Monday, June 30, 2008

A Riddle For You

What do the following have in common?

If you guessed Colorado vacation, you are correct! We will be leaving soon for a long and much needed vacation to Damien, Patti, Megan and Chris' mountain home in Granby, Colorado.

We will spend an arm and leg on gas. We will drive many hours with the boys (hopefully) sleeping through much of it. We will be relieved when we turn onto the road and spot their house along the Colorado River. We will go to Winter Park and participate in all the fun summer activities and ride the ski lift to the top. We will attend the small town 4th of July parade and collect as much candy as we can as it is tossed from the people walking in the parade. We will light sparklers, and then attend the fireworks display at Grand Lake. We will go horseback riding. We will have late night pool tournaments. We will go on dangerous hikes. We will swim in the hot springs. John and I will celebrate our 10-year anniversary with a night out at the Rapids Lodge Restaurant. And that's just the beginning!

See you all in a couple of weeks.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday Laughs

The Wife's Last Say

A husband and his wife who have been married 20 years were doing some yard work. The man was working hard cleaning the BBQ grill while his wife was bending over, weeding flowers from the flower bed.

So the man says to his wife "Your rear end is almost as wide as this grill." She ignores the remark.

A little later, the husband takes his measuring tape and measures the grill, then he goes over to his wife while she is bending over, measures her rear end and gasps, "Geez, it really IS as wide as the grill!" She ignores this remark as well.

Later that night while in bed, her husband starts to feel frisky. The wife calmly responds, "If you think I'm gonna fire up the grill for one little wiener, you are sadly mistaken."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Does it Taste Bad or Not?

Well, we did it. We bought the bad tasting goop to put on Luke's thumb to help him stop sucking. He was in agreement. He wants to stop sucking his thumb, but finds it hard to stop on his own. "My thumb has a plan," he says when we remind him to take his thumb out of his mouth.

Yesterday he asked us to put some of the stuff on his thumb. So we did. And a few minutes later he forgot it was on there and started sucking. I said, "Doesn't it taste bad?" surprised that he didn't react immediately. I guess he didn't notice the bad taste until I reminded him that it should be there. And it didn't taste like salad. "Yuck. It tastes like hair!" I'm not exactly sure what hair tastes like, but if it is "yuck" then maybe we've found the solution.

No such luck. A few minutes later he was happily sucking his thumb as if the gross stuff wasn't even there. He didn't even notice the taste until he took his thumb out of his mouth. So, what's the solution to that? Never take your thumb out of your mouth, of course!

Looks like our solution may have backfired. I guess it's back to the salad plan.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Saturday Laughs

A Happy Marriage Secret

Once upon a time a married couple celebrated their 25th marriage anniversary. They had become famous in their town for not having a single conflict in their period of 25 years. Local newspaper editors had gathered at the occasion to find out the secret of their well known happy marriage.

Editor: "Sir. It's amazingly unbelievable. How did you make this possible?"

Husband recalling his honeymoon days said: "We went to the Grand Canyon for our honeymoon. We went horseback riding one day to explore. My horse was pretty okay but the horse on which my wife was riding seemed to be a crazy one. When we first started riding, that horse jumped suddenly, making my wife topple over. She got off the ground, patted the horse's back and said, "That's one." She climbed back on the horse and continued with the ride. After a while, it happened again. She remained calm and said, "That's two," and continued. When the horse dropped her a third time, she silently took out a revolver from her purse and shot the horse dead!!

I shouted at my wife, "What did you do you psycho. You killed the poor animal. Are you crazy??..."

She looked at me calmly and said, "That's one."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Storms and Panic Attacks

So I had been having dreams that I was killed in a tornado. Dreams like that aren't fun, but they are especially distressing when you find yourself in a strange town, at night, in the dark, surrounded by fields and not much else, with no one else on the road and a storm that looks like the Apocalypse on the horizon.

I had to travel to Freeport, Illinois last week for business. It was a five hour drive at most. I noticed about two hours into it that the sky looked active. But I didn't see anything particularly alarming. That is until I hit Sterling at about 8:30 pm. What had been my cloudy but unstormy sky turned BLACK! THUNDEROUS! ILLUMINATED WITH LIGHTENING! Maybe the recent rash of storms, tornadoes, and flooding in the Midwest had my hackles up, but seeing that storm and remembering my dreams brought a feeling of doom that I had never experienced.

I called John. He checked the radar, and informed me that there was a tornado watch and a big red radar blob between my current location and my destination. Yeah. I'm looking at that big red blob I informed him.

I was traveling parallel to the storm. I thought, if I only kept that heading, I would be fine. Two miles later, my Garmin instructed me to turn left. Into the storm. That's when the panic attack hit. I had never voluntarily driven myself into danger before. I was in the middle of nowhere. There was no place to take shelter, although the warning on the radio was directing me to TAKE SHELTER IMMEDIATELY. The only other cars I saw on the road were ones heading toward me, away from the storm.

Since I had no choice but to continue my drive, with no idea where I was and no place to pull over unless I wanted to knock on a stranger's door and invite myself in for dinner, I kept on toward my final destination still 40 miles away.

I gripped the steering wheel, tried to calm my panic telling myself I was being silly, and prayed and prayed and prayed.

I also started talking to my Grandma Kirby. She was a force to be reckoned with on Earth, so I figured from heaven she could do unfathomable things to get me through the storm. Every time lightening lit up the sky, I imagined it was her answering me and consoling me and telling me I would be fine. I could imagine her talking to God, saying, "You stop that storm right now. My baby is down there scared."

As the miles and minutes ticked by, I occasionally spotted a car and said, "See. You're not the only idiot on the road." I was, however, the only idiot driving into the storm. The rain pounded, the thunder roared, the wind blew my car and the lightening continued to flash. I kept my eyes on the road and sky, wondering if I would have time to pull over and lay in a ditch when the tornado dropped out of the sky.

It took over an hour to drive that last 40 miles. But I finally made it to my hotel six and a half hours after I started my drive. I've never been so happy to see a Hampton Inn as I was that night. I called John to inform him I was safe. And I cried. A lot. I had worked myself into a frenzy brought on by the darkness, seclusion, storm warnings, and recent death dreams.

When I woke up that morning, the night before was already fading into the background. But, the extra wrinkles on my face and sprout of gray hairs reminded me of how terrified I was. I again said a thank you to God and my grandma, and vowed never to drive to Freeport, Illinois again.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Hunt for Wii Fit

John requested a Wii Fit from the boys and me for a combined birthday/Father's Day present this year. Anyone that has tried to find a Wii Fit knows that they are nearly impossible to get. I gladly accepted the challenge.

Has anyone searched for a Wii Fit? Do you know that if you are not standing right next to the shelf when they are placed on it at the store, your chances of getting one are about the same as your chances of winning the lottery while pooping diamonds out of your butt?

John came home one day to tell me that he was just at a nearby Wal-Mart, and they had 6 Wii Fits on their shelf. Since I did not have the powers to immediately orb myself to the store, I was not able to obtain one of these six. But I was not deterred. I started a calling and online search campaign to try to track which stores had online or in-store Wii Fit inventory.

So one day, I got lucky. Two Wal-Mart stores listed on their websites in-store availability. I jumped in my car and hauled it to the closest store. Did they have one? No. Sold out over the weekend. Then why did the computer say they still had some? Always call first I was told. They called the other store for me, which was also sold out. I wasn't ready to give up. I was right by a Circuit City so I checked there. No luck. Best Buy down the street? No luck.

John called and asked if I was heading home soon and was I stopping for lunch. There was a Steak -N-Shake up the street so I headed that way. Nearby was a GameStop. No luck. Ultimate Electronics - nope.

My last hope was Target. I saw a little crowd by the Wii aisle. Could it be? Yes! There were 5 Wii Fits on the shelf, and four people in line. The person waiting on us said they had just put them on the shelf. They sold out in less than 4 minutes, if you count checking out - 30 seconds if you count shelf to hands.

So, had Wal-Mart updated their computer inventory, I never would have driven to that store. Had I called first to check the inventory, I never would have left my desk. Had I gone to Target in any other order in my adventure, I would have missed the Wii Fits - I only had a 30 second window. Had John not called for a cheeseburger, I wouldn't have gone to Target at all.

And you might find this the most boring and mundane post in the world, but I am just amazed at how the timing worked to put me in that Target in that 30 second window so I could get John the one thing he asked for on his 37th birthday.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Two Wishes for a Glorious Man

Thirty-seven years ago today at 2:25 pm, the future love of my life was coming into this world at a hospital in Denver. John’s family was getting ready to move to Huron, South Dakota, so his mom underwent induction. His three older sisters waited anxiously to meet him on the street below. Younger siblings were not allowed into the hospital room back then, so John’s mom got to spend some quiet time with her newborn son before introducing him to the world. I suspect that was the last of their quiet time together.

His first weeks were a whirlwind of movement. He took his first airplane ride to Sioux Falls, South Dakota when he was just 1 week old. From there, he spent a week with his Grandma B. in Parkston, SD and then onto Dante, SD for a week with his Grandma Irene. Then onto his new home in Huron.

His parents agree that he was a good baby; he slept, ate, cried and was content to be wherever he was taken. John’s mom says that was a blessing in all the transition, and that John was and continues to be a joy in her life.

When asked to share stories about John as a baby and growing up, John's parents responded separately. In both of their responses, they talked about his favorite sleeping position as a baby. John’s mom says he would sleep on his tummy with his fanny sticking into the air. John’s dad says he slept with his ass up in the air humming a mournful tune. Same position, different perspectives.

John's dad could fill hours with stories about John growing up and his adventures - John reportedly kept his family on their toes. In Frank’s own words, here are a couple of great stories about John's early years. I don't know if John has ever heard these before:

When he was just a few weeks old, I was changing his diaper and stuck the bobby pin in his little wiener. He had three sisters before him so I was not used to having to be careful about sticking the bobby pin into anything. I could not figure out why he was fussing when I laid him back down in his crib and gave him his bottle. When I discovered what I had done, I made a vow to myself to never tell him about it. I hope he is not deformed in any way.

When John could barely walk. I took him to his first Cardinal Baseball game in St. Louis. When a foul ball came flying our way I went chasing it and was so happy to retrieve it so I could give it to John. When I returned to our seat, John was nowhere to be seen. He had taken off and got lost in the crowd in the area where they sold refreshments and hot dogs. I about died worrying about him. When I found him he was standing amongst all the people rushing back and forth around him not knowing he was there because he was so small. When he saw me coming, he took off again wanting to play chase. After I caught him and took him back to our seats I held his hand the rest of the game.

From everyone that loves you, Happy Birthday John! I hope your birthday is filled with as much happiness as you bring to my life everyday.

And I can’t let this day pass without wishing you a Happy Father’s Day. It is very appropriate that your birthday falls on Father’s Day. In many ways, the man you are today was born on May 20, 2001 – the day you became a Father. I always suspected you would make a great dad, otherwise I would not have agreed to marry you. You can tell a lot about the type of parent a person will be by watching that person with nieces of nephews, of which you have many, and how that person was raised by his parents (Happy Father’s Day, Frank! Thanks for producing such a great son for me to marry!).

Being a father has brought such a deep love from you. I see it every time I watch you with the boys. They are the light of your life, and you are their hero. I am very lucky to share this day with you, my husband, my best friend, the love of my life, and the greatest father I know.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Fastest Way to No Thumb Sucking

We’ve been working on trying to get Luke to stop sucking his thumb. He’s five years old now. It’s time. But he just doesn’t want to stop.

Luke hates chocolate. I jokingly threaten to dip his thumb in chocolate whenever I see him sucking his thumb.

Jack likes to be “helpful” and tattle on Luke when he sees him sucking his thumb.

We were in the car the other day and I noticed Luke sucking his thumb.

“Take it out,” I said.

He did, for as long as I could look at him while driving, which was about 0.5 seconds.

“He’s doing it again,” Jack informed me. “We’re going to put it in chocolate,” he said to Luke.

“No, but we might have to get serious and put the bad tasting stuff on it,” I said.

“What’s that?” Jack asked.

I said, “Some parents get this stuff that tastes really, really bad, and they put it on their kid’s thumb to get him to stop sucking it. And it’s not chocolate. It’s serious stuff and it tastes bad.”

Jack said, “You hear that, Luke? If you don’t stop sucking your thumb, we’re going to put salad on it.”

That ought to do it.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Who's Who?

Speaker 1: Can you come in here please?

Speaker 2, entering the bathroom: What's wrong?

Speaker 1, pointing to the mess all over the sink and the things out of place: What's the story with this?

Speaker 2: I'm sorry. Let me help you put everything away.

Speaker 1: And don't forget this.

Speaker 2: Can't we leave that out? We use it all the time.

Speaker 1: No. It needs to be put away. I work really hard to keep this bathroom clean and nobody helps me.

Speaker 2: You're right. I'll put it away.

Did you figure out who is who?

Speaker 2 is me.

Speaker 1 is my 5-year old Luke.

I think he was channeling me just a bit, but he takes great pride in keeping that bathroom clean. At least I know the bathroom will be in good hands while I'm out of town this week. Too bad his cleaning only extends to the sink and not the toilet.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Saturday Laughs

One dark night outside a small town in Minnesota, a fire started inside the local chemical plant and in a blink of an eye it exploded into massive flames. The alarm went out to all the fire departments for miles around.

When the volunteer fire fighters appeared on the scene, the chemical company president rushed to the fire chief and said, "All of our secret formulas are in the vault in the center of the plant. They must be saved. I will give $50,000 to the fire department that brings them out intact." But the roaring flames held the firefighters off.

Soon more fire departments had to be called in as the situation became desperate. As the firemen arrived, the president shouted out that the offer was now $100,000 to the fire department who could bring out the company's secret files.

From the distance, a lone siren was heard as another fire truck came into sight. It was the nearby Norwegian rural township volunteer fire company composed mainly of Norwegians over the age of 65. To everyone's amazement, the little run-down fire engine passed all the newer sleek engines parked outside the plant ...... and drove straight into the middle of the inferno.

Outside, the other firemen watched as the Norwegian old timers jumped off and began to fight the fire with a performance and effort never seen before. Within a short time, the Norske old timers had extinguished the fire and saved the secret formulas.

The grateful chemical company president joyfully announced that for such a superhuman feat he was upping the reward to $200,000, and walked over to personally thank each of the brave, though elderly, Norske firefighters.

The local TV news reporters rushed in after capturing the event on film, asking, "What are you going to do with all that money?"

"Vell," said Ole Larsen, the 70-year-old fire chief, "da furst thing vedo is fix da brakes on dat foocking truck.”

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A McDonald's Lawsuit

I'm thinking of suing McDonald's. This person did. So did she. And so did they. Never mind that the merits of my case are a little bit sketchy. I'm sure I can find a lawyer looking for a good class action suit that can come up with some good legalese for my perceived McDonald's-induced distress. Something like, "The Plaintiffs are bringing this suit against McDonald's as just cause for the undue influence over said Plaintiffs children and resulting non compos mentis on Plaintiffs' mental state." And why stop at McDonald's? Let's throw in Burger King while we're at it.

And what is the source of my grievance against McDonald's you ask? I'll tell you. It's the toys. And not so much that they give away toys to movies that my kids are too young to see. We still like to play with the toys, we buy the toys at the toy store, we have the Nintendo games, and will see the movies some day. This grievance, this level of stress as a mother that no one ever warns you about when you're pregnant, has to do with the seconds after you receive the kid’s meal from the drive-thru window but before you look into the bag to find what toys you've received with your meals. You feel the level of stress building and boiling in your brain, and know that an unwelcome outcome to the kid's meal toy procurement project can result in a backseat explosion.

There are two main scenarios that can happen for me in this situation:

1. We receive two new toys that neither of the boys have gotten yet – Yeah!
2. We receive two of the same toys that both of the boys have already gotten - Boo!

There are variations on those two main scenarios:

1. We receive two new toys that neither of the boys have gotten, but they are not the same. If they both want the same toy, how do you decide who gets what?
2. We receive one toy that is new and one that is not.

This is where that stress I spoke of rises exponentially, and a decision needs to be made. Do you become that mother that you said you’d never be? You know the one. She’s the one that goes back up to the counter to request a different toy, or sits at the drive-thru window while the toys get checked for approval so she can trade for a new toy if need be, while the growing line of drivers in cars behind her think of ways to creatively end her time at the drive-thru window - permanently. Or the one that spends $1.99 purchasing an extra toy to make a crying child happy, or to derail an impending tantrum when she just doesn’t have the time or energy to deal with it. (And, just to set the record straight, I’ve never done any of these things. I’ve just seen them done or heard them done. And, if you believe that, I have a 15 gallon storage container of rejected kid’s meal toys that I’d like to sell you.)

So, what do you think? Do I have a case?