Sunday, October 31, 2010

Protectors of the Universe

Don't worry. They have it all under control. It's all going to be O.K.

(Sorry about the crappy phone pictures. Also, I totally sewed Liam's whole costume. I'm awesome like that.)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

From one nerd to another...

Happy Halloween, you stuck up, half-witted, scruffy looking Nerf herders.

Oh, by the way? Apple bobbing needs to be added to my list of gross things that should never be done.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bathroom Tales.

As I've mentioned numerous times before, I'm a little OCD when it comes to germs and cleanliness. So, if I find something gross, I usually keep it to myself because I usually assume that it's just me that's bothered by it. But really, the following things should bother everybody. If they don't, it's you who has issues. Not me. Also, remind me never to eat at your house.

1. I was reading through my latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens and they showed a cute little project where kids can make Thanksgiving napkin rings out of toilet paper rolls. Think about this for a minute.

You want to take a cardboard tube that has been sitting next to your toilet, that has been touched by unwashed hands that have recently had nothing between them and feces but 2 thin plies of tissue paper, and put your napkin in it--you know, the thing you wipe your mouth with--and then put it on the dining table? Really? That sounds like a good idea to you?

2. I recently read a collection of short stories by Elizabeth Berg called Ordinary Life. The first story (also titled Ordinary Life) is about an elderly woman who decides she needs a retreat from life for a week. She can't really afford to go anywhere, so she decides to lock herself in the bathroom for a week.

So far, I'm O.K.

But then she decides to bring food in with her. She's got a case of Orangina and Heath Bars on the bathroom floor. She's got crackers stored under the bathroom sink.

Not my cup of tea, but I'm still hanging in there.

Then she lays on the bathroom floor. Yuck! I keep my bathroom pretty clean, but I would never lie on the floor in there. But I keep going with the story.

At one point her husband asks if he can make dinner and come into the bathroom to eat it with her. She agrees. They sit on the floor (again with the floor!) and they use the toilet as a table. That's when I had to take a break from the story.

Who eats food off the toilet? I know technically that the food never touched the toilet, but still. C'mon. You know it's gross.

3. Then we have those stupid Charmin commercials with the dingleberry bears.

Need I say more about this one? There are pieces of urine and/or feces covered toilet paper stuck to the bear's ass! And he's looking at them in a mirror.

4. Finally, I'd like to speak to all of you out there who are using your laptops and smartphones while doing your business. That's just gross. Stop that. No one wants an e-mail or Facebook status update that you composed while dropping a deuce. Especially me.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I might go to hell, but at least I'll have candy.

So, we're letting the kids trick or treat on Sunday. And we're giving out candy to those who come to our house.

I know. Bad Mormon! Bad!

But here's the thing. To paraphrase church leaders, three suggestions for acceptable Sunday activities are:

1. Taking a family walk.
2. Visiting neighbors.
3. Serving others.

Check, check and check!

So, not only is trick or treating O.K., it's practically a commandment.

Friday, October 22, 2010

It's official. We're all screwed.

Today I had to meet with the school psychologist and the gifted education teacher to go over the results of the gifted program eligibility tests Ben took a few weeks ago. They already told me in a brief phone call last week that he had qualified for the program, but because the gifted programs in Tennessee are considered special education, I had to go in for an individual education plan meeting.

The testing in Tennessee is far more rigorous than it was in Georgia and Maryland, and included an IQ test.

We sat down at the table and the school psychologist leaned toward me and said, "Mrs. Douglass, Ben's IQ is higher than any I have ever seen in my 20 years as a school psychologist. In fact, I tested him twice because I didn't think it could possibly be accurate. His IQ is 185. Genius level starts at 140. Albert Einstein had an IQ of around 160."

Had this been about Liam or Amelia or pretty much any other kid I know, I would have been really impressed. I would have written a post to brag about it.

Internets, I'm not here to brag. I'm here to warn you.

This is the kid who created a religious holiday to get out of a month of homework. This is the kid who saved his allowance to buy a decoy agenda at the school store so I wouldn't know what his real assignments were. This is the kid who entered a quilt that his semi-professional seamstress grandmother sewed as his own work into the fair. And won. And was more sorry that he had to give back the $80 prize than for the fact that he stole first place from some poor kid who actually put forth some effort. This is the kid who has already drawn up a constitution for the government he is already planning to take over.

Hitler's IQ was only 141.

We're officially screwed.

(*Sigh* People, really? Do I need this addendum? 1. No, I don't think Ben is destined to commit genocide. 2. Often, when I ask Ben what he's doing, he says, "Working on my plan for world domination." 3. It was Ben's idea to add the Hitler mustache to his picture. 4. Ben being an evil genius is a family joke that Ben started himself. He likes that we call him that. It's like when Will calls me crackhead. It's a term of endearment. Amelia likes me to call her monkeybutt when I wake her up in the morning. We're weird. What can I tell you?)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Facebook: For the six year old in all of us.

Most nights, about half an hour after the kids have gone to bed, Liam wanders into the living room to announce that he has to go to the bathroom.

Why the need to announce it? Why not just go and get back in bed?

Because he's a kid, and most kids feel the need to tell you everything they have done, are currently doing or will do later.

My kids (and most little kids that I know) have a running commentary going. All. The. Time.

And as I was looking at Facebook today, I realized we never outgrow it.

(And before anyone gets defensive, I like Facebook. I post things no one cares about all the time. In fact, I pretty much exclusively post drivel. So don't get your panties in a wad, O.K.? Also, if you'd like to follow my drivel on Facebook, clicky HERE and add me as a friend.)

And on a completely unrelated note, you need to watch these. Really. Right now. They're all less than two minutes. You've got time. (Go over there ---> and pause my playlist, which is all new and awesome music, by the way, and then turn up your speakers.) Just be warned that he does say bitch a few times in each one. And he's sassy and gay, which I know gets some people all in a tither.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Well, who wouldn't?

Liam made this card for Will last night.

Makes me wonder what goes on around here when I'm gone.

(And what's up with the little Amish dude with the whip?)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Not just pillow fights and lesbians.

Don't lie. I know that's what a lot of you (especially those of you with penises) envision when you think of an all-female college.

I spent my freshman year of college at Sweet Briar College. Sweet Briar is not just any women's college--it's a women's college filled with old money Southern Belles.

My time there was simultaneously my most awesome and most horrible college experience.

In case you haven't noticed, I'm not an old-money Southern Belle. I'm a poor Yankee. I didn't exactly fit in.

I was one of only three women in the entire freshman class who had attended public school. Not only had the rest attended private schools, but most had attended private boarding schools.

In Europe.

My roommate had never been to a Wal-Mart. She also had never bought a swimsuit from a store. I mean, why would you buy a swimsuit from a store when you could have your personal seamstress make one custom for you? And why stop at swimsuits? Why not bring your personal seamstress with you to orientation week so she could make a custom duvet cover and drapes for your dorm room? Because obviously one can't make these things before seeing the room. I mean, really. You wouldn't want the chintz you choose to clash with the tones of the wood on the closet doors, or the gray in the linoleum tile floor.

I bought all of my dorm room furnishings at Wal-Mart in Evanston, Wyoming. It wasn't even a Super Wal-Mart.

My roommate had a $500 piece of original framed artwork from a gallery hanging on her wall. I had $3 poster that had "Everything I Need To Know In Life I Learned From My Cat" on it. Also from Wal-Mart.

Anyway, my roommate was pretty much the norm at Sweet Briar. And while that created a lot of potential for snobbishness, surprisingly most of the girls were nice. But it was still hard to be the poor girl.

One night there were a dozen or so of us hanging out in someone's room (you know, after we finished our pillow fight while clad in skimpy pajamas) and they started talking about their Cotillions and Coming Out Balls. Not only had I never been to a Cotillion, but I didn't even know what one was. And a Coming Out Ball? Well, the name made me wonder if maybe women's colleges really were filled with lesbians.

Anyway, I asked what a Cotillion was, and I was met by horrified stares and gasps.

Apparently not being formally debuted to society at 18 is to rich Southern Belles what being unbaptized is to Mormons. On the surface they still like you, but deep down they know you're headed for eternal damnation.

My poor status did give me one advantage over my wealthy classmates: I had already held a job. A few of them, in fact.

The President of the college was a smart lady, and knew that most of the girls coming in had never worked a day in their life and probably never would. So, she instituted a policy that every single student would be assigned a part time job on campus and would be paid minimum wage for it.

My roommate was assigned to assist in the security guard office. She had to wear a security guard uniform. She wore pearls with it.

The girls who had brought their horses with them were assigned to work the stables. These are girls who had always had stable hands to do the dirty work, but were now being paid a whopping $4 an hour to shovel manure 20 hours a week.

I was lucky and got assigned to be an assistant librarian. It was a cushy job, and a huge step up from the McDonald's in Wyoming, which had been my last place of employment.

Anyway, as great as many aspects of the college were, I left after the first semester. As a nearly middle aged woman, I can see the great things about being a misfit and wonder if I should have stuck it out at Sweet Briar, but as an 18 year old girl, it was hard. So I headed back across the country where everyone I knew was relatively poor and would assume that a Coming Out Ball probably involved RuPaul.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I'm supposed to be making a grocery list.

So, that's a picture Liam drew yesterday. They're supposed to be scary Halloween ghosts. They look a little more like hallo-wieners to me.

But anyway.

I should be making a menu and grocery list. I should be making flash cards for Amelia's words that she's supposed to know by Christmas if we want any chance of her passing Kindergarten on the first try. I should be paying bills and balancing the checkbook. I should be returning e-mails that are long overdue.

Except I don't really feel like doing any of those things.

And usually when I don't feel like doing what I'm supposed to do, I play Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook until my eyes bleed come here and write. But I don't know what to write about.

Help me, internets. Throw out some topics. I'm desperate.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I think you're crazy.

I'm pretty sure that I've been watching one of my old friends slowly lose her mind via Facebook posts.

No, I'm not talking about you.

Really! I'm not.

She and I were never really close friends, but closer than acquaintances, and I hadn't heard from her in about 6 years. A few months ago I got a Facebook friend request from her and I accepted.

And for quite awhile her posts were fairly normal. If ever they were strange, I chalked it up to the fact that English wasn't her first language, and she didn't live among Americans until she was an adult. I figured something just got lost in translation.

But then...then they got crazy.

She's an artist--a rather talented one--and she changed her profile picture to a portrait of herself and her new boyfriend that she'd painted. In it, she's wearing a long, princess-like gown and a tiara and he's topless and wearing black jeans, and is pulling her to his pasty-white torso. Oh, and they have this halo thing surrounding both their heads. And it's so freaking disturbing I had nightmares about it kind of creepy.

Then she started posting things that were supposed to be amazing connections (you know, like all the things JFK and Abraham Lincoln had in common), except there were no actual connections. Just weird things she made up. For example, she shared the "amazing" fact that the word American was derived from the phrase A Mary Can, which, hello, must mean Mary, Jesus' mother! And therefore that proves America is God's chosen land.

And then a couple of weeks ago she posted on a mutual friend's wall that she wanted to share a secret. Her new boyfriend was really God and she was really Mary, and he had come to dwell within her forever. Isn't that the most special and amazing thing? (That last line is an exact quote.)

Whaa? Huhh? Well, maybe that explains the painting?

Then over the past week she's posted a couple of random, profanity laced, rants.

And I kind of want to block her, but part of me wants to see what crazy thing she'll post next.

(And before I get hate mail, I DID send her a private message AND an e-mail asking if she was doing O.K. or needed anything, but she never responded. And I don't have an address or phone number.)

What would you do, internets?

And no, I'm not posting the painting. I'm not!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fire Safety Week: Apparently a lot like Shark Week.

So, this week has been Fire Safety Week at Liam and Amelia's elementary school.

In Georgia, they made it fun. Liam would come home with plastic fire hats, coloring books, and we'd have to listen to him lecture us about what to do in a fire for about two weeks afterward. "Mom, if there's a fire, DON'T hide in the closet!" "If there's a fire and you can't get out of your room, stand by the window." "If there's a fire, we should all meet across the street where the bus picks us up." "Sometimes firemen look scary in their uniforms, but they're our friends." "Stop drop and roll! Stop drop and roll! STOP DROP AND ROLL!!!!"

Apparently Tennessee takes the scare-the-bejeebers-out-of-them approach to fire safety.

I don't know what they've done this week, but in addition to coloring books, fire hats and stop drop and roll, Liam and Amelia have also been waking up screaming and terrified because of fire nightmares.

Tonight I discovered that Liam had taken his water bottle to bed with him so he could put out fires.

During bedtime prayers, they've both been fervently praying that they will not die in a fire. And that "mommy will remember to replace the batteries in our smoke detectors. Amen."

Yesterday they came in from playing and I'd lit a scented candle. They completely freaked out. Didn't I know that candles start house fires? Hello, mom, do you want us to die of smoke inhalation?

I just heard Amelia sobbing in bed and when I asked her what the problem was she said, "We don't have a rope ladder, so if a fire blocked the stairs WE'D ALL DIE. "

So, thanks Tennessee. I totally needed my kids to develop an unnatural anxiety about death by fire this week. Super awesome.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good things about Will being gone for two weeks:

1. It takes 2 seconds to make the bed.

2. I cook one dinner and it's enough to feed us for two nights.

3. Way less laundry.

4. I don't have to fumble around trying to get dressed in the dark in the morning because he's still asleep.

5. I'm watching old Brat Pack movies and/or America's Next Top Model every night that he's gone.

6. No obligation to make potatoes with dinner.

7. No one yelling "shut the door! I'm freezing" from the shower if I go in to brush my teeth.

8. I haven't had to hear a single story about cars or computers.

9. I broke out the "girly" soap for the shower.

10. The house has stayed clean.

The Bad things about Will being gone for two weeks:

1. Tag team parenting doesn't work with just one parent.

2. Ummm....

3. Yeah, so I guess that's the only bad thing.

The Ugly Things about Will being gone for two weeks:

1. I haven't (and likely won't) shave my legs.

2. Who needs make up when you don't leave the house for days at a time?

3. I've got big plans for a homemade avocado and yogurt skin and hair treatment this week.

4. I've been exercising in my underwear. In the garage. Yeah, take that mental picture to bed with you tonight.

5. Yoga pants and slippers, all day every day.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Guaranteed, or your money back!

(So, umm, this will be much more entertaining if you read it with the voice of Billy Mays.)

Are you tired of healthy kids?

Do you just not have enough laundry to do?

Have you not spent enough money on Childrens Tylenol and Gatorade this year?

Well, you've come to the right place, folks, because I have discovered the secret formula to ensuring that at least one of your kids will become violently ill!

Now, I know what you're thinking. "Brandi, how much is this secret going to cost?"

Absolutely nothing! I'm so sure that this formula will work that I'm offering it at no cost to you!

I know, crazy!

First, wash your child's bedding. All of it. This will ensure that your child will vomit all over it within 12 hours.

Second, send your spouse out of town. If possible, out of state, or even better yet--out of the country! And the longer the better. This will ensure that your child will develop an extremely high fever, and you'll be out of fever reducer (and probably milk and toilet paper), leaving you no choice but to load your sick child up in the car and drag them to the store for Tylenol. And milk. And toilet paper. Also, as a bonus, your spouse being gone will likely result in your child eventually needing to go to the ER.

Third, load your sick child in the car and drag them to the store for Tylenol. And milk. And toilet paper. This will ensure that your child will puke all over your vehicle.

Fourth, make plans for a relaxing, enjoyable day of alone time. This will ensure that your child will be sick, and whiny and extremely clingy and needy.

Fifth, steam your carpets. Like number one, it will ensure that your child will vomit all over them (and it will probably be chocolate or fruit punch vomit) within 12 hours.

There you have it! Guaranteed to work or your money back!

(Yes, Will left for Texas for two weeks this morning. Yes, Amelia got violently ill. Yes, I washed her bedding yesterday and she puked all over it at 3:00 this morning. Yes, I had to drag her out to the store for Tylenol. And milk. And Toilet paper. And she puked all over the van. Yes, I had planned to relax and read all day today. And I really had planned to steam my carpets tonight, but at this point it would just be tempting fate. I'll wait until the plague has passed.)