Monday, October 31, 2011

Remember That Time In College When Your Apartment Was On Fire, Except Not Really, But No One Would Believe You Anyways, Because You Were Dressed As A Mad Scientist? No? Me Either.

In college, my two roommates and I rented an apartment on the main drag of our college town.

Halloween in my college town has always been a spectacle.  Basically thousands of people from all over the state, and even out of state, dress up in outrageous costumes and go galavanting up and down the main pedestrian mall until they’re too drunk or too cold to feel their own feet.

Having participated in this event the previous three years, I knew better than to go outside.  Not because of the crowds.  Not because of the debauchery.  Because October in Wisconsin is FREEZING, especially when you are trying to parade around dressed as a “sexy vampire” or “sexy butterfly” or whatever they were trying to sell college girls that year.  

Nope.  Our awesome apartment looked right over the pedestrian mall, so we could watch the reverie and drink all the beer we wanted, without having to leave our warm apartment or wait in line.  

Now, we were still in costume (it was Halloween, after all.)  I was a car-crash victim, since it meant I could still wear a sweatshirt and yoga pants.  All I had to do was smear on some fake blood, and make my face look dead(er) using makeup I already owned.  Who knew all that purple eyeshadow would come in handy?

My roommate, Eunice, was a great deal more creative than I. She dressed as a mad-scientist.  She got her hands on a lab coat and safety goggles, and used black makeup to make it look like something just blew up in her face.   I’m not sure if my other roommate dressed up.  I’m pretty sure Husband (then Boyfriend) didn’t.  

The evening was quiet.  Once or twice we had people ring the doorbell, asking to get into the party.  We loudly informed them that there was no party at our place (4 or so people do not a party make), but maybe check the apartment across the hall from us, as they were having their own celebration with a number of guests. 

For some reason (I don’t remember why), around midnight, I opened our door to see the hallway FULL of smoke.  You couldn’t see the front door.  My roommates, boyfriend and I decided it was in our best interests to leave.  Actually, I may have hollered at them something along the lines of “HOLY CRAP, OUR HALLWAY IS ON FIRE!” and forced them out the door.  The tenants across the hall were also trying to escape.  

As we walked down the steps leading to the front door, we started stumbling and falling over one another.  For some reason the carpeting on the stairs was ripped out and pulled up.  We all spilled out into the mob outside our front door. 

Several of the tenants called 911.  Actually, I think I probably hollered something along the lines of “CALL 911!  QUICK! DO IT NOW!”  Apparently I become loud and bossy during a crisis, instead of actually doing anything myself.

Luckily, there was a noticeable police presence that night, trying to control the horde of partyers, so Eunice, the mad scientist, went to find one.  It didn’t take her long.

“Sir!” she said, “Our apartment is on fire!  Please come help!”  He took a look at her.  With a lab coat.  Covered in (fake) soot.  With her hair sticking straight up.

“Yeah right,” he replied.

I’m pretty sure at that moment Eunice’s brain exploded.  But she did drag the officer to our building.  At that point, the firefighters also showed up, and headed in the building. 

There was no fire.

Turns out some one (probably one of the persons turned away from the party that didn’t exist) broke in through the back door, tore up all the carpeting and sprayed several fire extinguishers into the hall, creating the “smoke” that sent us all catapulting out of the building.


Apparently, landlords don’t like to have to account for their tenants’ unnecessary 911 calls at midnight on the craziest night of the year.  Though she was MAD, our landlady was ultimately a good soul and didn’t hold the nights events too much against us.

Lesson learned: It’s better to go bar-hopping on Halloween than it is to stay at home.  

Friday, October 28, 2011

30 Million Day Blog Challenge #4: A Habit I Wish I Didn't Have

A habit I wish I didn't have?  Oh, dear. I'm doing it right now, though I didn't even realize it.

Twirling my hair.

I hate this habit.  It makes me look vapid, and if there's one thing I can't stand is when otherwise smart people act vapid.  OMG like totally.

I engage in this habit when I'm anxious about something, or deep in thought, so I often don't even realize I'm twirling my hair until some one (usually Husband) points it out.  It annoys him, too. 

It could be worse, though.  I could constantly sniffle, or clear my throat. That irritates every one.

Oh, wait. I do those things too.  At least during allergy season.

Pass a tissue.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm Probably Not Going To Add "Parenting Expert" On My Resume

This week's Monday Listicle challenge was to offer your very best parenting advice.  Now, I'm no parenting expert.  Quite the opposite, sometimes I feel like I can do nothing right.  But here are some things I've learned over the years, albeit the hard way:

1) You can trick your kids into thinking a whole-wheat Ritz cracker is actually a cookie by explaining that cookies, like Oreos, Chips Ahoy, and ... uh ... Ritz are CIRCLES.  Crackers are squares.  Or occasionally triangles. Duh.

2) One day your child will only eat an apple if it’s cut up in slices.  The next day your child will only eat an apple if it’s the whole apple.  Either way, you’ll guess wrong.

3) If your child sees a commercial for a toy, and says, “I want that!” keep in mind that this is only theoretical.  Once she actually owns the toy she will discard it after one afternoon of play.  Also, it will probably break.  All this will make you swear multiple times under your breath.

4) Despite the disappointment mentioned in number three, your purchase will be redeemed when the younger sibling plays with the toy more than the original owner.  This is because your sister’s toys are always more interesting than your own toys.

5) If you leave any sort of important paperwork on your desk, it WILL become a coloring paper.  Also, coloring with mom’s highlighters is always preferred over coloring with regular markers.

6) All pants will become accidental capris after one month of wear.

7) Cleaning poop out of a potty chair is just as gross as a poopy diaper.

8) Your child’s favorite book will be the longest one on the bookshelf by default.

9) Don’t give your child your cell phone to play with.  They will break it and/or lose it and/or delete all your contacts.  Don’t ask me how I know this.

10) Despite your best intentions, there will come a day when a fruit roll-up constitutes a real serving of fruit.

*     *     *

Thanks to Stasha and Cookie's Mom for the fun prompt!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

30 Million Day Blog Challenge #3: A picture of something you cannot live without.

A picture of something I cannot live without?  Well....

I'm a mother, so I think I'm obligated to say first and foremost, these:

And I'm a wife, so I think I'm also obligated to say, this:

But I'm also going to throw this in there:

And these:

Note: These are real jeans, NOT Pajama Jeans.

And this:

Ok, so I don't own an elephant.  But one can dream.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

No Sleep Makes Mama... Something... Something... Zzzzzzzz

Step...step....step....It’s two in the morning, and I’m plodding the hall in a twilight state of mind.  My youngest daughter lounges restless in my arms because, at two years old, she decided to stop sleeping through the night.  She graces us with her presence at least two or three times a night, demanding a sippy-cup full of milk, or some significant cuddling before falling asleep again.

I’m not sure how many more sleepless nights and painful mornings I can take. It’s like having an infant, but an infant who heretofore had been sleeping through the night for quite a while, weighs twenty-five pounds, and says “NO!”

We are at a loss as to what to do. We are reluctant to have her cry-it-out, since she shares a room with her sister.  We’ve contemplated having Preschooler sleep in a sleeping bag in our room, so she doesn’t wake up from the noise. But we’re afraid that she’ll start to prefer that arrangement, and then we’ll have another child refusing to sleep in her own bed at nighttime.

It is so frustrating.   One painfully sleepy morning, we took her to the doctor, hoping she had an ear infection.  At least if she had an ear infection, we’d know  WHY she wasn’t sleeping at night. No such luck.

On a possibly related note, she has also decided to stop eating.  Apparently she’s meeting her daily nutritional values by simply looking at her food.  We wonder if maybe she’s getting her two-year molars, but it’s to hard to tell when she clamps her jaw shut every time we try to look.  And her language skills aren’t good enough for her to simply tell us what’s wrong.

I know that as my kids get older, they’ll be able to better communicate their wants and needs.  I know that all this is happening, because she’s, well, two.  I know it’s a phase.

But it doesn’t always quiet the voice inside me that says, “Fix this.”  And my failure to do so, while unwarranted, still makes me feel like I’m simply floundering in a sea of incompetency.

So, step-step-step, I’ll continue my midnight strolls.

Because I love her.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

This Is Why Obituaries Rarely Include Puns

We gather here today, to mourn the loss of our beloved dining room chairs.  For six years they faithfully crowded before our dining table. But now I have no chairs left.  They have disappeared.  They have a new purpose in life. 

They stand in front of our buffet to prevent Toddler from opening each and every drawer like a poltergeist in pigtails.

They are used by Preschooler to construct blanket forts.  The chairs aren’t very good at this, as the blankets constantly fall down, requiring my assistance to set the fort back up again, and again, and again, until I go insane.

I use the chairs as a precarious step-stool to reach the highest shelves in our cupboards, despite the fact that we have a real step-stool in the closet. I’m like a lazy MacGyver.

And, actually, they do serve as chairs during meal-times, lest we all eat off tv trays on the sofa.

So maybe my chairs haven’t left me.  They’ve simply diversified.  They should put this on their resume, so that one day they may be chairmen the board. 


Sorry.  I promise I’ll never use a pun again.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hell Is Full Of Brimstone. And Hard-Water Stains. Probably.

I’ve mentioned before how I loathe cleaning bathrooms.  But I’ve got it down to a science.  The science of doing it wrong.  Observe:
  1. Bring toilet cleaner and all-purpose cleaner upstairs to the bathroom.
  2. Realize you left the paper towels downstairs.
  3. Trek all the way downstairs for the paper towels, and then back up to the bathroom.
  4. Realize you also left the toilet brush downstairs.
  5. Contemplate simply sticking your hands in the toilet and using paper towel to clean it.
  6. Realize this is a disgusting notion.
  7. Go back downstairs once more for the toilet brush, and back up again.
  8. Ponder that an organized person might keep all bathroom-cleaning supplies upstairs in the bathroom.
  9. Lament that I’m not that organized.
  10. Put toilet cleaner in the toilet bowl, and let it sit to do its work.
  11. Start scrubbing toothpaste stains out of the sink.
  12. Realize you forgot to brush your teeth that morning.
  13. Brush your teeth.
  14. Start scrubbing the toilet, mercifully, with the toilet brush.
  15. Find out there are hard-water stains that won’t scrub away.
  16. Contemplate going to the store to buy hard-water stain remover.
  17. Decide that I can live with hard-water stains.
  18. Move on to the bathtub.
  19. Scrub  walls of the tub surround.
  20. Wonder how to clean the floor of the tub surround without getting wet.
  21. Roll up your pants legs and scrub the floor of the tub surround.
  22. The floor of the tub surround won’t come completely clean.
  23. Curse.
  24. Decide to sweep the bathroom floor.
  25. Go downstairs for the broom.
  26. Go back upstairs and sweep.
  27. Contemplate mopping, but the mop is downstairs.
  28. Curse. 
  29. Decide to skip mopping.
  30. Breathe a sigh of relief.  The hellish task is finally at an end.

There you have it. Cleaning the bathroom in 30 easy steps.

But in the future, I’m delegating this chore to Satan’s minions.  I’m sure they’ll thank me for it.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Garden Fail

I’ve always enjoyed gardening.  When I was a child, my parents always let me have a little garden of my own, to plant petunias, marigolds, and other plants hardy enough to withstand clumsy handling.  When I was 17 or 18, I moved on to planting some perennials, some of which survive to this day.

So now that I had a whole four square feet of land outside my front door, I was eager this summer to pull out the weeds, and replace them with flowers; my own take on urban beautification. But away from the influence of my parents’ green thumbs, this garden was a near failure.

My black-eyed susans never bloomed.  My coneflowers were eaten by rabbits.  My salvia (no, not the hallucinogenic kind) grew all wonky, instead of straight and tall.  The pre-existing bleeding hearts withered away and died.

The only thing to flourish?  Potted petunias.

I guess I’m back to square one.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Just Share, Dammit!

I’m an expert share-er.  What’s yours is mine, what’s mine is yours.  When I was in college, my roommates and I would go grocery shopping, then split the bill three ways, rather than having our own personal boxes of crackers, cartons of milk, packages of ramen noodles, etc.  In retrospect that was a really bizarre arrangement. 

Because sharing comes so naturally, I foster that attitude with my kids, since as of now they’re too young to rebel.  With a few notable exceptions, all toys are everyone’s toys.  All books are everyone’s books.  However, they must take turns, and not just snatch away Malibu Barbie when her sister clearly has it bandaged up in what I can only resume is some sort of Civil War battlefield reenactment. And as of late, this has been the sticking point.

For example, Preschooler will be playing with something, and Toddler will come by and just pilfer the toy from Preschooler.  Preschooler’s reaction is not to steal the toy back, but to run to me crying about her lost toy.   Usually I help her out by taking the toy from Toddler and giving it back to Preschooler, while admonishing, “We don’t take toys from our sister.” But there have been times when I’ve been too busy to interfere, and simply called out to Preschooler, “JUST TAKE THE TOY BACK FROM HER!” I’m an awesome parent like that.  

It works both ways, though. Toddler will be playing with a toy, and Preschooler, who hitherto had no interest in the toy, will purloin the toy from Toddler’s grasp because, “I want to play with it.”  Then I have to return the toy to its rightful owner with a warning, “WE TAKE TURNS IN THIS HOUSE.”

I’m thinking my next job after this stay-at-home gig should be international peace negotiator. At this rate, I’ll surely have enough experience.

Monday, October 3, 2011

UPDATE: It's The End Of The Summer As We Know It

My favorite season of all is autumn, mostly because it heralds the end of summer’s scorching heat.

This is why I hate summer.

I absolutely wilt in the summer.  It's like my body does the opposite of surviving, as payment for my ongoing desire to DO THINGS. For example,  I fainted at least once during both of my pregnancies, each time in the zenith of summer.

I do believe I have the vapors.

Basically all I can do in the summer is stand around sweating, which sabotages my efforts to DO THINGS.

So now that the weather has cooled down for a little bit, I’m renewed with energy to DO THINGS.  I’m recommitted to keeping my house tidy.  I’m slowly and painfully teaching myself how to bake.  And now that it’s cooled to the 60’s, I’m dragging my kids outside to play every day.  I say “dragging” because despite the fact that it has finally cooled down a bit,  all they want to do is stay indoors and wrestle each other.

The stupid thing is, when it was 80+ degrees out, they wanted nothing but to play outside, while I sweated and shook an angry fist at the sun, a sun that mocked me mercilessly.  It doesn’t help that I have alabaster skin, so instead of tanning I just sort of pink.  

Still,the leaves are turning colors.  The cranes, ducks, and geese have gathered to flock. And even though the temperatures are still on the low 70’s, I feel justified in wearing long sleeves.

Hello, autumn. It has been too long.

UPDATE: I spoke too soon.  It will be unseasonably warm for the next 10 days.  Stupid karma.