Friday, July 25, 2008

Sharks and the Jets, Man. Sharks and the Jets.

After my jaunt to 7-11 to pick up an energy drink (since I am a rock star, I need to drink RockStar), I spied trouble brewing. Imagine a street corner as a capital L. On the long side of the L, a Shred-It truck. On the short side of the L, an Iron Mountain truck. I skedaddled before they could duke it out over what was the more appropriate way to clear stacks of paper from office archives.

Really? Me?

So, I just got a notification that someone I knew in middle and high school has moved me into a Top Friend spot on his Facebook profile. This fella is a nice guy and everything, but do you know how many conversations we've had since that sunny day in 1993 when we collected our diplomas? One. And that was at our five-year reunion. Other than that, I recall getting one kind of bigoted e-mail joke from him (sent through a listserv), and we've had two lovely exchanges on Facebook. (I'm sincere about the 'lovely' -- he's changed a bit since the Listserv E-mail Incident.)

How does this make me a Top Friend? HOW? Are my missives so outrageously witty that I have soared past all other friends? And it's not like there are only 4 friends on his profile or anything. He appears to have found Jesus recently, though, and I think I might give off a churchie vibe. Maybe that has something to do with it?

I know this isn't a Real Problem or anything. Just struck me as odd, is all.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Things You Don't Want to Hear While Waiting for Your Breakfast at the Bagel Shop

Customer, who happens to be a friend of the Food Handler: "I have a friend who's a plastic surgeon, and he said that if the bleeding lasts long than 10 minutes while applying pressure, you need stitches."

Food Handler: "Well, it's been bleeding since 7:00 a.m."

Food Handler was wearing latex gloves and had a bandage over the wound, but still. Yeesh.

It should be noted that I still ate my breakfast sandwich.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Me and the Exercise, We Are Not as One

Not to sound all chick-lit-protagonisty or anything like that, but I could stand to shed a few pounds. Once upon a time, my OB/GYN told me I could stand to lose fifty. I was not pregnant at the time, so I told her that unless she was going to perform some kind of Civil War amputation right there and then in her office, I wouldn't be losing fifty pounds.

I have lost a little flab recently. My co-worker and I have been hoofing around Towson now that it's more walkable*, and I've noticed some changes. Like sore legs. Seriously, though, if nothing else I'm getting out of the flourescent cube of doom (a.k.a, the office).

But I recognize that living a sedentary lifestyle is really not going to allow me to cash in on that sweet 403B plan I've got going on. But man alive, do I hate gyms. And aerobics. And basement exercise. I have attempted all three, and let's just say that things did not go smoothly.

Brilliant lass that I am, I deduced that these exercise shenanigans need to involve something I like doing that won't make me feel like an uncoordinated fool. Oh my God, if I even tried Tae Bo I'd put an eye out. And that, Gentle Reader, is why Super Ninja gave me a shiny new bike for my 33rd birthday (Yeah, I know my profile says I'm 31. See how lazy I am? DO YOU SEE?)

My ride is not pimped. I'm pretty sure Lance Armstrong would pee himself from laughing at me on my Schwinn 26" Comfort Ride. Doesn't matter. After I climbed onto that thing yesterday, I biked, Goonies-style, all over my neighborhood. In all, it was only about 2 miles, but it felt so good to have the wind whipping against my face and arms. Much better than getting the hairy eyeball from someone because I'd been on the stationary bike for too long.

The only thing left to do is to buy one of those little hitches so I can drag (literally) the Boy and the Girl with me on my whirligigs around Laurel. And perhaps some little helmets...

*I think this means that the drivers are now aware that they probably shouldn't run you over while using the crosswalks at the traffic circle.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Happy 4th Birthday to the Boy!

The Boy is four years old today, and in honor of that momentous occasion, I offer a snapshot of who he is at this point in time. I will treasure this when he's thirteen.

Okay, so the Boy is pretty much everything I could hope for in a child. Not that there were high expectations or anything like that. Oh, who am I kidding? Of course there are high expectations. But not in a "you should be a media mogul by now" kind of way. No, my expectations for my kids are that they become self-supporting, productive members of society. And that they are nice to me and their father. And that they stand up for themselves when the occasion calls for it. Everything else is pretty much gravy, right?

Anyway, the Boy is the best. To wit:
  • He's friendly, to the extent that he will share his most prized possessions, his vintage 1970's superhero action figures, with children he's only just met. He'll try to get them back a couple of minutes later, but the point is that he doesn't horde them and cry when a kid expresses an interest in his treasure trove.
  • He's really sweet to his sister. The Girl is cutting a shark's mouthful of teeth right now, and consequently she is not her typical bubble of sunshine. The Boy's reaction? He's been doing his level best to make her laugh. Yesterday (or yestermorn, as the Boy would say), Super Ninja took the kids to the grocery store. The Girl was howling because he wouldn't let her hold the eggs. To lighten up the situation, the Boy would touch things in the store that were cold (freezer doors, milk, etc.), and say, "Yee-owch! That's hot!" Then he'd proceed to waggle his arms and hop around in mock pain, like he was on a vaudeville stage or something. Apparently, the Girl was laughing so hard her giggles could have been mistaken for Jabba the Hutt's.
  • He's creative AND independent. The whole way back from Connecticut this weekend (for a visit with Super Ninja's best friend from his Stand By Me-ish years), the Boy told himself stories featuring his superheroes. He needed no input from me (who usually is assigned the role of Catwoman) or from Super Ninja (who is typically Batman or the Joker).
  • He's considerate. When Super Ninja sighed in the car on the way home from Connecticut (it got to be kind of a long trip with a whiny toddler yelling at us from the back seat), the Boy asked, "Dad, are you getting a headache?"
  • He gets excited by costumes. Like, last night, he saw a Peter Pan costume in his closet and insisted on wearing it and sleeping in it. I heard him come out of his room this morning at about 5:45 a.m., and I hustled to meet him (he has a tendency to wander into the Girl's room and climb into her crib with her, which wakes her up, and the grumpiness goes from zero to sixty in about 2 seconds). He wasn't in his room, and he wasn't in her room when I peeked in. Where was he? Sitting on the steps, resplendent in his Peter Pan attire, and with his feathered cap askew. Is there any better way to start your 4th birthday?
  • He's cautious. This is one of those personality traits that I can help him work through. Caution isn't inherently a bad thing. But he needs time to adapt to most new things. This one does not bellyflop in the ocean like his sister. He needs to work his way in, one toe at a time, at his own pace. I get that, and I want to help him understand that he needn't approach all things in life this way, 'cause it can really slow you down when it comes to enjoying and experimenting with new things.
  • He's smart. Oh, how smart this kid is. I'm not talking alphabet-and-counting smart. I'm talking has-a-better-command-of-the-English-language-than-most-adults smart.

Phew. That's all I've got for now. Suffice it to say, I'm enjoying the Boy. So, no sale to the gypsies this year.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Everyone Should Get to Wear a Cape

The Boy is back to full-on superhero worship, to the extent that the first thing he does when he gets home and slings whatever cape-like apparel is available around his neck. His bath towel, a dish towel, anything can be a cape. And sometimes, he has an actual cape. My sister gave me a homemade Robin costume a few years ago, and while the boy has outgrown every other piece of it, the cape, of course, still fits.

My heart explodes with happy whenever I see the three-and-a-half-foot Boy Wonder run by in his yellow cape.

Oh, and the Girl has learned how to make "whoosh" flying noises, so when she chases after her be-caped older brother, she punctuates her actions with "fyooh fyooh" sounds.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I'm Such a Pimp

Due the shard of steel that exploded through my Freestyle's undercarriage, I have been tooling around in a PT Cruiser. Okay, so it's not really the pimpiest of pimpmobiles. I think that honor belongs to the Chevy Impala. Or, at least it belongs to this Impala.

The Boy loved the car because it was all black and we could pretend it was the Batmobile. Me? The gas guzzling nature of the beast didn't really impress me, and it's very necessary to impress me with that statistic since I commute 70-miles round trip every day. If you, Gentle Reader, would only clamor more vigorously for my missives, I might be able to parlay that into a stay-at-home-and-work-in-my-PJs-entertaining-the-masses gig. So get cracking on that, wouldja?

Anyway, I had to stop by the car rental company this morning, and to my wondering eyes a shiny blue Nissan Versa appeared. Serendipitous. Super Ninja's jalopy could give up the ghost any day (I mean, how much past 110,000 miles is a 1998 Chevy Cavalier supposed to go?). Ever the practical one, I've been doing my research on gas mileage vs. monthly payment estimates vs. durability vs. will anyone actually just give me a car? And this particular vee-hicle ranks high on the list.

I smelled an opportunity!

Actually, what I really smelled was FAR too much vanilla air freshener in the PT Cruiser, which made me wonder exactly WHAT the previous car occupants were up to in that car. But I digress.

I used my feminine wiles to get the dude behind the counter to swap out the PT Cruiser for the Nissan Versa. By "feminine wiles," I mean I asked him politely. So, now I'm tooling around in a Nissan Versa, and I'm delighted that it will mean that I have to test drive one less car when the time comes for us to put Ye Olde Chevy out to pasture.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

So, THAT Happened

So, I don't really believe in astrology. I mean, I've found the personality description for my little slice of the zodiac to be spot on. But the day-to-day stuff? It didn't seem to jibe with my realities. I'd read the blurb for entertainment value, not so much for guidance. But these past couple of weeks? Yee-ikes! Many, many annoyances. Nothing catastrophic, just frustrating. This sent me running toward the mystical pages on the internets. Apparently, Mercury is in retrograde or some such, which means, "LtW, life will stink on ice 'til July 4."

Okay, there was nothing so specific as that, but that's what it boiled down to. I'll warn you, below is a bullet-pointed list of bellyaching. Having made that disclaimer, let me share with you what's been happening over the course of the past three weeks:
  • June 15: I hit a piece of junk in the road and blew a tire. Yippee!
  • June 16 - 18: The Girl came down with herpangina, which sounds like a total social disease. Turns out it's one of those viruses that kids pluck out of the ether. Joy. My chubby bundle of sunshine and happy was just the 30 lbs. of grumpy for three days. I'd hoped that the pediatrician would be able to prescribe some miracle drug, but alas, it was one of those delightful illnesses that just needs to be waited out. Since she couldn't go to daycare with a fever, Super Ninja and I "split-shifted" her care. I'd stay home in the mornings while he worked a half-day, then he'd tag in and I'd head off to work. I can't tell you how exhausting it is to look after one (or two) sick children and THEN go to work for six hours.
  • June 17: The Boy also seemed feverish and grumpy, so one day after the Girl went to the pediatrician, it was the Boy's turn. As it happened, he had two ear infections, likely caused by swimming the previous weekend. For that, we could enjoy the benefit of miracle drugs, i.e. antibiotics.
  • June 20: I got the tire fixed, which further ate into my work schedule. With travel and trainings abounding the following week, I couldn't really take any time off of work. There was just loads of stuff that needed to be completed, and no one that I could really delegate it to. See how much fun it is to be important?
  • June 21-22: I was horrifically sick. Flat on my back, can't do anything but suck down tea and cough drops sick.
  • June 23: Training day in King of Prussia, PA. Lost my voice. When I checked the mail when I arrived home, I'd received a notice of jury duty.
  • June 24: I really lost my voice. No squeaks, no gravelly rasp -- just whispering. This is also the day that I my sister's family and mine had dinner together because we wouldn't see them again before they moved to England for at least three years. Nothing like wishing someone farewell via semaphore.
  • June 25: I packed up the kids and drove to Pittsburgh. Yep, two kids, under five, four hours in the car, BY MYSELF, while I couldn't really talk to them. Happily, my in-laws had planned to meet us in Pittsburgh since it was not that far away from the town they call home. They helped out considerably during dinner, bedtime, and the next morning. In fact, they drove them to their home. Just them and the kids in the car together, which was a first.
  • June 26: Training day in Pittsburgh, PA. I'd had to scramble to get someone to come with me to co-present since listening to my voice could be classified as a form of torture. Seriously, I should've just picked up some Hall's stock.
  • June 26: This date gets TWO entries because of how fabulously awful it was. After the training, the plan was for me to drive to my in-laws and meet up with them, the kids, and Super Ninja, who was flying in to meet us (he wasn't able to drive with us due to a work obligation). Everything was going swimmingly, my mood was lifting, and even though I felt like I was gargling glass, I felt good 'cause I knew that my in-laws house would be this little oasis of calm and child-rearing assistance. You know what pops a good mood bubble really quickly, though? Running over a piece of truck debris in a construction zone. Let me explain...

    I saw something in the road that looked like the rubber tread of an exploded truck tire. The stretch of the turnpike that I was on didn't really have any shoulders to it, so I didn't have a lot of swerve room. I did what I could to avoid the debris, but not enough, really. How do I know that? Because of the KA-BOOM! that rocked the car. Oops.

    Immediately, I flipped on the blinker to get over, over, over as fast as I could. Once I was in the emergency pull of zone, I got out to look at what I assumed would be a shredded remnant of a tire and rim. I was especially bitter because I JUST HAD THE TIRE REPLACED. But, when I got to the passenger's side of the car, both tires looked fine. Not pristine, of course, but fine. What gives? I looked at the tires on the driver's side, and there were no problems there either. Shrugging, I hopped back in the car. When I put it into gear and drove for about ten meters, there was a strange sound, and I knew something was not right.

    I stopped the car, got out again, and knelt down on the hot gritty surface of the shoulder to look under the car. And I thought, "Wait, I don't think I've seen that before." I reached up and grabbed a hunk of steel and extracted it from the undercarriage of my car, much like you'd remove a splinter from a thumb.


    It was a flat piece of steel, maybe about twenty pounds. And it punched a hole in the floorboards in front of the seat that the Boy normally sits in. Digest that for a minute. It didn't shoot through like a javelin or anything like that, so it may not have injured him if he was in the car. But it ripped up the carpet and the underlay and left a hole in its wake that's about five inches in diameter. Fabulous.

    Back in the car, I rooted through my wallet for my insurance card, and the good folks in my agent's office told me that I should file a police report. Okay, I thought, can-do. But I didn't want to linger on the makeshift shoulder of the road as trucks and cars zipped by, so I drove to the closest toll plaza, which happened to be in OHIO. Grumble. I grumble because the folks at the toll plaza who normally help with such things told me that I need to file a report with a Pennsylvania state trooper. Off I went, back to Pennsylvania, to the first toll plaza I found, and the manager on duty called a state trooper for me.

    When Trooper Wolff pulled up to my car, he was wearing the big trooper hat, the mirrored Ray-Bans, and was smoking a big old stoagie. I was not expecting sympathy. But when he exited his patrol car and I showed him what I'd hit on the turnpike (which he recognized as a commercial truck's tie leaf), waves of sympathy came off of him. He firmly impressed upon me that I was lucky that no one else was in the car, and that the chunk of steel didn't pop a brake drum, or hit wires, or worse. I agreed with him, and had a half-minute mental breakdown on my drive away from the toll plaza.

    Did I mention the monsoon? No? Well, about a half hour before I arrived at my in-laws' house, the firmament opened and dumped all of the water on top of my route. And you know what you don't expect when you hit a lake-size puddle when you are driving through a rainstorm? You don't expect to feel a splash on your neck.
  • June 29: Seven hour drive home from in-laws'. This trip was fine for the most part, but the Boy got car sick about 10 minutes before we got home.
  • June 30: Training day in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I had to drive Super Ninja's car. Ugh. It's a 10-year-old Chevy Cavalier. We're at the point where if it requires a repair of more than about $500, we'll probably just trade it in. You can imagine how fun it is to drive something like that for 300 miles.
  • June 30 - July 3: The kids' daycare provider is on vacation this week, so Super Ninja and I are split-shifting again.
  • July 3: Took the car in to the body shop, where they judged it to be unsafe to drive 'cause fumes could come up through the floorboards. Oh. Really? That would've been helpful to know before I'd been driving it around for a week.

But tomorrow, all of this annoyance is supposed to go belly-up. I'll keep you posted.