Thursday, January 31, 2008

Adult Programming

On the way to school this morning, I tried to get each of my boys to call his grandparents in Jeff City to see if it was snowing yet. I reasoned that if it was snowing in Jeff City already, the big snow storm they were predicting that was due to hit St. Louis would soon be arriving. Neither one would make the call.

I asked Jack, "Do you think Papa knows it's supposed to snow?"

"Yeah. He probably saw it on the news. The only thing grown ups ever get to watch on the tv is news. And football."

I guess he forgot about all the Spongebob I get to watch.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover

We all know that it is important not to judge a book by its cover. Some things look one way on the surface, but are very different underneath. Some things look different to an adult than they do to a child. And some things change from one minute to the next, even before your very eyes.

What It Looks Like

What It Is

What It Looks Like

What It Is

What It Looks Like

What It Is

What It Looks Like

What It Is

What It Looks Like

What It Is

What It Looks Like

What It Is At Bedtime

What It Is When You’re Running Late

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Saturday Laughs

I will now solve the mystery of why we have passed this rule on to our children without ever knowing the reason.


Friday, January 25, 2008

This Means War

I understand now, as a parent, why my mom taught my sister and me how to play the card game War. She’d hand us a deck of cards and know that she’d have at least three days to do whatever she needed to do. That is how long it takes to complete a standard game of War.

Luke and I play with a pack of Shark cards we got in a Quizno’s kid's meal. The highest card value is seven. Even so, when your opponent kisses every card that he wins, and hugs and says goodbye to every card he loses, a game can drag on for centuries.

Good thing I am an excellent hand mucker and base dealer. I’ve mastered the art of the surprised loser.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A 6:30 PM Conversation

Jack: Why haven’t we had dinner yet? It's dark already, and I've been home from school forever.

Me: No one has said that he was hungry.

Jack: Well, you’re supposed to tell us it’s dinner time, ask what we want to eat, cook it, and bring it to us.
I’ve set some disturbing precedents.

Me: Silence, giving Jack my best I-Can’t-Believe-You-Just-Said-That-To-Mommy stare

Jack: Sorry, Mommy.
He's not sure what he said wrong, but at least I got an apology.

Me: That’s O.K. How about from now on, you tell me when you’re hungry and we’ll talk about dinner.

Jack: Alright.

Me: Fine. Now, what do you want for dinner?

Jack: I’m not hungry yet.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Winter Sportsmanship

The winter walls are closing in and it is only mid-January. Boy energy fills our house, threatening to blow out the walls and take out anyone unfortunate enough to be walking by at the time. We need an activity that does not require us to brave the cold. We need something new that will hold our boys’ attention for more than five minutes. For the sake of the adults’ sanity, we need an activity that does not contain the word “chase” anywhere in the title or description.

My husband makes the back half of our lower level family room a two-square court, our indoor, modified version of four-square. It is an instant hit with the boys. I marvel at their skill and coordination. I am not so quick to catch on, even to this very easy version of four-square, reaffirming Jack’s belief that I am Not So Good at Sports.

As a tiny, uncoordinated child, I was always picked last for games like dodge ball and Red Rover. Could I really blame them? No. It never hurt my feelings. I knew I was tiny and uncoordinated. As an adult, I am not tiny and uncoordinated. I am sore and uncoordinated with slow reflexes. So I understand when the boys begrudgingly take turns being on my team. Luke gives me tips like, “When the ball is low like that, bend your knees.” Jack says, “You can move into the square to get the ball.” They master the fine art of the “good try” butt swat.

Eventually, someone asks for a drink of water. I head up to kitchen, reviewing my performance as a pro-athlete would during half-time and vowing to do better upon my return to the game. Drinks in hand, I head to the court only to find that a hot and heavy game of keep-away has replaced the game of two-square. Luke looks at me solemnly, as if he drew the short straw. “It’s only a three person game. You’ll have to sit out.”

I feign disappointment and grab my book.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Webster, Take Note

My husband, John, says he knows when I am running out of material for my blog because I pick on him (Thanks for the material, sweetie). I tell him, “Honey, my blog is about living in a male-dominated household (MDH). You are my material." I have been writing this blog since September 2007. I told him that he is lucky he is not the subject more often.

I do read some blogs that seem to be a mechanism to complain about spouses. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Some people need their blogs as that outlet. I am just not one of those people. If I’m unhappy with my husband, I don’t need a blog to vent. He gets my venting, up close and personal. And during those times, he probably wishes I would express myself on my blog. I can hear husbands everywhere uniting in a new mantra, “Go blog yourself.”

Anyway, back on point. John has always been very supportive of and excited about my blog. He gives me ideas for things to write, he reminds me to grab the camera to snap a picture or take a video, he encourages me by telling me how much he enjoyed a post, and he unknowingly provides material by doing or saying something that seems perfectly normal to him but that inspires a post in me.

So, Webster, take note. I have coined a new word (at least I think it’s new – I haven’t heard it before) in my house that I would like to see incorporated into the dictionary. The term is duhsband. Pronounced duhz – bend, it is used to define one’s husband at the exact moment he is saying or doing something so incomprehensible or obvious to everyone but him. You see? It is your husband's "Duh" moment. For example:

When I was writing Loth's Music Meme and was quizzing John on what he thought my five songs would be, knowing full well that he would not get them and not expecting him to, the first thing he said was, “Oh, no. Not My Own Worst Enemy.” Hee hee. So I started giving him hints about the others. I said, “Think wedding.” He said, “Whose wedding?” Duhsband.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Stress, Distraction and Resulting Actions

I’m sure that many a scientist, doctor, psychologist and PhD candidate have performed studies relating to a person’s level of stress or distraction and how increasing the level of stress or distraction affects resulting actions of that person. If not, I would like to volunteer my life for such a study. It would be a simple study with a simple hypothesis that would be proven by guaranteed results: the higher the level of my stress and/or distraction, the more dim-witted or imprudent my actions, thus causing me more stress or distraction and more dim-witted or imprudent actions. Another conundrum of life as me.

Some examples? I have thousands, but I’ll limit it to a few:

At least once a week and probably more like three times a week, I find that, when in the shower, I can’t remember if I’ve shampooed my hair, conditioned my hair, washed my body, or washed my face. I usually remember doing at least one of these things, so only have to repeat one or two of them. And you thought the instructions “lather, rinse, repeat” were for extra soft and shiny hair. Nope. They are for people like me who can’t remember if they’ve even done it one time or not.

When making an omelet this weekend, I cracked three eggs into the garbage disposal and put the shells in my bowl before I realized what I was doing. I like a little crunch in my omelet, but usually from veggies and not so much from egg shells sans eggs.

One day at a BBQ at my mom’s house, my uncle Kiley was marbling brownies with a toothpick and a piece of the toothpick broke off in the brownies. Rather than throw out a perfectly good batch of brownies, they baked them anyway knowing that the toothpick would be found most likely when cutting the baked brownies. I was the first one to cut into the brownies. The center oozed. I thought nothing of it, assuming they were molten center brownies. Nope. They were raw. Did this phase me? No. I was distracted, or stressed, or both. Then, as I sat eating my raw brownie (no one noticed this, by the way) I actually bit into the toothpick. I thought, “Him, must be a nut.” Hello. Anyone in there? Apparently not, because I swallowed that toothpick. Just as I swallowed it, I light bulb went on causing me to remember that whole conversation about the toothpick in the brownies and whether or not they should be thrown away and that they could be saved because no one in their right mind would swallow a toothpick. That’s exactly right. And no one in her right mind did swallow a toothpick. I said to everyone, “I found the toothpick,” and they knew immediately by the look on my face that I had swallowed it. That provided for some good laughs, and made me feel like a hero for finding the toothpick before anyone else, like my grandma, had a chance to bite into it and swallow it like I did. Kiley felt so bad for not fishing it out of the batter, that what else could I do but make him feel worse? I taped a piece of a toothpick to my neck and put a little bit of BBQ sauce on it so it would appear as if the toothpick had poked through my neck. When he came into the kitchen I said, “I don’t feel so good.” I got him, but only for a second. Eating that toothpick was totally worth it.

And, as some of my worst traits are, this stress and distraction with resulting actions conundrum is projected onto my boys, through no fault of theirs and through every fault of my own. A couple of weeks ago, my husband was out of town and I was trying to get some work done before driving the boys to school. After getting dressed, I was letting them eat breakfast up in my office while watching a show, as I hurriedly tried to finish up a couple of emails. I lost track of time, and before I knew it we had about 5 minutes to brush our teeth, our hair (which involves copious amounts of water to get it to lay flat), get on socks and shoes, gather our things and get ourselves out the door. I know it’s not the end of the world if a 1st grader is late to school, but he doesn’t like to be late and I don’t like him to be late. So what did I do? I went on a tirade. That raised everyone’s stress level to the nth degree. And Jack, being very regimented as I am, had to poop as he always does in the morning. “Do it quick,” I said as I finished getting ready and then turned to the task of getting Luke ready. Luke and I had coats and book bags on and were ready to head out the door, and here comes Jack out of the bathroom. Naked. “Where are your clothes? Why are you naked? We’re late for school!” “I’m sorry. I got confused. I thought it was bath time.” As you can see, my stress and distraction projected itself on to my poor son Jack, who got so stressed and distracted himself that he stripped himself naked. My poor children. At least they'll have something to tell their therapists one day.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday Inspirations

"I read and walked for miles at night along the beach, writing bad blank verse and searching endlessly for someone wonderful who would step out of the darkness and change my life. It never crossed my mind that that person could be me.” --- Anna Quindlen

Loth's Music Meme

Loth at The Gym Isn't Working tagged me to do a music meme which involves listing 5 pieces of music that mean something to me and explaining why. I tried to come up with songs that did not involve Disney or Pixar. In no particular order of importance:

1. Ruby Tuesday by the Rolling Stones - I don't even know the lyrics to this song, but my dad and Uncle Harry used to play their guitars and sing this song in perfect harmony. It may not be a happy song, but I always smile when I hear it because it reminds me of when I was little and we would sit around and listen to them play and sing. A very happy memory for me.

2. She's Only Seventeen by Winger ('80s hair band). My sister, my friend Jill (yes, the same Jill of the Happy Birthday, Jill), and I all had our favorite songs that referred to the age of seventeen when we turned seventeen. My sister's was I Like the Nightlife by the Cars, Jill's was Saw Her Standing There by the Beatles, and mine was this song by Winger.

3. Highwayman by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and others. This song is on my husband's CD, and my boys ask to hear this every time they get in the car. Imagine these lyrics belted out by a 4 and 6 year old:
Perhaps I may become a highwayman again
Or I may simply be a single drop of rain
But I will remain
And I'll be back again, and again and again and again and again.

4. Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot, by the wonderful band that performed at my wedding reception on the beach in St. Thomas, USVI. I wish I remembered the band's name, but that is one of those important pieces of information that has been replaced by millions of other important pieces of information. I never saw my step-dad, Paul, dance and have fun so freely and with such abandon as he did this night and to this song. Oh wait. I got it. The band was R.S.V.P. I wonder what important piece of information I just forgot by recalling the band's name.

5. My Own Worst Enemy by Lit. Whenever I hear this song, I say to my husband, "Your theme song is playing." It fit when we were in college, but doesn't anymore. It's still fun to refer to it as his theme song, though. A sample of the lyrics:
Can we forget about the things I said when I was drunk
I didn't mean to call you that
I can't remember what was said or what you threw at me
Please tell me
Please tell me why
My car is in the front yard
And I'm sleeping with my clothes on
I came in through the window last night
And you're gone
It's no surprise to me I am my own worst enemy

I would like to tag Damama T and Bub and Pie.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jill and Saturday Laughs 11

I wanted to take this moment to wish my BFF, Jill, a Happy Birthday on this very public forum. Jill has been my friend since elementary school. We've been through some crazy, wonderful and life altering experiences together. Our friendship has withstood time and distance. I just have one thing to say to my wonderful friend - You're still older than me!

In honor of Jill's birthday, I offer the following Saturday Laugh. Not that she's a hillbilly - she just comes across her fair share of them (Not you, Steve).

Two hillbillies walk into a Dairy Queen. While having a couple of Blizzards, they talk privately about their moonshine operation. Suddenly, a woman at a nearby table, eating a chicken sandwich, begins to cough. After a while, it becomes apparent that she is in real distress. One of the hillbillies looks at her and says, "Kin ya swallar?" The woman shakes her head no. "Kin ya breathe?" The woman begins to turn blue, her eyes widen and she shakes her head no. The hillbilly strolls over to the woman, lifts up the back of her dress, yanks down her drawers and quickly gives her right butt cheek a long lick with his tongue. The woman is so shocked that she has a violent spasm, the obstruction flies out of her mouth and she begins to breathe again. The hillbilly ambles smugly back to his table. His buddy says, "Ya know, I'd heerd of that there 'Hind Lick Maneuver', but I ain't never seed nobody do it."

Friday, January 18, 2008

Cutting the Blue Hair

One thing about our home projects - once finished the tools tend to hang around for awhile longer. I was sitting at my desk working with Luke sitting nearby watching a show and John’s tools still spread out from the Quest for Comfort project. Luke asked for pretzels so I went downstairs into the kitchen to grab them. When I came back up, the first thing I saw (no pun intended) was this:

“Were you playing with that?” I asked him.
“Luke, that’s a saw. Don’t ever play with a saw. That is very dangerous.”
“I wasn’t playing with it,” he replied matter-of-factly.
“Well, what’s it doing on the floor?”
“I was cutting the blue hair.”
“What blue hair?”

Luke pointed down at the very ugly, very irreplaceable because it would be too expensive and too disruptive, blue shag carpeting.

“You were cutting the carpet with the saw?”
“Yes. It’s very hairy.”

John – can you please put your tools away now?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Toenail Epiphany

I was looking at my son’s toenails today, amazed at how looonnnggg I had let them grow, and became convinced again that God knew what he was doing when he gave me boys. Would a girl ever let her toenails grow that long? No, she would not. They would be trimmed and painted a pretty pink color.

I am really not equipped to teach girls all the girly things that they would want to know. Just ask my life long friend, Jill, who had to teach me how to wear makeup in high school, and my first college roommate, Tricia, who tried to instill in me some sense of fashion. Don’t get me wrong – I spent a lot of time fixing my hair and picking out my clothes like any other teen girl. I just wasn’t very good at it. I would like to blame it all on the style of the ‘80s, but some of the blame has to be credited to my ungirlyness.

When I was pregnant for the second time and found out we were having another boy, I was disappointed for about a split second. Disappointment was quickly replaced by relief and joy. I told my mom, “I wouldn’t know how to dress a girl.” “I’d do it for you, sweetie.” And she would have. And she would have been very good at it. I, on the other hand, would have been bad at it and the poor girl would have ended up wearing her older brother's hand me downs and growing up with a severe gender confusion complex. I know this because, whenever I have the chance to buy girl clothes for friends that have given birth to girls, guess what I buy? Cute little clothes that look like something a boy would wear. I just can’t help myself! I find it impossible to buy little frilly dresses with tights. Those outfits just look so uncomfortable.

Here is more proof that I am unsuitable for raising girls:

My boys only own tennis shoes. We have no nice shoes to wear to church or on holidays or for any other occasion that calls for dressy shoes.

So the tennis shoes don’t look out of place, we have no dressy clothes.

Is hair pointing in 40 different directions in the morning? Put on a hat. It will be flat by lunch time.

Not smelly? Wash your hands and face and we’ll take a bath tomorrow.

Of course, all this means is that, had I had a girl, she would have turned out like me which isn’t such a bad thing. Or, she would have totally rebelled and I’d be up to my eyeballs in frilly dresses and tights.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

My husband alerted me to this news story, with the caveat that this is what I had to look forward to with my boys in 10 to 15 years. I am never going on vacation when my boys are teenagers.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Golden Globes Were Cancelled, But I Still Got Mine

Damama T was so impressed with my extraordinary show of bravery in my Quest for Comfort, that she bestowed me with the No Miss Muffet Award! Thank you very much, Damama T. If you haven't discovered her blog yet, go check it out. You won't be disappointed.

You Learn Something New Every Day

I learned something new the other day: I can play Shrek battle for PlayStation 2 using only one hand. The particular moves for this game use only the buttons on the left side of the controller, if you're like me and don’t care to go in reverse or change your camera angle. And do you know what this discovery means? That I can play Shrek battle with one hand while drinking a glass of wine with the other. And I did, without spilling a drop.

But I lost the game.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Quest for Comfort

There are three important things that you should know about me:

1) I am afraid of spiders.
2) I am claustrophobic.

Knowing those two pieces of information, you might wonder how I found myself in a situation like this:

That is because the third thing you should know about me is that I am always cold. In fact, I am usually so cold that you can feel the frigidness emanating from my feet, even through my socks. My work environment isn’t very conducive to helping me stay warm. I work in my attic where there is no duct work, and, therefore, no heat. I have a little space heater but it does not cut the mustard when heating a space in which I spend at least 40 hours per week.

My father-in-law, Frank, installed a Reiker Room Conditioning ceiling fan in his home office. I thought that would be just the thing I needed for my office, since it is also a heater. So I went out and bought one. A bit impulsively.

As we were installing this fan, for which the directions said would take 45 minutes and for which we are going on day 3 (through no fault of the fan, I might add), we realized the project wouldn’t be as easy as we had hoped. Are they ever? The previous ceiling fan was wired to the same circuit that supplied power to my attic lights. And the living room lights. And the dining room lights. And part of the kitchen. And the entertainment unit downstairs. We could not plug another 12.5 amps into an already overloaded circuit. The attic has old, non-usable space heaters built into the walls, so we decided we could tie the wiring for the new fan into the space heater circuit. A brilliant fix, until I saw the crawl space above the ceiling.

John was standing under the ceiling fan fixture, trying unsuccessfully to feed the wire through the ceiling and down the wall to the space heater, while I was standing on the ladder, staring into the crawl space trying to come to terms with my choices: Send John in to get stuck or worse, fall through the ceiling; crawl in there myself; or scrap the whole project. I pictured my warm, toasty office and before I had time to think about what I was doing, I yelled, “I’m going in!” I hollered a couple of “Aiyeeeeee’s” into the space and banged on the floor to try and scare away any squatters, and I was up and in the crawl space before I had time to consider that I had no protective gear on and nothing to smash a spider or shoo a mouse with should I encounter any. I was wearing house slippers and changing into real shoes would have given me time to talk myself out of going in there.

You can see from the picture above that I am not exaggerating about the size of the space. That picture is shot from a pretty unflattering angle, but I am a size 6 so you can tell how small that space must be. They should rename the “crawl” space the “slide on your belly like a snake” space. Because that’s what I had to do to reach the spot above the fan. Every once in a while I’d encounter a spider web. I’d tell myself the spider was off wintering in South Miami, use a piece of wood chunk I picked up to clear away the web, and continue slithering toward my destination.

I made it, grabbed the wire, and started feeding it down the side of the wall toward the space heater. Insulation was in the way, so I had to grab at it and move it around and smoosh it, stirring up fiberglass. This whole time, I did not look around and kept sending my mind to its happy place – a warm and toasty attic. I kept yelling down to John, “Do you see it yet?” “What?” he’d yell back. “DO YOU SEE IT YET?” I’d screech. “Not yet.” So, I pulled a little more wire into the ceiling so I could push more down to John and, oops!, here comes the other end of the wire up into the ceiling. “WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO BE HOLDING THAT?” “Jack, did you let go of the wire?” “Dad, you said I didn’t have to hold it anymore.” “MOTHER &%#$%^!” Thank goodness for heavy insulation. And thank goodness that I couldn’t have crawled out of there quickly or I would have beat them both with my fiberglass coated slippers.

I had come too far to stop, so I continued to feed the wire down the wall. “I got it!” yelled John. Thank you, Lord. Now, all I had to do was feed the other end of the line that the slackers down below had let me pull through the ceiling back down to them. The tricky part would be crawling off of the 2x4 board that I was balanced on, as the board ended about two feet before the ceiling fan, onto the insulation to feed the wire back through. There was no turning back (literally – there wasn’t enough room) so I gingerly slid onto the insulation with my knees staying on the board and fed the wire back through.

“That’s it, come out of there,” said John. Easier said than done. The nice thing about sliding forward is that your clothes stay flat and in the position they are supposed to be in. When you slide backward, your clothes get pushed up exposing skin to all kinds of abuses.

So John began to guide me out. “That’s right, keep coming, your almost there, your feet are out, the ladder is right there.” I expected hands on my ankles at this point to guide me to the ladder. “Are you taping me?” He was.

And I’m not mad at John for taping me or embarrassed by this video, even though I look ridiculous in my slippers and socks and scrunched up sweat pants, because this video is proof that I overcame two of my worst fears, even if only for a short time (probably about 20 minutes, although it felt like 20 hours).

So, I have fiberglass in my fingers, legs, belly, and face; I’m hoarse from yelling; my throat and lungs are irritated from breathing in fiberglass; and I keep having nightmares about being trapped in a trunk full of spiders. But just telling the boys about what I did and showing them the crawl space and seeing the expression on their faces made it worth it. It’s not often I get to impress the boys. I would say that the heat from the fan made it all worth it, but I can’t. Every time I try to turn the fan on, it trips the circuit breaker.
As of 3:00 pm today, my new Reiker Room Conditioner is working splendidly! I am toasty and warm!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sunday Inspirations 10

"To get up each morning with the resolve to be happy . . . is to set our own conditions to the events of each day."

- Ralph Waldo Trine (1866-1958) American philosopher and author

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Saturday Laughs 10

A small boy is sent to bed by his father. Five minutes later....."Da-ad...."


"I'm thirsty. Can you bring drink of water?"

"No, You had your chance. Lights out."

Five minutes later: "Da-aaaad....."

"WHAT?" "I'm THIRSTY. Can I have a drink of water??"

"I told you NO! If you ask again, I'll have to spank you!!"

Five minutes later......"Daaaa-aaaad....."


"When you come in to spank me, can you bring a drink of water?"

Friday, January 11, 2008

Weekly Articulations

"But, my thumb has a plan." Spoken by Luke in response to my nagging him to keep his thumb out of his mouth like he promised he would do in exchange for a fish tank.

"I'm bored." Spoken by Jack while sitting in a room full of brand new Christmas toys.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Brief, Somewhat Accurate, Wholly One-sided History

Luke had an epiphany the other day in the restroom, which is where he usually does his deep thinking. He was standing in front of the toilet, his thoughts coming so quickly and his mouth trying so hard to keep up that his spew of run-on sentences made my head spin and gave me a touch of motion sickness. He finally stopped long enough to ask me, “Did I go pee yet?”

After he peed, the epiphanies kept coming. He pointed out that girls have to use toilet paper every time, and boys only have to use toilet paper when going Number Three because they can just “shake it dry” after going Number One. It got me thinking about some of the things that, living in a male-dominated household (MDH), I won’t ever have to contend with. Just the thought of the myriad of bathroom related issues, the least of which is trying to find a place for a girl to go when hiking, was enough to fill me with sympathy for mothers of girls, and for women in general for the seemingly unfairness and imbalance of it all. For example:

Body hair shaving: A 1982 article from the Journal of American Culture by Christine Hope titled "Caucasian Female Body Hair and American Culture," stated that U.S. women were browbeaten into shaving underarm hair by a sustained marketing assault that began in 1915 (Leg hair came later). The aim of what Hope calls the Great Underarm Campaign was to inform American womanhood of a problem that until then it didn't know it had, namely unsightly underarm hair. According to Hope, the underarm campaign began in May, 1915, in Harper's Bazaar, a magazine aimed at the upper crust. Who would go against Haper's Bazaar? Later, the famous WWII pinup of Betty Grable displaying her awesome legs made showing ones legs off a patriotic act. Coupled with the popularity of shorter skirts and sheer stockings, the anti-leg hair push became successful. So, we can blame advertisers and the war for having to shave our legs and underarms.

Makeup – Yes, men and women both used to wear makeup, but only women still do it on a regular basis (unless your Tom Cruise). In the past, before you could just walk into the nearest department store and buy your favorite makeup, women were forced to come up with their own concoctions or use unsafe alternatives. Women historically continued to use lead and mercury based makeup in an effort to make themselves more attractive even though it was known that these products could be and often were lethal. Exposure to mercury can cause neurological impairment, which must be the reason these women did not stop putting mercury on their faces. They were crazy for their makeup (I know - a very bad pun.)

High heels - Raised heels are stated to have originated as a response to the problem of a horse rider's foot slipping forward in stirrups while riding, and to raise one above the unsanitary conditions of roads when walking. In 1533, the diminutive wife of the Duke of Orleans, Catherine de' Medici, commissioned a cobbler to fashion her a pair of heels, both for fashion and to increase her stature. High-heeled shoes quickly caught on with the fashion-conscious men and women of the nobility. The term "well-heeled" became synonymous with opulent wealth. Beginning in the 1700s, shoe makers stopped making high-heeled shoes for men and they predominantly became available for women. And why? Because high-heeled shoes slant the foot forward and down while bending the toes up. The more that the feet are forced into this position, the more it may cause the Achilles tendon to shorten. When the foot slants forward, a much greater weight is transferred to the ball of the foot, increasing the likelihood of damage to the underlying soft tissue which supports the foot. In many shoes to toes are compressed together, possibly resulting in blisters, corns, hammer toes, bunions, and many other medical conditions, most of which are permanent and will require surgery to alleviate the pain. High heels--because they tip the foot forward-- put pressure on the lower back through making the rump push outwards and crushing the lower back vertebrae and contracting the muscles of the lower back. Pushes the rump outward? I don't need anything to make my "rump" push any further "outward" than it does on its own.

Nylons - Nylon was first used for fishing line, surgical sutures, and toothbrush bristles (does that surprise anyone?). In 1930, Wallace Hume Carothers and others of DuPont touted nylon as being "as strong as steel, as fine as a spider’s web," and first announced and demonstrated nylon and nylon stockings to the American public at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. According to The Nylon Drama by authors David A. Hounshell and John Kenly Smith, Jr., DuPont “unveiled the world's first synthetic fiber not to a scientific society but to three thousand women's club members gathered at the site of the 1939 New York World's Fair for the New York Herald Tribune's Eighth Annual Forum on Current Problems.” And what problem, do you suppose, they were addressing? Women’s legs were becoming too comfortable?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Why Didn't I Think of That?

We finally got the Christmas decorations taken down. We store them up in the unfinished part of the attic. We had several visitors over the holidays, so the air mattress was inflated and out, and I had casually propped it on the bed so that I could spread the decorations out on the floor for packing them up until next year.

After all of these years of living in a male-dominated household (MDH), you think I would have seen this one coming:

Monday, January 7, 2008

End of the Line Reward

It was an incredibly gorgeous day in St. Louis yesterday; in fact, the temperature broke a 107 year old record. Knowing that Mother Nature will soon make us pay for the unseasonably warm weather, we loaded in the car to spend the day at the zoo. Us and everyone else in the city. The crowds resulted in lines at places where we normally do not have to wait. The end of the line rewards varied from welcome to, well, read on and see for yourself.

There was a line for the carousel, which we usually hop right on. We got lucky, though, and just missed getting on so that put us at the front of the line for the next go around. It doesn’t take much circular motion to have me reeling from motion sickness, so I sat the ride out. I sat on a bench waiting to catch a glimpse of John and the boys in their first rotation. I spotted them quickly, and Luke tried to tell me what animal he chose by screaming really fast over yelling kids and carousel music. I heard, “I got a blah blah blah.”

Being the smart boy that he is, he figured out I wouldn’t be able to hear a whole sentence before the carousel rotated him out of ear shot so he changed tactics.

“I,” turn, turn, turn, “got,” turn, turn, turn, “a,” turn, turn, turn, “River,” turn, turn, turn, “Otter.” It took him most of the ride to get that sentence out.

We rode the train at the end of the day when we were too tired to walk anymore. The line at the train was very long, and not many people were getting off at our station. It took three trains before we were able to get on. Our line progression went something like this:

First 5 minutes – Boys wait patiently, looking around at the tracks, station, and other people.

Next 5 minutes – Boys begin playing with line divider chains, swinging them, hanging on them, sitting on them, and limbo-ing under them.

Next 2 minutes – Boys argue over who gets to play with which chain.

Next 3 minutes – Boys get separated by parents, and become too limp and boneless to stand.

Next 3 minutes – Boys focus their efforts on a new target, mommy, and begin tickling, kicking, biting and pulling on draw strings until mommy is unable to breath.

Next 2 minutes – Mommy contemplates her decision to stand in a 20 minute line at the zoo and wonders how much of a scene it would make if she picked up her two kids and carried them kicking and screaming to the car. The train comes before I have to find out.

The train ride doesn’t offer much in the way of animal viewing, but it gave me a chance to sit and rest and for my body to repair some of the damage that had been inflicted on it while waiting in line. Had we not been on the train, I wouldn't have gotten to rest. But had we not stood in line for the train, I wouldn't have needed to rest. It's a conundrum.

Our most surprising end of the line reward came at the chimpanzee habitat. We waited behind a crowd for our turn to approach the glass and watch the chimpanzees in a natural habitat. When it came to be our turn, we approached the glass and feasted our eyes on this:

Natural indeed.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sunday Inspirations 9

"Behind every successful man is a surprised woman."

Maryon Pearson

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Saturday Laughs 9

A couple had two little boys, ages 8 and 10,who were excessively mischievous. They were always getting into trouble and their parents knew that, if any mischief occurred in their town, their sons were probably involved.

The boys' mother heard that a clergyman in town had been successful in disciplining children, so she asked if he would speak with her boys. The clergyman agreed, but asked to see them individually. So the mother sent her 8-year-old in first that morning, with the older boy to see the clergyman in the afternoon.

The clergyman, a huge man with a booming voice, sat the younger boy down and asked him sternly, "Where is God?"

The boy's mouth dropped open, but he made no response, sitting there with his mouth hanging open, wide eyed. So the clergyman repeated the question in an even sterner tone, "Where is God!!?"

Again the boy made no attempt to answer. So the clergyman raised his voice even more and shook his finger in the boy's face and bellowed, "WHERE IS GOD!?"

The boy screamed and bolted from the room, ran directly home and dove into his closet, slamming the door behind him. When his older brother found him in the closet, he asked, "What happened?"

The younger brother, gasping for breath, replied, "We are in BIG trouble this time, dude. God is missing - and they think WE did it!"

Friday, January 4, 2008

Weekly Articulations

"If you went up someone's nose, the only way out would be through their butt." Spoken by Luke. I don't know why.

"Wouldn't it be cool if I could bring my Nintendo on a date? Then I could play it and wouldn't be bored. But I'd probably get dumped." Spoken by Jack, who is 6 and already thinking about dating?! but also shows an understanding of the female mind.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Poop Post

I’m sure that you neither want nor need to read a post about poop. But, in my male-dominated household (MDH) poop and toilet practices in general are topics of discussion at least 4 or 5 times a day. I understand if you do not want to read this post, but please don’t stop reading yet. Because you need to know the following bit of information: According to Dr. Anish Sheth and Josh Richman, authors of What's Your Poo Telling You?, poo sometimes can fly up to 6 feet from the toilet and land on your toothbrush if the toothbrush is sitting within that 6 foot mark and the toilet lid is open while flushing.

O.K. Now that you're back from throwing your toothbrush in the trash, you can continue to read if you desire to be grossed out further. My boys have very quirky toilet practices. I don’t know why or how these practices formed, but my efforts to stop them have been futile. Please read without judgment.

Reverse lidism – the boys leave the seat down when peeing, thus dribbling all over it, because they think the seat is gross and they don’t want to touch it. But they lift it when pooping. They like to sit on the cold rim when pooping and lower their butts as much as possible.

Wet wipe method – Luke seems to think that dipping his butt in the water after pooping cleans it. Yeah, I know, it’s gross.

Cutting poop – Luke likes to “cut his poop.” Do you need a description of this? Picture a butt cheek squeeze being used as a poop knife.

Poop doody – I have to take responsibility for this one. This is the punny name that John and I gave to the task of wiping after completion. We rock, paper, scissors for poop doody after Luke has finished cutting his poop.

Mercy flushing – I’m sure you are all familiar with this term, which I defined in the Glossary of Terms.

If that is not enough for you, just come sit near us at any restaurant in which we are dining. The boys always manage to slip in at least one loudly-spoken comment about pooping, wet farts, or the like during our meal.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Six Boys and Us

My good friend, Angie over at Keep Believing, and her family spent New Year’s Eve at our house. Angie and I have known each other since college. She and I were roommates, and her husband was my husband’s roommate. You might remember reading about our husbands' pet slug in my post on Selective Hearing. Yes, we still married them. Angie is outnumbered 3 to 1 as well, and her boys are the same age as my boys.

Angie and Brian have been our New Year’s Eve couple since before the Millennium. Once we started having children, they became our New Year’s Eve family. This year, Angie brought her brood to my house. Six boys under one roof together? There were only two ways that the convening of two male-dominated households (MDH) could have turned out – crazy good or crazy bad. It turned out to be crazy good and the boys brought in the New Year with a bang, literally:

This was what we called “kid New Year” which occurred at about 9:55 pm. They didn’t care that it wasn’t midnight, and loved running around outside in the dark and cold banging pots and pans. We monitored their progress by the light up eyes on the Spiderman slippers.

The boys got along wonderfully, so much so that the grownups got in several rounds of Euchre with few interruptions and no bursts of crying before the boys were corralled into bed. I think my theory has been wrong all of the years. I’ve always thought that having more kids would just make my job that much harder. But, with two 6 year olds and two 4 year olds in the house, they pretty much took care of each other and wanted little input or participation from the adults in the house. Maybe I should have two more boys? Maybe not.

I have always thought my boys were two of the most well behaved boys around, but Angie’s boys behaved like little angels. I’m sure she has some deprogramming to do; her boys picked up a bit of my boys’ video game trash talk. They also learned (or did they know this already?) how much fun it is to jump off of the top bunk bed onto the mattress below. At least Luke was gracious enough to remind them of the rule of only one person on the ladder at a time as they were climbing to the top to attempt another stunt without breaking any bones. We are nothing if not a safety conscious family.

Finally, adult New Year approached. I was ready, as I wanted to go to bed after midnight (which I did, 2.5 hours later). The clock read 11:59, and we heard the pitter patter of little feet. After the boys were tucked back in, we did our adult countdown to New Year, which for us officially began at 12:00:33. A very apropos time for a house doubly outnumbered.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

My Guilt-Inducers Resolutions

I wrote "2008" for the first time today. It seems like only yesterday we were a nation scrambling to address Y2K. For many, with a new year comes a kick-off point for trying to improve on one's self. The New Year is a good time for that. It’s a fresh start, a renewal, and a solid time-line from which to measure progress.

I have never been much for resolutions. To me, resolutions were just one more thing for me to feel guilty about. When I have made resolutions in the past, they were broken before the last box of Christmas decorations made it back into the attic. Who needs it?

For some reason, this year I feel a need to set resolutions. There are a lot of things I want to accomplish this year, and setting resolutions might be the motivation I need. I read that if you set small, very achievable and maintainable resolutions you are more likely to stick with them and keep upping the ante as the year progresses. I also read that sharing your resolutions makes you more likely to stick with them. So, with those two tactics in mind, I am sharing my New Year’s Resolutions:

For each new gray hair I see, eat two pieces of chocolate.

Every time the boys do something that makes me hold my breath and swallow my tongue out of fear, have two shots of tequila.

Other than the above, which I totally deserve, improve my family’s eating habits. Absolutely no potato chips for breakfast and no candy before 10:00 am.

For every hour of sports I watch on television, spend one hour in peaceful solitude reading a good book.

Incorporate more exercise into my routine. When the boys get up before 7:00 am, make them run on the treadmill.

Expose the boys to more culture with the intent of expanding their minds and taming the wild beast within. I think I’ll start with the Broadway production of Mamma Mia! at the Fabulous Fox theater. Of course, this could have the opposite affect and send the boys screaming to the first testosterone-laced event they can find.

Attempt not to scream and cower each time I spot a spider in the house. These actions are making my boys afraid of spiders and refusing to go to sleep in their rooms if a spider was spotted anywhere near their bedroom doors.

And last but not least, beat Nicktoons Unite on PlayStation 2.

That’s quite a hefty load, and I don’t expect that I’ll be able to accomplish all of these things. I think I’ll focus on the first one, and work my way from there.