Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Three Amusing Things

1) On the subject of lack of money...a funny story from this evening:

Right after dinner, there was a knock on the door; a quick peek through the window confirmed that it was, indeed, an earnest young environmental man with a petition for me to sign, and a hope that I would give him $25.

He was very nice, and had a sweet smile combined with a really good cause. I hated to turn him down, but, financial circumstances being what they are until payday on Friday, there was just nothing I could offer him.

So, in what I hoped was my sweetest voice, I said, "It's just not a good time of the month for that."

It was only after I shut the door that I realized why he had such a confused look on his face.

2) A selection from the OG's "Weekend News" journal that she has kept at school all year (and that we haven't seen until now):

This weekend I saw Bee movie. This bee said are we bees? or are we a keychain? bees! Keychain! My dad saw Texas beat Texas Tech! he drank seven beers that day! I also defeated the Underminer. The giant corrupterater fell over. Ahhh! Underminer! Blah!

Oh, yes. It's awesome to be THAT family.

3) Finally, I know the lyrics to the closing credits of "WKRP in Cincinnati."

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Rant of the Middle Class

Hello, internets. May I take a minute to vent?

Thank you.

Why, I ask you, are we so freakin' POOR?

Seriously. Where is it that we went wrong, exactly? We graduated from college - me with a master's plus - and have both had jobs, steadily, not one day without one, since the day we left.

We chose careers that we liked and would stick with, as we were advised to do. We have done so. I've been in my field for 6 years - my line for 13 - and The Man has gone even longer.

We married at the right age - not too young, but young enough to still be young. Our marriage and personal relationship has always been shockingly easy and stable, much to our continuing bemusement and perpetually guarded elation. (And occasional smugness.)

We had a sensible number of children, a sensible number of years apart. They've been involved in a reasonable number of enriching after-school activities, e.g. Girl Scouts and piano and soccer, no more. They have their issues, but nothing overly alarming.

We have what we need; food and clothing and shelter. We get out around Texas occasionally; once a year to Schlitterbahn and Port Aransas. San Antonio is fine, sometimes, but we haven't been able to go to Sea World in four years, and never the zoo or Fiesta Texas. Once a year, we try to get away from Texas, if possible; but, in the past ten years, we have never been anywhere where we weren't staying with someone, and didn't have most or all of our room and board taken care of.

We don't have all we want. We want a hi-def TV, and a Wii, and a garage apartment for my mother, and nice clothes, and to travel places other than Kansas City, MO. We would rather buy completely organic produce and hormone-free beef from Central Market, and non-gas-burning local farmer's market bread and eggs.

Sadly, what with the 40+ per working adult in this family unit, neither the time, nor the money, ever seem to exist to fit all this in.

The point I'm trying to make is that we try. Very Hard. To get by. And, by all accounts of what SHOULD have been done at what particular time, we have FOLLOWED these rules.

So, again, I ask you; why are we so poor, ALL the time? Why? When we've done everything, EVERYTHING, correctly, why do I not get to go to the grocery store this week, just because it's the end of the month, and we can't afford it?*

This whole tax thing? Now, don't get me wrong; I'm a big liberal. I understand that schools and energy and things aren't free. I respect my need to contribute to the greater good. But, this arrangement in Texas, wherein we our taxed on the basis of property, rather than INCOME, is absolutely criminal. This is a disproportionate system, geared to gouge the middle class and to ease the suffering of the wealthy.

Where this leads is that people, like us, who have done EVERYTHING that they are supposed to do, are staring blankly at our appraisal statements, wondering what in the hell more they are supposed to do, just to get by.

I suppose that the overarching answer as to "why," is the obvious answer, or answers: the recession, George W. Bush, the stupid war, our stupid leaders in general. Honestly, though, it doesn't make it any easier to blame them. The thought that they might be out of office soon gives me some hope, but not enough that I'm ready to go blow my (as-of-yet-theoretical) stimulus check on that TV.

Is it just me? Are any of y'all feeling ever-more quietly desperate?

*We and the girls have PLENTY of food. No worries there. We have all the milk-n-eggs-n-bread staples, and the pantry and freezer are overfilled, as a matter of fact, and definitely could use a little winnowing out. It's JUST THE PRINCIPLE OF THE THING.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Today, at work, I was working furiously to meet some frighteningly upcoming deadlines; and, as is the way of things, I received a phone call from my daughter's school.

It was the school nurse. I sighed, feeling sure in my bones that the OG's congestion had morphed into some little fever, AGAIN, and that I was going to have to go get her.

Sadly, I was only half right. I did, indeed, have to go and get her, but - sigh - it was head lice.

I know lots and lots of people who have gone through this, but my family was lucky growing up. Except when I was a teacher, long ago, I've never seen them, and really had no idea what to do, until the nurse told me.

And? Well, all I can say is....ewwwww.

Cripes, this is one disgusting, annoying task to interrupt your badly needed workday. First, there's the shampooing and the pulling the tiny, pulling little comb through the thick red hair of a recalcitrant and hyperactive eight-year-old. Next, there's the washing and/or bagging of every piece of linen in the house, and the stuffed animals, and the pillows. Then, there's the vacuuming of all of the couches and carseats, to be finished off with much MUCH more hair washing for the OG, and all of the rest of us, too, of course. (Then, we do it all again next week.)

And, though neither The Man nor I can see any trace of critters on either of our scalps, our heads are ITCHING like crazy; psychosomatically, one assumes. (Probably also from looking up louse pictures on Wikipedia.)

Cross your fingers for us. (And, if your kids have seen my OG, check them.)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Yer Daily Larfs

I may have seen these over t'Bookhart's blog once upon a time...they seem vaguely familiar.

Ah, well; it's my blog, and I'll plagiarize if I want to. Thx, Anita!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hi, Everybody!

Please say the above title in a Dr. Nick voice.

Thank you. That was the interactive portion of tonight's blog.


Man, we had a good time this weekend.

Let's see...Friday night we had a party for Aimee's family, in which somehow we managed to eat, courtesy of Aimee's mom and sisters, homemade jambalaya AND pork roast AND cheesy cauliflower AND rolls AND corn AND tea cakes AND pralines AND lemon squares. (Not ONE of which I made, or even laid my damn hands on before I was shoveling it in my mouth. Heaven.) Oh, and mango margaritas, too.

I must interrupt to say that a frozen margarita machine situated upon one's back porch is a VERY dangerous thing to have. One wakes up on a Saturday morning, yawns, stretches, lets the dog out, and says, "Hmmmm....margaritas! Why, that's a FINE idea!"

Saturday, Aimee grad-y-ated, and that evening we had a party with her family, some of Todd's family, and several of their friends, for which Todd bought beef fajitas AND enchiladas AND beans AND SO MUCH SPANISH RICE AND chips and dip and salsa and guacamole and all of the other accoutrements of Mexican food AND chocolate pie AND cheesecake. Plus more margaritas. After everyone left, the four of us played poker until around midnight.

Sunday, we got up at the crack o'nine and went to Central Market for the third birthday party of Todd and Aimee's son, who we shall name Th'Bear, and who is one violently cute redheaded individual. (Oh, the YG and Th'Bear are engaged, apparently; she has officially declared him her "true love." Oh. Mah. God. They were SO ADORABLE together that it's near to make you sick. And they even have the same haircolor!) There, I somehow managed to not eat myself to Jabba-esque proportions, but tea sandwiches AND fruit AND cake were served.

Sunday night, we had a smallish poker party, in which all of the leftovers were summarily brought out and attacked. Sadly, we barely encroached into the perimeter before we abandoned our mission. (Seriously there was a BATHTUB full of Spanish rice.) I enjoyed the poker, but as I'm fairly sure the four of us were listing sharply to one side, we called it an evening at around 11:00.

Today? Hell, returning to work? Twelve days before the end of school? Positively restful, I tell ya.

And of course, it's back to my old lady diet...nothing but Lean Cuisines, broccoli, and Citrucel for me. I shall duly ignore the lemon bars that are still in there, screaming "oh, I won't be good much longer, you should really eat us NOW, because people who waste food are BAD BAD BAD."

No, damn it, tea instead. And only one teensy crumb of tea cake.

Hey, the foot is on the mend. I'm limping along at a fairly good clip these days, though I'm probably not supposed to. Crutches? Suck ass.

It's really not too bad, as long as I keep it bandaged and gingerly guard it from the heedlessly tromping feet of the eight-year-old. I can't really wear any shoes besides my Crocs yet, because they won't fit over the bandage, so I'm looking oh-so-professional in my work clothes. But, all in all, I can't complain too badly.

I can't really move it around too much yet, though. I shall be starting physical therapy for it whenever I can get my damn self around to make an appointment, and I hope that ushers me back into exercising and going to the gym within a few weeks. Fingers crossed; my ass could really, really use it right now. (Fine, dammit, no tea cake crumbs.)


So, Todd put me in the frame of mind to consider having some shelves built in to our living room, rather than buying an "entertainment center." (For the big TV we, um, don't have. And may never ever get, the way our property tax is going. But I hold out hope.)

Anyone done anything like this? Pros, cons? Anyone know any good folks in Austin who understand and build such things, specifically with electronics in mind?


Speaking of property tax, HOLY FUCK, by the way.

Strange, I did not know that my house was made of solid gold and cocaine.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friends in Town! Hooray!

We're busy entertaining some of our bestest buddies, Todd and Aimee, this weekend.

There's parties afoot (in celebration of Aimee's Ph.D. graduation) and a margarita machine on my back porch, so I will clearly be out of pocket for a few days. And, if I do post, it will be a B.W.I.-type post, and probably hurriedly deleted the next day. ("Scho. Do yawanna know what I HATE? I HATE FLAN. And war. Thatsch what I hate.")

Thus, in lieu of posting something meaningful, I shall bestow upon you this week's coolest website, courtesy of Todd.

It is: the Baby Name Wizard. No, seriously, it is addictive. Try it. You type in your name, and it pulls up a graph of how well your name has fared over the last hundred years or so. (Or any name you want, of course.)

Mine peaked around 1920, sadly. But, on the bright side, it's fared better than, say, Beulah. (And Gladys! And Esther!)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

Awesome Album Covers

Go here and vote for your favorite. Come back here and report. (He's mine. Sorry, girls.)

(Hysterically enough, I've actually purchased one of these albums - the odd-looking Russian one towards the end. It was a birthday present for Trish, a.k.a. the only person I know that would have such an, on her AMAZON WISH LIST.)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Negative Nancy, c'est moi!

My apologies for not posting anything substantive as of late.

For the life of me, I cannot come up with anything to write that is not obsessively reflective of my current mental state, which is basically that of a shut-in. I'm stuck to this couch, nauseated from the Darvocet but unable to completely quit it just yet, and in an increasingly foul temper because I cannot clean my house for our much-beloved houseguests that will be arriving this week.

And I'm just getting fat again, because clearly I'm not exercising, and feeling sorry for oneself is not particularly conducive to staying on one's diet.


So, just to bring my outlook up a tince - and on the occasion of this, my own day - I am hereby forcing myself to say five positive and/or relatively cheerful things. Here goes:

1) The Man cooked me a nice Mother's Day dinner tonight; halibut topped with crab meat sauteed in garlic butter, asparagus, and crusty bread, with Amy's Ice Cream for dessert. Flowers, too. Thanks, honey; just when I had my pity party on in full, you go and bring me out of it.

2) I finally watched the two Netflix movies that have been sitting on my television since - um, before Christmas. (The Departed and Children of Men. Both good, and situationally suited to my circumstances; when better to watch two really depressing movies than when you're already depressed, I ask you?) I also watched Waitress last night with Cristen, who came over to babysit me. It was very cute. Made me want pie.)

3) The Man and I have upcoming romantic (read: child-free!) getaway plans in San Antonio for our 10th anniversary, including a weekend at La Mansion on the Riverwalk and tickets to see Spamalot at the Majestic. It ain't much in the way of travel - go here if you'd like to read about people who go REAL places - but, hell, I'll take it.

4) Best TV line of the night...from King of the Hill:
Peggy: "When did young girls start dressing like tramps?"
Nancy: "Mmm-hmm. They call 'em prosti-tots."

5) At one point this weekend, the OG became this, after a Coke and a bag of Skittles:

Now, the OG is hyperactive a lot of the time, but most people have never seen her in full-on Cornholio mode. When this happens, it is awe-inspiring. And hysterical.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


I'm writing to you from under a Darvocet haze...and not the fun kind.

Seriously, I've started this post like five times, and apparently I CANNOT MAKE SENSE, no matter how hard I try.

So, I shall leave it at:

  • the surgery went fine (no pre-Valium shot this time, damn it! That's why I HAVE these surgeries!)
  • my foot hurts
  • my foot is in a big sexy blue foam boot
  • I hate crutches so so so bad
  • pain medicine makes me sick to my stomach/constipated so
  • I'm self-medicating with a caramel Drumstick
I shall attempt to return to work tomorrow, but I'm not making any promises.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Things of Vital Importance

  • Did you know that there are only 22 days of school left? DID YOU KNOW?
  • And did you know that my daughter will be HALFWAY DONE with elementary school at the end of this year?
  • And are you horrified by this?
  • We haven't decided what to do on the cat yet. We did decide to get the shoulder biopsied, to determine exactly what we are looking at. If it's treatable - and restricted to the shoulder, as opposed to something systemic like lymphoma - we may end up doing the amputation, as a) my vet said he could do it for less than half what the specialist was going to charge, and b) my mother said that she would help out. (I didn't ask, for the record; it was a happy (?) coincidence that she paid to save my sister's dog from a grand mal seizure a couple of weeks ago, and I think she was looking to be equitable on my end. And, I suppose I'd rather have Patsy than a contribution to a big-screen TV. I'm...just totally sure about that.)
  • My ankle surgery will be Wednesday*. All ye beware; there be bitchin' to come.

*It's arthroscopic and not a big deal. I have something called osteochondritis dissicans. Amusingly enough, when you Google it, lots of pages about Labrador Retrievers pop up. My symptoms are totally bearable; it's just the slobbery mouth and the overwhelming desire to catch tennis balls that I can't handle. (Oh! The comedy of me!)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Always with the good judgment

This Wednesday was the second grade parents' turn to host "Teacher Appreciation" day for the OG's school. Dutiful mom that I am, I signed up to bring brownies.


I decide, hey, these are really good teachers, it's a sucky time of the year (Wednesday was TAKS day, even,) and they deserve better than a mix, they deserve THESE brownies. Which are incredible, what with the boiled fudge icing and the real buttermilk and the two whole sticks of butter and the extra-dark Hershey's cocoa. (And then, dang it, you have all this buttermilk left over, and so you HAVE to make homemade buttermilk biscuits. Fuck. No wonder I'm fat.)

Anyway, the brownies were done, and as I pulled them out of the oven, they slipped out of the hot pad. I had about a nanosecond to decide; do I let them fall to the floor, thus forcing me to start over and make a whole new pan, OR do I catch them in my free hand, thereby searing my flesh horribly with the white-hot pan?

I shall let the picture reveal my choice:

That's a big - about an inch long- blister on my thumb, and a big burn mark above the wrist.

Yeah, you knew it all along. When forced to choose between sloth or safety, I'm always going to favor sloth.

Good brownies, though.


I have a dilemma.

The veteriniary $pecialist thinks that my cat Patsy has bone cancer in her shoulder. He says that there is a pretty good survival rate for the type of cancer he thinks she has - about 80%, actually.

But, the catch is, she'll have to have her whole front leg amputated. And, it'll cost between $1800-$2000 dollars.

And she's 15 years old.

So...let her go? In pain? Maybe a lot of pain? Or put two more grand on my credit card - because in no way can I pay this outright - so it can happily join the car repair debt from a month ago? For a cat that is - despite being fairly spry - OLD?

What would you do?