Friday, November 30, 2012

All she wants for Christmas is . . .

Compared to the loss of the other front tooth on Thanksgiving (flying face first into a moving treadmill), this one was much less dramatic. We stopped at Target after work to get a Christmas gift for my niece. A blew part of her allowance on a rice krispie treat and an Icee. She bit into her snack and then suddenly the tooth was hanging by a thread, quite literally. I convinced her to let me yank it out lest we find ourselves in the predicament of searching on hands and knees for a tooth hopelessly lost on the white floor in the toy aisle. All it took was a tiny tug and it was out.

So, s's are a bit challenging now (I made her say theven, therendipity, and thuthpicious just for my own amusement) and also . . . the tooth fairy is going broke. Two more teeth are also loose. I mean looth.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

No, not embarrassing at all.

Yesterday, I received this email from my daughter's teacher:

Just wondering if A showed you her homework slip for reading last night? She said that she didn’t get it finished because she had chores to do all night and there wasn’t any time when the chores got finished. I had written on her slip that she needed to read chapter 3 and 4 (which she was supposed to do in class and write a summary). This was given to her group and they had 45 minutes to work on it. She chose to only read chapter 3 and then read other stuff. I told her that she needed to complete for group later on in the day. So when she came to group she didn’t have it finished and she was given as homework chapter 5.

I'll just come right out and say it: my daughter's time management skills leave much to be desired. Sometimes I wonder why we are bothering to save for her college education, when the odds of her making it to her classes seem so very small. I worry about her future career and can only pray that it is one that does not require her to show up for work at any specific time. You know I love my child with all my heart and soul, and I am surely her biggest fan, but she does have this one teensy little flaw. 

On weekdays, her alarm clock goes off at 6:00 a.m. After her dad and I nag her for the next 15 minutes, she throws us a bone and finally takes off her pajamas. 9 times out of 10, she is still naked at 6:30.  And her breakfast is cold. We've tried rewarding her, punishing her, taking her shit away - you name it! Before she was born, we showed up at places on time. Now, we go skidding into work, movies, birthday parties, church, etc. about a minute after we are supposed to be there. And it's all because we cannot take a naked child with us. We have to require clothing and in our home, at least for one member of our household, getting dressed is an ordeal of epic proportions.

So, I feel her teacher's pain as I'm sure that A's time management skills don't magically improve once she gets to school. When I read that email from her teacher, embarrassment was the first emotion to register in my brain. I assume you caught the line about CHORES ALL NIGHT?! Fortunately, I know teachers are wise people who do not believe every word a child says. It is true that my daughter has a short list of chores:
  1. Dust once a week
  2. Pick up dog poop twice a week (we have suspended this one for the winter)
  3. Take a bath every other day, as independently as possible. 
  4. Make bed daily.
It is also true that Tuesday was the night she was expected to dust. If she focused on that task, I believe it would take her a maximum of 10 minutes. However, she starts a task but then finds ways to prolong it. She dances and sings. She rifles through the candy jar, kisses her dog Gretchen on the lips, and watches shows on the Disney Channel featuring preternaturally cheerful teens. She may even stop to do some impromptu coloring.

I was at yoga on the night in question but I can assure you that she had ample time to do her homework and the one chore she was asked to do. In theory, she should even have had lots of time left over to play video games with her dad and whatever else she wanted to do. But that's not how she rolls.

In any case, I did respond to her teacher with assurances that we'd work harder at making sure our daughter completes all assignments. I also let her know that we did not require the little fibber to do chores ALL NIGHT. When I called my mom and told her about her granddaughter's latest escapade, she laughed until she was out of breath.  "Well, she sure threw you under the bus!" she exclaimed.

I have a feeling I'm going to be spending a lot of time under that bus.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Customer Service

There is a little bath shop that I love. The store carries gigantic bath fizzy balls, soaps, fancy lotions, rubber duckies, and countless other products related to bath and body. For me, there is nothing better than a hot bath on a cold winter's day. And, if I smell halfway decent when I climb out . . . so much the better.  I'm a sucker for bath-related products. This particular store is located in a college town a couple hours from me. I stop in whenever I'm in that neck of the woods. My mom has accompanied me on one of her visits as well.  I've been in the soap store at least a dozen times, if not more. Guess how many times an employee has asked me, "Can I help you?"  Zero. My mom experienced the same thing when she was with me one time.

Now, I don't know if maybe I just look like I haven't got any money. Or maybe I'm not hip enough for this upscale shop in a college town. I have no idea. I have noticed that behind the counter at this store they have all sorts of oils and, as I understand it, you can customize the scents. I'm not really sure since no one has ever offered to tell me about them. Sure, I could ask for help but I always feel a little sheepish about doing that. I mean, I'm not even sure I want the custom-scented oils - I guess I just want to know how it all works. I always buy a few things - some bath fizzies, some lotion, etc. One time I bought my stad a toothbrush there and he said it was the best toothbrush of his life. If one of the hipsters behind the counter took the time to approach me, ask me what kinds of scents I like, etc. . . . I can't help but think they'd stand a chance at increasing their sales significantly.

Anyway, it's become sort of a running joke with me and my mom. I'll tell her, "Hey, I went to that soap store and the record remains unbroken!" She suggested that I contact the store after I told her about my most recent visit there in November.  So, I sent a little email through their website.  I basically said, "Hey, I love your store and am a big fan but for what it's worth . . ."

I got a response from the owner of the store thanking me for my feedback.  However, then he added this:

Some times too when people are shopping together I hate to interrupt their conversation with "may I help you?"  That is the same when people are on cell phones or playing with their hand held devices. 

So, let me get this straight - I didn't get squat for customer service and . . . it is probably my own fault? For the record, during my last visit I was in the store with my daughter. She was in an aisle by herself, picking out some bath beads shaped like dolphins and whatnot. I was in another aisle, also by myself and definitely not on my phone. Believe me, I worked retail for several years and I am not the yahoo who talks on the phone at the check-out. I am also not a big text-er. Thanks to my non-bending thumb, it is just too tedious for me to do it with any regularity. But sure, maybe it was my fault somehow.

Lest I leave you with the impression that I am a chronic complainer, I want to share a quick story about good customer service. For my wee baby sister's birthday, I ordered a custom 'mother's necklace' for her from an etsy shop. The necklace features a disk on which my three nephews' names are engraved. Their birthstones are also attached.  When I got the necklace in the mail, it wasn't exactly as I had envisioned. I agonized over whether or not I should contact the seller. Finally, I mustered up the nerve to contact her and she responded right away with an offer to make the changes I was requesting.  I sent the necklace back and a few days later I had a replacement that looked just like I wanted it to. Therefore, I can happily recommend that if you are looking for unique and/or custom jewelry, check out Rips Designs.

In my job as a project manager in web development, I also provide technical support to clients. More often than not, when a client calls with an issue, it is probably a 'user error' sort of situation. However, I can't say, "This is your fault. You clicked the wrong thing." It would be rude, for starters. My goal is to help them with their problem and to have them hang up feeling like they've received assistance without condescension. If I get it right, they stick around as happy clients and I get to keep my job. It's a win-win. It's really not that hard to be nice to people and treat them decently.  So sayeth I.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving

Since I'm sure you were wondering . . . 

Yes, the manhole cover turned out to be fully edible. And yes, I made my mom's dressing recipe without incident. My dressing did taste slightly sweeter than hers - I probably screwed up the bread cubes to cornbread ratio somehow. I also used less pepper than she does because, to quote my mother: "Claudia thinks a mashed potato sandwich is too spicy." She has also been known to call me a "candy ass" because I'm not big on spicy foods. And keep in mind that I am her favorite!

The made-from-scratch cloverleaf rolls did cause me some angst in the afternoon when I began to fear that the yeast was not doing its job. The dough did not appear to be rising. However, eventually it thought better of becoming a failure and did what it was supposed to do. Homemade rolls are labor-intensive but oh so good. Carb heaven! The vegan gravy was pretty good. I can live without it but it wasn't bad.

My daughter helped with the mashed potatoes. And by "helping," of course I mean "caused the process to take ten times longer than it normally would." All in all, though, it was a very nice Thanksgiving at home, with just our little clan.




Friday, November 23, 2012

You shoulda seen da other guy

My daughter is scared to death to pull a tooth out of her head. When she lost two bottom teeth last year, there was a lot of drama and trauma involved.  So, she decided not to tell me when her two front teeth started to become loose earlier this year. She didn't want me nagging her ass, I guess. I figured it out eventually, however.  I've been asking her about the teeth periodically for the past few months.

"How about we pull them out today?"

"No."

"Tomorrow?"

"Mo-om!"

I just worry that the new teeth are desperate to grow and, if not given a proper opportunity to claim their rightful spot in my daughter's mouth, will revolt and grow in at a 90-degree angle just for spite. I've tried my best not to nag her too much, though.  Fast forward to Wednesday night. The three of us kicked off the four-day weekend by going to a hockey game. The kid insisted on sitting in her dad's lap for the entire game (might get a little awkward when she's in her twenties, but seems okay for now). Between plays, she was showing us how she could push out her loosest tooth with her tongue. The tooth was barely hanging on.

When we got home, she brushed her teeth and the gum tissue around the loose tooth started to bleed. I almost had her talked into letting me pull it, but she got spooked and I didn't want to force the issue. I just told her that the tooth would come out eventually, one way or another.

On Thanksgiving Day, we ate dinner and then headed to my friend Sarah's house for dessert. My daughter was playing with her sons.  The boys are roughly the same age as A and they get along pretty well. Anyway, my husband and I were sitting outside when I got word that my kid was bleeding. I'm not one to panic but I hurried inside to find out the scoop. I found my daughter in the bathroom, crying and clutching a Kleenex up to her mouth. I knew right away that the tooth had made its escape at last.

Apparently, the boys had been showing A their parents' new treadmill.  My daughter climbed aboard willingly. I'm not sure what the speed setting was, but what I do know is that my child is not super coordinated.  She plunged face first onto the belt, knocking her tooth out in spectacular fashion.  The tread marks from the rubber were imprinted in her nose and lip. So, there it was - our Thanksgiving excitement.  I sat with her in the bathroom, attempting to console her. "I won't get any moneys because I don't know where the tooth is!" she wailed.

"The boys will find it," I assured her. Sure enough, the boys rounded the corner right at that moment, tooth in hand.

"Hey, can I see the blood? asked the younger one.

I imagine we won't soon forget this Thanksgiving!  It doesn't really show up in the photo below, but she still has the treadmill marks on her nose and lip. And now she's snaggle-toothed, but still cute as all get out. Oh, and she's four dollars richer.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I'm a grown-up; I can do this

I'm preparing to make Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. I ordered a turkey breast for my husband from Heavenly Ham. Yes, that's right. They sell turkey at the ham place. For me I bought . . . a Tofurky Roast. I have sandwiches made from Tofurky deli slices all the time, so I suppose I already have an idea of how it will taste. I am guessing that Short Stuff will decide to pass. Different or unknown = baaaaaad.  The Tofurky is stuffed with dressing and comes with a container full of vegan gravy. I'm pretty curious about how the gravy will taste in as much as I haven't eaten gravy since I was a kid.

In addition to the main dishes, I am also making:
  • Stuffing/dressing
  • Cloverleaf rolls (from scratch, yo!)
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Green bean casserole 
  • A brownie torte 
After dinner, we are heading to a friend's house to enjoy some dessert (and, if a girl can dream, some wine). I am taking my brownie torte along. I brought it to my parents' house one year for Thanksgiving. My stad spotted it on the kitchen counter and asked, "What's that? A manhole cover?"  The name has stuck ever since. Let me just say that my manhole cover is delicious, dammit! 

I am making the dressing from my mother's written recipe, passed to me a long time ago. The recipe has no ingredients list and no quantities are mentioned. Also, the word "moist" is used more times than seems necessary. The recipe is peppered with statements like "I don't really have a recipe for this" and "just cook it 'til it's done," so I can't say that I have complete confidence in my ability to complete the mission.  Another gem from my mom: "Yeast is a very tricky thing."  This little tidbit will come in handy when I make the cloverleaf rolls.

In case you are wondering, my mother is well-stocked with one liners for her children. Another example: "I don't care if you kill each other - just do it in your room" (I'm bummed that I never get to use that one, since A is our only child).  The other day, my mom and I were reminiscing about another old nugget: "WHO THREW UP ON THE WASHINGTON POST?"  I keep thinking I should have that one printed on a tee shirt. My middle sister and I had taken our wee baby sister out for drinks on her 21st birthday. There were a lot of shots involved, so I guess she expelled those shots onto the Washington Post when we got home.  Ah, the memories.

In any case, I am looking forward to the Thanksgiving meal. I hope everything turns out to be, you know, edible. I'm going to start the day off with a yoga class in case that helps me to focus and not overindulge for the rest of the day.

I'm also planning to do some Black Friday shopping . . . on Friday. I know I wasted a lot of energy ranting about this last year, but I still say it's ridiculous to open a store on Thanksgiving. So, I will go on Friday and hang out with all the other crazy people. I have coupons and a strategy and umpteen nephews to buy for. My youngest nephew was born on December 26th, so we're not sure how to handle that (celebrate on the 26th? a few days later?)  Poor kid. And just wait until I tell him that his mother once THREW UP ON THE WASHINGTON POST!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Charity Schmarity

With the holidays upon us, I find myself wondering, once again, if I am doing enough to encourage acts of charity from my child. I am uncomfortable with the focus on charity reaching a fever pitch around the holidays and then lying dormant the rest of the year. Or at least that is how it seems to go for most families. For our family, we are heavily involved in a charity (Boxer Rescue) so for us it is a year-round affair (feeding and caring for dogs that don't belong to us, attending rescue events, etc.) However, we are still faced with the specter of our daughter's lengthy Christmas wish list each year. I feel the need to counter the "I wants" with at least one concrete, tangible "I give."

Last year, we adopted an angel tree recipient named Bianca. I purposely chose a girl who was close to my daughter's age in case it might help A to identify with Bianca in some way. Well, I am embarrassed to admit it, but my kid did not lose any sleep over Bianca's plight. There was no real empathy, no mi casa, su casa action.

So, I think I should try a new tactic this year. I think maybe I should let her choose a charitable endeavor on her own. I sat down with her this afternoon and suggested that she should think about donating part of her allowance to a charity. She gave me an odd look.

"A charity?"

"Yes," I said. "You know . . . do something nice for, or give a little donation to, someone you don't know. A stranger."

She looked even more confused now. "A stranger?  Well, we don't know the people in that one house down the street. I guess I could give them some money." 

"Oh, I didn't mean to pick a random . . . hey, let's talk about this later, okay?

I don't know. I don't feel like a charitable act should be something that's forced. Charity shouldn't be limited to the holidays either, of course. What's a mom to do?

At the holiday parade with her pop

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Don't forward stupid crap (please)

Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who
created the universe, and the vast majority believe you.
Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure.
- George Carlin

I got this email yesterday:

Distribution has begun...Refuse new coins!       

True Americans will refuse these

It has begun..

REFUSE NEW COINS

This simple action will make a strong statement.
Please help do this. Refuse to accept these when they are
handed to you.

I received one from the Post Office as change and I asked for a dollar bill instead. The lady just smiled and said 'way to go' , so she had read this e -mail.  Please help out..our world is in enough trouble without this too!!!!!

U.S. Government to Release New Dollar Coins
You guessed it

'IN GOD WE TRUST'  IS GONE from the front and back!!!
If ever there was a reason to boycott something, THIS IS IT!!!!
DO NOT ACCEPT THE NEW DOLLAR COINS AS CHANGE
Together we can force them out of circulation..

Please send to all on your mailing list!!

The font of the original email was much, much bigger. Because, you know, your crazy talk will somehow make sense to me if each letter is the size of a grapefruit. The email was sent to me by a woman who runs a local health and wellness center.  The center itself is an asset to our community. Its focus is on natural approaches to one's well-being. For example, they bring in massage therapists, reiki practitioners, yoga instructors, etc. They also have a lot of seminars. At some point I must have gotten myself on the mailing list for the center. The emails have always bugged me because every other words is a different size/color font and reading them always makes me feel a little stabby. But, I thought the intent was good so I subdued my anal-retentive need for consistency and balance and readability.

Anyway, I unsubscribed from the mailing list once I received the email about the coins. If one more person tries to tell me how to be a better American, I might just lose my shit. Seriously.

Oh, and does no one do any fact checking, for crying out loud?  I don't have any dollar coins, but according to Snopes, "in God we trust" is on the dollar coin - it is just on the edge instead of the traditional location. Read the whole thing if you wish (and here is another article as well). From what I've been reading, the dollar coins aren't even being produced at this point. I think most of us hate them anyway. I don't know how many versions of the dollar coin there have been, but some of the ones I've seen in my lifetime have been far too close in size to the quarter (the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin comes to mind). Try handing one to a sixteen-year-old cashier if you want to see why it's a problem. But, I digress.

Another point that people seem to forget:  "in God we trust" was not added to paper currency until the late 1950s. It was added as a knee-jerk reaction to the whole "Red Scare" business. Apparently we thought that if we put something about God on our money, it would scare away those wicked commies. Maybe we thought a reference to God was their Kryptonite or something.

I get so tired of misinformation. My wee baby sister and I were talking about this the other day. People say that Obama is trying to take away their guns. False. He has periodically made statements about assault weapons (you know, machine guns and whatnot), but in general, he supports the Second Amendment. He seems to avoid the issue as much as he can. President Obama is also regularly accused of being soft on immigration (he does say that he favors immigration reform . . . whatever that means), but record numbers of people have been deported since he took office in 2009.

I just wish people wouldn't blindly forward every stupid email they receive.

Let me just say this:

- Whether or not it says "in God we trust" on our money
- Whether or not same-sex couples are allowed to marry
- Whether or not people smoke wacky-tobacky in the privacy of their homes
- Whether or not my friends/neighbors/co-workers/elected officials believe in God

 . . . it does not affect my life in any way.

I wish people would just focus on being decent human beings instead of worrying so much about whether everyone else meets their definition of a proper American.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Life and loss and unspoken things

See this handsome guy (with très adorable bébé)?

His name was Andrew. He went to my church.  He died suddenly a couple weeks ago (apparently from a bacterial infection of some sort).

Andrew and I were friends - not close friends, but friends nonetheless. I used to (jokingly) threaten to unfriend him on Facebook because he was always posting about bacon. So one time he posted an infographic about vegetables and tagged me, saying that he had only posted it so that I wouldn't unfriend him. Earlier this year Andrew became a dad and was thrilled beyond words. The posts about bacon became less numerous, and photos of baby Jaxon took their place. Andrew and Jaxon's mother were not together, but I know Andrew spent a lot of time with his son. It breaks my heart that Jaxon will not know his father, at least not in the direct, physical sense.

I have a tiny confession, which is that even though I'm a happily married old lady, I had a small crush on Andrew. I liked his dark eyes and his ever-present smile. I admired his spirituality and the way he seemed to approach life in a non-traditional way. I remember one time he talked of going camping in the winter. To me, camping in the summer is borderline crazy. Camping in the winter . . . I don't even know.

Losing a friend who's in your age group is always hard to process.  I'm still having trouble accepting that my friend Kevin died, and he's been gone a few years now. I still miss him so. Andrew was a couple years younger than I am. Jaxon needs his dad. The world needs Andrew. It's hard to comprehend this sort of loss.

Now, I know that when someone dies, everyone says, "Every day is a gift," and so forth. It may seem sort of schmaltzy, but in Andrew's memory, I'm endeavoring to make sure my friends know that I appreciate them. I don't know how I got so fortunate to have so many amazing friends. I am blessed indeed.  So, I have been contacting my amigos, mostly just as their names pop into my head, and letting them know, "Hey, I appreciate your friendship."

If you are a friend of mine and you haven't heard from me yet, there are a couple of possible explanations:

1. I just haven't gotten to you yet, but I will.
2. There is a very real possibility that my brain is thoroughly convinced that I've already contacted you and told you of your awesomeness. Like I said, I am an old lady.

I am not including my family because we are a demonstrative lot and do not hesitate to lob the L word at each other with abandon. So, they already know.

One of Andrew's friends posted this on Andrew's Facebook page the other day.

I always assumed you knew how important you were to me, but I never told you outright. Maybe I did, but not in so many words. I wish i had. Even though we weren't together often, my heart is very heavy. 

I am sure that Andrew knew.  However, for those of us who still have a chance to say it, it's worth saying.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Oh, the shame

I was rearranging some stuff in our home office slash guest bedroom this morning and came across my college diploma. I opened the green holder and took a gander. My Bachelor of Arts - English degree was conferred upon me by George Mason University. The diploma also includes lettering embossed in gold: "with distinction" - added because of my high GPA. (Me so smart!)

I need to mail it back. I do not deserve to keep it any longer. I have a confession to make: I'm reading "Fifty Shades of Grey."  Each time I'm part of a gathering of women, the book eventually comes up in conversation and, without fail, I'm the only one who has not read it. I guess I wanted to see what all the buzz is about. Now, normally when the whole planet is into something, I dismiss it. I know that sounds snooty, but I offer you the song "Macarena" as proof. Something can be universally adored and still suck ass.  However, I also got curious about the buzz on "Downton Abbey" and, as it turns out, the series is amazing. I watched three episodes in a row last weekend and was in heaven. 

Now, with "Fifty Shades of Grey," I wasn't completely in the dark. I knew that critics mostly hated the book. I'd heard that the prose is pretty awful.  I was curious, but didn't want it sitting on my bookshelf for the next decade. I also didn't want to check it out from the library. Then I remembered: P has a Kindle Fire. I bought it for him for his birthday. He does not use it to read books. He uses it to play online poker with strangers (and cuss loudly at them because, when he loses, it is only because "those motherfuckers got lucky").

I downloaded the book and have read about half of it. I had to make a solemn vow to delete it when I'm done. 

Yes, the writing is . . . not good.  The main character says things like, "Double crap!" Some of the dialogue is downright painful to read (and not because the topic relates to BDSM). Anyway, I'll finish it but I doubt I'll read the whole trilogy. I don't think my pride could take it.

I feel like I should dig out some Faulkner . . . re-read "Light in August" or something. Maybe tackle some Dickens and Steinbeck. 

I'm sorry for letting everyone down like this, reading low-brow fiction and all. :::sigh:::

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Well, thank goodness

With apologies to my conservative friends, I'm doing a little jig right now over the election results. Be glad you can't see it (my jig, not the election results - you are free to look at those).

While I acknowledge that President Obama perhaps has not done enough for the economy (and has not succeeded in reducing unemployment as much as one would like), I think it's important to remember that he's one man and that he's accomplished quite a bit despite the erection of sizable roadblocks from the GOP.  (See, it is possible to use the word erection in a sentence and not have it mean something dirty!) Our memories are short, though. I had to do some Googling myself in order to be reminded of the President's many accomplishments.

Although Mitt Romney may have a certain amount of business acumen, I'm not sure it makes up for all he lacks. During the campaign, he made his disdain for women, same-sex couples, and low-income families pretty clear. Had he become president, I was also extremely concerned that he would strip away environmental protections. At times he has stated that he accepts the concept of climate change, and at other times he has rejected the concept. The dude makes me nervous. I think it makes me a little bit apprehensive any time someone rejects science. And don't even get me started on axing PBS (.00014% of the federal budget) and Planned Parenthood (check out this graph if you haven't seen it - one of their primary activities is doling out birth control and the more they dole out, the lower the abortion rate will be . . . or at least that theory seems viable in my mind). I will say that as frightened as I am of Mitt Romney, I was even more frightened of Rick Santorum. :::shudder:::

My daughter accompanied me to the polls on Tuesday. She fully understands that her dad and I belong to different political parties. We also practice different religions and have lots of other differences, too (music, books, movies, etc.) So, if nothing else, she'll grow up understanding that she has lots of choices. I'm trying to raise a free thinker here! She accompanied me into the voting booth, and I showed her my ballot and how it all works. I'm hoping that she'll remember the importance of voting and of paying attention to what elected officials are up to (good or bad).

I did a little math and my daughter will vote in her first presidential election in 2024, when she will be 19 years old.  I will be 54 . . . assuming she hasn't driven me into an early grave. She seems to be making that her full-time job lately (lots of eye-rolling, smart ass comments, etc.), so we'll see . . .

See the hand on the hip? Sassy 'tude.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The one where I throw out my back and then whine incessantly

I'm home from work today, so I thought I'd bore you with some details from my weekend. My daughter and I left town Saturday morning and didn't get back until Sunday evening. I gave my husband two jobs while I was gone: 1. Turn the clocks back and 2. Clear off the deck. "I'd better write this down," he told me when I passed along my requests.  I can see how two items on a list might be pretty overwhelming.

As far as why I'm home today . . . it seems that my on-and-off back problems have come to a head.  Before we left town on Saturday, the kid and I went to a craft show. As I was getting into the car, I heard my lower back say something along the lines of, "ZOINKS!" I was in pain for the next couple of hours on the long car ride. When we stopped for lunch at a deli, I sort of rolled out of the car and then muttered under my breath until my spine adjusted to the standing position. Once I'm upright, I'm fine. My back has established the following spectrum:

Lying down = mild discomfort but nothing major
Standing up = Minimal pain
Sitting = Holy fuck that hurts

Anyway, I didn't want to ruin the weekend, so I soldiered on. After lunch, I took my daughter to a children's museum. She had a blast. I wanted to run around with her but mostly hung out in a corner, crumpled up like a newspaper. From there, we stopped at Trader Joe's to grab some odds and ends for dinner and then checked into our hotel room. We were volunteering at a dog fair the next day, so that was the reason for our little getaway. Needless to say, she immediately started a campaign to convince me to head straight to the pool. I poured some wine into a plastic cup and escorted her down to the pool. I knew better than to postpone the inevitable. We swam for a while, which my back didn't seem to mind at all. Gravity is the real enemy. The hotel was pretty crowded because of a wedding and some sort of Army event. Get this - while we were swimming, someone took our towels and my cup of wine. Who does that (and no, a cleaning person did not come through)?

Eventually I climbed out of the pool and left A to play with some other kids. I had one of those "ack, my heart hurts" mama moments. I watched her in the pool with the other kids and noticed that they were stronger swimmers than she is. Also, they were taller.  I could tell that she was too embarrassed to use the pool noodle I'd brought along for her. She was only tall enough (to reach the bottom) in the 3" area of the pool, which was basically one small corner.  I saw the look on her face and wished I could fix everything for her. I was done swimming, but got back in the pool to play with her anyway.

The next morning, my back was no better but we got up and headed to the pet expo anyway. As long as I remained standing, the pain was pretty minimal. The kid spent all of my money on spin-the-wheel games at some of the other booths.  We worked at the Boxer Rescue booth for a few hours and then headed out.  We stopped for lunch and then did a little outlet shopping on the way home. A worked on her Christmas list in the back seat. It contains the following items: slushie maker, ice cream maker, cotton candy maker, and Blizzard maker. I laughed out loud when I saw it. She must think Santa's on crack if she believes he is going to bring any of those things.

Anywho . . . it was an eventful weekend and I don't think my back had a chance to do much (any) healing. So, I figured it was best if I stayed home today and tried to rest. Lying on the couch is actually pretty challenging for me. I have things to DO, ya'll. However, a girl could get used to this not wearing a bra thing. I'm wearing flannel pajamas, a fleece robe (made for me by my mama), and a pair of slippers that doesn't match either one. Honestly, I'm not even sure how my husband will keep his hands off me when he gets home.