Happy Leap Day!

feb29

February 29.  That special day that occurs once every four years, made up of all the leftover time from other years.  Because it takes the Earth slightly more than 365 days to revolve around the sun, the spare time is put in a Styrofoam takeout box each year.  On the fourth year, there is enough leftover time to make a full day — LEAP DAY!

So, how does one celebrate Leap Day?  I honestly don’t know.  Are there any special traditions?  Fireworks?  Leap Day Tree?  A celebratory Leap Day Meal?  What would one serve at such a meal?  Frog legs?  (Not in this house, thank-you-very-much,)  I suppose one could go around leaping all day.  However, not being a rabbit, kangaroo, toad, frog, lemur, or other leaping/hopping species, this does not appeal to me.

There is one group of people who will surely be celebrating today.  Happy Birthday to all the Leap Day babies!  My daughter’s bestie is celebrating her third birthday!  Even though she is twelve years old.  I have another friend whose son was born on leap day.  Once when he was a teenager, the mother and son were arguing.  She told him to act his age.  He snapped back, “I am.  I’m THREE!”

How ever you choose to observe this day, be thankful that it exists.  If not, it would be a plain, old, regular Monday, and that would stink.

 

 

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Hmmm…

I…have…become……..a hummer.

Sigh.  There.  I said it out loud.  I admit it, to myself and the world.  I am a hummer.  (Meaning a person who hums, not the GM built, military, vehicle.)

I have become one of those people who subconsciously hums.  Have you ever been somewhere and heard random humming?  And it’s annoying?  That’s me.  I am that annoying person.  But I don’t want to be.

When I think of people who hum to themselves, I think of a little, old, senile lady, sitting in her rocking chair, stroking her cat, humming an eerily sweet tune.  (The cat, by the way, is dead and stuffed.  Her well-meaning nephew never told his elderly aunt that the cat died, but rather took it to a taxidermist and she never knew the difference.)

Do you know who else hums?  Ax murderers.  Ax murderers hum.  OK, I don’t think I have ever met an ax murderer (or have I?), but I have an image of a psychotic man hunched over a grinder, sharpening his ax, fixated on his next victim, all the while HUMMING!

And that weird philosophy professor from college!  He hummed!

See why I am ashamed to admit to myself that I hum?  I don’t want to be counted among these type of people.

I have a couple of theories.  I used to sing a lot.  Sometimes, that can annoy people.  Perhaps, I tried to quit my singing habit, but the music just couldn’t be silenced and came out as humming.  Or maybe, because of my poor memory and inability to properly remember the lyrics, I just started humming.  I can’t remember why or when it happened, but I became a hummer.

I vow, to try to curtail my annoying humming, and let it out only when I am alone.  However, if you are in the grocery store and hear an irritating, wordless tune and find that it is coming from me, please give me a subtle nudge of the elbow so I can come to my senses and censor myself.

And please don’t worry, friends.  I own neither an ax, nor a cat.

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Our Children, Our Fashion Consultants

A few week ago, we followed a young family into church.  Mom, Dad, and two young boys.  The mom was well-dressed in an attractive blue dress, heels, etc.  I didn’t see her face, but I’m sure if I would have, her make-up and hair would have been nicely done, too.  Completing her ensemble was a green, furry backpack in the shape of Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc. slung over her shoulder.  Now, I can’t be 100% sure, but I doubt that was her choice of accessory.  I’m sure it belonged to one of her son’s.

Mike-Wazowski

Oh, the things we parents do for our children!  How many of us have gotten an odd look or two while walking around carrying our child’s beloved blanky or stuffed animal (while the child is nowhere to be seen)?  How about a burp cloth, casually slung over our shoulder?  I remember walking through Stuff Mart with a big, gold glittery bow in my hair courtesy of my preschooler.  She had been playing with my hair earlier and I forgot it was there until I got to the car and glanced in the rear-view mirror.  Believe me, it looked much better on her for her dance recital than it did on me.

To those new to the parenting scene, it can be embarrassing.  However, those days soon fade away and turn into an I-don’t-care attitude.  One day I ran into a friend while running errands.  The top of her shirt was covered in stickers.  When I pointed it out she shrugged it off.  “Oh, yeah.  My daughter was sitting on my lap and putting stickers on me.”  and continued on with our conversation.  This mom obviously didn’t care that her chest was full of brightly colored cartoon characters.  She and her daughter had shared a special one-on-one moment (hours before) and this was the result.  Why should she be embarrassed by that?

That encounter with my friend helped me change my perspective on such occurrences, and I often need to reflect back on it to remind me of what is truly important.  Just today, if you were at the grocery store, you would have seen me donning a cheap strand of beads my daughter won playing a carnival game.  Did I think it was the best way to accessorize my outfit?  Was this shiny, plastic necklace the best compliment to my green t-shirt and blue jeans?  No, but the smile on my little girls face as she draped it around my neck put a smile on my face, and I’m sure that improved my look a hundred-fold.

 

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His vs. Hers

The other morning, I was supposed to meet a friend when she called to say she would be late.

“My son left his girdle at home so I need to take it to school,” she explained.  “He needs it because they have a game today.”

Inferring that it had something to do with football, I asked her to explain it to me when we finally met up.  “It’s like spandex shorts with padding on the thighs and hips.  Football players wear it under their uniform for protection.”

Hmm…interesting.  Football players wear girdles to pad the hips and thighs.  Ladies wear girdles to minimize those areas.  I guess that’s why there aren’t many women playing football.

his girdle

his girdle

her girdle

her girdle

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What’s in Your Purse?

When I was a very young girl, apparently I was very fond for purses.  I really don’t recall, but my mother tells stories of how I would beg my daddy for a new purse, and not being able to tell his baby girl no, he would buy it for me.  Mom would get a bit miffed because I would often have toy purses which cost more than hers.  As an adult, I am no longer a collector of cute handbags.  I don’t care if my handbag matches my shoes.  My preference is function over form and I use a purse until it falls apart.

What spurred this trip down memory lane? The other night, my own little girl came into my room with a purse she got for her birthday and eagerly wanted to show me everything that was in it.  I’m not sure if this impromptu show-and-tell was initiated by a true, deep desire for her to bond with me as mother and daughter, or woman to woman, or if it was merely a 7-year old’s tactic of stalling at bedtime, but I let her empty her purse on my bed.

Katherine's purse

As I sat and listened to her pull out her treasures one-by-one, I couldn’t help but reminisce that these were the same types of objects that I found of value at her age.

Katherine's stuff

If you look closely, you will find:

  • little keys
  • a crown charm
  • a heart-shaped pencil sharpener
  • a toy seal
  • lip gloss
  • a smiley-face eraser
  • hand lotion
  • a shoe string
  • a bouncy ball
  • a marble
  • notecards with envelopes
  • a yellow eraser
  • a hair tie
  • a hair clip
  • an owl pin
  • two plastic flower leis
  • a die

Oh, how times have changed!  Instead of being happy about Abe Lincoln’s image on a coin, I prefer it on a bill.  I don’t have a marble in my purse.  I lost all my marbles long ago.  The precious little do-dads of childhood have now been replaced by the needs of a (somewhat) mature, responsible 45-year old woman.

Mom's stuff

I thought it would be interesting to compare the contents of the Princess’s purse and my purse.  My purse contains:

  • hand lotion from a hotel
  • feminine hygiene products
  • a wallet
  • hair ties and bobby pins
  • lipstick
  • a nail file
  • a tag ripped from some article of clothing
  • a souvenir magnet from our summer vacation
  • breath mints
  • back-to-school lists (school started about 6 weeks ago)
  • miscellaneous crumpled receipts
  • an empty prescription bottle
  • spare change
  • a container of cuticle cream (I’ve been looking for that!)
  • a rosary
  • ink pens
  • bandages
  • keys
  • appointment cards
  • a used, waded up tissue (I’m not even sure who used it)

Her stuff is fun.  Mine is practical (mostly).  I suppose that’s the way its supposed to be.  If a kid comes to me with a boo-boo, it’s better to be able to offer a bandage than an eraser.  I can’t pay for groceries with plastic leis (although I have never tried).  The keys in her purse won’t work in my van.

Thank you, Princess, for the trip down memory lane.  Enjoy this season of your life while your purse contents are whimsical and carefree.  Boring wallets and appointment cards will be here before you know it.

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Mommy vs. the Toilet

It was an ordinary day of cleaning in my attempt to get to house under control.  Things were going as expected:  I was working hard, the children, not so much.  But there was a sense of accomplishment in the air.  Dirt and germs were under attack and I was winning the war, baby.

Until I started cleaning the toilet.

I have cleaned this toilet many, many times and never had a problem.  Until now.  It started as a normal, toilet-cleaning experience.  Blue clingy stuff was squirted and sliding down the inside of the bowl.  The toilet brush was in hand, ready for action.  I attacked.  Scrub, scrub, scrub.  Swish, swish, swish.  But there was some stubborn staining on the very bottom, right where the water flushes out.  Toilet-cleaning had been passed on to the kids lately and this area apparently hadn’t received as much attention as it should have.  This, I thought, needed some extra toughness and scrubbing.

I launched at the aforementioned trouble spot with a vengeance.  This toilet was going get clean.  Maybe I was putting a bit too much elbow grease into it.  Maybe it was the awkward angle of scrubbing.  Maybe it was the poor quality of the toilet brush construction.  Whatever the cause, whatever the reason, the bristle head of the toilet bowl brush lodged in the hole and the handle broke off.

My mood was already a bit grumpy due to lack of enthusiasm from the kids about participating in this cleaning day.  Now, to see part of the toilet brush stuck in the toilet really pissed me off (excuse the pun).

Even though I had mostly cleaned the toilet and flushed it a time or two, there was still the ick-factor at the thought of sticking my hand in the toilet.  I shoved those thoughts aside and plunged my hand into the clear water to retrieve the head of the toilet bowl brush.  Or, should I say, to ATTEMPT to retrieve the head of the toilet bowl brush.  That sucker was stuck in there and not budging.  Still holding the empty handle in my other hand, I decided to use it to pry the stuck object .  I only succeeded in pushing it further into the drain.  In fact, I pushed it so far down that I could no long see the blue and white bristles.

The head of the toilet bowl brush was lodged so far into the toilet, it couldn't be see.

The head of the toilet bowl brush was lodged so far into the toilet, it couldn’t be seen.

CRAP!  (Yes, pun intended again.)  Now I started to panic.  How was I going to get this thing out?  Would I have to hire a plumber to fix this?

Closing the bathroom door behind me, I sternly announce to the children to NOT, under any circumstances use the toilet.  Being a one-bathroom household, I feared someone going in there, doing his/her business, and not being able to flush the contents down, making this task even less pleasant (to say the least).

I went to the kitchen then returned to bathroom with something I hoped would help me extract the stuck toilet bowl brush from the toilet:  grill tongs.  Frankly, I couldn’t remember the last time we actually used them so I didn’t mind so much sticking them in the toilet.  Surely, I thought, this would do the trick. The long handle, the pinching action of the tongs… I was already congratulating myself for this brilliant idea before I even walked through the bathroom door.  The premature celebration turned sour as soon as the tongs touched the toilet water.  The handle was too long and I couldn’t maneuver the tongs through the turn at the bottom of the toilet bowl.

The grill tongs failed at retrieving the toilet brush head.

The grill tongs failed at retrieving the toilet brush head.

Grrrrrr…..

OK, time for a new plan.  Again, I left the bathroom and sternly announced to the children to NOT use the toilet.  They could tell by looking at me that I was serious.  My face was sweaty and flushed (yep, I had to put in another pun) and my eyes were wild with frustration and anger.  The tone I my voice told them I meant business.

After a trip to the garage to fetch some pliers from my husband’s toolbox, I went back to the toilet with a new resolve.  Surely, this HAD to work.  And it did!  Not as easily as I expected, as it took several tries to dislodge the stuck toilet bowl brush.  Oh, what a triumphant moment when I pulled those dripping wet bristles from the water!  Once again, I congratulated myself, this time it was well-earned.  The best part about the ordeal?  The toilet bowl got really clean, even in those hard to reach places!

Success!

Success!

 

The pliers taking a sanitizing alcohol bath after unclogging the toilet.

The pliers taking a sanitizing alcohol bath after unclogging the toilet.

 

Several hours later, I was relaxing, telling my husband about my toilet war.  I was proud of myself for not giving up when the problem arose.  I kept working at it, solved the problem, and now had a nice, clean, toilet.  The sense of satisfaction I felt for seeing the job through to completion was broken when the Princess came in to see me.

“Mom…” she said timidly with legs crossed.  “Can I use the bathroom now?”  Oops.  I guess I forgot to tell the kids the bathroom was back in business.

The Evil Toilet Brush in its two parts.

The Evil Toilet Brush in its two parts.

 

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My Phone Doesn’t Swim

As I was making dinner the other evening, the Princess came in carrying my cell phone.

“Mom, you need a new phone.  I was using it to watch Underdog in the bathroom and I dropped it in the toilet.  What should I do with it?”

Ugh.  My head started spinning with thoughts of a dead cell phone, all the while, adding ingredients to this-and-that and stirring whatever was on the stove.  “Um…just put it on the table.” I said distractedly.  And she did.

It wasn’t until a moment later that the thought hit me…was the water in the toilet clean or did the phone fall in pre-flush.  After consulting with my daughter, my worst fears were confirmed.  The phone fell into contaminated toilet water and now sat on my kitchen table.

“Oh…”  was all I could say.

After taking care of the cooking meal to insure the house didn’t catch on fire, I did what any normal woman would do.  I posted about it on Facebook.

I have often heard that when a cell phone gets submerged in water you should put it in a bag of rice to dry it out, so I did.  But that still didn’t ease my mind about the fact that my phone had been in unclean water.  I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to touch it again with my hands, let alone have my face against it.  My Facebook friends (when they were done laughing) were generous with suggestions on how to get the phone dry, but none offered suggestions of how to decontaminate the phone.

After the rice immersion, a wiping down with a Clorox cloth and a couple of days of charging, I have determined the phone to be dead.  Although, I wonder if there is something more than moisture being the demise of my cellular connective device.  As I was reinstalling the battery, I noticed rice stuck in the innards of my phone.  I was able to use a toothpick and pry out the rice I could see, but I wondered if I got it all.  Could a rogue grain of rice and/or rice dust have infiltrated the inner workings of my phone and been the real cause of death?  I recently heard that if Abraham Lincoln had been shot today, modern medicine could have easily saved him.  His death, most likely, occurred because the doctor who treated him stuck his finger in the head wound and fished around for the bullet, but that was the best way he knew to treat the situation.  Could this rice remedy be the doctor’s finger to my phone?  This was the only way I knew to treat the situation, but it ended up being the dead.

Or maybe it was the water.  Or maybe it hit the porcelain potty too hard.  I guess I’ll never know.  What I do know is that I won’t be putting that icky thing against my face.

The Princess was right.  Mom needs a new phone!  And it won’t be used in the bathroom by a seven year-old.

 

 

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Happy Monday

It started out as one of those mornings.  Busier than usual.  It was picture day for the two oldest kids so there was extra activity.

Mom, the hair stylist:  “Mom, will you help me with my hair?”  I expected this, as it is a common request.

Mom, the fashion police:  “What are you going to wear, son?”

“The clothes I wore to church yesterday.”

“You mean the ones wadded up in the dirty clothes?”

“Oh…I guess not…:

(Being somewhat fashionably challenged, although, he is getting better, I don’t mind helping pick out another shirt.)

Mom, the bill payer:  “Can someone bring me the laptop so I can pay for the school pictures online?”

Mom, the nurturer:  “Mommy, I can’t go to school.  I have the hiccups and it makes my throat hurt.”  (hug, hug, kiss, etc.)

Mom, the realist:  “You’ll be fine.  Just go drink a big glass of water.  If it still hurts, we can give you some Tylenol.”

Mom, the supporter:  “Mom, the choir fundraiser is due today and I only need to sell one more thing to meet my quota.”  (*sigh*…I was just thinking to myself how I really, really needed some overpriced cookie dough.)

Mom, the pet owner:  “Somebody, please let the dog out before he has an accident.”

Mom, the taxi driver:  “Load up!  Time to go!  We don’t want to be late!  Hurry up!”

And we were off.  Everyone was dropped of at school on time, with instructions to smile pretty for the camera and to have a great day.  The quietness of the empty van was broken by a big, long sigh.  As I drove home, I reflected on how blessed I am.  Sure, it was another busy, crazy morning (like happens in many houses) and I am thankful for those who make it so, but I was looking forward to just going home and collapsing for a bit and having a few moments of alone time before I started on the housework.

However. upon opening the door to the house, I was reminded of one more little blessing waiting for me, running in circles, wagging his little nubbin of a tail.  I still collapsed on the couch for a few moments, but I wasn’t alone.  Mr. K was soon crawling over me covering my face in doggy kisses.  Not how I anticipated spending this time, but I enjoyed it.  Until I got a dog tongue up my nose.

Now it’s time to get working.  What are your Monday plans?

 

Mom & Mr. K

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A Computer Warning

Recently, some important-sounding organization, governmental agency, and/or university study released this statement:

WARNING:  COMPUTERS ARE THE LEADING CAUSE OF COMPUTER WOE.

I apologize for not being able to recite the exact quotation, nor attribute it to the correct author (OK, it was me), but I seriously believe this.  With all the fiber of my being, I believe that the majority of my computer issues, frustrations, and cursing would cease if we didn’t have computers in the house.  Just like parenting would be much easier if it weren’t for these darn kids.

The latest hair-pulling situation comes courtesy of our dilapidated laptop-turned-desktop.  This poor laptop computer had been abused so much (carried around open) that the hinge went bad and now is in a permanently open position on a desk, NEVER to be moved (or you may result physically harmed) thus rendering it now a desktop computer.  This poor, lowly, beat-up computer wants nothing more than to please its people, but, alas, it is having recharging issues.  Despite being plugged in and having plenty of time with Thomas Edison Juice, it just went kaput.  RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF A GILMORE GIRLS MARATHON!  Given the precious nature of its use, I suspect sabotage.  Someone doesn’t want me lounging about watching Netflix when I should could be doing dishes, laundry, mowing, etc., etc., etc.

Another problem with laptops is that they are mobile.  I went in search of another laptop so I could finish watching my Gilmore Girls episode but I couldn’t find it.  I tried looking in the usual locations — the boys’ room, the girls’ room — to no avail.  Maybe one of them hid it, which has happened before.  By hiding the computer, they think they can then have priority when they get home.  Silly, silly children.  Have you forgotten our no-screens after school rule?  Now, dear children, you are just frustrating your mother, which is NOT good.  Unless…maybe they are the saboteurs, thinking that if Mom doesn’t have access to computers they will have a homemade meal!

Well, well, little devious offspring, I have two words for you:  Kindle & cellphone.  Ha ha!  You can’t keep me from my technology addiction!  I still have ways to Facebook and stuff!  In fact, I am going to go crush some candy right now!  And as for dinner tonight….PB&J!  Again!!!!!

Computers may cause woe, but there are ways to deal with it.

 

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Come Back, Summer!

y kids have been back in school for a week.  Their first day was August 5.  That is waaaayyy too early, in my opinionand the opinions of many others)  It seems like they just got out for the summer, yet, here they go again.

I know the perception of summer vacation being too short is not new, especially among students (and teachers)  We didn’t get to do this and that!  We didn’t get to go there!  We won’t be able to sleep in anymore.  Etc., etc., etc.

This year in particular, I am sad to see the kids go back to school.  Why?  BECAUSE THEY ALL GOT ALONG!  Yes, for some odd, yet welcome reason that I cannot explain, my children got along very well this summer.  Fighting, bickering, and yelling were kept to a minimum.  They did things with each other both in the house and out of the house.  They went to see movies together.  VOLUNTARILY!  I dared not speak aloud of this curious turn of events for fear I would jinx the calmness and serenity that had come over our home.  Not every moment was peaceful, but overall I was pleasantly surprised.

However, school has started.  The early morning rush and fight for the one-and-only bathroom in our house has taken its toll and tempers have risen, along with voices.  Fingers have been pointed and blame has been placed followed by retaliating words and glares.  Hopefully, we can work through this within the next few weeks and get back to the harmonious days of summer.  At least before all the extra-curriculars start.

 

 

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