Friday, November 05, 2010

Annual Halloween Post

The Ghosts of Halloweens Past

Despite the fact that the Pevely Flea Market has done away with the Halloween Costume Contest after we won it three years in a row, The Apes continued to KICK ASS in Halloween Costume Contests!  The Karmas had a FANTASTIC Halloween weekend this year.  Beeb was dressed as...

Justin BEEBer!  And the boys were...

A washing machine and a penguin.  Pie has boxers on his head.

The boys both won in the costume contest at their school's Trunk or Treat.  Tito got Best Homemade Costume and Pie got Most Creative Costume.  They also took 1st and 2nd place at the costume contest at Three Dog Bakery, taking home $30 worth of gift cards to a frozen custard place.  Luigi was dressed as a Jedi, but he didn't place.  I told him if he's gonna be a part of this family, he's going to have to start winning.

On Halloween, The Racers joined us at Grant's Farm for our final visit for the year.  Sadly, we didn't get as much out of the parking pass as we have in years past.  I've been working a lot more than I expected to (it's been a whole year since I started - can you believe??), and I really love the job, but it does take up a lot of my time, as does keeping an eye on Luigi, who still likes to eat things he's not supposed to.  Like sofas.  Grrrrr.

After feeding Speed Racer to the goats and getting my early morning drink on, we took the kids to America's Incredible Pizza Company for their costume contest, and Pie won 3rd place - a $50 gift card!  All of the apes won a prize, so they got to ride the bumper cars and go karts and play a shitload of video games.  So based on about $12 spent on each of the kids' costumes, we more than came out ahead! 

I should add that the Pevely Flea Market offered Free Mammograms this year, which is pretty freakin' scary, if you ask me.  There was no mention of the professional qualifications of whoever was performing said mammograms.  I thought about going, for the sheer entertainment value (if not for the medical value) of it, but I kept visualizing a rusty trailer with some Randy Quaid-lookin dude patting the bed and saying, "Why dontcha whip dem puppies out and let Uncle Eddie take a look-see..." 

No, thanks.  

Sunday, September 05, 2010

The best First Day Of School pic ever.

Y'all know I'm a bit more lax with my, erm, colorful language around my children than most parents are.  Along with the regular back-to-school preparations like buying clothes and school supplies, I subjected my Apes to a little quiz about which words are appropriate for school, and which words are not to leave our house.

Ok, kids - do we say Douchebag at school?
Do we say You Suck?
Noooo.  Oh, wait - can we say This Sucks?
Please don't.
Can we say Suck It?
Definitely not.  Don't say the word Suck at all.
What if the teacher asks us what we do to lollipops?
Don't answer.

And then this week Pie told me he was supposed to write about a happy memory.  I asked him what he wrote about.

Well, actually, I couldn't think of any, so I made up a story about us getting a hamster named Satan. 


Thursday, August 12, 2010


I'm sure he's healthier and happier and whatever, but doesn't Drew just look WEIRD?

This is a little something I wrote back when that David-Letterman-and-the-Intern story was the big news.  There's a specific reference to Drew that I thought was worth sharing, in light of Drew's new look.

The recent David Letterman drama sparked a conversation between me and a friend of mine. I told her I'd TOTALLY do Dave. Without hesitation. I'd have done him twenty years ago, and I'd do him today.

She was horrified. He has that goofy tooth-gap, she said. And he's balding and he wears white socks with his suits! Not to mention he's a pervy old man who sexually harrasses his staff.

Um, so? Hell, I kinda like being sexually harrassed, personally.

So we started talking about Who's Hot and Who's Not. Predicatably, she went for the Clooney/ Pitt genre of beauty. And yes, I agree that those men are beautiful in a traditional sense. But it came out in the conversation that many of my favorite celebrity crushes do not fit the typical "Hollywood Beauty" mold.

They're in a category I call Unconventionally Beautiful. Tommy Lee Jones with his tenderhearted-badass, rugged leathery sexiness is an example. So is John Krasinsky with his sexy moppy hair and big nose. And Ricky Gervais with his wonky teeth. And Jeff Goldblum's lanky awkwardness. And Queen Latifah's lovely curves. And Ben Folds... sigh... Ben Folds is a genius.

And Drew Carey. If Drew lost a bunch of weight and suddenly had 6-pack abs, he wouldn't be the same to me. I know he'd still have his unique sense of humor and he'd be the same person on the inside, but his physical presence would be different, and I don't think I would like it.

It's not that I prefer bigger dudes exclusively. Vince Vaughn's kinda the opposite. He was lanky and sexy in Swingers, but now that he's a lot more famous, he's pasty and bloated. Jon Favreau's kinda hot in his own way, too. I bet he's got a wicked kinky side.  And wouldn't Penn Jillette be a crazy dream date? I'm just sayin.

Listen, I've heard the "you're beautiful INSIDE" speech many times myself. I realize that my beauty lies beneath the surface, under a layer of stretchmarks and cellulite and a C-section scar, which I tell people is the scar I got when someone tried to steal my kidney in Mexico. I've endured many thick-chick compliments (e.g. "you have such a pretty face") from people who love me and presumably mean well. And I'm not even that fat - I'm 5'6", 180ish. I'm overweight, sure, but they make clothes in my size. What's the problem?

I've never been The Pretty One among my group of friends. I'm The Fun One. I'm the one that my friends set up on blind dates marketing me as the girl with the (gasp) Great Personality. And by the way, when did "She has a great personality" become the kiss of death? Most guys hear that and think Oh, great, she's probably a troll.  I'm not a troll, I just happen to be an average-looking girl with an absolutely sparkling personality. I kinda like being known as The Fun One. Would you rather I had a face like (fill in the name of the most beautiful woman you can think of) and the personality of a noodle?

I'm not insinuating that beautiful people are stupid and shallow. I wouldn't know. We're really not running in the same circles. It's not like I'm on the treadmill next to them at the gym. This is exactly my point. I don't feel like I have a whole lot in common with the fitness-obsessed hardbodies. They're working out while I'm watching Survivor in my pajamas. They're doing crunches while I'm eating Pumpkin Pie Concretes with my friends at Ted Drewes. They're training for a Triathalon; my idea of a Triathalon is eating a greasy cheeseburger, drinking a beer, and throwing a few rounds of darts. Suffice it to say we have different priorites.  What would we talk about? 

To clarify, I'm not talking about those who go to the gym to work out because they want to be healthy. I could be on board with that. I might work out if I had a free gym membership, a cool friend to go with, and cute outfits. I'm talking about the people who go above and beyond what is healthy and cross the line into obsession: people who spend so much time in the gym they don't have time for anything else. Those people are motivated by something other than their own health. Clearly, they have a beauty standard in their head that they want to achieve and maintain, and if they have set that standard for themselves, then why wouldn't we expect them to apply it to everyone else?

I realize I'm not necessarily what everyone considers beautiful. I'm not a Barbie doll. Don't even get me started on my Barbie rant about our society's impossible standard of beauty and how it's marketed to children and the subsequent pressure it places on girls to be perfect. Ugh, that pisses me off sooo muthahfuggin bad.

Anyway, I started writing this not because I wanted to "warn" people that I'm not skinny or to send some Yeah, I know I'm fat and if you don't like it, then fuck you, you shallow douchebag message of false confidence. I am who I am, you are who you are, we like what we like.  I wanted to talk about what attracts me to another person.

Most of my crushes are people who make me laugh. None of them are illiterate jackasses. They come across as reasonably intelligent when interviewed and don't use non-words like Supposably, Irregardless or Unequivicably. They know the difference between you're/your and to/too (not "To bad your not topless!"). What makes them interesting to me is how well they do what they're passionate about, whether it's acting, or comedy, or music, or whatever. I love what they contribute to the world, and, by extention, to my life.

Don't get me wrong, I love the outwardly beautiful men and women too. I love Johnny Depp's dark sexiness and Drew Barrymore's innocent-yet-sultry charm. I even kinda love those ripped-abs Calvin Klein underwear model guys. Or, I guess it's more accurate to say that I appreciate them aesthetically. They'd make a pretty poster on my wall.  

But I'll take Unconventional Beauty over Hollywood Beauty any day of the week.

Pass me a donut, will ya, Dave?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Summer Days and Summer's Eve

In non-Luigi news, work's going great.  I really love my job at SQUISH.  I've found my groove and the other girls on the team are fun and cool.  Yeah, my boss is ten years younger than me, but whatever.  In my 6-month review, she told me I was everyone's favorite to work with.  That's the kind of thing I love to hear!  I'd rather have that be my claim to fame than being #1 in sales.  Frankly, I'd be stunned if I wasn't everyone's favorite.  I have no authority to boss anybody around, I get shit done, and fuck, I'm hilarious.

I'm working fewer hours over the summer so I can hang more with the Apes.  Toward the end of the school year my other mom friends were asking me if I'd signed my kids up for any activities or camps.  I hadn't.  Totally forgot, didn't research, couldn't afford it anyway.  How big a loser mom did I feel like? 

But then I remembered how much time I spent in summers past (documented for all eternity, thanks to Blogger) driving kids from one thing to the next.  I about killed myself, as you may recall.  So this year, quite by accident, the Apes and I have been enjoying summer's leisure.

Remember this little girl, all dressed up in her fancy flower girl dress? This is the first pic I ever posted of her on this blog, back in 2005.

In less than two weeks, I will be the mother of a teenager.

Is this bothering me?  Am I consumed by thoughts of my own mortality?  Nah, not really.  But kind of.

I'm so proud of Beebie, and I'm even just a little bit proud of myself for being a pretty good mom.  She's such a cool kid.  We talk about everything.  Seriously, everything.  Well, R was the one who explained to her what Boners are (penises and anything penis-related are his domain; menstruation and cooter issues are mine), but I explained what a Douchebag actually is, and how my grandmother used to have boxes of Massengill in her hall closet, and tried to find that goofy commercial about the mom and the daughter and the "not-so-fresh feeling" on YouTube.  Here it is. 

Then I found some other funny ones. You're welcome.

Sorry, I digress. R and I have a great, ongoing open dialogue with Beeb, and I think it's the one thing I'm proudest of.  But when I remember that her turning 13 means I'm going to be 40 in about 6 months, I keep hearing this song in my head -

The competition's getting younger
Tougher broncs, you know I can't recall
The worn out tape of Chris LeDoux, lonely women and bad booze
Seem to be the only friends I've left at all

And the white line's getting longer and the saddle's getting cold
I'm much too young to feel this damn old
All my cards are on the table with no ace left in the hole
I'm much too young to feel this damn old
Lord, I'm much too young to feel this damn old

And can I just say, when you've got nothing but Garth Brooks lyrics rattling around in your noggin, it might be time for an intervention.

Beeb's 13th birthday is as much a milestone for me as it is for her.  I'd been dreading her becoming a teenager since before she was born.  And now, as the dreaded day looms ever closer, I'm not only at peace with it, I'm overjoyed.  I'm excited, even.  And so incredibly proud.   

In a strange way, Beeb's upcoming birthday has given me a sense of parental competence that I've never had before.  For all the stressing and freaking out I've done over the last thirteen years (the last five immortalized in this blog), I've actually managed to get a lot right.  I'm getting better about picking my battles and not sweating the small stuff.  I'm starting to get the hang of this Mom thing. 

For the first time in my illustrious parental career, I actually feel like I kinda know what I'm doing.  Well, that's not exactly right.  It might be more accurate to say that I've accepted that no matter how much I stress myself out trying to get everything perfect, there will always be things I'm going to screw up as a parent.  There will be numerous Epic Fails.  And they'll probably be fuckin' funny.  And guess what?  The kids are probably going to be okay anyway.   

The fact that Beeb has managed to live this long without ending up in Juvie is not just a credit to me, but to every person involved in helping me be the parent I want to be.  Yeah, I know I have no idea what lies ahead.  Of course I don't.  But I feel pretty good about my (and My Village's) ability to handle it. 

Beeb is an awesome, awesome person. 
Y'all can pat yourselves on the back.   

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cousin Oliver

Remember that classic episode of The Brady Bunch when Cindy overhears a conversation in which it is stated that the Bradys are going to have "an addition to the family" and she assumes that means Carol is pregnant, but it's really just that annoying little dipshit Cousin Oliver? 

I hope this doesn't mean my blog has jumped the shark. 

No, I'm not pregnant.  Meet our new addition - LUIGI!
Doesn't he look sweet?

See that striped chair on the left side of the picture?


Has it really been since May 14th? Seriously? Ugh, I'm sorry I haven't written anything for so long.  It's that lethal combination of having too much to write and no time to write it, and then when I do have time I'm too tired to make my fingers move.

I'm going to have to start with the story of how Luigi came to our house from Stray Rescue. You can read about him if you click HERE.

There's also his Rescue Story which might warm your heart, so click HERE for that.

A few weeks ago the Karmas went to a Stray Rescue Benefit Event at Speed Racer's church. I'd told my mom that we were going, and her advice was "Don't get sucked in!" I was on my guard, knowing I'd probably meet some adorable dog that I'd love and want to take home on the spot, and the kids would beg and beg, but I would stand firm.

And then we met this puppy. 

His name was Aang.  He had an adorable little cleft palate.  The kids spent hours playing with him, holding him, and walking him.  But they knew how I felt about having a dog.  I was the one who would be home with it all day every day, and I kinda value the freedom I've only recently started to enjoy after 8 long years as a stay-home mom.  And there is no WAY I'm potty training a dog.  I'm just not in the mood.  So when it was time to go, the kids bid goodbye to Aang, and we went home.  No tears, no "Why can't WE have a dog??"  They knew why. 

But then, for the next day or two, I couldn't stop thinking about little Aang.  I knew he'd have no problem being adopted because he was so freakin cute.  And I knew I didn't want a puppy.  But it was so nice to hold him and cuddle him and pet him, I thought, just maybe, I might be persuaded to change my stance.  So I sneaked little peeks at the Stray Rescue website to see if there were any older (read:  already housetrained) dogs that looked interesting.

My favorite was a really cute one named Oliver, but he was on a home visit when I called Stray Rescue.  So was Kerby, the Great Pyrenees.  The Stray Rescue volunteer suggested I look through the website and come up with a list of 3 or 4 that we might like to meet.  Luigi was on that list, and the volunteer told me that of the ones we were interested in, she thought he'd be the best fit for us.  He would do well with a family with kids, and a fenced yard.  I'm smart enough to know that this translates into HIGH ENERGY.

I really didn't want a high energy dog.   And I didn't want a big dog.  I wanted one that I could cuddle.  I'm thinking Pug, Boston Terrier, something like that.  Luigi's ad said he was 60 pounds.  It's hard to visualize what 60 pounds looks like in a dog you've never seen.  Tito weighs about 60 pounds, and he's quite cuddly, so maybe 60 pounds would be all right.

July 3rd, we were supposed to go out to Chez Inlaw for the 4th of July Weekend party with the fireworks and whatnot.  (Remember last year when Aldidog pooped on FIL's white carpet?)  Stray Rescue called to see if we wanted to meet Luigi that morning, and since all of our top choices had been snatched up so quickly, we thought we'd better jump at the chance to meet a dog that was on our list. 

We waited in the Stray Rescue courtyard for Luigi to come out and meet us.  My first reaction, when he bolted out the door was Holy CRAP, He's Too Big.  And then one volunteer told the other that on their way outside, Luigi had stopped at the bin where they keep all the dogs' toys, pulled the bin off the shelf, rummaged through the toys to find the one he wanted, and gotten it out all by himself. 

The most significant moment in my entire life that found me in a similar spot - in which I had to make an instantaneous choice as to whether a particular thing I had just learned about someone should be considered  A) adorable and endearing or B) a huuuuuuge red flag - was on my first date with R.  We were going to dinner at pub I'd never been to, and literally as soon as we walked through the door, the bartender yelled "Hey, R!  Pour you a Guinness?"  It's such a fine line between hella cool and fuckin creepy.  Obviously, I went with Cool, but I mentally filed it away thinking it would be a funny story to tell our kids someday, and the rest is history. 

And, standing there in the courtyard, hearing that this dog had helped himself to something spoke more to his above-average intelligence and playful impishness than to a sense of entitlement or the kind of independence that might present a problem.  He already sounded like one of my brilliantly impish children.  An evil genius, like Pie.  Evil geniuses are kinda fun to be around.  He'd fit right in.

The volunteer suggested the five of us take him for a walk.  R took the leash.  Tito was cranky and pouting because he wanted to walk Luigi.  We tried to tell Tito that it wasn't a good idea.  Luigi was pulling hard.  Luigi was strong.  Tito said he was stronger than a dog.  And he kept looking at the ground and shuffling his feet and telling me how unfair it was that he couldn't walk Luigi.  I turned to R, and said, fine, show him.  You may or may not agree with this style of parenting, but the only way that kid will quit bitching is if you show him exactly why things need to be the way the grownups say they need to be. 

Tito had to run to keep up, and Luigi thought he was being chased, so he ran faster and faster.  Luigi flew Tito like a kite.

Tito, to his credit, never let go of the leash, despite falling on the sidewalk and being dragged until R could get a hold of Luigi.  I was slightly concerned that the Stray Rescue people would see Tito's scraped leg and think I was a shitty mom for allowing my child to learn something the hard, painful way, but they didn't appear to be questioning my parenting skills.  We made arrangements to try Luigi out, as part of their Rent-A-Pet program which allows you to bring a dog home and see how things go.

As soon as we got him in the van the next day, I started to freak out.  It began with a quickening heartbeat and the faintly cold sweaty sense of panic.  And the sense of panic grew and grew to the level of that full-on fetal position anxiety that totally immobilizes me.  I wanted to puke and cry and scream, but I felt like I was paralyzed.  At this point, I knew it was only a trial basis, but I really wanted it to work out.  I didn't want to be the asshole who returns a dog.  And I especially didn't want to tell my mom that I should have listened to her and not gotten sucked in.

But as Luigi tore through my house, jumping on everyone and everything, I thought, Oh my God, what have I gotten myself into?  The kids are going out of town and I have to work all day Thursday.  I can't leave this dog home alone.  What am I going to do??  This is insane.  I can't take him back; that's so tacky.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Mother.  Fucking.  FUCK.  I was beside myself, sick with anxiety. 

The next day, I made R call the Stray Rescue lady and tell her it wasn't going to work out.  I felt like such a douche, I couldn't tell her myself.  The lady asked if we'd be willing to have the behaviorist come over and give us some ideas.  Sure, I'd be willing.  I really didn't want to give up.  I'm not a giver upper (so says my Inspirational Tampon, anyway).  I wanted to give Luigi a fair chance.  But inside, I was deeply conflicted.   

He'd shown us many moments of sweetness.  Many.  He let everyone pet him, he played in the yard with squeaky toys.  He laid on the floor at our feet and let us rub his belly.  He really was, and is, an extremely sweet dog.  95% of the time, he's mellow - just chilin on the floor, gnawing on his nylabone. 

And we all decided we liked him.  Even Tito, after a little encouragement, was on board.   

Within the hour, the volunteer we'd been working with and the behaviorist were at my house with a large dog crate and a harness.  He hated the crate (the behaviorist speculated a past traumatic experience could be a factor), but the harness made a huge difference in helping me and the kids feel as though we could handle him, and I felt a great deal less anxious.  I actually felt really good. Over the next couple of days, he did very well when he gave him pretty much free reign of the downstairs.  I let him stay out of the crate while I was at work all day Thursday, and I came home to no messes.  I was thrilled.  R was over the moon. 

R and I even took him to get sno cones. 

He sat in Tito's car seat,

and he let everyone at Tropical Sno pet him. 

He's brought R out of his shell, too.  R's just giddy when he talks about Luigi.  Everybody asks what kind of dog he is, and R proudly says that he's an Akita mix, and that we got him from Stray Rescue.  He's more excited than he was when any of the Apes were born.  In R's defense, each Ape was born into a swirling vortex of unique drama.

Luigi's a great addition to our family.  Most of the time.  

But then there's this.

Yeeeeeah.  Wasn't Cousin Oliver a jinx? 

On the plus side, I am discovering that there is an endless amount of entertainment value at pet stores.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cellularus Mortus Est.

It's been a while, hasn't it?   I've got no blogging mojo. I don't know if I can bring BMB back to its former glory. I want to, I just... I don't know. Sure, there's stuff to talk about. And most of it's funny. Even the stuff that's kinda sad becomes at least a little bit funny on here. And the stuff that's already funny becomes fucking hysterical.

I haven't forgotten that my last post gave the teaser of Dumpster Diving With The Inlaws. There was a bit of concern about whether or not I'd be able to do the post justice. Which brings me to a sad tangent.

My red LG Shine - my constant companion for the last two and a half years, the always-dependable little snark buddy I carried in my pocket who snagged such classic PK photos as these:

Has gone to Cell Phone Heaven. Just up and died. I can't tell if it makes me feel better or worse to know I didn't do anything wrong, like put it in the washer (which I did with my Nokia, twice). Just one day, right after I hung up with R, the display screen went all wonky, and then blank.

And she took a whole lot of my pics with her, because, like a dummy, I didn't think to put them all on the memory card. I was devastated. R tried to fix her, and it was a valiant effort, but ultimately unsuccessful. I literally wept as she was unceremoniously tossed into the trash. Even now, it's sitting in a trash bag in my bedroom because I didn't have the heart to put it out by the curb today.

I'm not ready to let go. I haven't bonded with my new phone, the Samsung Mythic, yet. It's technologically superior in every way (including a WAY better camera), and I'll get used to it, but my Shine, well, it was like my favorite pair of jeans. Scuffed, stained, beat up, not the most fashion-forward, but a perfect fit.

I feel the same sense of loss as I did when I wrecked the Mazda a few years ago. You really should click the link to that story. It was mangled, the driver's side window didn't roll down and the kids were getting way too big to cram in the back seat, but we'd been through so much together. I hated leaving it in the parking lot to die.  Part of me wanted to say a few words, perhaps sing a hymn or two, and then bury it in the backyard.

But that's just silly.

The action, I mean; not the feeling. The feeling's not at all silly to me, because when pictures are gone and you can't get them back, it's sad, isn't it? Pictures of Tito's first day of kindergarten, my dream date with Cam Janssen, vacations, random moments of deliciously evil humor, gone forever. I know the best pictures are here on the blog and on Facebook, and it wasn't like I scrolled through the pictures on my phone very often, but I knew they were there, and now they're not.

I'm in mourning.

And there's an added dimension to why I was so upset by this. We're coming up on Pie's last day of Second Grade. I don't remember if I wrote about it at the beginning of the school year or not, but I know I felt it then as I do now. Pie is now the age that our beloved and dearly missed friend Jack was when he died. From this point on, every milestone in Pie's life will be something that Jack never got to experience. And the last day Beeb and I saw Jack? The last day of Second Grade.

What if I was Jack's mom and all of those pictures on my phone were suddenly gone? What if something happened to one of my kids, or my friends, or my parents, or R tomorrow? I would be absolutely destroyed. Like a picture of a house ripped off of its foundation and torn to matchsticks by a tornado. That'd be me.

I've spent this whole school year with a constant awareness of the last year of Jack's life - the year that we were lucky enough to know him. Beeb's turning thirteen in July. It breaks my heart that Jack never got to be thirteen. Or even ten. It kills me to think of all the things that he never got to do. God, I miss that kid. So yeah, that's a big part of why the loss of a bunch of pictures was so devastating to me.

But, my friends, like the little boy who survived the crash that killed every other passenger on the plane, there is a small bit of good news amidst the devastation. Somehow, I had the uncharacteristic presence of mind to forward the pictures of Dumpster Diving With The Inlaws to myself so I could upload them for this post. So the pictures you are about to see are among the last ever taken with my LG Shine.

Easter Sunday we went out to the Inlaws, as we usually do. But this time it was Large Trash Disposal week in their little town, which means people could take their old furniture and appliances and stuff to the end of a gravel road and drop it off, leaving a giant parking lot full of crap, free for the taking. The Aldis were in Hog muthahfuggin Heaven.

So after a yummy lunch and a bit of quality entertainment when Aldigirl (age 11) intentionally bit her younger brother (age 5), and the Reverend scolded her by saying she was going to be "labeled" as a biter, and did she reeeally want that (shit, she's probably already labeled as a buck-toothed, slack-jawed, skinny-as-a-rail, whiney-ass brat - why not throw Biter in the mix?), we went Dumpster Diving.  With my Inlaws.

The guy in the purple shirt is The Reverend. They ended up with a headboard for Aldiboy's room and I think a bed frame and some other random crap.

We got some director's chairs, a carpet steamer, and...


That's it from the bottom. I thought I had a pic of it from the front, but I guess I don't.

Anyway, we took it home to see if it worked, and it turned on, but didn't cool properly. R looked up the model number on it to see if he could find a manual on it and he discovered that at the time it was new, this thing was state of the art. Even now, a few years old, it retails for over a thousand dollars.

We figured that we'd get it checked out, see what it would cost to fix, and weigh out whether or not we wanted to make the investment. R has a friend whose dad is a retired refrigerator repairman, and he offered to take a look at it.

He got it to work! Total out of pocket? FIFTY BUCKS.
Now we have to figure out where to put it in our basement.

And just think, if I hadn't wrecked the Mazda, we wouldn't have been able to take it home because it wouldn't fit in the trunk.  

Isn't Serendipity beautiful?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

As Promised - Spring Break!

So I told you guys I'd write about our Spring Break next. We've been back for a few weeks, but I haven't been able to sit down and dedicate ample time to write about it. I suppose that in some ways that's good, because the stuff I'll remember enough to write about is the highlights; the most important and interesting stuff. The wheat, if you will.

But sometimes the chaff packs some high entertainment value, ya know? If you've been around this blog a while, some of my best stories come from NOTHING. Like if Seinfeld had begun as a blog.

Ok, so we left Thursday evening after dinner, and drove as far into Oklahoma as we could before we felt like stopping. We got to Oklahoma City and stayed at THE GROSSEST motel room I've ever been in - even the hourly ones.

I actually took this pic of the uberscuzzy Motel 6 on the way home, from across the highway. It was as close as I wanted to get.

We asked for a non-smoking room. Well, apparently Motel 6's definition of Non-Smoking is "not currently on fire". It wasn't just a little bit non-smoking. It was hideous. But I was too tired to complain and change rooms, plus I doubted there was a single room in the entire place that didn't reek of smoke.

We asked for two double beds, and we got two double beds - both with mattresses that sunk in the middle, and one of the beds was against the wall. I HATE it when the side of a bed touches the wall. I just can't have it.

And don't even get me started on the bathroom.

We finally got everyone to lay down and sleep, and Tito started wailing pitifully that his ear hurt. Honey, I love you and it breaks my heart to see you in pain, but we're in the middle of Oklafuckinghoma and it's 2:00 in the morning... it's been a long day; could ya please, please, please cut your mom a break?

It was a nightmare. We should have just kept driving.

We got up the next day and continued through Oklahoma, thinking we'd have a super-early breakfast at the Taco Cabana in Norman. I really thought I'd done my research, but apparently not all Taco Cabanas are open 24 hours. Dammit!!! We'd have to wait until Texas.

Fuckin Oklahoma...

We had steak fajitas for brunch-ish, and carried on toward San Antonio.

We also made the traditional stop at the Dr Pepper Museum in Waco.

We got the Oreo Shake made with the Dr Pepper syrup, which I'd been craving for a whole year. The vastness of the English language does not contain words that can sufficiently describe how awesome it is.


So a few hours later, we got to my parents' house. That night Tito barfed all over the world. He even threw up in his sleep. It was hideous cuz he rolled over in it and ugghhhh. And then Pie started barfing too. Pie had eaten two whole pounds of red licorice that day, so it had a lovely pink tint and a fragrant sweet aroma.

The next day, R and I spent hours at the laundromat washing barfy bedding.

I worked on the hat I made for Wes. That's Malabrigo Twist in Stone Chat, for the yarnies.  Came out gorgeous.

Then Beeb got sick the next day. That's not makeup.

Despite each Ape getting sick, we managed to have a good trip. The boys did pretty much what they do at home.

My mom and I spent hours putting together Playmobil sets that she'd gotten for the boys at a garage sale. I thought the boys would be super excited to play with the castle, the cars, the Native American settlement, the jail, and all the other sets, but they weren't into it, so if you're interested in some really cool Playmobil stuff, Mom's looking to sell it. I can give you more details about them if you're a hard core collector.

I added to my Horrible Christmas Music collection. Have we talked about this collection? Oh, it's quite something.

I checked out the local Squish shop. Only they call it something else.

The boys found a book at Half Price Books that they wanted to buy. I said no, but I giggled a little first.

We walked along the newest branch of the Riverwalk, down by the Pearl Brewery. It's beautiful - kinda artsy and waaaay less touristy.

Since we had all of these sickies, we didn't do a few of the things we usually do, like Fredricksburg and Enchanted Rock and Luckenbach and Gruene. But we did do one thing we hadn't done before - Aquarena Springs in San Marcos. It's a nature preserve or something now, but it used to be a kooky tourist attraction with a diving pig. You can ride around in glass bottom boats, and the water is clear and serene. Everybody loved that, so we'll probably do that again. Highly recommended.

We also went back to another of our favorite places - Landa Park in New Braunfels. I think of my friend Bobby, the Gentle Evil Baritone, my very first actual FAN, whenever we go there. I love riding the train, and inhaling the smell of Mountain Laurel and barbecue. I so wish I could bottle that scent. There's something beautiful and calming about it.

Completely unrelated and inexplicable, but for some reason I got really into wearing pigtails on this trip.

Maybe I like them because they make my shadow look cute.  Ya gotta have a cute shadow.

Maybe it's midlife crisis. Perhaps I'll explore that later. I still have my big sexy hat, and it's all ready for Grant's Farm this weekend!

So, the next day we headed home, and I usually post a picture of the kids crying, but this time there were very few tears because the kids are going back later this summer, so they know they'll see Nana and PopPop soon.

I was really determined to stay in a less-scuzzy hotel this time, so we went to Norman and found the Econolodge, which was actually right across the street from the Taco Cabana that had screwed me on the way down there. I knew we were going to want to be up and on the road before it opened at 9 (remember??), but I wasn't upset because I figured we should be in Tulsa (the closest TC location to St. Louis) around 9, and then we'd savor our last taste of TC until next year.

As we were putting our pajamas on, in our non-smoking room inside an entirely non-smoking motel (yay!!!!)

with two queen beds, a hair dryer, clean soft towels, glasses, an ice bucket, two bars of soap and shampoo bottles, we saw the forecast for the next day.

We got up and enjoyed a free Continental Breakfast

Hey look, they even throw an extra W in the Sweet N Low!

and scraped the ice off the van. We didn't bring coats.

But it was cool, because our bellies would soon be warm with Steak Fajita Tacos and Breakfast Burritos.

We searched for the address in the GPS and found the last TC we'd come to on the trip. I was bouncing so excitedly in the seat! As we pulled into the parking lot we could smell the Carne Guisada. We could TASTE it. Our mouths were watering.

The parking lot was surprisingly empty, but hey, if that's the only one in Tulsa, maybe the good people of Tulsa just haven't yet caught on to its awesomeness, right?

No. They wouldn't open for another HOUR.


Seriously, can you even believe that???? I was so pissed. Those who follow me on Facebook saw my angst in real time.

We took a wrong turn which wasn't a big deal, and ended up coming home a different way than we'd planned - through Arkansas.

It was really quite lovely. It was the prettiest part of the drive. Well, not THAT part in the picture, but trust me, we were very pleasantly surprised by the Arkansas leg of the trip. It was a nice, leisurely ride home, and we got home with time to decompress before having to go back to reality on Monday morning.

Ok, I know this post is not my best work, and I'm sorry to make you wait so long for it, but I wanted to crank it out so I could move on to the next post...


You heard me.