Saturday, March 30, 2013

2014 Honda Odyssey

Have you heard the news?

The 2014 Honda Odyssey is going to include a vacuum cleaner.
This means you will always have a vacuum cleaner on hand when you realize your van has transformed itself from an automobile to the largest waste receptacle on the globe.

This exciting news proves I am "of a certain age."

The 16 year old me would have asked, "What's a minivan?"
The 21 year old me would have said, "I'm never owning a minivan; pass the beer nuts."
The 30 year old me would have said, "I'm never going to let my kids trash my automobile."

The me today knows nothing sounds sexier than schlepping around town in a minivan with a built in vacuum cleaner.

Sure, what I really need in a minivan is a self-cleaning option like some ovens have.  I want to flip a switch, walk away from my van o'crap, and come back to a spotless vehicle without having to break a sweat.

Short of that, an industrial sized vacuum cleaner, a built-in garbage disposal, and the ability to refrain all occupants from dropping trash on the floor of the van would work, too.  I congratulate Honda for adding a vacuum cleaner to their minivan.  It's certainly a step in the right direction.

I love to fantasize about being able to afford a 2014 Honda Odyssey what it might feel like to travel around town without being surrounded by crumbs, toys, and trash.   Sometimes at stoplights I fantasize about being in a clean vehicle. That new car smell coupled with the absence of debris just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.  Again, proof I'm "of a certain age."

Instead, my vehicle looks like a good place to loose something. Like maybe my mind.  Seriously, you would be amazed and disgusted by the crap bizarro items I can produce from my current minivan.

Believe me when I say, it is possible for a family of four to live comfortably out of my van for at least three days. The van contains a countless number of water bottles, three clementines, one apple, two half eaten granola bars, an overripe banana, a completely crushed but unopened package of peanut butter crackers, stale french fry bits, and an assortment of chewing gum.  And that's just the edible stuff.

If you are ever in need of a napkin or Kleenex, my minivan is your go to place. Now I can't promise they're clean, but they are plentiful. I also have a small library of children's books, an equal number of DVDs, sidewalk chalk, one earring, a random assortment of crayons, a compass, seven glow sticks, a bicycle tire pump, a hairbrush which appears to have last been used on a cat, two neck pillows, six empty plastic grocery bags, one straw, a frisbee, three AAA guides from 2007, two different maps of South Carolina, and enough dried leaves and sticks to keep a bonfire going through the end of May.

The only item I can't seem to find in my minivan is a vacuum cleaner!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mother Nature Needs a Midol

am not a fan of Mother Nature. 

We have a long ugly history with one another.  Just read "Surviving Heat Wave without Electricity" or "Sociology Experiment Gone Bad" or "The Essentials" to get a glimpse of our rocky past.  I don't think I did anything to deserve that kind of mistreatment.

I thought maybe she was just going through a rough patch, but now I'm starting to think Mother Nature either has a seriously bad case of PMS or she is a total b****.

I'm trying to monitor my choice of words because my children hear everything I don't want them to hear and seemingly very little of what I would actually like them to hear.  I'm not sure if asterisks count as swearing or not, but I'm cutting myself some slack because Mother Nature has really ticked me off!

What reason other than the end of times PMS can explain snow storms in late March?

Ladies, we certainly understand the emotional instability that comes with PMS.  The worst symptoms include rage, irritability, bloating, and the desire to eat your weight in ice cream. I suppose Mother Nature doesn't have easy access to Ben & Jerry's so what else can she do but shower us with snow and sleet?

I understand the desire to destroy things when PMS-ing. I really do.

But then Mother Nature had the audacity to kill my daffodils.

She just ruthlessly struck them down with cold wind, freezing rain, and snow.  That's taking the whole PMS thing to a new level.  Too bad we can't slip her a Midol. I'm sure she would feel much better, and we would have a chance at seeing Spring.

The good people of Butler County, Ohio are so sick and tired of this weather they have written an indictment against Punxsutawney Phil.  Yes, they are mockingly suing the groundhog because they are obviously bored tired of winter.  I was in total support of their mockery of the judicial system until I realized the prosecutor was seeking the death penalty. That seems like cruel and unusual punishment for the groundhog since, of course, we all know Mother Nature is the root of this evilness.

First the daffodils and now the groundhog. Mother Nature, how can you live with yourself?

Stop acting like a total female dog.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pre-Trip Preparations

All of us have certain habits or regimens we follow before embarking on a trip.

We may stop our mail, make arrangements for a cat sitter, clean our dirty laundry, or do a host of other little tasks in anticipation for a few days or weeks away from home.

I have a little regimen I hope is not unique to me, but nothing surprises me. 

I “clean out” the refrigerator. 

And what I really mean is I personally consume all of the items in the refrigerator that may go bad before I return from my trip. 

This means earlier this evening I ate 2 hardboiled eggs, three strawberries, nearly three-fourths of a bottle of wine, a chunk of cheddar cheese, a handful of pretzels, a tomato, 2 spoonful’s of hummus, and 3 garlic-stuffed olives… wait… make that four garlic-stuffed olives.  Honestly, I can eat those suckers like popcorn. 

After the wine, it really just turns into binge eating.   

There is no need to point out that pretzels rarely “go bad.”  Sure they may get stale, but that’s never stopped me from eating them in the past.  After the wine, items don’t even necessarily have to be in my refrigerator.  I just need to see them in order for them to qualify for ingestion.

I will argue I am doing my husband a favor. 

Yes, I am a woman who sacrifices a great deal.  No one wants to come home to the smell of rotting vegetables or wasted wine, right?  I take that risk off the table by just consuming it all in a single evening. 

It’s my duty as the woman of this household to make sure we are prepared for our little vaca.  If that means eating everything within arm’s reach, well so be it. 

Let the vacation begin!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A March Madness of Another Kind

I don't exactly understand all aspects of our nation's sequester, but I know I don't like it.  
I don't understand a lot of things so this should surprise absolutely no one.

In fact, I wasn't really paying attention to the sequester news because it all sounded too familiar.  Like children in a school yard, politicians started their name calling while refusing to take responsibility for anything.  Unlike school children, they did this while making a hefty wage.

Now my interest in the sequester is growing because the sequester has impacted me.  Yes, that pesky little sequester is putting a damper on my family's vacation plans.  We plan to go to Washington DC to see where nothing gets done while well-paid, arrogant, politicians fight cherry blossoms.

I was hoping my family could go on a tour of the White House.  No can do.  The tours have been suspended because of the sequester.  Yes, those tours are part of the trillion dollar cuts.  This makes perfect sense, right?  Those federal tour guides probably make beaucoup bucks.

The realization that the White House is closed to tours got me thinking more about this sequester.  While I was wallowing in self-pity about not being able to tour a big white house, I saw this article: "Popular stipend stripped for many U.S. military service members."

My "Is this a joke" attitude changed immediately to my uglier "Are you pooping me!?" attitude.

So let me get this straight:

The sequester is automatically cutting things like college tuition for our military service men and women.  You know those folks who travel to dangerous places, miss anniversaries, miss the birth of their children, and....DIE for their country? Yeah, those folks have their tuition reimbursement stipend taken away from them.

In the meantime, those charged with fixing this problem continue to get paid handsomely for their work failures.

Here's the thing about my "Are you pooping me?" attitude. I feel like screaming, ranting, and banging my head against a wall.  Blessedly when Amanda Harrison feels like screaming, she does something a little more productive and powerful. She started a petition on to right this wrong.

If you're reading this, please consider going to and signing her petition.  Then take a moment and let others know that they should do the same.

If your not angry enough to act, then read this:

If you're still not angry enough to act, then I want whatever drugs you are taking.

This truly is March madness.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Ant Farm Haunts Me

The Ant Farm Still Haunts Me

My son received an ant farm, minus the ants, for Christmas.  Santa brought him the ant farm.  I really need to have a little talk with Santa.

I bought him the ants.  I really need to sit myself down and have a little talk with myself.

I ordered the ants and they arrived dead.

This was not too traumatic because my son and I convinced ourselves they were just tired from their trip. The instructions did say they could arrive "sluggish."

Getting dead ants into a plastic ant farm is really easy. There is no screaming, sweating, or incontinence. However, it only took a few days for us to realize these ants had a bad case of death vs a sleep disorder.

I was hoping that would be it.  Bummer.  No ants for the ant farm.

My son had other ideas.  Under pressure from my son, I called the ant company. I explained about the arrival of dead ants and, unfortunately, that company offers really excellent customer service. They immediately shipped a new batch of ants free of charge.

This is when things got interesting.

The package arrived in the mail and it felt warm.  The nice ant company put some sort of warmer in the bag to keep this new batch of ants from freezing on their journey to my home.

Like the first batch of dead ants, the second batch arrived in a small, plastic vial.  Unlike the first batch, these ants were very clearly not dead.  In fact, they looked rather rabid and excited.

The warning labels were clear.  These ants will bite and they will try to escape.   Under no circumstances should they be released into the wild.  Oh goodie!

My children and I ceremoniously carried the vial and the ant farm outside.  No way was I going to open that vial of ants in my home.

The ant farm is about 6 inches long and one inch wide.  It has a lid that pops off the top. The plan to relocate ants from container A to container B seems simple enough.  Open the lid on the ant farm, open the lid on the vial and dump ants into their new home.


Here is reality.

"Calmly" take lid off ant farm.
Beg your son to take vial from you.
Watch your son shriek in horror while running in place at the mere thought of touching vial full of squirming ants.
Take a deep breath, open vial, ignore the shrieking sound you hear, watch ants crawl everywhere except into ant farm, pee your pants just a little, drop vial into ant farm, close lid, and realize the shrieking sound is coming from your own mouth.
Watch your son run around the porch squishing all the ants that managed to escape with his shoes.
Take another deep breath as you then watch your son carry the art farm BACK INTO YOUR HOME.

All of this to say, the experience has made me think differently about having "ants in my pants."


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Middle School Orientation

Middle school orientation is for parents and not soon-to-be middle schoolers.  

Clearly, parents have a much harder time with the transition to middle school than their 12 year old children do.  This is sad and pathetic, but also painfully true.  Middle school orientation is held in the winter so parents have a solid two seasons to fret about their child's in ability to navigate the stressors of middle school.

Middle school takes a child from the comfort and safety of elementary school and throws her into the halls of junior high.  I would be less concerned about this transition if I wasn't scarred from my own middle school experiences.

I clearly remember nearly flunking home-economics because my grape jelly was really more like grape soup.  Grape jelly = yum; grape soup = yuck.

Middle school was also the time I had the worst hair day of my life that lasted a solid two years, my heart was broken by some nameless prepubescent boy, and I learned my mom was right about the consequences of not washing my face each night. Darn pimples!

Then there was the time I gave my undies to one of the geeks at school.  During the school dance he charged admission into the boys bathroom to anyone who wanted to see my undies.

Wait.  That didn't happen.

I was totally smitten with a rich boy.  My BFF, Duckie, wasn't sure he was right for me, but that's mostly because Duckie had a crush on me.

Wait.  That didn't happen either.

Well there was that one day when I had to go to detention on a Saturday morning.  I met a rebel named Bender who was totally not my type, but I fell for him anyway.

Geez, that didn't happen either.  Do I actually remember anything accurately from my own adolescence?

I think perhaps this sketchy memory is protecting me from going completely overboard with nerves regarding my own daughter's middle school transition.  My own experiences were certainly less dramatic, less memorable, and less amusing than a John Hughes' film.

My real hope is she finds her niche and a BFF just like Molly Ringwald.

(Note:  Molly Ringwald was the author's imaginary friend from 7th - 12th grade. In fact, they may still be "friends.")

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Pukeville, USA

Welcome to Pukeville. Please enter at your own risk. 

After a fun weekend of entertaining house guests, my daughter woke up with severe abdominal pain.  It was a school day, and I am an awesome mother so I told my daughter it was probably just gas. She burped on demand thereby confirming my diagnosis. She did make a valiant plea to stay home from school, but since when did gas keep anyone from going to school?

She lasted all of 20 minutes at school before vomiting in front of the school nurse.
(I'm not officially blaming the house guests for the puke germs, but let's just say I don't plan to expose my children to their cousins again any time soon).  

When a child pukes it is foreshadowing of the end of days. That child will recover, but not before passing the puke germs to her sibling.  The sibling will begin vomiting that same day at dusk.  The house fills with a cacophony of puke sounds.

Two pukey kids means only one thing.

The puke train is headed towards the hubby and nothing is worse than a sick man.

Give me boils, typhoid fever, explosive diarrhea, or scabies, but please...PLEASE don't let my husband get sick.

He's such a good, decent, smart, handsome man... when he is well.
But...he is the wimpiest sick person.  I've talked with other ladies, and apparently this wimpy, sick man trait is quite common among spouses. They just crumble.

You can tell our house has turned into Pukeville, USA by the appearance of "buckets" on towels by all the beds.  For better or for worse, we don't actually use real buckets. No, we aren't classy.  Our puke buckets are actually our popcorn containers.

Did you just puke up a little yourself?

Yeah, it's totally pukey to use the same container to puke in as the one you fill with popcorn on "Family Movie Night."

Too much information?  Want to join us for movie night?

The clock is ticking here in Pukeville.
One puke, two puke, hubby puke?