Thursday, September 27, 2007

Thomas, Not Again!

OK, Thomas, after the first lead paint recall, your "cheeky little engine" thing was wearing thin. Now, months later, still having not received the replacements for the original toys I sent back due to lead paint, (and that I and my mom and MIL spent a troublesome truck*load of money on!) I see that you're involved in more lead paint shenanigans. Now, I think the "cheeky little engine" is turning into "that bleeping bleepy train!"

Actually, Thomas, I'm not mad at you. I'm mad at your parents. Or, rather, the company responsible for making you, or having you manufactured in China and not checking to make sure you and your pals weren't contaminated with lead paint before selling you to a mass market of young kids.

So, have Sir Topham Hatt* tell RC2 Corp. to get on the ball and get this lead paint crap dealt with, because you and your little train friends won't have much of a future outside of the Island of Sodor if this continues!

*Apologies to those who aren't familiar with the characters from Thomas and Friends. Actually, forget that. If you don't know these names, consider yourself very lucky! Then again, I'll take "Thomas and Friends" over that whiny Canadian bastard "Caillou", or those annoying American planes on "Jay Jay the Jet Plane" any day! (See, I have issues will all nationalities of whiny children's programming and toys!)

Check this site to see if you need to return anything! Better yet, see here for still MORE toys that have been recalled recently. Sigh. I think I need to go through again and make sure I haven't missed any.

We own the Figure Eight set, so now I have to get all the little green bases to signs, as well as all the green maple tree tops and send them all back, since strangely enough, the boys don't keep the pieces all segregated by set and they're all intermingled in the storage bins under the train table.

UPDATE: A got an email from RC2 Corp., which manufactures the Thomas toys that were recalled. Part of the groveling message of embarrassment and apology about the second big recall in only a few months included a warning that one of the toys sent as an appeasement (my word choice) to angry parents was recalled, too. The company sent out some trains to those affected by the recall. We received one with a note apologizing and promising they were working on safety. Apparently, some who sent in toys that were part of the recall received a train, Toad, that was a part of this latest recall. I can't remember which "appeasement train" we received, but I just searched through our box of trains and didn't see Toad, so I think we're OK. But if we had, I imagine that would make me even angrier!

Now, to give the company credit, they have instituted a new "Multi-Check Toy Safety System" to make sure the toys they manufacture are actually safe to play with. We'll see, RC2.

Off to mail three maple tree tops and four sign bases that may or may not be painted with lead paint. Hey, at least we're already chelating metals from Hutton's body!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Step Away From the Cat!

Yawn. I did it again. I stayed up until 1:00 a.m. reading in the bathtub. But I did read half of Look Me in the Eye, and it's wonderful!

I had a soccer game at 8:45 last night, so didn't get home until 10:30, (we lost, per usual, but played a very good game, if I do say so myself!) and I was cold and wet, so needed a bath. And of course, I had to read in the bath, so I grabbed the new book and it immediately hooked me. Hope to finish it today around my napping.

Harrison is still sick, so will miss another day of preschool. I think we'll have missed most of this month now. Oh well. It's only money, right? He did well with his blood work yesterday. I gave him a lollipop, and the blood-letter -- what's the correct term for that? Oh yeah, phlebotomist -- used a tiny butterfly needle and my big boy's amazing arm vein filled up the two vials in less than a minute. Of course, he whined about his sore arm afterward, but we went and got a treat (chocolate chip banana bread for him, pumpkin spice latte for me) and an extra something (Baby Einstein "On the Go" DVD for him, Look Me in the Eye for me) to make us both happy.


The title of this post - I've mentioned our two new cats in passing, but I will finally introduce them on the blog. At the end of July, the boys and I went to the Humane Society to look at cats. We decided on two lovely ladies in the "book room" -- a room painted with a mural to resemble a library, with shelves for the kitties to sit on.

We brought home "Lady" and "Kiwi", and I renamed them Nicky and Margene after two of my fave ladies from "Big Love". The names seem to fit their personalities. Nicky is a bitch -- she likes me and Hubby, but hisses at the dogs and Margene.
She stayed hidden behind Hubby's desk for the first month, and finally started coming out during the day and sleeping on the printer. She is getting better, but still not exactly a "shiny happy kitty". I assumed, incorrectly, that since she and Margene were together in the book room, they'd know each other and be fine. So far, Margene just takes her sister's bitchiness in stride.

Margene is a sweetheart, and a great hunter. She managed to get outside a bit, and is like Tully 2. Not only does she look like her predecessor, she acts like her, too. She's left us little rodent offerings on the front walk when she gets out, but also likes to climb on the roof and meow at the bathroom skylight, just like her lost sister. I've been a lot better about keeping her in, though, so she doesn't repeat everything her lost sister did, including "going off to the country" as we call it in these parts. I don't leave the door cracked for the dogs when they go out and watch for her slinking around before I open the door. Plus, now that it's getting cold and rainy, the boys aren't going outside as often during the day, so the door isn't getting opened as much. When we got Margene, her paperwork made it seem like she'd been an indoor cat. But then, a week later, I got some supplemental paperwork mailed to me. Guess who was a stray who showed up at somebody's house pregnant with kittens and was taken to the Humane Society? Yep. Our Margene. Just like Tully, again.

Margene (I'm assuming it was Margene) also caught a big rat in the house. Yikes! Several weeks ago, Harrison was talking about Margene bringing a mouse into his room. Hubby had been up to change Harrison's diaper in the middle of the night, and the next morning, Harrison told me about the mouse, but Hubby didn't say anything about it. Later the morning, I took a diaper out to the diaper pail in the garage, and opened it to reveal a big, dead rat on top of the dirty diapers. Huh. Thanks, Hubby. What a lovely surprise! I was cleaning the boys' bathroom and found some soap that been chewed up by a rodent, so I hope it was the one Margene caught, and there aren't more of them lurking around.

Both boys love the cats, but are a bit too exuberant around them. The cats are pretty good at staying away from the boys (Nicky hides behind Hubby's desk, Margene likes to sleep under our bed), but are getting more adventurous, coming out when the boys are around. Hutton, particularly, likes to look at the cats' furry ears, and tells me that we don't eat the fur in the ears. Very smart, there, Hutton. No, we DON'T eat the fur in the cats' ears. However, late last week, Hutton got a bit too close to Nicky, talking excitedly about the fur in her ears, and got a scratch on his face. I told him we have to be nice to the kitties, and not get too close, as they don't like that and will scratch to protect themselves. Hutton repeated this back to me. Be nice to kitties. Don't get too close. Nicky will scratch you. Blah blah blah. This morning, when Hutton was up at the crack of dawn, and I was still lolling in bed (1:00 a.m. bedtime, remember?), I heard Hutton being giggly and silly, followed by, "Ow!" with a few crying noises. Then back to giggly silliness a few minutes later. I got up, and sure enough, who has a fresh, longer set of scratches on his face? Hutton! So, at the bus stop this morning I went over with him again that Nicky is a mean cat. She doesn't like to be messed with. Don't touch her ears. Don't put your face anywhere near her. The next time she might scratch your eye, and that would be very, very, very bad. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. I asked Hutton, "What do we do with Nicky?" Reply: "Stay away from Nicky. She is mean and will scratch you!" I repeated my warnings a few more times, but I'm sure this is not the last time Hutton will be scratched by a cat.


So, here are the new kitties. Guess which one is which.
Don't I look beautiful? Like a fluffier version of Tully?
Don't mess with me. I'll scratch your eyes out. Hiss!

Oh, I realized we spell Nicky's name differently than the show (Nicki). But, since she's also sort of named for Hutton's former speech therapist, Nichie, I'll stick with my spelling! Nicky definitely acts more like Nicki than Nichie (who is very sweet).

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I'll Be Back Soon!

Hi Loyal Readers! (or for those occasional "What the crap is this? Why am I reading this?" readers)

I promise I'll be back to writing more regularly soon. Maybe this afternoon I'll start blogging about some of the crap I put on my desk to blog about. Then again, I may decide to take a nap rather than rely on the six hours of sleep I got last night. Why do I do that to myself? Put down the damn book, get out of the freezing cold bath water and go to bed before midnight, you dumb bitch! Sorry, my other half can get kinda mean.

Anyway, today is the big release of John Elder Robison's book, Look Me in the Eye. I'm not getting to go to any fun NY premiers, but I'll be going to buy it this morning.

Today is also the big launch of Halo 3. I don't know for sure, because he was in bed asleep at 1 a.m., but Hubby was gone when I got up at 7:30 a.m., so he got up early and I'm sure Halo 3 in involved. They're selling it at his place of work, so at least he might get some work done today around waiting in line for the newest installment of his beloved waste of time Xbox game. And no, Hubby doesn't work at 7-11.

Oh, Hubby was also kind enough to buy another Xbox console. You may be thinking, how is that kind? Well, see, our satellite dish got messed up when something or someone ran into it. Didn't see it happen, and the plants around the dish weren't harmed, but the satellite dish no longer works. So, Hubby hooked up the Xbox to the TV to act as our new TiVo. We still get basic cable, but no more movie channels. (I'll miss you, HBO! Larry, I'll watch the new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm eventually!) We also have the old Xbox upstairs, so the boys can play Xbox, or more often, play DVDs on it. Hubby told me he didn't want me to miss out on the new fall TV season (and yes, I've reminded him more than once about the importance of TV in my life)
while he would be playing Halo, so he bought a third Xbox to play Halo 3. Isn't he a sweetheart? Yes, and this is the man who just last week was talking about how we're spending too much money and need to budget more. I guess that meant, "Laura, YOU need to budget more. I will continue to spend money on whatever I think we need."

Anyway, this morning I am also taking Harrison to get blood drawn for allergy testing. This will be real fun, I'm sure. Sticking a three year old with needles and drawing blood - what's not to love? Yes, there will be lots of bribery involved and promises of sweets afterwards. Who knows, Harrison may end up on a super strict diet like his brother when we get the results back, so I've got to fill him with junk while we've got the chance. This has actually been occurring the past two weeks. The doctor told me to make sure Harrison eats lots of common allergens before the test, so he's had cow's milk, eggs, cheese, nuts, gluten...a lot of the stuff Hutton can't eat. We'll see how it goes!

Yawn. Now, why did I stay up reading in the bath long after the tub had turned cold? I just had to finish that book, even though I'd read it before. That's the trouble with having mush instead of brains. I can't remember most books I read within 6 months of reading them, and the book I read last night, Never Let Me Go was really good. It was probably really good when I read it last year at this time, but it was the book for this month's book club, so I needed to re-read it. Problem is, the book club meeting was two weeks ago, so I'd already missed it, but by then I was into the book and couldn't just put it away. Oh, and I started two other books while reading it. But I digress.

Time to go get that blood drawn. Fun times!

Thursday, September 20, 2007


One of those afternoons. I got to the bus stop to get Hutton late. The time got away from me, and when I noticed the time, it was 12:28 -- two minutes before the bus was due to arrive. I ran downstairs to get Harrison. I told him we had to get Hutton and started to put his shoes on. He had taken off his socks and didn't want his shoes on without those.

Eh. Tough nookie, cookie. Ran out with crying Harrison after me. Walked to the street and saw the bus already there at the corner. Grr. Held Harrison's hand and attempted to walk quickly. One time we were not at the bus stop, so the driver drove down our street, as there's more than enough room for the short bus to turn around across from our house, but no go today. I finally got to the end of the street, and the bus driver said, "What's your cell phone? I have the wrong one." I gave her my number. Then she said, "Can you please try to be on time? I've been here five minutes!" I said, "Sure. I thought you came at 12:30?" She said, "No, 12:25. Hutton is the first one off the bus, and it depends on how fast we leave school." OK. On Monday, the bus arrived at 12:45. Really. Tuesday it was after 12:30, as it was on Wednesday. But, no, I'll be there early.

The bus driver is normally nice, and has been commenting lately how much Hutton has progressed in the past year, which is great, but I was still annoyed by this. The bus driver gives the kids stickers in the afternoons if they're good on the bus, and usually gives Harrison one, too, which again, is nice of her. Today Harrison got a pirate sword sticker, but wanted the one Hutton already had on his hand when he got off the bus: a treasure chest with parrot. He started throwing another tantrum as we walked toward home, so I said, "Fine!" And tried to get Hutton's sticker, but ripped it. Great.

I checked the mail and Harrison had a fit about carrying the mail. I gave him a flyer to carry, and he then tripped and started crying. Deep breath.

Got inside and made the boys sandwiches for lunch. Went to look in Hutton's backpack. Found a book along with his homework tube (an empty Pringle's can covered in red paper that is used to send home notes and homework on the weekends, or Thursday, since there's no Kindergarten on Friday). I thought it was library day, since they hadn't announced that day yet, then opened Hutton's notebook to see, "Please send money or replace book Hutton ripped. He was squirrelly today. Is this is a pattern?" Great. I didn't know what that meant, as Monday he had a bad day, Tuesday and Wednesday were fine, and today was bad, apparently. Last week seemed fine, so no, teacher, I don't see a pattern, unless it's one of those weird ones like AAAABAAAAAAABAAB. Not really my kind of pattern. I'm not a math person, though.

But, I had thought Hutton was doing fine. Well, fine for a six-year-old with Autism. I mean, the bus driver has been raving about his behavior being so great, for crying out loud! Guess not. I started having a mini breakdown, crying and saying out loud, "Is this really my life?" Now, this wasn't really a bad day in the grand scheme of things, but I guess the fall weather (read: gray and dreary) is starting already and I'm just not glad to be back to the everyday crap after my weekend of single fun in NYC. Sigh. One day at a time, right?

Another thing: Hubby told me Sunday night when he picked me up from the airport we were spending too much money again and needed to come up with a budget. Ugh. Well, the budget is a good idea, because I really don't see how we're spending lots of money. Let's see, I bought a plane ticket to my friend's wedding, and the wedding gift, and spent less than $100 in NYC. Most of the stuff I did was free or paid for, like the rehearsal dinner and wedding. I stayed with my friend and her husband, which saved a lot on a hotel. Other than this trip, I made a trip to San Francisco in July, and stayed with friends, again, but the boys and I did not visit family this summer, as we normally do. My mom and Hubby's mom came to visit us instead. Other than these two trips, the boys and I went to the movies once, to the state fair one afternoon, and to a farm with carnival rides one time for entertainment this summer. The only things I buy with Hubby's (read: our) money are groceries, and coffee for my secret shopping, which is reimbursed. I bought some toys for Hutton's birthday with a gift card from my mom. I got a new dress for myself to wear to the wedding with another gift card from my mom. Other than that, I spend money on Hutton's ABA therapy - the 20% not covered by insurance - and his vitamins and supplements, which are pretty expensive, but not crazy. I bought some back to school clothes for Hutton at Old Navy, and my mother bought some clothes for Hutton and Harrison when she came to visit. We go out to eat - at a hot dog place - once a week. I go to the library for most of my books, but do buy a couple books or CDs every now and then, using my secret shopping money. I pay about $400 a year to play on my soccer team, which averages $33 a month. There's fuel for the car and other incidentals. We don't spend extra on HBO anymore. (In fact, our TV doesn't work at all right now. Just in time for the fall season!) But, all together, I really don't see how we're living so lavishly that Hubby's pretty good salary can't cover everything. I feel like I lived higher on the hog when I was single and making less than $30,000 a year. Then again, I could spend my salary on just me then, and we didn't have to pay a mortgage and to feed a family of four. Oh yeah, and two dogs and two cats.

Sigh. It's cold in my house. Waah. Enough whining. Time to go try to make myself happy.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sick and Tired

I went to New York City this past weekend for a friend's wedding, sans children and husband. I had a great time with my college friends, but am sick now, and got home to a sick child. Harrison has some sort of chest cold - wheezy and croupy coughing during the night, better during the day. Hopefully we will both be better soon!

Oh, and I'm tired because I've averaged 6.25 hours of sleep a night since Thursday's red eye flight to NY, with adolescent boy next to me putting his bare feet on my leg keeping me from getting a good night's sleep - er, make that a good 3 1/2 hours sleep - on the flight out. Oh well. Guess I should go down early tonight, huh? Nothing like 6 hours of sleep to really help a cold.

If any of you college friends remembered how to find this blog, please comment! (I gave them all the info on it, but I doubt anyone was sober enough to remember!)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Why Are You Trying to Pin Me Down?

Oh, wait, never mind.

I got a new digital camera to replace the one I had that was not working well. I filled in the product registration for some reason, even though that sort of thing is not generally helpful to me, and then filled out a survey afterwards. The last question:

What is your gender?
Male _
Female _
No Answer _



I forgot that Britney was going to be on the MTV Video Music Awards last night until it was too late to watch, so I hunted it down online. You can find it here now.

So, I was a bit shocked. I'd read that it was bad, but it was really like watching a train wreck. I feel bad for everyone involved, especially Britney. But then I think, "Wait, she's got millions of dollars. Why am I feeling sorry for her?"

My fave line about the "performance": "The over all effect was that of an out-of-shape hooker with an inner ear infection." (From here)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

For the Kids

In honor of the first week of school last week, I have a lesson today for the kids out there. What, no kids read this blog? Hmm. Well, any immature adults? OK, you'll do just as well.

Today's lesson: Things that don't mix.

First we have oil and water. This is called immiscibility. Can you say immiscibility? No, I can't either. If you're actually interested in reading about immiscibility, you'll have to go here. I don't do chemistry.

What else doesn't mix?

Let's see, there's peanut butter and tuna fish. Haven't tried those together on a sandwich, and don't plan to.

There's paint and hair. Paint doesn't come out of hair easily.

There's gum and hair. Gum comes out of hair with peanut butter, but then you need to get the peanut butter out of your hair.

There's also Silly Putty and hair. Silly putty is quite a cool little invention created by a General Electric engineer during World War II, when the US needed to come up with a synthetic rubber compound. The boric acid/silicone oil combination didn't work for its intended purpose, but made a nifty toy! And it has some other uses, which is why Hubby keeps an egg of it on his desk. I can't remember what he uses it for, but it's there, and it's tempting to little boys like Hutton. He's often getting into his Daddy's Silly Putty, and I'm always telling him to please put it back and not play with things on Daddy's desk.

So, this morning as I was showering, I heard Hutton getting upset in the other room, crying and calling for me. Showers are short around here. I got out and called Hutton into the bathroom, where he was holding his head and saying something was stuck.

Now, kids, can you guess what Hutton had stuck in his hair? Did you say Silly Putty? Great job! You're right!

I looked at the mess in front of me and started tugging at putty, while holding Hutton's hair at the roots so as not to pull it all out. This didn't work very well, so I got the biggest chunk of putty out (along with a lot of hair) and told Hutton to hold tight while I went to find Silly Putty removal options on the computer.

I googled "Silly Putty and Hair" and clicked on the first likely website. I scrolled to the bottom of the comments and found that hand sanitizer and Pam cooking spray were two recommended options. I knew we didn't have any Pam in the house, and I didn't have any hand sanitizer handy, but I did have some hand sanitizing moisturizer on my desk, so I grabbed that and squirted a glop into Hutton's hair. Didn't do too much. I read further: alcohol was another option. I took Hutton back to the bathroom, doused the back of his head in rubbing alcohol, and grabbed Hubby's comb. It did the trick, plus now Hubby's comb is all sanitized! Great!

Now, look at the picture below and tell me what you think it is:

If you said, "Something your cat left on your doorstop!" then, I'm sorry, but you're wrong. (Though it does look like something a cat might have hacked up.) The correct answer is, of course, "Silly Putty and hair!" Silly Putty and hair do not mix, as I hope you've learned from this little lesson. I hope that Hutton has learned this lesson, too, though he had to learn it the hard way.

As I combed his hair, I told him over and over, "This wasn't a very good idea. Please don't ever put Silly Putty or anything else sticky in your hair!" We'll see how his listening comprehension is.

We're going to be working on some different bald spot covering hairstyles for a while. Unfortunately, the two cowlicks on the back of Hutton's head don't cooperate with many hairstyles.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Time for My Weekly Post!

Yeah, it seems I've fallen to weekly posting. Sigh.

Hubby is still working on our deck. The boys and I went to the library today. I had a new book to pick up, and the boys always love getting more library books. We followed that up with a trip to the park.

Hoo, boy, do we know how to have an exciting Labor Day weekend, or what?!

I'll let you know what I think about the book when I finish. I've only read about forty pages, but those have made me feel like we're on the right track with Hutton -- he's getting MB-12 shots for his methylation, which is important for detox. I have definitely noticed a big improvement in his verbal skills over the past 6 weeks since we've started the shots. Now I need to start adding in other things since we know that the shots are working for us. Hmm. That means we've got some lab work we need to do, as well, which is always fun. Lab work = collecting blood, urine and stool. Now who doesn't think that sounds fun?!

Let's see. The room I'm in looks like toy bomb exploded. The litter box needs to be cleaned. (I need to write a post on our new kitties, don't I?) I need to make dinner. None of those can be done by keyboard...yet! When I've perfected my keyboard-run robot I'll let you all know.

Speaking of robots, last night when I was making dinner, the boys (meaning Hubby, Hutton and Harrison) watched the last half hour of "I Robot" on TV. I caught a few minutes, and found the dialogue cheesy, with all those computer-generated special effects being the only thing going for the movie. Hubby commented, "Yeah, it's really necessary to have a computer mainframe with an 8 story drop-off" during the scenes when they try to dismantle the evil robot mainframe. Harrison commented, "That was a good movie!" after it was finished, so hey, at least he enjoyed it! Hutton thought the robots looked cool, and laughed at them climbing buildings. So, two out four ain't bad.

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