the blood flowing back to the buttcheeks. It also helps burn off the can of squirt cheese, 1.5 rolls of veggie Ritz crackers (they’re new and oh so good), 6 Rice Krispie bars, 4 bran muffins (it’s important to stay regular when you are away from your home potty), 3 bananas, bag of grapes, and hmmmm….some Wheat Thins…oh and the cold pizza.... plus one stop at Micky D’s......and one at Taco DingDong.....and the big pigfest at Johnny Carino's....oh and those cinnamon rolls.....I LOVED those cinnamon rolls..
Yeah, I know, shut up and get to the gym!

It's all so wrong

This will be very short. I have to go rethink my entire moral foundation.
I was confronted in the grocery store parking lot this evening by a well-dressed 20ish kid on a bicycle who informed me that since I admittedly had not read the book he was pimping, I could not possibly know 'true right from wrong'. I stopped loading my groceries long enough to look this guy in the eye and contemplate NOT turning the other cheek. Since I am weak from 40 days of chocolate sacrifice for the apparent WRONG religion and I am pretty sure that his mother in Albany is already counting the days until she gets her Mother's Day phone call, I resisted the temptation. But now I'm worried. If I do not, in fact, know true right from wrong, MAYBE that was the wrong thing to do!

Shredder Satisfaction

I admit I have a little affection for paper shredders.
I love a good shred session. When I've completed any kind of paperwork project, like income taxes, or paying bills, or almost any project at my paying job, there at the end usually sits a pile of stuff that needs to be shredded. Nothing says 'I'm done with that tedious task' like making jigsaw puzzles for crack addicts. I have even been known to pad the to-shred pile by adding things that really don't need to be shredded just because, well darn it, it is such a good feeling. Seriously, have you tried it?
So I got to thinking as I was shredding the other day. What if you could put ANYTHING you wanted in the paper shredder? Like....what if it were possible to shred everything that comes out of George Dubya's mouth? Or those gawd-awful Hush Puppies my husband insists on wearing.....in public? Definitely the lips of those chatty pre-teens behind you in the movie theater. I, personally would shred every pair of pantyhose in the world. And billboards, too - all of them. That would take a big shredder but it would be so worth it. And I think we can all agree that SPAM would be the first thing to go.
So what would YOU like to put in the cyber-shredder? Tell me!
But um....please don't say this blog cuz then I will have to shred your comment.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

What's in your drawer?

In our living room we have an end table with a drawer. The drawer is useful for storing those odd little living room things like coasters and pens and batteries and paperclips and postcards that are too pretty to throw and, of course, maps of every national park in the western U.S. because you never know when you may get the urge to plan a camping trip to torture the teenagers.

It’s a pretty full drawer but it wasn’t always that way. In simpler times, when we owned barely one child, it was mostly empty.

When Lola was a bit shy of age 2 (I’m guessing here because I am, after all, the non-documenting parent) she had a relationship with that drawer that will stick with me long after Alzheimer’s has erased the memory of breakfast.

Lola used to put things in that drawer and close it and open it to see if the item was still there and when she saw that it was she would be SO surprised and take the item out, look at it and put it back in. Wash, rinse, repeat. Over and over. I vaguely remember some child development axiom that says this is an important step in learning that things which are out of sight, do not actually disappear for good. Whatever. I don’t know nothing about no child development but I do recognize something that will keep a kid entertained for hours.

Harmless fun. Until……
The child decides to put her hand in the drawer. And close it. Well, if it works with the little Weeble toy, it oughta work with your hand, right? Um, no. Which becomes evidenced by the primal screams that send the cat right up the drapes. So, open drawer, remove hand. Close drawer. Wait for pain to subside. Open drawer. Insert hand. Close drawer – not so hard this time because a little something was learned last time. Scream. Open drawer, remove hand. Look at hand. Put back in drawer. Close drawer. More gently this time because that may be the key. Cry in frustration. Stamp foot. Remove hand. Test again with the Weeble…..which works fine so….again.. with.. the.. other.. hand….
You probably wonder where I was in all this. Obviously nearby since I seem to know exactly what happened. Yes, indeed, I stood there watching the whole thing. Part disbelief and part intense curiosity – the very same things that make you unable to turn away from a bad car wreck!

I will admit here and now that very small people frighten me. I have no memory of being that age so I have nothing to work from. Sure I could read books and stuff but who has time for that – unless you don’t have any kids and then what would be the point? I worked full-time and my children were victims of daycare. "OH NO," you say "surely they are headed for rot and ruin." Um, no. So far so good. I think it was the best thing for them. Not because of anything those studies tell you about daycare but because they had teachers that were SO much more competent than their mother in the child development area (we won't even go into their father who thought everything should be done like his parents did it - thith ith ne hoding ny tongue on thath).

But really, daycare is so amazing. You hand over your whole monthly paycheck to these people and they tell you precisely what to worry about and what is normal. It's like a daily visit with the pediatrician. Jeez, they even potty train the kid for you and that would be worth all the rest of my money if I had any when I was done paying for daycare.

But I digress. So there I was watching the whole hand-slamming episode and part of me was thinking “I should take notes so Ms. Bonnie (who is a grandmother) can tell me if all this is normal” and the other part of me was thinking “this is like physics lab for toddlers”. Real hands-on learning, if you will.

Besides, she never once asked for my input and she does still own two fully functional hands leading me to think the lesson was eventually learned... without my help.
So you’re probably wondering "Jane, what does this have to do with anything in the here and now, 15 years later?" I was, too, for a minute but then I remembered where I was headed with this.

I have a drawer of my own. It’s called Wal*mart. As Omega and I left that store last night – without the photos that were ordered 9 days ago but weren’t available as promised, and without all the other things that we had picked out but, instead left at an empty checkout because there were precisely 2 checkouts open and no less than 10 people in each line, I thought about that drawer. I am certainly not condemning all Wal*marts and maybe not even the one in my neighborhood. Maybe I just have hideously bad luck. What I question is why I keep going back to a place that consistently gets me so riled! It really is ‘always something’ and still I GO BACK. I keep slamming my hand in the Wal*mart drawer.

I need to put a big sign on the dash of my car that says “Stay away from Wal*mart, STUPID!
Otherwise, I’m pretty sure my daughters are going to be taking notes so they can ask their Psychology teachers what to worry about and what is normal because there is no daycare for parents that are still employed and own the house you live in.

So, do you have a drawer of your own? Something you can’t seem to get through your head? Maybe you are just as masochistic as me.

Monday, April 2, 2007

April Fools - all month long

Setting: Monday morning.
Homer appears in front of Jane, dressed for work.
Jane gives Homer the once-over because he is back to dressing himself, post-injury.

Homer: What color do I accessorize?

Yes, Jane has taught him the word accessorize as it applies to belt and shoes.

Jane: Hmm....brown.
Homer: Then I'm going to do black because I think you might still be pissed at me for the remark about your silly shoes. Maybe you would like me to look JUST as silly.
Jane: Mmm, clever thinking......unless..... I was counting on you thinking that.

Homer should not ever try to beat Jane in the fashion arena.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

A Very Taxing Day

How (not) to get your taxes done.

Decide to assemble documentation needed to start income taxes.
Clear off dining room table for lots of room to spread out.
Notice that the table needs polishing.
Find polish and rag.
Polish table taking extra care not to get stuff in the crack where the leaf goes.
Observe how unpolished the chairs look in comparison.
Polish six chairs.
Might as well vacuum the seats, too.
Empty vacuum first for best results.
Vacuum chairs and stow vacuum.
Trip over @%#$ pair of shoes by door.
Take shoes to bedroom closet.
Realize that shoes need to be organized.
Organize shoes by color.
No, by heel height.
No….by color.
Discover cat bad-side-up on bed,
perform obligatory belly scratch.
Notice how much cat is shedding.
Find grooming brush.
Brush cat until he escapes and hides under chair.
Poke under chair with hanger.
Catch cat, brush until he escapes again.
Get Neosporin and bandaids.
Notice how much cat hair is now on pants.
Find magic sticky roller thing.
Remove non-sticky layer.
Experience peeling malfunction.
Curse cheapo sticky roller thing.
Finally get a complete new layer of sticky stuff.
De-hair sweatpants.
Decide it’s getting too warm for sweatpants.
Try on capris.
No, shorts
Run outside for a weather test.
Decide to go back to pants.
But some thinner ones.
Which must be down in the laundry room.
Along with a whole basket of clothes that need to be put away.
Empty basket.
Might as well throw a load in washer.
Use up last of detergent.
Put detergent on shopping list.
Thoroughly inventory refrigerator, freezer and pantry,
Put more things on shopping list.
Gather menu ideas for next few days.
Unable to locate favorite recipe.
Look it up online.
But first check email.
Curse overdue notices from library.
Send off a few emails.
Locate recipe.
Attempt to print but see printer is out of ink.
Remove cartridge.
Rifle through desk for replacement cartridge.
Which is also empty.
Find pen and manually write down recipe from computer screen.
Shake out hand cramp.
Apply IcyHot.
Put even MORE things on shopping list.
Take potty break.
Notice pretty nail polish on counter.
Try out nail polish on pinkie finger.
And ring finger and birdie finger and right on up through thumb.
On both hands.
Wave hands furiously to dry polish.
Turn on tv while waiting for second coat to dry.
The Victory Garden is on.
Watch the VG man trim rosebushes.
Run out to shed, grab pruner and with total disregard for damp nail polish, trim rosebushes.
Place trimmings in garbage.
Put pruner away.
Rearrange gardening tools from sharpest to dullest.
Realize manicure is total loss.
Look for nail polish remover.
Which is missing.
Find it on top of tv.
Remove nail polish.
Throw cotton balls in garbage.
Which is overflowing.
Empty wastebasket.
Hear mail truck.
Going UP the hill.
Sit on front step and wait for mailman to come back DOWN the hill.
Hey HERB! How's it going?
Shoot breeze with neighbor until mailman delivers.
Empty mailbox.
Sort through mail.
Act surprised to see a Bed, Bath and Beyond coupon.
Throw junk mail.
Shred 62 credit card apps.
Jam shredder.
Reverse shredder.
Shred same bunch of stuff but this time take a run at it.
Jam shredder again.
Observe very bad burning machinery smell.
Reverse shredder.
Reduce to more manageable layers.
Spray air freshener to hide smell.
Open window to get rid of air freshener smell.
Notice spring fresh smell outside.
Open more windows.
Open ALL the windows.
Find a National Geographic on couch.
Sit down to read for just a second.
Mm, interesting.
Think that monkeys are so lucky.
Read more.
Get comfortable.
Feel chill.
Get up and close window.
All of them.
Grab blanket.
Continue reading.
For TWO hours.
Wake up.
Realize it’s dinner time.
Order pizza.
Set table.
Clean off table again.
Notice it is too late to start working on taxes.
Take a bath.
Remark out loud, for everyone to hear, that doing taxes sure takes a LONG time.
Go to bed.