Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The All New Adventures of Mr. T

Another "new" Mr. T!

The All-New Adventures of Mr. T


Mr T Cartoon intro

Mr. T! Ahhhh, Mr. T!

Driving through Death, Mr. T and Hitler Cats

I'm back in Nashville at my mother's house after my long weekend with my college friends in St. Louis. We all came in from various parts of the country (NYC, San Diego, San Francisco, Philadelphia) and stayed together at my friend Julie's place in one of our yearly get-together.

I drove up from Nashville on Friday morning, and as I drove through southern Illinois, I was hit by a monster thunderstorm with tornado warnings. I had rented a car that, unfortunately for me, did not have a CD player, so I was forced to listen to the radio for the 5 hour drive. One good thing about the radio, besides hearing those forgotten but loved hits of the 70s, 80s, and "whatever else we want to play," was that the radio also warned me that I was driving through tornados and to find shelter immediately. That's very comforting to hear when you are in the middle of nowhere, with cornfields on either side of the highway. I had lost ability to see the road anyway by that point, as the rain and hail were being blown sideways by the 40 mph winds, so got off at the next exit, which had no amenities to speak of. I drove for about a mile in one direction, looking for any sort of public building. I saw a few houses, but wasn't prepared to go knock on a stranger's door begging for shelter. I eyed the side of the road, wondering if staying in the car or going to lie in a ditch would be a better idea. I turned around in and drove back to the highway, and saw an overturned semi on the opposite side of the divided road. Comforting. The rain was still being blown sideways, and the tornado warnings coming on the radio every 60 seconds had indeed gotten through to me, and I was now literally shaking in fear. I saw the highway overpass, and parked as close to it as I could, behind and beside the other cars who had decided being under the bridge was the best way to ride out a storm in the middle of nowhere. After 30 minutes of intense rain and shaking, the storm passed and the rain slowed to a normal rate. I got back on the highway and drove west as quickly as I safely could, hoping the storms were moving east. I eventually stopped shaking as I got closer to Missouri and the sun appeared. I called my mother as soon as I was in cell phone range to relate my brush with death, and we agreed that next time I drove we should check the weather before-hand.

So, a few hours later, I am safely at Julie's house, having let myself in with the key she hid for me. I am reading the paper on her kitchen counter, when in strolls a beautiful black tuxedo cat who looks a lot like my own cat, Purrcy, who disappeared a few years ago. After a few minutes of watching me, Julie's cat jumps up on the table for me to pet him. I see on his tag that his name is Mr. T (later I found out this is short for Mr. Thibodeaux, Julie's Cajun card-playing alias from our college days of playing spades). So, after saying hello to Mr. T, I soon had the theme song from the animated cartoon in my head for the remainder of the weekend, as well as some of Mr. T's well-known phrases like, "I pity the fool."

When Julie and the rest of our college friends arrived from the airport, we quickly began catching up with each other, laughing, singing, and acting goofy (well, maybe I was the only one acting goofy!). But, get this, NONE of them knew the Mr. T theme song. Only a few even had a recollection that there had been an animated show featuring Mr. T. driving around in a bus with a multi-cultural group of gymnasts, as well as a dog with a T-matching Mohawk. Yeah, I know! Can you believe that this masterpiece of animation skipped their minds?

Just in case any of you have also never heard of this show or the amazingly catchy theme song, it is above, as well as some very funny parodies that appeared on SNL, I think.

Over our weekend of non-stop talking, eating, and laughing, we also had some times of just sitting around watching TV and reading magazines. This was good, too, because it introduced me to the highly entertaining "Pimp My Ride" and "Pants Off Dance Off." In this week's (or last week's) Entertainment Weekly, there was a website featured that posts pictures of cats that look like Hitler. The cat in the magazine was definitely Hitler's spitting image, if Hitler had been a cat. Hope for the sake of the poor cat (or maybe I should say the poor cat's owner) it doesn't have Hitler's personality as well! To see this cat, click on the "Unknown Kitler."

Off the corral my children. Did I mention how nice it was to sleep in and not have to worry about my kids for a few days?

Monday, July 17, 2006

More Deep Thoughts from the Junk Mail

As I scrolled through my spam this morning, this one struck me.

Shit happens. When we love - we grow. Timber! When you get lemons, make lemonade.(When life gives you scraps make quilts.) Shit happens. Walking on cloud nine. Tools of the trade. Water doesn't run uphill. The shoes on the other foot now. Sour as a green apple. Timber! Red as a beet. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.

So true! So cliche! So randomly generated! So grammatically challenged! I love the repetition of "shit happens" and "Timber!"

Time to meditate on the information above. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, indeed!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

More From Our Weekend Trip

Friday night, when we were all tired and ready for bed, in our tight quarters, MIL (Nana) read the boys books then attempted to put them to bed. The idea was that she and Hutton would sleep in the queen, and Harrison would sleep in the twin bed pushed up next to the queen. Harrison, however, had other ideas.

He screamed about wanting his crib, and was inconsolable. This wasn't good, as we were in a tiny cabin that shared a wall with another cabin, and I'm sure everyone at the resort could hear him. MIL walked him outside, which shockingly, did not calm him. I finally got up and got Harrison and brought him to bed with me and Hubby, and nursed him to sleep. He slept with us the rest of the trip.

I called this the nuclear option. Before the trip, Harrison had been semi-weaned. He hadn't nursed in 58 hours, and I was relieved. See, I didn't want to resume nursing Harrison to sleep, as we're going to visit my mom later this week, and I'm leaving the boys for the weekend alone with Mom. Needless to say, she can't nurse Harrison to sleep, and I was glad he had been able to go 58 hours without nursing, so I could rest assured that he would be OK without me for next weekend. But I wasn't willing to let him cry it out if it involved everyone else at the resort hearing this wailing for more than 2 minutes. Fortunately, now that we're home, he's back in his crib and Hubby put him down with no problems.

Saturday we woke early and walked to the creek that feeds Lake Crescent. We saw a deer out walking by the creek, which was very exciting for the boys. The deer seemed quite used to being around people, and didn't run off too quickly, so we all had a chance to see her before she finally crossed the creek and went off to forage on the other side.

After a tasty breakfast in the lodge, we got into the car for our first outing of the day. We drove out to Ruby Beach on the Pacific Coast of Washington, and it was very pretty. We hiked down a short trail from the parking lot, and climbed over several downed trees and logs that had been washed clean by the ocean. The beach was warm and sunny. After exploring a pool by a feeder creek leading to the ocean, the boys soon figured out the place to be was the wide expanse of wet, gray sand out past the many, many rocks. We all took our shoes off and had fun wading in the little tide pools, having our feet sucked under the sand, and running in and out of the surf. Hutton got in a little deep, and spent the later part of our trip in his tee shirt and wet underwear, as his shorts were soaked. I didn't know we were going to the beach when we left for the day, and if I had, I probably would have assumed it would be too cold to go in the water, so I didn't bring the boys' swimsuits. I didn't calculate children having no problem with cold water if it involves a beach!

After playing in the water, we sat out on the warm rocks and tried to stack the flatter rocks on top of each other.

When it was time to go -- around 1 pm, and we didn't have lunch with us -- Harrison threw a super tantrum, as he wanted us to know he'd been having fun and it was really not fair to ruin everything by leaving when he was having fun. Getting back to the car involved carrying a screaming, uncooperative child over several big logs piled on top of each other, which is difficult enough without the child when one is wearing sandals, as was the case. I eventually passed off the tantrummer to Hubby and took cooperative older child to the bathroom at the top of the trail in the parking lot. Tantrummer continued screaming for several miles after we left. He was finally able to stop when I tempted him with bunny crackers - the graham crackers shaped like rabbits. Unfortunately, since MIL was sitting next to Harrison, she wanted him to ask for the crackers with a "please." At that point, my headache was telling me I wanted to just shove the crackers in Harrison's mouth if it would make him stop screaming. I could not have cared less about rewarding his bad behavior with crackers. I just wanted him to be quiet.

But, he was, and we enjoyed a nice enough drive back to the lodge. After lunch, we hiked on a trail beside the lake, then took another trail to a nearby waterfall. Hutton was the leader the entire way of the 4 mile round trip! I was very impressed, as the climb to view the waterfall was steep. Harrison rode most of the waterfall hike on his daddy's shoulders, but wanted to climb the steps when we got to the view area as well.

After our hike, we decided to drive to Port Angeles for dinner. Our day had been so nice, and the boys both fell asleep on the drive. Unfortunately, this happy drive wasn't to last. Hutton woke up from his nap with a cough, and was very upset about something. We all found out what he was upset about in a moment when he threw up all over himself. That had never happened before. Hubby pulled over and we cleaned Hutton up with baby wipes, then I put him in a too-small Superman pajama shirt and red sweatpants that I found in Harrison's diaper bag. When we arrived at the restaurant for dinner, the waiter commented on Hutton's cool outfit. I didn't know if he was being sarcastic or not, but I figured he may have thought Hutton was one of those children who really like an outfit and continue wearing it long after they've outgrown it. I decided to let him think that rather than go into a long story about vomit. Never a good thing before eating. Hutton told us he wanted to eat, so we ordered him a corndog and he ate it, though he told us his stomach hurt. He didn't vomit again, though, thank goodness.

We saw another deer, a young buck, crossing the road as we drove up to the lodge, and then two more deer grazing in the field behind our cabin. We watched them for a few minutes, then went inside to get the boys in the bathtub.

At bedtime, Nana read the boys some books. Harrison wanted to nurse before bed again, and I obliged him. Shortly after Harrison and I had fallen asleep, I awoke to the sounds of Hutton grunting and rolling around in the bed next to ours, that he was sharing with Nana. The grunting was followed by a spine-chilling gurgling sound. I jumped out of bed and carried Hutton to the bathroom, but there was already a little trail of liquid non-refreshment on the floor and in the bed. Nana woke up soon after this and helped me get a still sleeping Hutton cleaned up and in a new diaper. After the second episode of trots around 3 am, Nana made Hutton a bed of towels on the bathroom floor. Poor little guy! Things were still iffy in the morning, so we decided to head home, after replenishing our diaper supply for the road.

We dropped Nana off at the Purple Haze Lavender Farm in Sequim to meet her friend, and Hubby and I joked as we drove by a small field of lavender that that was probably all the lavender the boys could take, anyway. Then we took the long way home through Tacoma, as Hubby didn't want to risk a long line for the ferries back to Seattle. Hutton drank a bottle of water in the car, and asked to stop to use the bathroom twice, but both times were just for pee, thank goodness. After lunch, he remained continent of bowel, and that continues to be the case, knock on wood.

So, all in all, the good times outnumbered the bad. Which is pretty impressive when you consider there were foul-smelling bodily fluids involved.

*I'll add pictures (none of bodily fluids, though) tomorrow when I bring my camera upstairs. Come on, people, I'm lazy!

Bless Her Heart

If you are from the South, or know people from the South, you may well be familiar with the phrase, "bless his/her/it's heart." Here's a little blurb on this if you don't know about this phenomenon.

Anyhoo, my MIL, bless her heart, came to visit last Wednesday, and I can handle her in small doses, but I think I rolled my eyes more this weekend than I have since her last visit. Picture me in the passenger seat of the car, Hubby driving, the boys in their carseats in the back, with MIL perched between them, rattling on about anything and everything. The most annoying thing is that MIL, bless her heart, tends to say something not particularly funny and will laugh afterwards, forcing her listeners to either roll their eyes silently, force out a slight chuckle, or say, "Mmmhmm" while rolling their eyes. Or maybe I'm the only one.

We spent a great deal of the day Friday and Saturday in the car in the above situation. Fortunately, today we dropped MIL off with her friend at the Lavender Festival and high-tailed it home (well, as much as you could call a 3 hour drive high-tailing it). We had a good excuse for not partaking in the Lavender Excitement, and I'll have to write another post about that. The point is, we spent a lot of time with MIL, and that was without the much-needed breather breaks I require from pointless chit-chat. Or maybe it's pointless chit-chat followed by laughing at everything. Oftentimes I wondered if we couldn't all just silently enjoy the beautiful scenery.

I know, I know. I'm a bad daughter-in-law. After all, my MIL came all the way to Seattle to see her son and grandsons, and paid a lot of money for us to stay at a lovely little cabin at a lovely lodge in a lovely national forest. Heck, she planted daylilies for me, and I would not be surprised if she has bought me lavender plants today as she and her friend from Florida traipsed around at the Lavender Festival. And no doubt, if she bought them, she'll gladly plant them. Plus, she is one of the sweetest women you could ever meet.

Bless my heart, I'm just a cynical bitch. That's cheating. I don't think one is allowed to bless oneself. One of you can use that phrase about me, though.

So Much To Say

I'll try to break this into manageable posts, but since I have a week's worth of information, this could get ugly!

Last Sunday, SIL & BIL and DOG arrived. We went out to dinner at a nearby brewery and ate outside to take advantage of the good weather. The next day, Hubby took the day off and we drove with SIL & BIL (DOG stayed home with our dogs) to Seattle. BIL hadn't been to Seattle, so we went and did the touristy stuff. We had lunch at the restaurant atop the Space Needle, which was nice. After lunch, we walked to the Pike Place Market. Hutton was quite the trooper, and made it nearly all the way without asking for a ride on anyone's back.

Tuesday morning, S, B & D left for Oregon, and we were back to the grind.

Wednesday, MIL arrived from Florida. Thursday, MIL accompanied the boys and me on the trip to speech therapy. While Hutton had his therapy, the rest of us went to the Bellevue Botanical Garden. MIL is a master gardener, so most trips involve plants in some way or another. This particular trip would be plant intensive it turns out! Later that afternoon, after lunch, and a trip to see my friend, we drove by the house of the daughter of a friend of MIL's from FL. The daughter is a big daylily fan, and as we drove up her driveway, we saw hundreds, no, thousands, of daylilies of every variety edging her large yard. The daughter's late husband cross-bred most of them, and they hadn't been divided in several years. The daughter said she was going to clear out a spot in her yard for different plantings, and we were welcome to any we wanted. I gladly obliged, and MIL dug them up for me, and planted them the next morning. Sometimes it's nice to have a master gardener for an in-law!

Friday, after MIL planted the daylilies for me, and Hutton had his ABA therapy at home, we headed out to the Olympic Peninsula. MIL had made reservations for us at the Lake Crescent Lodge near Port Angeles. Another friend of hers from Florida was staying there for the Lavender Festival. We had attended the festival the previous year with MIL, so it wasn't something we felt terribly exciting about, but being the ever dutiful children we are, we made the drive, involving ferry rides, to the peninsula. It turned out to be a nice drive. We missed the turn for the Edmonds-Kingston Ferry, so drove up to Mukilteo to get another ferry to Whidbey Island. This route went by the Boeing Plant, which I had never seen before, so that was interesting. It is the largest building in the world by volume, so it's quite impressive.

We took the ferry to Whidbey Island, then drove up to the next ferry (no, this wasn't the most direct route!) that would take us further across Puget Sound to Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula. While we waited for this ferry, we got to watch many, many airplanes circling overhead. They were military aircraft practicing take-offs and landings at the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station nearby.

The ferry rides were pleasant, and the boys enjoyed themselves.

We drove west on the peninsula towards Port Angeles, then past it towards Lake Crescent. The closer we got, the more overcast it became, and I soon regretted the shorts I was wearing. As we pulled into the entrance to the lodge, I spotted the first deer of our visit. We would see another 4 the next day! We enjoyed a lovely dinner at the lodge with MIL's friend and her husband, then went to bed late. All 5 of us, together in a one room cabin with two queen size beds and a roll-away twin bed.

More on this later...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Chirp, Chirp

Things are boring around here again. I don't think I need to inflict my boring life on you "readers." I hear the sound of crickets chirping. Readers? Are there any out there?

That said, here you go:

Sunday my sister-in-law and her husband arrive, with their dog, Wiggy. They're moving to Charlotte, but before they start their new jobs next month, are traveling the country -- one of those things that's easier to do pre-kids! We'll have to figure out something fun to do.

I've been feeling a bit depressed because I've been tired and some days I just run out of ideas of fun things to do with the boys. Just hanging out with other people makes me feel better, but I haven't done that in a few days. I've been trying to garden, but it's hard to do that and keep the boys from digging in the new dirt pile surrounding the really ugly satellite dish we have.

See, we used to have a relatively innocuous satellite dish that was small and dark green, so blended in with the plants around it. Because we have a gigantic maple tree in the line of the satellite dish, it stopped working. Hubby called to cancel our service (we were going to make do with, gasp!, basic cable) and the satellite company sent out a trouble-shooter dead set on making sure they didn't lose us as customers. So, last week, after Hutton's swim lesson, I pull into the driveway to find a guy and a van blocking the driveway. I roll down my window and he tells me he has solved our problem, but hubby had been worried I wouldn't like the solution. I look over to a huge, ugly, two-toned gray thing sticking a foot out into our driveway turn-around area, with a pile of dirt under it. What's not to like? I've been going for more of a redneck theme with my landscaping. Hey, hubby surely can't say no to a couple of goats added to the mix, now!

Yes, I'm still on my goat fixation. I don't need a dairy goat, since I don't like goat's milk. I'll just get a regular old billy goat. Or rather, a less-smelly castrated billy goat. Or a doe. Or both! If I do this, though, we'll need some fencing and a goat shed of some sort. Nothing too hard to get. The boys and I are going out of town in a few weeks, though, so I suppose I shouldn't rush right out and buy some goats, since I doubt Hubby will want to take care of them while we're gone. I will wait until my mother-in-law is here next week to broach the goat subject. She'll understand - she's from the country! I plan to do some heavy hint-dropping, as well, that we need a playsystem. Yes, I'm evil.

OK, I'm making even myself bored.

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