Monday, March 31, 2014

Chicks' Weekend

I abandoned my family this weekend and went out of town with a couple of friends.  There were no arrests, so that's a plus. It was fun to get away for a night and I didn't even have to yell at anyone to get dressed and brush their teeth.

On Friday night (before I headed out of town), I took the kid to an improv comedy show.  The comedy troupe was holding a fundraiser for a couple of local organizations that provide support to cancer patients. So, I wanted to enjoy some funny stuff and buy some raffle tickets.  Since I won a basket in a raffle the week before, I felt like my winning ways just might continue. Sure enough, I found out yesterday that I won a free night in a hotel room! The hotel is only about 15 minutes away from my house, but what the heck, right?  Of course, once I board the dogs and make babysitting arrangements for my child, the "free" night might run me a hundred bucks.  Anyway, the show was a lot of fun. A friend of mine is one of the performers so it's always fun to see him in his element. I wish I could think on my feet like those talented people do. If someone were to say something funny to me on stage, I might be able to come up with an amusing retort by the following Wednesday. Definitely not five seconds later.

The kid was dying to get up on stage but as luck would have it, they didn't play any audience volunteer games that night. She did yell out some suggestions when the crowd was asked for them (when asked for "an occupation that starts with a c" she yelled "chiropractor!" - what a smartie, eh?)  By the way, if you ever go to an improv show and the audience is asked for suggestions, my friend Gary told me never to suggest any of the following:
  • Britney Spears
  • Jello
  • Bungee Jumping
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Michael Jackson
She also got to choose a name from a hat and a couple other things. At the end of the show, when the referee left the stage, she ran up to him and hugged him. I guess they were besties by that point.  I have to say that the kid is at a fun age now. Instead of shredding her napkin and complaining about how bored she was (something she would have done just a couple years ago), she really got into it.

On Saturday morning, I went to Weight Watchers (lost a little bit of weight - woot!) and then headed to my friend's house.  The three of us then headed out of town.  I felt a little bit bad about leaving the kid behind, because she was stuck going to a comic book convention with her dad. I was hoping there'd be wifi at the hotel and then she could just play Minecraft while her father spent her college fund on comic books.

Saturday was a lot of fun. We stopped at a distillery and sampled some brandy and whatnot. Then we stopped for lunch at a pizza place. One member of our group is vegan and this particular joint has vegan toppings (for an exorbitant upcharge, but still).  After that, we stopped at a candy store and a few other places. We stopped at a little boutique that had a shop dog. Who doesn't love a shop dog?

We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening drinking, eating, and swimming.  Then we watched Saturday Night Live and wondered why it's never as funny as one wants it to be.

We headed back home Sunday afternoon. Then I spent the rest of the day catching up on stuff and taking selfies of me and my dog. Don't judge.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I went back (and other stuff)

So, I went back. To Weight Watchers, that is.  I hadn't attended a meeting in just over a year. Interestingly enough, my weight (at my Saturday weigh-in) was only four-tenths of a pound higher than it was the last time I went. I guess that's good or bad, depending on how you look at it. I do adore my WW leader, so I was happy to see her. I just wish I was more enthusiastic about the whole thing.  However, I guess I do need the accountability.  If knowing that I have to weigh in on Saturday keeps me from snacking before bedtime on Thursday, I guess that's a plus. We'll see how I do. I'm a bit nervous because I know that my physical activity will grind to a halt when I have my foot surgery in May. I guess I'll just chew on some air until I can get out and about again.

Other than that, things have been pretty quiet.  I took the kid to a pet expo on Sunday (because, you know, I "never take her anywhere") and won a gift basket from a German Shorthaired Pointer rescue.  So, that was a bonus. The gift basket contained two bottles of wine, two glasses, and some other stuff. We also got a new computer so I've been busy setting that up and moving files around.  The other day I was moving some photos from the old laptop to the new computer.  This caused our wifi to be slow for a bit. My child BURST INTO TEARS because she couldn't play Minecraft for a little while.  I guess that's what kids cry about now.  Slow wifi.

I've also been focusing on my house a bit. I'm doing some spring cleaning, such as cleaning all of the blinds. I had a bit of extra cash and instead of doing something crazy like putting it into savings, I bought some new dinner plates (our old ones were a least a decade old and were starting to cast tiny glass shards into our food, which seemed problematic), new place mats, and this fish:

I also have Home Depot coming over tomorrow to measure our living room and dining room for new carpet. Mr. M does not want new carpet but he doesn't like anything until we already have it. He fought tooth and nail against having a DVR and now our DVR is full of Walking Dead and stuff like that. He didn't want Netflix.  Then, when I insisted, he promptly took over our account and filled our queue with movies that have received from critics, on average, a half-star. He didn't want a Kindle but uses it constantly. He's just always been this way. When we were still dating and living in Virginia, I thought it would be fun to take a drive to Luray Caverns. He dragged his feet and didn't really want to go. Once we got there, he thought it was the best thing ever and blathered on about it for days.  He didn't want a flat screen TV in the living room but now that we have one, he watches it so much that at times I worry he might develop bed sores. So, he doesn't want new carpeting but once it is installed . . . someone will come over and say, "Hey, nice carpet!" and he will nod and say, "Yeah, we just had that installed." 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Gratitude (or lack thereof)

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
― Epicurus

The other day I took my daughter out to dinner at Noodle's.  As we were leaving the restaurant, she spotted some jumbo-sized chocolate chip cookies for sale next to the registers.

"Mom, can I have one of these for dessert?"

I shook my head. "You don't even like chocolate chip cookies that much." I think she just wanted it because it was there.  She pouted and made stompy feet all the way out to the car.

As we were driving home, I said, "How about this? I'll let you run into Express and get a little something."  Express is a local gas station.  We pulled up at the station and I dug around in my wallet. I had a five and a ten and that was it. I handed her the five.

"Do you want change back?"

"Um, YEAH! And I don't mean that you can spend $4.99 and bring me one penny."

A few moments later, she hopped back in the van, waving an Oreo ice cream bar around. "Here's your change, Mom!" She dropped three ones and a penny into my hand.

She strapped herself into her booster seat and opened her ice cream bar.  "All of the ice creams were really low," she said.  At first I thought she meant low as in quantity, like maybe the gas station was running out of ice cream and that she'd been lucky to score the one she got.

"Low?" I asked.

"Yeah, only two dollars!" To me, this didn't seem like that much of a bargain, but what do I know? What I do know is that I haven't had much luck teaching my daughter the value of money.

"I'll add it to your tab," I said. I should've just bought the damn cookie from the start.

Fast forward to this afternoon.  First off, it's worth mentioning that I took the kid to Chuck E. Cheese's to play games last night. Then I took her to the mall and bought her a pretzel from Auntie Anne's. Then I took her to Crazy 8 and bought her an outfit she desperately wanted.  The ensemble included these shoes:

We'll see if she can walk in them this summer (but on a brighter note, maybe these shoes will guarantee that she's finally tall enough to ride the rollercoasters!)

Today, in my infinite generosity, I took her to see the new Muppet movie and even let her upgrade the "Kiddie Combo" with an ICEE instead of a regular drink.

Just now she came to me and asked if she could buy a game for her iPad. It's $3.99.  She already has dozens of games on her iPad. Plus, she has countless Christmas gifts (mostly craft projects still in their boxes) that she hasn't touched.  I thought about it for all of two seconds. "No. No game."

She begged and pleaded and raided her piggy bank to gather the $3.99. However, I didn't want her money - I just felt like I should draw the line somewhere or I will end up with a spoiled brat on my hands. I've created a curly-haired monster. She kept blathering on about her need for this game so finally I said, "Okay, you do two chores and you can buy the game."

Tears sprang to her eyes like this was the worst news she'd ever heard. "CHORES!?"

I asked her to mop the kitchen and bathroom floors.  She came back within 90 seconds. Now I know why my mom used to say things like, "Boy, you girls just don't do anything unless you can do it half-assed, do you? Is that your motto? 'I do everything half-assed'?"

Finally I told her that we were done talking about the game for today. She threw herself on the floor and wailed. I took a picture but she made me promise I wouldn't post it anywhere. I could post it and swear everyone to secrecy, but I'm not sure I can trust you people.  Anyway, I'm holding firm on the "no game" stance for today. Tomorrow, I'll have to investigate new and innovative ways that I can ruin her life.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How did you find me?

My friend Sharon pointed out that it's been a while since I posted a list of keywords that people have used to find my blog on the interwebs. So, here you go, amigo.  I ran a report from July 1st to now.

Most people seem to find my blog by searching on variations of the words "alabaster" and "mom." That all seems legit. However, a few oddities turned up . . .

exhibitionist mom (I think they've got the wrong mom. Even my husband doesn't know what I look like without my clothes on.)

lisa bonet (Three people found me using this term. I know how it happened, though - I did actually mention her when I blathered on about my crush on Khal Drogo. He still hasn't left her and sought me out, but hope springs eternal.)

18 plus girls on water slides (I'm not sure if this refers to girls who are 18 years old, girls who wear a size 18, or just a large quantity of girls on a waterslide. Regardless, you won't find them here.)

alobaster mom blog (Thank you, sucky speller, for seeking me out! I heart you!)

are swamps dirty poop (Probably)

alabaster body ass (Yeaaaaaaaaah, boyyyy!)

discipline piggy banks (You banks better do a better job of collecting money or it's curtains for you! Sorry, that's the best joke I could come up with when it comes to disciplining piggy banks. I feel like this is uncharted territory here.)

how do you make the rainbow loom pinnacle bracelet (I don't know but from what I can tell from watching my daughter at the loom . . . when you can't figure it out you should start crying and throw the loom at your mother.)

how to go from boring midwesterner to interesting  (Hey, I resemble that remark!)

mom daughter sore loser (The original sore loser lives in my house and it's not me.)

michael mouse (does anyone really know Mickey well enough to call him by the name on his birth certficate? Methinks not.)

Until next time . . . 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Visit with Meemaw

My mom flew in (from Oklahoma) for a visit last week.  She flew back last night, and now I must reprogram my child. The kid didn't have school on Thursday and Friday of last week, so she stayed home with her Meemaw. On Wednesday night, I got up to use the bathroom at around midnight and noticed that my child was not in her bed. She and my mom were partying in the living room. When I got home from work at 2:30 the next afternoon, the kid was still not dressed.  Also, she was fairly bratty while my mom was visiting. I guess kids know that you won't put the smackdown on them in any major way while their grandmother is sitting right there. 

Other than that, it was a nice visit. We went to a resort for one night (and went swimming and stuff), but mostly we just hung out at the house or at any of the local craft stores to which I drove my crafty mother (I sat in the parking lot outside Hobby Lobby twice and Michael's once). We attended a St. Patrick's Day parade by pure chance (we had lunch plans at a particular restaurant and happened to arrive just as the parade was rolling by).  Meemaw also came to church with us on Sunday. The kid was excited to light a candle of joy in honor of her grandma.

As for me, I've got the plague once again. My lungs are on fire.  I feel like I should have stock in Nyquil after the way this winter has gone.

A few photos pour vous:

Thursday, March 13, 2014


I've scheduled my foot surgery for May 22nd ("That's fascinating, Claudia. I'll be sure to alert the media.") This gives me over two months to obsess over it. This whole ordeal started after I fell up the stairs years ago, which apparently left me with a hairline fracture in the big toe of my left foot. Now my foot is sporting a bone spur and nothing works right down there. The procedure I'm having is called a cheilectomy.  My podiatrist is going to slice my foot open, saw off some bone, and then sew me back up. I made the mistake of watching part of a YouTube video of the procedure. Blech. I noticed that one of the comments on the video was from someone who said they just had it done and that they were "off crutches in two weeks."  I guess that's supposed to be a good thing.

There are so many aspects of this surgery that freak me out. For starters, I am petrified of being helpless. Absolutely terrified.  I don't like to rely on other people for my basic needs. The other night I dreamed that instead of having foot surgery, I had leg surgery (I'd snapped my femur - apparently my unconscious brain is overly dramatic). In my dream, I kept dropping stuff (accidentally) and no one would pick it up for me. So I had to do this weird dance of holding my crutches with one hand while I lowered myself to the floor with the other.

I am also worried about all the work that will pile up while I am recuperating. My husband is a good egg and all, but he's not going to do the stuff I do daily: emptying the kid's backpack, signing homework sheets, making her lunch, doing laundry, cleaning, etc.  He'll just say, "It can wait until you are better."

Then, of course, there is the pain. Foot surgery is, by all accounts, painful. Some narcotics tend to make me sick so I'm also worried about how well I'll tolerate the pain meds that my doctor is likely to prescribe for me. I don't mean to be a pussy, but I really think this is gonna hurt.

And then, finally, there is just my lack of patience. I don't want to wait patiently while my foot heals. I don't want crutches or an orthopedic boot or any of that.  I don't want to be unable to work out, to go to yoga, to zip through the grocery store. I don't mean to sound self-important, but I've got places to go, things to do, people to see!

So, why am I having the surgery?  Because my foot hurts like a son-of-a-gun, that's why. Shooting pains pass through my foot like some kind of jagged lightning bolts. My foot hurts when I walk. My big toe doesn't have enough flexibility in it, making lots of things difficult - from walking to yoga and so forth. I can't wear even the lowest "high" heel anymore. My doctor assures me that the short term pain will pay off in the long run.

One good side effect of planning ahead: I was able to book my surgery right before the Memorial Day holiday weekend, which gives me an extra day off work to recuperate. When I contacted the surgical scheduling person, I think I made all of her dreams come true just by planning ahead. "Most people want surgery, you know, tomorrow," she told me.  I know that story all too well. At my job, everyone wants their website to launch ASAP.  (ASAP = Monday)

So, can I see a show of hands as far as who's going to come over and help me pee and stuff? 

Monday, March 10, 2014

What is an emergency?

I work as a project manager for a web development company.  I've been helping companies, non-profits, and individuals develop a web presence for many years.  Although the vast majority of our clients are super-nice and exceedingly patient and understanding, I've noticed over the years that some folks have a bit of trouble discerning an emergency from a non-emergency.  Perceived emergencies crop up so often that anything short of "My skull just cracked open! Help!" fails to elicit much of a response from me. I run into this with the rescue as well - every situation is URGENT URGENT URGENT! In my mind, unless you are a cardiac surgeon and you are clutching a cooler containing a human heart, and you can't install that heart in a dying patient because there is a period on your website that is really supposed to be a comma, then it's really not a emergency.

One of my clients runs an assisted living facility. A couple times a year, the director asks me to come to her office to make changes to the website. Our web-based software actually allows our clients to manage their own content but if someone wants to pay us to make changes, we are fine with that. This particular client is extremely nice and I don't mind driving to the facility and working on the site for her. Anyway, I was there two weeks ago and as I sat in front of the computer in her office, I noticed that a gentleman outside the door was yelling, "HELP!" repeatedly.

"Oh, Gene," said my client.  "How about I get you a cookie and some coffee?"  She went to the kitchen and got him some coffee and a frosted cookie. He was quiet for a bit (I would shut up for a cookie, too).  Then he started again. "Help!"  It's kind of sad, really. Gene was once a school administrator and now he's in an obvious state of decline. I'm glad he has nice people to care for him.

About a week later, I went back to the assisted living facility to tie up some loose ends with the website. Gene wheeled himself into the room and made eye contact with me. I smiled at him.  "Help!" he yelled.  I'm pretty sure that one day Gene is going to fall out of bed, yell for help, and everyone will just say. "Oh, that Gene. Does he want a cookie?"

I don't think this will help Gene, but I've prepared these helpful flow charts to help everyone understand what is and is not an emergency.  You know me - I am nothing if not helpful!


Thursday, March 6, 2014

My new toys and other stuff

I've been super busy at work. Then when I come home each day, I have to take out my frustration and angst on my family.  So, it's been hard to find time to write. The stress is really taking a toll. Last night my daughter came up behind me and asked, "Mama?"

I sighed loudly. "Can you just ask your father?" I responded. "I've had a really bad day." I was pulling laundry out of the dryer.

She turned and started to walk away.  "I just wanted a hug," she said. 

Way to go, Claudia. Mother of the Year. Needless to say, I dropped the laundry and gave my child the best hug the world has ever known.

When I'm not making my family miserable or working, I've been playing with my new toys. Thanks to Amazon gift cards I received from my sisters and one of my sisters-in-law (for my birthday), I had enough moolah to buy a Kindle Fire (and Mr. "HOW MUCH DID THAT COST?!" did not even have to get involved). I love the darned thing.

My husband has a Kindle as well. Keep in mind that I've had mine for less than two weeks.

What I do with my Kindle Fire   
1.    Read (currently reading "The Book Thief")  
2.    Play Candy Crush Saga   
3.    Listen to the radio station I created on Pandora   
4.    Check my email   
5.    Cruise the interwebs   
6.    Watch movies and stuff on HBO-GO   
7.    Exchange text messages with my daughter    

What my other half does with his Kindle Fire:
1. Plays poker with strangers and cusses at them because they "just get so fucking lucky!"

I also got a new phone the other day. It's nothing fancy - it was pretty cheap. My Samsung Galaxy was 2 1/4 years old and was no longer charging properly. However, I got that bad boy for free at a Black Friday sale in 2011, so I felt like I got my money's worth. My new phone is also a Samsung - just a newer version. I haven't had time to sit down and customize all of the settings. It makes a lot of noises and I haven't yet figured out which noise means what. It whistles at me sometimes. This could be a signal that I've got a text or an email, or it could be that my phone is just a fucking pervert.

Anywho, that's all the news for now. Mr. Bates is getting adopted on Saturday. I have a seven-hour round-trip drive to take him to his new home. How come no one in my neighborhood ever applies to adopt a dog from me????

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Winter Weekend

We didn't feel like it was quite cold or snowy enough where we live, so we drove two hours north to spend the weekend with some friends.  They have a cabin "up north."  So, we had one cabin containing four adults, three kids, and four dogs (two Boxers and two Boston Terriers).  Oh, and one bathroom. I thought it would be fun to kick off the weekend by getting my van stuck in a snow bank as soon as we arrived at the cabin Friday night. I need to put some monster truck tires on that bad boy for next time.

We had planned to go sledding and whatnot but the below-zero windchills mostly took care of that plan. The kids played outside for a bit but then came inside once they couldn't feel their cheeks anymore. We mostly stayed indoors and played games and ate. We also enjoyed some grown-up beverages while the kids played on their various gaming devices. On Saturday we found an old-school bowling alley "in town" and played a couple of games. It must have been the unrelenting winter weather that caused me to bowl two under-100 games.

All in all, it was a fun weekend. I'm just bummed that I didn't get a chance to wear the snow pants that I picked up for $3.99 at a thrift store. Damn.