Friday, June 29, 2007

Going Postal

Today I had two annoying shipping related run-ins. This was after spending $20 yesterday to ship a heavy package at the UPS store. Yesterday, we bought birthday gifts for my niece and nephew at Toys R Us. I would normally have just ordered them online, so they'd be shipped, but I had already bought one of the gifts, so was going to have to ship something anyway, so I figured I'd just buy and ship everything myself.

Bad idea. When I got the gifts all nicely packaged up in the big box that fit them all, the box wasn' heavy, but was big. I went online to calculate postage. I didn't have a ruler handy, so I guessed how big the package was. It was going to be over $20 at the post office, or about $20 at UPS, so I decided to ship it UPS.

I also gathered together some other packages to mail at the post office. I managed to sell some of the diaper fabrics I had under the dining room table, so was going to mail those. The most expensive of the fabrics I had wrapped in a nice piece of tissue paper, but I needed a Priority Mail envelope to put it in, since it was at a weird weight that it was cheaper to mail Priority than it would be parcel post. The others were smaller and cheaper. Lalala. Feeling fine. Getting things done. Making money off my crap.

I get all the stuff in my car. Harrison is asleep, but it's already 4:30, so I need to go. I carry him to the car, and he wakes up in the process, but seems fine. Hutton gets in the car of his own volition. Great. Feeling fine.

Get to the UPS Store. Hutton does not want to get out of the car. "Stay here! Stay in car!" I explain to him that I can't leave him in the car, since I don't know how long it will take. Regret not having tinted windows, so I could just go ahead and leave him in the car and not have any busy-bodies telling me how I'm endangering my child by doing so. Get angry and annoyed Hutton, Harrison and giant box out of the car and inside. Hutton immediately starts wanting to use the bathroom, get some water, and other stalling techniques he uses. I tell him he'll have to wait and I get my package on the counter. Harrison happily finds the toy box and stars playing. Hutton gets distracted with reading the numbers on the mailboxes, and forgets his need to pee and drink water. Phew. Feeling fine...wait scratch that. Did the guy just tell me it would be 37 freaking dollars to ship this package?! Jeez. Feeling poor. (Now, I suppose I could have declined to ship the package, and then returned the toys I bought and just mailed a darn gift card. That's what I'll do next time, but I'd already invested two hours or so in the gift buying, so I figured I'd chalk this up to stupidity.)

Hutton is ready to go, but Harrison wants to stay and play with toys. Drag whining child out to car. Get in and head to post office. Hutton again doesn't want to go in, but I tell him he has no choice. Inside, I get a Priority Mail envelope and slip my nicely wrapped fleece fabric inside, while Hutton tells me he needs to use the bathroom and get some water. But still, feeling fine. At least this stuff will not cost much to mail. I've already printed out the Priority Mail postage label at home, so just have to hand it off and pay the cheaper first class mail on the smaller packages.

Get in line. Only a few people. Hutton only tells me he wants to be all done twelve times or so. Get to the counter and hand off my packages. Explain I want first class on the small ones, and the other one is already paid. The clerk puts it on the scale. "Did you weight this at home with the envelope?"
"It's heavier than what's on the label. I'll have to charge you more."
Distracted by kids, "That's fine."
"OK, it will be $2.90."
I'm about to say, "OK" until I realize she wants to charge me almost $3 more for the weight that the tissue paper must have added to my package.
"Wait, did you say $2.90? It's almost $3 more to ship an extra ounce?!"

The clerk politely explains that it is, and how important it is to weigh things accurately. I tear open the envelope and pull off the tissue paper, then stuff the fleece back in. "What is it now?"

Clerk: "It's still over a pound." She takes the fleece out. The fleece alone weighs 15.9 ounces. The envelope and label apparently add enough weight to make it over a pound. I explain that my scale at home had it at 15 ounces with the label and envelope (well, not the exact envelope, but a plain white envelope of the same material that I didn't want to waste since I knew I could get a free Priority Mail one at the post office. Yes, I'm a cheap bastard.). The clerk gives me a "yeah, sure" nod. She politely hands me flat rate cardboard envelope. "If you can fit it in here, it will be $4.60."

I look at the tiny cardboard envelope in bewilderment. I look at the puffy pile of fleece, then grab the fleece, stuff it in the envelope and proceed to sit on it on the post office floor so I can flatten and compress it enough that I can close the envelope. I am angry about the arbitrary weight issues, but glad I can wrangle the fleece into the flat rate envelope. Of course, it will look like crap when it arrives at the home of the person who bought it, with no fancy tissue paper and in an envelope bursting at the seams. Oh well. She didn't pay extra for shipping. I stupidly sold her the fabric with "shipping included" in the cost. Never again.

I hand off the envelope and the clerk gives me a new address label to fill out. After I do so, I realize, "Wait, this doesn't include Delivery Confirmation, does it?" The label I had already printed out at home, now attached to the old, non-flat rate envelope, included DC, and it hadn't cost extra. Again, I'm cheap. The clerk gives me the, "jeez, what next?" look, then pulls the label off the old package, tearing it in the process. It manages to still stick to the new envelope, and I pay my $3 for the other packages. The clerk points out that I need to make sure to weigh future packages, "so your customers don't have to pay the extra cost." I nod and give a half-assed apology for being short and annoyed, then hustle the boys out, thinking "Customers! They're just some other moms like me who bought my fabric. Hmm, are they really customers? Well, the customer getting this package isn't going to be impressed either way."

I can definitely understand why the phrase "going postal" is in existence. I was going to add a picture of the Priority Mail flat rate envelope, but I have a feeling this post will already land me on a postmaster watch list as it is.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Get the Lead Out!

Hmm. Actually, hunters, go ahead and keep it in, if you're using the gun on yourselves, that is.

I was listening to NPR this afternoon on the way home from Toys R Us with the boys (note to other parents: don't go to Toys R Us before lunchtime with a three-year-old who will refuse to leave until he is hungry and cranky. Then again, if you do, he may pass out in the car on the way home!) when this story came on.

Basically, it is about how condors are still endangered because of lead poisoning, from eating carcasses that had been shot with lead ammo. Hunters go out shooting things with toxic ammunition, and the "gut piles" (carcasses hunters leave behind) that the condors eat are poisoned with lead.

There was an NRA cuntspokesperson on talking about how there was no proof that the lead ammo was responsible for hurting anything, so they weren't doing anything about the lead issue, but to that I say a big, "DUH!" Rather, I yell at the radio about stupid bitches who should be shot, as I wonder how anyone can deny that lead is toxic. Oh sure, it's toxic in paint, but really, it's perfectly fine to use in your ammo when you go out killing Bambi's family, and leave their poisoned carcasses behind to kill endangered species. Fortunately, they had a decent human being on after the evil cunt who said when he heard that ammo had lead in it, he started buying lead-free steel ammo, and it seemed to work just as well, if not better, than the toxic stuff.

I just don't understand how in this day and age people still don't understanding that fucking up the planet with toxic materials just because it's "what we've always done" is wrong. Yes, this goes for mercury as well. Just because it's been used since the beginning in vaccines, doesn't make it safe to use it today, now that we know mercury is a potent neurotoxin! The same goes for putting it in your teeth via "silver" amalgam fillings. And while we're at it, why are they using mercury in compact fluorescent lights? GAIOIGOIURT! This stuff makes me so freaking angry. The environmentalists are all so excited about saving electricity with these things, but if one breaks in your home, you have a biohazard on your hands. Not to mention nobody is going to properly dispose of these toxin-filled shitshards when they eventually burn out. Right now, you have to pay to recycle them at select stores (there's one light store in the area I live in that takes them). Yeah, that's going to go over well. Most people do not know that these shouldn't go straight in the garbage, and that's exactly where they'll end up, ensuring the future destruction of our already toxic world.

Sigh. Where's my gun?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Why I Blog

Read Gouda's post on this here. Or here.

After reading this, I thought about why I blog. I started to be one of the cool kids, like Gouda and Kristen. They are moms I met way back on an online group I joined when I was pregnant with Hutton. And they were bloggers, and I wanted to be cool, too. So, I started my own blog.

At first, I thought someone, somewhere would see my blog and decide they just had to pay me to write for them professionally. (This is the same gullible part of my personality that thought I'd be hired by an advertising agency or publishing house fresh out of college with no experience. I mean, if you don't count my years at the Hallmark store printing stationery, or my internship at the theatre in my college town, where I mostly avoided the advances of the creepy old men who worked there (except for Brian, who was old, but not creepy, but he wasn't interested in college girls for some reason), or my multitude of volunteer work in college that had nothing to do with advertising or publishing. Hmm, the ropes course counselor bit should have been worth something! How about Green Earth Gang? And ECOS? No? Oh well.) Strangely enough, I have not been snapped up to write professionally, yet I continue to blog.

Why? I don't know. It's an outlet for my thoughts and feelings. The ones my children don't care about (yet! There's still time!) and I don't share with Hubby. For some reason, I've kept the blogging secret from him. It's the little part of me I keep for myself. Better blogging than an affair or drug addiction, right?

I also like to post about annoying things that I'm sure someone somewhere will find annoying, too. I like to post the things I think are funny. I know a few people appreciate the "my other ride is a mustache" humor.

And of course, I like to post about Autism, because it is so much a part of my life. Well, I wouldn't say I like to post about it. More that I need to post about it. I'd be more than happy if I didn't have Autism in my life, and could post about the other ups and down of a life without Autism, raising two "normal" kids. In my dream world, I'll post about what I did to recover Hutton from Autism, so other parents can read and say, "Oh great! That worked for someone! Let's try it on little Johnny and see if it helps!" Well, we'll see.

Now that I've been blogging for over a year, I've made lots of great friends. I never thought I'd consider random people I met online as friends, but I love reading what others in the diverse blogger community have to write, and I have found so much support, laughter, and yes, friendship, in my fellow bloggers, and those who don't blog, but read and comment on my blog. So, thank you bloggers! You're one of the main reasons I blog.

And if you want to pay me to do so, please, feel free. You know where to find me.

Monday, June 25, 2007

When Does School Start?

Thursday was the last day of school. We had a nice weekend. Friday was my and Hubby's tenth anniversary, but I'd neglected to find a babysitter early enough, so we had an exciting pasta dinner (rice pasta for Hutton) at home with the boys. Hubby came through with some lovely flowers and chocolates. I pulled the wife card and got him nothing. Oh well. He did get something later on. Wink, wink. Saturday, we went to the zoo. Sunday, the boys played outside and I did yard work. Almost done mulching all of my beds! Now I just have to buy play chips for the swingset area. I'm already tired of moving wood products around in wheelbarrows, though.

This morning, Hutton's ABA therapist called in sick. She's pregnant and has been missing quite a few sessions since her big announcement. Oh well. I didn't work when I was pregnant, so I can't fault her too much. The boys and I ate breakfast, then played three games of Cariboo and a much-too-long game of Balloon Lagoon. When Harrison wanted to play another game, I got off by reading him a Clifford book then turned on the TV so I could read email. We ate lunch, and the boys want to go outside again. I do have another few wheelbarrow loads of mulch to move. Sigh.

I made the mistake of looking in the storage bins under the dining room table last night, where I keep all my fabrics. Jeez, I have a lot of fabric I bought when I was convinced I was going to make Harrison cloth diapers. I ended up making a few, but had all of the bigger sizes from Hutton. So, now I have tons of cloth diaper supplies I know will not be used. By me, at least. Guess I can sell stuff on ebay. But that will involve lots of work. Another sigh. Not to mention all the fabric I bought for curtains. And the tee-shirt quilt I was going to make for Hubby from all of his college tee-shirts. (He was on his college concert committee, so went to practically every show for four years.) Hmm. Turning the tee-shirts into cleaning rags sounds a lot easier at this point. Will Hubby even care about a tee-shirt quilt if I make it, or will it end up in his closet forever? It's not like he's going to sit on the couch with it on his lap, knitting. Yeah, the cleaning rag idea is sounding better all the time.

Sigh. I suppose I need to at least get dressed today.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Yet More Sad News for the Autism Community

There was another drowning yesterday. Story here. Five-year-old Kaylie Dickerson drowned in a holding pond across from her house. There are lots of these holding ponds around here, but they put fencing up around them, presumably to prevent children from drowning.

I wish Kaylie's family peace as well, in this sad, sad time.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Wishing Benjy's Family Peace

Benjy Heil, a seven-year-old with autism wandered away from home last Thursday, and after an exhaustive search, his body was found in a creek less than a mile from his home. Story here.

After last month's episode of Hutton wandering from the birthday party, I looked into getting a monitoring device. He hadn't wandered since the party, so I decided not to get one, but after this, I'm rethinking it. Hutton used to wander a lot when he was first diagnosed, 3 years ago. He'd walk across the street to see the horses, or want to look at the mailboxes. One time, our neighbor found him wading in the creek at the end of our street, wearing a tee shirt and diaper. This was while I was talking to the police officer in the driveway. As soon as I realized Hutton was gone, I ran out to the street, saw my neighbor, and he started looking while I called the police. I am getting tears in my eyes just typing this. I thank my lucky stars Hutton was all right then, and the handful of other times he's run off. (Yeah, that's what we agnostics write, since "Thank God" just seems wrong, though I do still say it a lot, as well as thanking Jesus. I'm agnostic, not atheist, after all!)

Many kids with Autism, Hutton included, are very curious, but don't understand the inherent dangers of the world, that other children learn relatively early on. And the water fascination. Sigh. I am always reminding Hutton when we go outside, stay where Mommy can see you. If I call your name, come to me, or answer so I know where you are. Still, nearly every day my heart stops if I look down for a moment, then look back up and don't see Hutton. He and Harrison love to chase each other around the walkway around the house, but the problem with that is there are so many blind spots, and the seconds before he pops up running around the corner can be agonizing. Yeah, the monitoring device sounds like a very good idea. Fortunately, Harrison is a very good snitch watch dog and will tell me, "Hutton's digging a hole!" or "Hutton's by the neighbor's fence!" The neighbors have two big German Shepherd dogs, and a menacing sign in their driveway about how their German shepherds can make it to the fence in 15 seconds, can you?

Of course, I was a wanderer as a toddler, too. The story my mother likes to tell, which is funny when she tells it, but was not so funny at the time I'm sure, nor with the news above, was when I was about eighteen months old, Mom went to go pick up the babysitter, leaving my dad in charge of watching us kids. He was working on a car in the driveway, and I was playing in the sandbox. Except, a few minutes later, when Mom was driving home down the busy street near our house, she saw something moving on the side of the road. A blurry child came into view. "Oh my goodness! That's a toddler!" Closer, "Oh my goodness that child is naked!" Closer still, "Oh my goodness, that child is LAURA!" Mom wasn't too pleased when she got home and asked Dad, "Where's Laura?" Dad: "Oh, she's playing in the sandbox." Mom: "NO SHE ISN'T! SHE WAS RUNNING NAKED DOWN TWELFTH AVENUE!" Yes, I am lucky to have survived those days, and apparently Hutton got my elopement gene.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Payback is Only Fair

After tagging Agent M with a meme last week, she tagged me back. I assume that I'm supposed to answer all of these in single words, since that's what Agent M did.

Your Best Friend: thoughtful

What Are You Thinking About Right Now: lateness

Your Car: temperamental

What Are You Doing At The Moment: thinking typing

Relationship Status: steady-on

What Is On Your TV: Hoobs

What Is The Weather Like: crappy

When Is The Last Time You Laughed: last night yesternight (I changed it! Look it up! It's a word! And I need to see or read something funny!)

So, who needs it? Gouda? Kimbally? Don't worry, it's easy!

Personal Service

This morning, as I was lying in bed, trying to wake up, though I'd been up a few times already to get Harrison back in bed at 4:30 a.m. when he woke up saying, "Watch it again!" and with Hutton jumping in bed with me and doing his version of the worm a few times (you remember that old breakdancing move, don't you?) I was trying to gather my thoughts to remember what I needed to do.

Finally got moving and did the first thing -- schedule an appointment tomorrow for the lovely Jetta to have recall maintenance done on her brake light, which happens to be burned out anyway, so I needed to get it done. Then I saw the email messages from the teacher and the ABA consultant about school for Hutton next year. I tracked down the special education director's phone number and left a message that I need to go observe the first grade contained class at Sunrise* Elementary. Yes, now that it's the LAST WEEK of school. I love being frazzled, really. But we just had Hutton's IEP, and then re-evaluation last week, so I didn't know what everyone else thought would be best for Hutton until last Wednesday, then Thursday was the big field trip, and Friday we had his ABA session. Oh well. I'll get it figured out.

Another email just read came in, from our insurance company, telling me that Hutton's coverage for ABA was set until September, then we'd need an update. OK. The last line was the one that really got me: "I hope Sutton is doing well~!" Hmm. Did you not notice that his name was Hutton one sentence previous? Do you think we have one of those kids whose name gets changed around as often as possible, to keep him on his toes? Good idea! Better go get Barrison a snack. Hey! I like it!

*Sunrise -- I'm feeling weird about this school, that I know nothing about, because of a cat, of all things. My in-laws have lots of cats. They had a few, then after Hubby's grandmother passed away, his parents went to clean out her house and there were lots of cats, thanks to the fact that her "intact" kitty had just had a litter.
One of these kittens, Sunrise, has Kitty CP or something that caused him to have no motor skills in his hind limbs, so the poor thing lives in the back bathroom with a gate up to keep him inside. He has lots of uncontrollable twitches and drags himself along on his front paws. I just feel bad every time I see this cat. He's a beautiful gray cat with yellow eyes, but doesn't get to the litter box well,'s just not the best situation for a cat, let's say. And every time I hear the word, "Sunrise" this is what I think of. If "Sutton" ends up in Sunrise Elementary....well, we'll see!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Thomas, How Could You?!

Theme of the Week - RECALL!

I saw a recall notice on Thomas the Tank Engine toys listed on several of my email lists over the past few days, and finally got around to clicking on the link to see what was recalled. I guess I had "recall" on the brain, since the lovely Jetta is also due for a service appointment to fix a safety recall. I had received the letter a month ago and filed in away in the "maybe I'll see this again this year" pile of papers in a basket on the kitchen counter. A friend pointed out that my rear tail light was out Wednesday night, which is exactly what the recall was for, so that spurred me right into action...two days later.

Back to the Thomas issue. I entered the link - click here!- and feasted me eyes. Thinking this would be some obscure toy I didn't have, I was a bit surprised. Hmm. I have that one. (Well, Hutton and Harrison have it.) Then another, and another. Out of the twenty-three toys recalled, we own fourteen of them. Twenty if you could the three James engines we have (don't know why we have so many Jameses - he's a prick if you ask me!), and the many stop signs and railroad crossing signs. They were recalled because, "Surface paints on the recalled products contain lead. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects." (from RC2 Corp. press release). Oh, joy. Just what I need, more toxic metals in my home. Well, I wasn't so much concerned about the ones in my home as I was about the ones already in Hutton's brain and other internal organs. Now, I'm concerned about the metals in my home. Every one of those toys has been played with, tough boy style, and have paint chips. Again, just great. I'm seeing a big cleaning session in my future, when I clean up the train table and wipe everything down and vacuum obsessively. Sigh.

So, others of you out there with Thomas-obsessed youngsters, please check around and see if you have any to return. As a Thomas video would say, "Calling all red engines! And some other red and yellow stuff, too. This has caused much confusion and delay!" Not to mention Harrison is not taking too well to seeing the fire station and ice cream factory toys boxed up. Think I'll have to distract him with a movie downstairs.

UPDATE: After sorting all the leaden trains from the pack, boxing them up and taking them to the post office, I read this on a list: "I checked the numbers on the bottom of each engine listed that we had. It is nearly impossible to see. Black paint on black paint, I think...but it's there." D'oh! After I picked up a Percy lying at my feet and squinting in the light, I saw it. Tiny dark gray letters and numbers on a black background. Crap! So, some of the toys I returned were probably fine after all. Oh well.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

More Random Stuff and School Meetings

Yesterday, Harrison and I went to the postal annex at the mall while Hutton was doing speech therapy so I could mail a package. We were waiting in line, and some older, late 50s "gentleman" with greasy gray hair and a Hawaiian shirt was talking on his cell phone, leaning on the counter by the line. He was talking loudly enough that anyone in the vicinity could hear. I didn't really pay attention until he started talking about hooking up with the Southwest flight attendant from Missouri. "Yeah, she's 65, and wow, what a crazy lady! Afterwards, she said, 'Whew! I needed that.' And I said, 'Yeah, me, too, baby!" Apparently whether they'd be able to meet up again in Reno was in question. Man, I sure hope it works out for the guy. It really sounds like they made a love connection. Another customer finished paying, and looked at me and said, "I'm sorry you had to hear that," as he looked at Harrison. I smiled and nodded, but really, Harrison wasn't listening and wouldn't have known just what the IT was. The old greasy guy really was proud of himself and probably wanted everyone to know -- he's still got it, baby!


Today I had the follow up to Hutton's re-evaluation meeting at school. There was a bunch of different testing done to make sure Hutton still applied for special services at school. Hmm, he has Autism, talks at about the same level as his 3 year old brother, and has gross and fine motor delays. I wonder.

So, I headed to the school, where the school psychologist led the meeting. Things were going well (or at least, not unexpectedly; Hutton was still delayed in verbal, gross and fine motor skills) until she pulled out the psychological test results, including Hutton's IQ. I grabbed a tissue as my eyes started watering in preparation for what I was going to hear. The psychologist looked at me and said, "Don't worry. We're not going to tell you any bad news!" Yeah, right. I don't think being told your child is below average IQ is exactly good news, do you? She kept repeating that some of the reason the testing doesn't go well is because of Hutton's autism, but that really doesn't make it all better to see the bell curve and all of your son's stats lying on the "wrong" side of the chart. I know that Hutton is smart in his own way, and have faith he'll excel, or at least be proficient in math and science in time, but still, seeing that thin yellow section of the curve where he resides is painful.

The psychologist did have one good point I hadn't thought about. Discussing placement for next year, she said that repeating Transition Kindergarten, which strangely enough, the teacher I dislike wants Hutton to do, based on his youth (he's the youngest in the class) and "immaturity", might not be the best idea. As the psychologist put it, most of Hutton's problems in school are not related to immaturity but to his disability. Autism. That's why he doesn't stay on task and get things done quickly. That's why he is easily distracted, hates disruptions to routine and loud places in the school. I really appreciated that the psychologist pointed that out in the meeting with the teacher, who always focuses on how immature Hutton is, sitting beside me to hear it. I just don't understand why this teacher, who seems to really not like Hutton at all, wants him to repeat the class. Her class. She's the only TK teacher in the school, and they are not going to bus Hutton to another town to be in a different TK class. Just a little bit odd. So, whereas last week I was resolved that repeating TK was the only option for next year, now I'm looking at the other option -- a first grade contained class. (Contained is an all special ed class, as opposed to a general education class.) There's only one week of school left. I guess I better get on it!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tagged! Eight Things About Me

The talented, and soon to be published, writer and funny blogger Kim Stagliano tagged me to complete this post.

Dah da de duummm.............Eight Things About Me

1. Like Kim, I am a righty with special lefty skills. Unlike Kim, I brush my teeth left-handed. I was ambidextrous with coloring until first grade. Then I guess it was beaten out of me. Just kidding about that last part.

2. I was born in Florida, grew up in Massachusetts, and spent my formidable teen years in Nashville, TN, but managed to escape without an accent of any sort. I can pull out the Baahston accent when talking about the doawhg faahting (sorry, that's my bad attempt at phonetically spelling the Boston pronunciation of "the dog farting"). My sister and I once had a contest to see who could do the Boston accent longer when staying at my dad's house in Holbrook for the weekend. We were inspired by the Beltrimini girls who lived across the street who raawhked those accents! Oh, for more on this see this wicked awesome site I just found on Google. I am actually better at doing a Boston accent than a southern one, though the other day a cashier asked me where I was from with my twang. Huh? Must have doing some slow talking that day. My southern relatives could never understand anything I said with my "Yankee" fast-talking (read: normal speech).

3. I also managed to escape Massachusetts and Nashville without big hair. My sister tried hard to get me to follow her lead, but I couldn't embrace an orb of bangs. The worst I did was bowing to Mom's pressure to get a perm. I had several "body waves" over those hellish teen years. And just so you know, a body wave is the same thing as a regular perm where I had them done. Today, I embrace my flat, limp hair, as if it were my own. Oh wait, it is my own. Maybe I should get someone else's beautiful waves as extensions?

4. I have what my family calls "Hagan toes". These were named after the first distant relative who discovered that his second and third toes were sort of webbed. Or maybe they were named after his wife/sister. Haha, just kidding. I think my great-grandfather, who wasn't married to a close relation, had them and coined the term. The toes are separate for the most part, but the last little section by the foot is connected. OK, ignore the blurry pic and bad chipping nail polish. Warning scary freak toes to follow!

I knew a guy in high school who had the same toe configuration, but I didn't find out until we were in college and having a drunken hot tub toe comparison. Good thing our relationship didn't go far, or we might have found out were were cousins. It's all in the toes!

5. I've had lots of different pets. The animal frenzy started when I was a toddler in Florida, with tiny frogs I'd carry around all day, then bring inside and try to keep in the bathroom sink. Those never stayed around long for some reason. Flebster and Webster, the ducks. Rabbits. Guinea pigs. Gerbils. Hamsters. Rats. Parakeets. Fish. I really wanted goats, but had to settle for visiting the goats some friends of my parents had. In college, my friends surprised me with a tree frog for Christmas (they knew about my frog love, as I was fond of all things froggy). His name was Norwood, and he was very nice, but required live food, which was not always fun. Since Norwood, I've stuck to the more common pets. I have to remind myself not to get sucked in by the cute critters every time I visit the pet store with Harrison, though. (To self: You can barely keep up with the litter box as it is! Just say no to animals that require the changing of cedar bedding!)

6. I was the runner-up in the 7th grade spelling bee. I went to get out of English class for a few minutes. It worked. I got to stay out for the entire class. I can't remember what the word I lost on was. The boy who beat me went on to misspell saltine and I shook my head in disbelief. SALTINE! Other dorky contests: I read the most books in the year in my sixth grade reading class, and I won by a landslide.

7. I was on the Safety Patrol in fifth grade. I don't know why my fifth grade teacher chose me, the shyest child in the class, to don the orange plastic sash with metal badge, but I got to leave class five minutes early and always got a primo spot on the bus, leaving my backpack and trumpet on the last seat before I went on to my exciting job. "Walk!" "Slow down!" Yeah. I've still got it, baby! (I don't play the trumpet anymore. Stupidly enough, I quit in eighth grade, when we moved to Nashville and I had my braces removed, so I never knew what it felt like to play it without sliced up lips. I mistakenly thought I'd appear cool by not being in the band and not having braces.)

8. I can wiggle my ears. I spent so much time as a kid pretending to be a horse "pricking up its ears" that I got those muscles built up. I read lots of Black Stallion books, and every horse in there was pricking up its ears every other page.

So, those were long, and some were answers and a half. I really rose to the challenge, didn't I Kim? Can you come up with some award for me? Nominate me to be the blog meme answerer of the day, perhaps? Don't worry. I won't need a plastic sash or badge.

Now, who is up for the challenge? I'll tag....

Agent M., since she was tagged already and didn't do it. Doesn't my being annoying spur you on?

and Mom Without a Manual. To take her mind off of school crap. I mean important things we must do to make sure our children are adequately educated.

I have to deal with my own school crap tomorrow at 8 a.m. Why I am up blogging? See what I do for you, Kim?!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Tony, Tony, Tony

Not to be confused with the pop/R&B group Tony! Toni! Toné!, this is about Mr. Anthony Soprano. That Tony.

So, Hubby and I have been watching ole Tone for eight years. We didn't see the first season until it was in reruns, but got hooked pretty quickly. And then we did the, "What's going on? Who are they talking about? Now, who's that guy, again?" for the remaining time we watched.

The dry spell from Harrison's birth to the final season this past year was almost unbearable! Good thing we had a baby to raise to keep us distracted! And we were watching the Sopranos season finale when my water broke with Harrison. Really. June 6, 2007. Look it up! Crazy, huh? Should have named him Tony, I guess! Or maybe Harrison David Chase. Nah, too long.

Last night, Hubby and I sat down to watch the much anticipated series finale. We laughed at AJ's emo silliness -- I especially loved how quickly he went from listening to Bob Dylan in his SUV, to accidentally burning it, and getting the got the oh-so-fuel efficient BMW soon afterwards -- and Paulie's issue with the seemingly Christopher-obsessed cat. I got a great sense of enjoyment seeing Phil die, strangely enough. Probably because they cut to the cute, oblivious babies in the car instead of showing a crushed skull. Then, finally, the end scene. So much tension. And then....

WHAT THE FUCK? Hubby was pissed. "I watched this show for eight years for this! This is the only freaking show I even watch anymore." I pointed out that now he can focus on just watching movies.

After reading the various theories and interpretations of the ending, I'm starting to like the ending more. You know, it appeals to the English major in me, who spent so many years interpreting novels and blathering on about them. You can read any number of things into the way it ended. The symbolism of the onion rings, what's going on with Meadow's parallel parking problems, the cuts to the various diner customers. I thought immediately that Tony was dead, but you never know. As Journey's Steve Perry sang, "Don't Stop..." Oh wait, where's the believin'?! I won't stop believin' Tony!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Happy Birthday, Harrison!

Happy Third Birthday to my sweet toddler! I love you!


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Talking My Way Into a Cold, Cold Place

Last week, I revealed a bit too much to my son's Kindergarten teacher, and now I realize that I'm going to have to do something I don't want to do.

Sounds crazy and intriguing doesn't it? Well, it's not all that crazy and intriguing. Read on.

I didn't even talk my way into the cold, cold place. I simply checked a little box on Hutton's field trip permission slip. The box next the words: I'm a scuba diver and would like to help collect specimens to show the class on the trip.

Yep, I revealed my skill, and now it appears that only I and another dad in my son's class were foolish enough to check the box, out of two entire schools worth of kindergarten parents. And now I'm going to have to go diving in Puget Sound next Thursday.

Sounds fun and exciting doesn't it? Well, it is, but it's also very, very cold. Probably low 50s water temp. Sigh.

But, I am getting a bit excited to dive again. It's been six years! My last dive was in Hawaii, though, so not as cold. Time to find the PADI software and get cracking relearning some information I've forgotten. Maybe I'll go beg for someone to come with us at the local dive shop, too: "Yeah, I know I haven't been in here in six years, but I've been thinking about you all the time! Come to Mukilteo and dive with me, please?"

I'm getting cold just thinking about it. Think I'll check into what it costs to rent a dry suit while I'm at it!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Thanks, Tully!

So, about a week ago, I noticed the little mouse hole by the downstairs toilet intake valve was open again. I had stuffed it with Bounce sheets, as I read somewhere that mice can't stand the smell. Well, some mouse with no sense of smell apparently pushed through. I found one of our "no-kill" traps and put it out, and restuffed the hole with Bounce.

It was pushed out again the next day, and the trap was flipped. I picked up the trap, but no mouse was inside. Hmmm. Reset the trap, restuffed the Bounce, wondered what exactly Tully, our cat, was doing around the house if not killing little mice.

Friday morning, I noticed a dead mouse outside on the front walkway. I was going to head out to clean it up after I finished my coffee, but Harrison beat me outside. I heard him crying and rushed out to see what was wrong.

"Mouse!" he cried.

"It's OK, sweetie. Did you see a mouse? Yeah, I think that mouse is only hurt. Mommy will move him so he's more comfortable!" Yep, lying through my teeth.

Or so I thought. When I went to pick up the "dead" mouse, it was actually moving. My skin began crawling in full-on Heebie Jeebies as I carefully picked up the dying mouse with the dog poop rake and moved him to a "more comfortable" death bed, under a tree in an area neither dogs nor boys frequent.

Just typing that makes my skin crawl further.

So, not only does Tully leave partially dead mice on our front walkway, but she also neglects to kill the mice who saunter into our house at will. Yeah, thanks, Tully!

Our Newest Family Member



He's a beautiful Betta speldens fish, otherwise known as the Siamese fighting fish. Harrison and I, on our weekly trip to the pet store during Hutton's speech therapy appointment, picked Finn out to be a birthday gift for Harrison and Hubby. (Their birthdays are a week apart.)

I remembered the name from my Irish literature class way back in college, and figured the "finn" part fit a fish very well, and as you can see, he's very McCool. (Bad. I know!) Of course, I've already come up with a nickname for him: Glub-Glub.

The pictures didn't turn out very well - blurry and dark, but you get a good idea of his beautiful coloring and how pretty his fins are. Hence the name!

© blogger templates 3 column | Make Money Online