Month: March 2008

Everything works itself out in the wash

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I’m woefully behind on both household chores and funtime activities thanks to my most recent back issue (which, as I was putting on my socks this morning, re-asserted itself). And nothing makes this more apparent than my getting totally psyched over something that most people dread…

My new iron came in the mail Saturday.

Yeah, as in, an iron to make my clothes all nice and neat. I told you it was banal and ridiculous, but that’s what I’m down to these days. If there’s anything that the military taught me, other than the fact that short hair looks way cooler on short people, it’s that nothing speaks as highly of a man, as does shiny shoes and properly pressed clothes. Oh, I know that “slacker-dude” exudes a sort of charm and carelessness that some women find attractive, but I figure it’s a bit like “good girls.” You might want to date unkempt slacker-dude, but would you take him home to meet the folks?

I started ironing when I was in the military. Ironing was a highly prized skill and yes, we did approach it with an iron in one hand and a pair of tweezers in the other. Those stories are true. And perhaps since ironing was the one activity in boot camp where you could get away with doing almost nothing and not get yelled at for it, I grew to like its mindlessness.

It’s like Tai-Chi for the hyperactive.

Seriously. Now, for optimal ironing enjoyment, you can’t just approach it in a lickety-split fashion; no, you come at it with a plan and a methodology. Only then can you truly enjoy its simplicity…grasshopper.

My Program:

Get everything set. Put water in the iron for maximum steam. Organize your clothes by material, starting with silks and polyesters first because they require a lower heat setting. Gradually work your way up to cotton and wool. Turn on something mindless on the TV; a sports game or a movie you’ve seen (this is the beauty of ironing see. You can do something respectable and necessary, while also doing something selfish and wasteful! It’s a win-win!).

When your spouse walks in, he/she will click their tongue at your foolishness because they take their clothes to the cleaners, thus saving them time. However, they will also admire your fortitude and thriftyness. It’s all good though, because you’re in the zone; you don’t care what they think.

So go ahead, listen to the Mr. Miyagi of ironing: “We make sacred pact. I promise teach karate ironing to you, you promise learn. I say, you do, no questions.”

If it weren’t so funny, I might be concerned

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We’ve all seen those heart-rending videos of starving children in third-world countries right? With Sally Strothers doing her best Tammy Faye impersonation all the while imploring us wealthy Americans to donate our money so that the warlords can hijack the relief trucks before they can get to the needy people. My personal favorite is the elderly gentleman with the graying beard, who keeps saying, “Ma-ria” (pronounced: Mah-rrrddd-ah) with an emphasis on the “Ma” syllable.

 

Anyway, due to my back problems of late, CareerMom has been doing all of the things with the kids that requires bending over, such as putting MLE in his crib and bathing the boys at night. Well last night, I didn’t feel like cleaning up the mess I made from the Mexican dinner I prepared, so I volunteered for bath duty.

 

Even though I’ve changed MLE’s diapers and such, it’s all been with him lying down. So, I haven’t seen him naked and standing up in about a week. Last night when I took all his clothes off and put him in the bath, he promptly stood up, stuck both hands under his gi-normous belly and started lifting it up and down like some kinda laughing Santa Claus, all the while dancing in the bathwater and cackling like the Joker. I swear, it was the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time.

 

Once the hilarity died down, I got to looking at his belly and wondered if there was something wrong with him, because it honestly looks like one of those distended-bellied kids who haven’t had a square meal in years; however, I know that’s not the case, and the kid is happy as a lark now that we’ve gotten anti-biotics for his latest dual-ear infection. So I guess he’s OK.

 

I think the boy just eats a ton. There’s one lady at daycare whose mom runs a greasy spoon joints in town and she brings MLE a yummy biscuit a couple of times a week. Between that and the fact that we switched him to whole milk recently, I guess he’s just putting on the weight. But I feel bad for the little guy cuz he’s built like me and that gut is where I carry my weight too.

 

Sorry lil’ fella, it doesn’t get any easier! I’m just glad you can laugh about it.

Tell me again how smart your child is…

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About a week ago, all of us proud parents were exposed to the story about the 17-month old girl who can talk and read. The talking thing is no big deal I don’t believe, but the reading thing is and the coverage she garnered was just a hair shy of annoyingly show-offish to be honest with you (jealous much?). Her parents are both some kind of language experts, so it’s no surprise the kid shows talent in that area. Hmm, since CareerMom and I are both in marketing, does that mean our boys will be great shoppers? Points to ponder.

 

But this got me to wondering what they do differently at home and what kinds of things are we, and our daycare teaching our own kids. I know that in MLE’s class, they are teaching the toddlers some sign language. The only sign that I see MLE really going to town on, is the sign for “more” and it’s usually in relation to food, “Give me MORE!

 

Yesterday, when the kids got home, I checked out their daily activity sheet and MLE’s sheet said, “Today we learned the sign for ‘shoes’.”

 

Shoes? 

 

Really? How does knowing the sign for shoes help my child? I’d rather he learn how to tell me when he’s about to puke all over my clean work shirt, or when he needs to go poopy rather than filling up his diaper and having it leak out and onto whatever surface he happens to be scooching across at the moment. THOSE are useful signing words to me. Not shoes!

 

But maybe this is the norm. I pulled the image at the top of my blog off the Internet and as you can see, they teach youngsters all kinds of seemingly useless signs, like “cookie” and “telephone” and “frog.” What can a toddler do with that?

 

Using this list of signs, I suppose a toddler could sign to someone:

Mommy, the milk you gave me was too hot, so I want to eat a frog instead.”

OR

I asked for a cookie and you brought me the telephone, and I said no touch, no touch.”

(you have to be an “Office Space” fan to even remotely get that one).

 

I don’t know, maybe my expectations for my kids are just really low, but I don’t expect them to be able to wax poetic before the age of two. And quite frankly, I’d rather they fit in with their friends rather than being “that freaky kid” who understands quantum theory at the age of five.

Call me crazy…

A jury? This bunch of cattle?

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Since inquiring minds want to know what happened yesterday at Jury Duty, here’s the not-so-quick ‘n dirty.

I got up pretty much at my usual go-to-work time and got ready, leaving the house actually 20 minutes earlier than I normally need to. So, any belief that Jury Duty is a “day off” was completely out the window. Atlanta traffic is not too bad yet at 6:30 in the morning, but that’s like saying Niagara Falls, when compared to the ocean, only has a little water in it—it’s all relative.

I banked a little extra time into my commute because I avoid downtown Atlanta like the plague normally and I inevitably get lost whenever I go down there, especially when it’s still dark outside and I’m trying to drive and read a map at the same time. I’m still not sure what happened when I exited off the interstate. I was heading south and the summons’ directions said “turn east” which would be left, but then either their directions were wrong, or I just completely missed the turnoff, because I ended up running in circles (or rather squares) and got back on I-20 and had to turn all the way around. It was blind luck really that I finally stumbled upon the Orange Parking lot at Turner Field where they let jurors park for free.

But I parked around 7:15 and just missed the bus over to the courthouse, so I sat in my truck waiting on the next. It came and I and a bus full of folks headed over to the courthouse. When we arrived, we had to run across the street because there was no crosswalk. People were honking at all the jaywalkers, while we, presumably, were all angry that they weren’t showing a little more respect towards us, the keepers of the law.

When we walked into the courthouse, there was a tiny little paper sign that said, “Jurors report to the 7th floor.”  Now, I’ve seen enough Law and Order to know that you don’t just walk into a courthouse right? I mean, there are security screenings and what-not, so I bucked the trend and got in line for the security screening while probably 75 others lounged around apparently figuring that as soon as the courthouse opened at 8:30, they’d be able to hop on the elevators and go up. Turns out, I was the smart one because the security guard almost immediately explained what needed to happen and I found myself about 25th in line for the security screen and by the time I got through, there were probably 300 people in line behind me.

Yep, at least 300 people all there for standby Jury Duty. Talk about over-estimating.

So, I got upstairs and walked up to the clerk’s desk and said, “Hi, I pulled my back out last Thursday and I’m on some heavy pain medication, and sitting is gonna kill me. Can I get a waiver?”

Apparently, she’d heard this excuse only a few thousand times and looked at me with a sort of, “Oh reeeeaaaalllly” look and said, “The best I can do is give you a postponement.” I said, “I’ll take it!” and flashed her my best pained smile.

Jury Duty rescheduled, I triumphantly dragged a leg back downstairs where I had to fight through the Disney-like crowd of people standing in the kind of back and forth lines they use to maximize space, and suddenly I found myself out in the open air again. Free!

I was also right in the thick of rush-hour traffic in downtown Atlanta; but all things considered, I was thrilled. Course, my plan for getting out of jury duty and taking the remainder of the day off was dashed when I realized that I’d have to use the Jury Duty excuse again in a month and a half and it would look suspicious having it back to back so quickly. So, I dutifully headed home and put in a fairly honest day’s work from my home office.

So I’ll be back down there on Cinco de Mayo and praying that I won’t end up serving on a trial that lasts through CareerMom’s birthday on the 7th. Which means, I’d better go now and get her card and gift in case I’m stuck in a room with 11 other people downtown when the time comes.

It’s never really easy is it?

addendum to last post

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…and also, I found out last night (after calling the number) that I DO have to report to Jury Duty at the Superior Ct. on Monday at freakin’ 7:45 in tornado riddled downtown Atlanta where the “free” parking is several blocks away from the courthouse.

My plan, drive down with my narcotic drugs, walk up to the clerk holding my cane and my drugs and say, “I need to be excused.”

This sucks!

No good plan goes unpunished!

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 The cold, yucky weather finally broke here in Atlanta and after watching the boys this week while CareerMom was out of town, I had booked a fun-filled day of exercise and Golf for today. I got up yesterday morning full in the knowledge that it was my Friday, grabbed some coffee and started getting ready for work. As I ambled into the bathroom, I sauntered up to the counter, reached for my facial soap and “POP!” My back pulled out!

Reaching for the friggin SOAP!

I’ve already had two back surgeries (my surgeon says my next is a fusion) and I’ve done this same thing numerous times, so I knew immediately that I was in trouble and that all my plans for the upcoming weekend had just gotten canned, but I didn’t know how much pain I was in for yet since usually it takes a while for the spasms to start up and for the surrounding muscles to contract. So, I went on in to work, dragging my left leg like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. The few times I did get out of my chair, I was forced to walk at about 1 MPH to keep the pain down. At 2 p.m., after the nausea set in, I gave up and came home to finish out my day.

As it turns out, this is probably the worst I’ve pulled my back since my last surgery, which worries me because I really don’t want to go back under the knife. The muscles around the nerve are so spasmed up, I’m pulled over to the left. Wait! Here’s a picture:

(Domo arigoto!) 

I was going to take a REAL picture, but my abs aren’t quite ready for prime time yet.

At any rate, this means I’m of absolutely no value around the house from a “helping with the boys” standpoint. CareerMom gets mad at me when I try to get up and do stuff, but I honestly can’t sit here all day. I’d rather grit through the pain and get up and cook and/or clean up a bit rather than just sit and watch.  

More importantly, this means that a number of projects I had planned for the weekend just got canned too, not to mention that it’s Easter (GOOD FRIDAY ALL!) and that means family gatherings, egg hiding, the whole nine yards. But, I DO have some good drugs and if I have to, I’ll hop myself up on them real good and put on my smiley face and be a good sport.

I’m always looking out for fellow sufferers. Feel free to share your story!

Beans Beans…Great for Your Heart!

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I think we can all agree that no matter how old we get, or how mature we like to pretend ourselves to be, farts are funny! Come on, you want to tell me that if you’re sitting there in a crowded room, and it goes all quiet, if someone ripped one, you wouldn’t snort a big guffaw? 

 

Well, maybe you’ll understand my predicament then. MLI is getting old enough now that when a toot comes out (of anyone), he doesn’t just accept that it’s a toot and move on without any reaction; no, he’s old enough now to rationalize that tooting in public isn’t normally done, which only makes it funny! Right? I mean, if it’s commonplace, then who cares? 

 

Other than sex, is there anything as normal, yet so remarkably un-discussed as passing gas? And why not I wonder? Because it’s so gross? Probably.

 

A quick Internet search found that there are some people talking about it though. In fact, MythBusters did a show on the myth of “Do Girls Pass Gas?” (by the way, they DO) and there’s a pretty funny MySpace site called, “Coalition for Public Farting (CPF)” where they advocate making public flatulence more acceptable. So, it’s out there, but maybe still not mainstream.

 

Sometimes I hear married couples talk about it just as normally as might a couple of teenage boys, but I just can’t see myself ever being that comfortable around CareerMom. However, when she’s out of town, and it’s just us guys around the house, well, all’s fair in love and gas! 

But, where then do you draw the line with a four year old? He’s old enough to know it’s funny, but is he old enough to quickly decide whether it’s ok to do right before he does it? I don’t think so. He also had constipation for the first few years of his life and we finally got it under control thanks to Miralax, but during that time, we read him books like “Everyone Poops”

and “The Gas We Pass”   , to try and get him to thiink about it as a normal function. Wouldn’t getting all uppity about it now be a little  hypocritical of us? 

 

Maybe this is one of those things (like discussing a woman’s age) that a person just has to learn for himself the hard way.  In fact, it’s probably a lot less embarrassing than asking a women if she’s pregnant, and finding out she’s not. Yeah, I made that mistake once. 

 

Given that different cultures approach this topic differently, I’m curious how you folks handle this in your marriage/household. Do tell!