Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Me? I don't go over-the-top with Halloween. I like the subtle costumes. A tiny trickle of blood from the corner of the mouth, or cat-eye contact lenses, or, like this morning, vampire teeth:

I heard Super Ninja getting the kids dressed, so I popped the teeth in, leapt into the Girl's room, and growled, "Happy Halloween!"

Super Ninja, with his cat-like senses and reflexes, jumped about a foot in the air. Both kids were not really bothered. After a few seconds, though, the Girl said, "Take a out!" Translated into English, that means, "Take those funky things out of your mouth, you freakin' weirdo!"

The Boy just wanted to try out the teeth, which I obliged.

So, on the schedule for this evening is: pizza, costumes, four minutes of trick-or-treating because my kids are lame and have no stamina for the candy-begging, distributing treats to kids who look like they drove themselves to my neighborhood, and another showing of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! Or Cinderella, depending on who wins the cage match we intend to set up between the Boy and the Girl. Hey, as long as there's a pumpkin in it, I'm happy.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Take that, Malibu Barbie.

A validating conversation was held amongst my family on the way to daycare drop-off yesterday. I was not in the car at the time. Super Ninja, a man among men, does the daycare drop-off and pick-up because he works closest to home. He relayed the following exchange to me:

"Dad?" said the Boy.

"Yes buddy?"

"I love...Mommy."

(melting...I'm melting...)

"I love Mommy too, Boy."

"I love Mommy...too?" said the Girl.

"Yes, Girl, we all love Mommy."

"Mommy is...bootiful."

(oh my God I'm infused with warmth I thought was only possible through shots of whisky...)

I'm thrilled that my almost-two-year-old girl thinks that I'm beautiful, even though she has no idea what that means. Considering her main frame of reference is the Disney Princess collective and some stacked superheroines, I have stiff competition.

The truth is, I experienced a moment of terror soon after she was born. Well, I guess there are many moments of terror with a newborn. But this one was different from any that I had with my son. See, I realized that I was going to be the standard of, well, not beauty necessarily, but maintaining one's self for my daughter.

Kids look to their parents for examples and standards, right? Boys usually look to their fathers, and girls to their mothers. This is why I henpeck Super Ninja to go to doctors and dentists. I'm a big believer in leading through example -- you can tell kids it's important to brush their teeth, but until they see you brushing, flossing, and going to the dentist, they might write it off as another one of those things that you're telling them they must do when it's really just optional.

And I also believe that the way you take care of something is an outward sign of how much you value it. When you drive by a house that has junk in the yard and grass that is outrageously overgrown, you don't think that the people who live there cherish their address, do you? So, if you're wearing stained and ripped clothing, you're kind of telling the world that you just don't care. Which, come to think of it, may be the point. I'm looking at you, Punk era.

It's such a tricky line. I want to instill in both of them that they need to take care of themselves, and that the world does judge them by how they present themselves. But how do you reconcile that idea with the reality that they should, in turn, only judge people by the content of their characters and not whether or not they have 10 pairs of Guess? jeans and a different Forenza sweatshirt for every day of the week*.

Not sure where I was really going with this. Maybe I'm just glad that my daughter notices, at her tender age, that I make an effort? Then again, I think Jabba the Hutt, Jr., probably that that Gardulla was the cat's pajamas, so p'raps I should not read that much into this....

*Sorry. Bitter moment from 1987.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Look at Me, I'm a Relationship Expert

By far, the most popular post on this blog is this: Questions a Man Should Never Ask a Woman. People from far and wide, like Kuala Lempur and Ontario, have Googled permutations of this thought... "Questions to ask a woman," "questions guys should ask women," "questions to never ask a woman."

If you Google a phrase like that, my itty bitty post will be somewhere in the top 10 results. How'd I get to be so popular? Algorithms, baby. Google works like this: the more often a link is picked from among search results, the higher up it will go in the presentation of the search results. So, in essence, if someone clicks on a link, Google ranks it higher whether or not the info it contains actually satisfied the searcher's needs. Kind of like some of the talking heads on TV -- they've been on TV as an expert, ergo, they are experts whether or not they make sense.

I'm looking at you, E!, and all of your hair, makeup, and fashion "experts."

What? You thought I meant political pundits?

Here's the dirty little secret: I met my husband when we were 18, we started dating when we were 20, and we got married at 24. I dated eight guys (two seriously) before Super Ninja and I became an item. Oh, and that phrase "dated" is being used REALLY liberally. Like, "We held hands in the cafeteria in middle school and went to the Fall dance together" kind of liberally.

So, Google, what on God's green Earth do I know about relationships? Maybe I can recognize a jerk straightaway, courtesy of some of the characteristics of the Great Eight (who shall henceforth be known as the G8).

Oh well. Maybe I'll write a couple of other Top 10 Questions lists to see how many more innocent Googlers I can lure here to read my sham relationship posts.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Blogging and the Economy

So, I'm thinking that the economy is having an impact on the economy. Why? Because there are a handful of blogs that I pop to on a weekly basis, and they haven't been updated in ages. I can only assume that the writers have better things to do, like working second jobs to keep their kids in shoes or something.

I know I'm not a daily poster or anything like that, but we're talking weeks and months between postings. Maybe the blogs have just run their natural course. I wonder what the life span is on a blog? Or maybe I'm the Ted McGinley of blog readers? Seriously, some of these blogs were downright prolific until I became a regular reader. Then, a month or two later, nary an update.

Watch out, blogosphere! The Blog Reaper is looking for some new sites to add to her roster!

Friday, October 17, 2008

God Is the Tree, I Am the Bra

That was what I wrote on my 2nd grade art project. No, I was not a pervert. The theme was supposed to be "God is the tree, I am the branch." To this day, I'm not sure why I couldn't scribble down the "nch" before hustling away from St. Dominic's with my poster tucked under my arm. Anyway, when my oldest sister's best friend saw the poster, she collapsed into a pile of giggles, making me feel AWESOME.

Thus began my storied history with supportive undergarments.

You may want to skip the rest of this post unless you want to get to know me infinitely more intimately than you did before. You've been warned. I apologize, but I'm still a little stunned by how I spent my lunch hour.

Today, I spent a small fortune on bras. Not those frilly, decorative things that tweeners wear once adolescence strikes. Oh no, I had to buy feats of engineering. I've been meaning to do this forever, but pregnancy, nursing, and weight loss have made my size fluctuate a bunch. And these bras? They are expensive, yo. Like, $80 a pop. They aren't La Perla, not by a longshot, but I'm chalking up the more-than-I'd-spend-at-Target price to the cost of the space age material they must contain.

Anyway, this was just one of those things that I've been meaning to deal with forever. And, it has to be said, I can be a bit shy. A paradigm shift occurred in my thinking, though, and being semi-nude in a fitting room with a complete stranger named Yolanda seemed better than running around with a profile that reminded me more of Jabba the Hutt than it did slave-girl Leia. Those of you who are partnered up with nerds know that slave-girl Leia is the end-all be-all for your paramour. Well, either Leia or the Baroness. She also has a killer hourglass figure, though I suspect she got more support out of her uniform than Leia did from the metal bikini.

I digress.

I hoofed it to Nordstrom because it's the only brick-and-mortar store nearby that has knowledgable saleswomen AND stocks bras for the bigger girl. I'm not using "bigger" as a euphemism for obese. My ribcage is average. It's the, ahem, cup region that is problematic. How problematic? You won't find my cup size on a report card.

Just so your in the know, when you're being fitted for a bra, there are two measurements: the one around the ribcage for the band size, and the one around the whole enchilada (enchiladas?). Subtract the band from the enchiladas, and you get cup size. My second measurement was NINE INCHES more than the first one. NINE INCHES.

This is why I learned algebra. Solve for X and you get a GIGANTIC RACK.

I knew I was bigger than average. But jeez, not "You can NEVER buy lingerie from Victoria's Secret" bigger. Many props to Yolanda, though -- it took us about 30 bras before we found 3 that worked. She earned that commission.

Glad I got all of that off my chest. HA!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

What Up, Ya'll?

I've been in communicado lately, as I'm sure you (maybe?) noticed. Partly because of the crater in my head, partly due to home improvement work. Both projects have resulted in scars of one sort or another, but mostly prevented me from being able to think coherently.

Oh, by "crater in my head," I mean the aftermath of an ill-fated root canal/crown combo. The crowns (yes, there were two attempts) wouldn't stay put, which means I'll eventually need to get a tooth implant. I didn't think I'd need fake parts until much later in life. Sigh.

I can only imagine what the oral surgeon had to do to scrape my head clean of toothy bits left behind by the root canal, but my jaw is STILL sore. This little procedure took place 10 days ago. Mix in with that the guilt that I feel about taking pain medication, and I'm sure I have been a joy to live with during my recovery period. Why am I guilty about pain medication? There's a wee history of addiction in my family. I've never been one of those afflicted, but every time I take a prescription pain killer, I wonder if somehow this will be the gateway pill to "Intervention." It's kind of irrational, I know, but it's still there. As Super Ninja points out, though, I'm 33 years old and the likelihood that I'm going to jump on the addiction bandwagon at this point in my life is slight.

As for the other craters in my life... Faithful readers of LtW will know that I've been yearning to do some home improvement forever, and little problems like ignorance and lack of funding have proved to be impediments. I hate admitting I don't know something or can't figure it out, and I hate spending money that I don't have. I'm growing as a person, though, and sucked it up and asked for help from my neighbor. He's a general contractor, so he's stuffed with knowledge about things like replacing toilets. I never thought I would be excited by knowing how to replace a toilet, or marvelling at the efficiency of low-flow technology, but there it is. Also, Super Ninja got bit of a bonus from work, so we had some money to invest in the improvements.

The end result of this new knowledge and little lump of cash are some half-done projects. My powder room has a new vanity, but the taps aren't connected to the water supply because I didn't realize that the new sink sat higher than the old one (oops). My basement has new flush mount light fixtures, but because of random extra wires, one of them doesn't light up.* (Black connects to black, white connects to white, but red connects to...what does red connect to? THERE IS NO RED WIRE ON THE FIXTURE.) Also, I ripped out all of the baseboards so that I could replace the godawful flooring on my first floor. (I mean, really. WHO installs faux pine laminate next to real oak hardwood floors, and installs it so that the grain runs perpendicular to each other? A jerk, that's who.)

Once I have some after pictures, I will post them for your entertainment.

Why do all of this work? Well, Super Ninja and I intend to move next year. Intended, 'til the economy took a header.

Given the way housing prices skyrocketed after we'd bought the place in 2004, I wasn't really bothered about investing in home improvement because I knew I'd still make a decent profit. I knew work needed to be done, though, because the home inspector said that the house "has good bones." This is code for, "the structure is solid, but yeesh, it's outdated. And in some places, very ugly." At that time we did some basic stuff to beautify a bit -- painted, installed new carpet, replaced some windows -- but nothing major.

Why bother, I thought? If you bought the house for X, and houses in your neighborhood are selling for X + $115,000, you can take the hit if someone talks you down to say, X + $100,000 when you sell the place, right? And even houses that need improvement sell within 90 days, right?

Not so much any more. Either the selling price, or the speed in which the houses sell. UNLESS you have a house that a buyer can look at and say, "Sweet, I don't have to do anything to it." I'm not expecting to sell the joint for the song that I once could have. Mostly, though, I don't want to be in selling limbo. If someone wants to hurl wads of money at me, that'll be fine, but I'm not planning on it. Besides, if the place doesn't sell, or would only sell at a sincerely lower price than what we'd need, we can stay put and enjoy all of the lovely improvements. Win-win, no?

*I know how to fix this now, courtesy of the internets. Thanks internets!