Monday, October 5, 2009

Heat Packin' Momma

Hey There,

Well, it's that time again - Alligator hunting season!

Nearly a quarter of the front page of our local paper (bless you Herald and all the joy you bring to my life) was devoted to the play-by-play account of how a group of Rock Hillians brought down a terrifying 12-footer.

"It took the four guys - working in tandem teams of two, rotating through arms warn slap out - three hours to boat the monster. . . Honeycutt ended it with a gun shot behind the gator's head."

And naturally (what else does one do with a 12 foot alligator), they stopped at the truck scales at the Flying J Travel Plaza on their way home.

Just in case you were wondering, the alligator PLUS the trailer weighed 11,380 lbs. Oh, what I would have given to be at those truck scales . . .

This is been a busy headline month for the Herald:

"Start you Christmas Liquor now." Okay, so it may have said Liqueur, but still.

"South Carolina Rock Showing at Winthrop Delayed." This was a follow-up article to the one about the rock that's shaped liked South Carolina.

I'm not sure what I like better, the fact that they wrote an article about a rock shaped like the state, that they are now taking said rock around the state for viewing, or that they wrote a follow-up article about the rock being delayed. It's a tough decision.

In addition to being the most infamous cat in the neighborhood, Bubbles has managed to get herself an enemy.

I don't know about you, but I'd much rather have someone yell at me, than have them politely tell me (with no voice inflection whatsoever) that (referring to an alleged tin foil incident on his back deck, which may or may not have involved Bubbles), "I haven't been ugly yet, but I won't put up with that."
I thought he was joking at first, but when he offered to, "take care of her" for me, and mentioned that it would involve "putting her in a box" (insert scary mobster here), I admittedly got a little protective of Bubbles (shhhh, don't tell anyone).

Now that I know there's a bounty on her head, I get a little nervous when she pulls her disappearing act. She always seems to know when we're about to leave somewhere, and hangs around just long enough for us to believe we'll be able to keep her captive in the garage, but vanishes into thin air 10 minutes from go time.

It's one thing to be at peace with natural selection (getting run over by a car, being beaten in a cat fight, finding a new home, etc), but it is quite another to know that there is a deranged cat killer on the loose.

I'm not sure I'm comfortable with a kitty murder on my head. And besides, how would I explain that to Addie? . . . "Well you see Addie, Mr. Spike (oh whoops, so much for remaining nameless) was angry (although you'd never know it from his tone of voice), and put little Bubbles in a box, and took her for a little ride." Or, "Bubbles in gone Honey. You see, she went for a long walk off a short pier."

As I've mentioned before, whooping is alive and well here. I have a friend who carries a wooden spoon on the dashboard of her car. She says that all she needs to do is hold it up, and the kids fall into line immediately. Apparently the threat of the whooping stick is just as effective, and much safer than reaching back to swat the kids while driving. Now if only they made wooden spoons with extend-able handles . . .

I totally impressed Addie's preschool teachers and fellow classmates on Addie's birthday (because, preschool is after all about showing off what a good parent you are).

I brought alphabet cookies, alphabet gummies, read an alphabet book, and sang two songs.

No one can ever accuse me of being anything but 100% dedicated to educational wellbeing of my child . . . provided I only have to keep at it for 20 minutes.

I've finally met someone who's imaginary fears far surpass mine:

The other week my cell phone dropped out of the stroller while I was walking, and a man picked it up (some of you may have received random phone calls from him).

In an effort to find its owner, he started calling people in the address book. After three tries, he finally got a hold of my friend Christine, who arranged to meet him at the park to pick up my phone (meanwhile, I was happily unaware that I'd even lost it).

Moments after hanging up the phone, she was convinced that this man had seen us walking the day before, had laid in wait for me, kidnapped me, was holding me in the back of a truck, and was now forming a plot to capture her as well.

So in a heroic act of selflessness, she called her mom for backup. It's at this point in the story when you might ask why. Naturally, her mom carries a handgun, a stun gun and pepper spray with her at all times.

All conveniently carried in a Crown Royal bag . . .

Since one must get their neurosis from somewhere, when Christine explained the situation to her mother, rather than telling her she was overreacting, her mom simply asked where she was supposed to meet her.

In a constant effort to amuse myself, I have taken up tutu making. I just know there's an untapped market for pirate apron tutus, that only I can fill. Never mind that my sewing abilities are less than adequate. I'm sure Martha never let a little thing like lack of ability stand in the way of her dreams.

I've recently learned a thing or two about the third grade dating circuit.

Apparently all it takes is for a girl to ask a boy to be her boyfriend, and low and behold he says yes.

The next door neighbor boy just recently told me that he "got a girlfriend." To which I responded, "You got a girlfriend? What, did you go to the store and pick her out?" Because, as usual, I always remember that I'm the adult . . .

I think this kid said yes, not necessarily because he liked the girl, but because she asked. Or perhaps he was caught off guard, and thought she was asking him something else.

Either way, I think that this sort of approach would resolve a lot of stress in the adult dating scene.

Something to think about my single friends.

Yesterday I lost Addie. Granted it was here at home, but I looked and looked and she was no where to be found.

Fortunately, a few minutes later, I came up the back stairs and heard a muffled, "help me." It took me a minute to figure out where it was coming from, but I finally did, and found Addie standing in the sink in the guest bathroom, without pants on. Her hands were covered with lotion, and there were little lotion prints all over the walls and mirror.

Addie has recently started using the guest bathroom (thanks Jeff) and, after using the toilet, will climb up on the counter to wash her hands.

Evidently she got up on the counter, and rather than sitting down on the edge of the sink, stood in the sink to reach the soap, but got the lotion instead, and found her hands too slippery to turn on the water, sit down, or do anything but stand there and yell for help.

That's my girl. We're very proud.

Take care.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Choose your apron well

Hi all,

First off, I want to apologize in advance for any trains of thought that don't reach the station. I'm working on the fifth day in a row of little sleep (the teething demons have come to visit), and I seem to have over done it in the caffeine department today.

I've mentioned the giant appetizer-sized insects here before, and lest y'all think I'm exaggerating, I've attached two pictures.

Jeff killed the wasp just as it was trying to carry Bubbles off (his words), and tried to give it some frame of reference with the tape measure. Certainly this is a big one, but I've seen bigger. But instead of killing it and taking its picture, I ran for the house.

Since there is no reference point for the big giant scary spider, let me just say that we didn't want to get too close to it, for fear of being its next meal, and although I have no photographic proof yet, I swear its grown double its size in the last few days.

Apparently its prime location, and its bigger than life web, has enabled it to snare large enough prey (mice, squirrels, rabbits), to give it that Guinness Book of World Records advantage.

We've even set up a safety perimeter around it's web, lest the children become ensnared.

Since returning home, Bubbles has only run away twice, and has managed to lose three collars.

We had a beautiful bonding moment between Addie and Bubbles the other day. Addie was in the bathroom, Bubbles walked in, Addie told me to, "close the door shut," and within seconds, Addie had managed to pick Bubbles up, and stuff her head first into the toilet. And just to make the moment a little bit more special, the toilet was unflushed . . .

Addie seems also to be experimenting with a new game. Late at night, after she's been put to bed, the Covert Diaper Avenger strikes. Keep in mind, Addie already has a great pension for changing clothes (at least five times during the day), and apparently night time is no exception.

In the dark of night, Addie gets up, pulls off her diaper, puts on undies, changes jammies, and lays back down. That's all well and good, but when you get up and your child is a) in different jammies than you left her in, and b) sitting in a puddle of accident, you begin to question your sanity.

Addie is also polishing her table manners. A few nights ago, Addie stuck a green bean between her toes, and proceeded to try to put it into her mouth.

Neither Jeff or I could bring ourselves to chastise her, as we were eager to see if she could do it. But alas, Addie is cursed with the Selig flexibility gene - that is to say, she possesses none at all.

We were at a neighbor's house for a BBQ the other night, and they introduced us to a little goody they picked up in India - Gin in a bag.

These little wonders are one shot each, and are about the size of a large ketchup packet. I can't for the life of me figure out why they don't sell them here, as just about everyone there confirmed what a great "parents little helper" they would be.

One teacher even suggested covertly slipping them to some of her first graders . . .

The dedication to on-going classroom improvement is staggering.

Sometimes I forget that we live in the Bible Belt. But find the constant reminders refreshing.

We were at Summerfest last weekend (in the little town of York), and they kicked off the opening ceremony with a group prayer. Never mind that the festival has no religious ties, or that they would take into consideration the varying religions of the 10,000 people they were expecting.

But that's when I remind myself that there are only three religions here - Baptist, Presbyterian or Methodist.

This is the very same festival I wrote about last year, where I saw the "Commemorate Confederate Flag Day" t-shirts. And this years favorite was: "Saton Sucks!"

And for those of you who didn't want the talking Dr. Laura Action Figure, I'm sure I could round up a few of those t-shirts if you'd like.

When considering what to prepare for dinner, be mindful of the apron you choose. I find that when I don my 50's style waist apron (reference the height of my domestic accomplishments), I seem to channel Martha (also known as the Great One), and find myself striving for culinary feats above and beyond my domestic level.

Case in point, while emptying the dishwasher, I was suddenly overcome with the urge clean the kitchen, and make pork medallions with an apricot reduction.

Addie had her first day of preschool yesterday, and I seemed to have been the only mother without a camera. But, thanks to Martha's example, I'm easily able to justify my shortcomings.

After all, when one reaches the level of domestic perfection that I have, one can only focus on so many things, and one will find that something has to be neglected, and it's only natural that it be the children.

I'm off to plan for Addie's birthday party. I am thinking of taking an internet course on basket weaving, and doing a little palm frond weaving demonstration for all of Addie's little friends. After all, it is never too early to start them on the road of domestic perfection.

Take care,

Friday, August 7, 2009

America's Real Action Heroes

Hi y'all,

Well, we've arrived back from Oregon, and are shocked to find it cooler than Portland was. Not sure how that happened, but won't look a gift weather system in the mouth.

As you can probably imagine, Bubbles was just thrilled to have us back. It's a good thing when you have to force a cat into the carrier, right?

After returning from Camp Joe (where we will be sending her from here on out when we leave town), she is all healed from her neighborhood cat beatings, but I think it's only a matter of time before she's back to mouthing off and provoking another smack down. I saw Oreo (the giant Don Corleone kitty from across the street) eying her this morning.

And I know you'll be happy to hear that now that she's all healed, the unprovoked attacks have resumed.

Jeff lets Bubbles in the house every morning (not my decision), and upstairs she runs. Addie has taken to sprinting from her room to ours, or back again, in an effort to avoid a traumatic cat tackles. She'll even slam our door behind her, hoping (I can only assume) that the force of the door shutting will knock Bubbles unconscious before she has a chance to jump on her.

Just this morning, while Addie sat eating her breakfast, Bubbles attacked her from behind. Not that I'm saying Addie is totally blameless in what their relationship has become, but this particular case was 100% Bubbles mania.

I'm thrilled we found someone else besides Other Family Mom to watch Bubbles. I'm just not sure how many more times I could listen to her say, "Bubbles used to be such a nice cat before she was outside all the time."

Although on the up side, Other Family Daughter just told me (I'm sure her mother would be just mortified if she knew) that they took their kitten to the vet in bag . . .

Hello pot, this is kettle calling.

Although honestly, I don't know how anyone could accuse me of being a bad cat mother. Just before we left, Bubbles went missing again (we've figured out, that if she gets more than four houses away, she gets lost). Since we were going to be gone for two weeks, and we couldn't leave the garage open for her, I saw that I had no choice but to find her, and bring her home.

There I was in the pouring (and it pours here) rain with Lorelei on my front, fighting Addie for control of the umbrella, searching for our cat. Bubbles may be short on brains, but at least she knows to stay put. I found her almost exactly where we'd seen her last - about four blocks away, sitting under a bush.

Outside of the torrential rain, it was the longest walk home in the history of walks.

Are you familiar with the saying, "It was like herding cats?"

If I had to estimate, I'd say one Addie = three cats. And let’s not forget Bubbles' keen sense of direction . . .

Just in case any of you were wondering if I'd given up on my Martha endeavors, we threw our annual 3rd of July party here, and I made 54 lbs of pork. Martha would have been so proud.

Now that's all well and good one would think, but when I purchased said pork (I actually bought 75 lbs, just in case), I failed to consider what one would use to cook said pork in.

I appreciate that I'm in pork country and all, but you should have seen the look on my neighbor's face when I told him I boiled the meat . . . Keep in mind that he is a self-proclaimed southern barbecuer, and according to his gospel, pork should take no less than 10 hours to cook.

He confessed to me later (after tasting the pork), that he thought, "Oh lord, we're havin boiled meat for dinner. This is gonna be jus' awful."

My response was something to the effect of, "if a girl likes to eat, you aught to trust that she's not going to steer you wrong when it comes to cooking." I think my southern-side is coming along nicely.

Coup of coups, not only did I boil the meat, I also served sweet mint tea - god forbid.

Shortly after our big party, Jeff went into the garage and discovered the door to his kegerator was open, and the tap had been pulled. The atrocity of it - beer all over the floor and an empty keg.

Come to find out, there had been a great beer heist in the neighborhood. Multiple cases of beer had been stolen, or attempted to be stolen from all the unlocked garages (this was on a Sunday evening). And to think, we had tried to blame Addie.

Apparently one neighbor discovered his loss immediately, as his fridge had been left open, another chased off the hoodlums in question, and another (after a day of drinking mind you) hopped in his car and proceeded to chase the teenagers down the road. Of course he got their license plate, and by that night, four of the six kids had been arrested. The police officer, who had the privilege of returning the stolen beer, was quite proud of himself.

And we were told shortly after our arrival home from vacation, that the other two culprits had been apprehended and arrested as well. Well, thank goodness for that.

Some of you may have heard that pythons are taking over Florida, but apparently they're working their way up to the Carolinas too. Having just seen a python up close and personal at the Portland Zoo, all I can say is, Jeff will have to find his own way back to Oregon, because the girls and I will have already left.

Every once in a while, the girls and I will meet up with another preschool family for a nice meal. But then reality hits, and the realization that kids suck the joy out of eating out.

We recently met up with two other moms and their kids (making six kids under three) for Mexican, and between the tortilla chips in the ears and the quesadilla on the shoulders (and that was just my kid), the nice lunch out was somehow lost on the three of us, and those seated immediately around us.

The picture attached is just one more example of why I believe that some girls go from three to 15 in about 10 minutes. We will be in such a world of trouble soon.

As if that weren't bad enough, I took Addie to open gym at a gymnastic academy, and she just fell in love with the outfits. She kept pointing out different leotards, and insisting that we go and get one. She even tried to convince me that we should leave the gym, go get one, and come back. Explaining that she wanted one in purple, but if they didn't have purple, green would do. And if they didn't have green, pink would do.

For those of you who don't know, Addie decided that it was high time she should be wearing underwear (god forbid you call them underpants or panties). And outside of finding sitting on the toilet tedious, she is doing very well. Although as many parents can attest, the automatically flushing toilets in the airport, were nearly the undoing of the potty training advancements.

I have found two new products that very nearly put the injectable gravy to shame.

I was at Tuesday Morning, and found Solar Vinyl Shorts (send me your size, and I'll see about getting each of you one of your very own), and best of all - a Dr. Laura Action Figure.

I have only dreamed of such a thing.

Apparently there is a whole line of "America's Real Action Heroes." As if the action figure itself were not enough - she talks. For those of you who follow Dr. Laura, this should be a no-brainer - she says, and I quote, "Now go do the right thing!"

I can't imagine that this won't be on everyone's Christmas list this year.

As if the poisonous snakes, parachuting ticks and wild animals are not enough, lighting struck a tree in our backyard while we were gone. And just in case you're wondering, lighting will in fact fry the electrical system for your irrigation, and the irrigation of your immediate neighbors.

I'm beginning to question how one reaches adulthood here with all of the perils lurking in your own yard.

Take care,

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

To catch a child by the . . . calzone?

Hey y'all (I'm totally embracing southernisms),

Just in case there was any doubt, it's hot here. Almost hot enough to keep Jeff from his weekend exercise of sprint mowing (Really. He sprints up and down the lawn, pushing the mower).

If you haven't tried it, he highly recommends it for the cardio benefits, the tanning potential (if you're willing to perform said exercise san clothes), and for its effect on the neighbors.

You already know my feelings about all of the creepy, poisonous bugs and the giant snakes, but it's getting so I've started having nightmares, and am seriously considering becoming a seasonal agoraphobic.

I've been told that this is just a particularly bad year for snakes, but I think they just have a short memory.

Up until I moved here, I had only ever seen one tick in my ENTIRE life. We have now seen three in the last few weeks - all of which were on family members.

Last week Addie came into the kitchen and said, "Daddy, there's a spider in Bubbles' ear." Surely you can see where this is going . . . Needless to say; said spider was in fact a tick sucking the life out of Bubbles, one ear vein at a time.

Since I'm normally such a tough and brave person, I promptly got the tweezers and was all set to pull that little sucker out.

But as it turns out, I would rather deal with a severed limb, than have to contend with a tick. Who says shrieking like a mad woman isn't the new brave and stoic?

Bad enough that they lurk in bushes and trees, but the ticks here are some kind of freaky high-bred. I assume the nuclear power plant is to blame for this.

They have actually learned to parachute from the sky onto their unsuspecting victims.
I was standing on our front path (not tromping through the woods, or hiding in the bushes mind you), and a huge, nasty, freakishly accurately aimed tick landed on Lorelei's leg.


That's all I have to say about that.

As if these attacks weren't bad enough, we had some friends in town this weekend and decided to take the kids on a walk. And to make a long story short, it is not recommended to let your child sit on a red ant hill.

And those giant snakes we've seen in our yard, apparently are not restricted to just our yard . . . who knew?

Although Bubbles has not found a new home yet, she has developed a new hobby.

I've had several reports now that a black and white cat that bears a suspicious resemblance to Bubbles, has been jumping out of the bushes at joggers.

Since she can't sneak into a new family's house, she must have decided that she will try to catch a new family.

More power to her.

I just found out that Addie is the only kid in Rock Hill not attending Vacation Bible School. They really should consider printing rules for outsiders.

I've been told that there are several parents who sign there kids up for one week after another of free vacation bible school at as many churches as they can find. Although really, since there are at least six different churches for each religion, you really wouldn't have to go outside the faith to fill the summer.

I'm just miffed that no one told me this little secret earlier. Just think of the money I could have saved. And just think how how smart Addie would have been after a summer of VBS hopping.

Addie has had some sleeping issues lately (okay, not so much lately as always). One fateful night there was no sleep to be had by me - partly due to a huge thunder cloud sitting on top of the house, and partly due to my fall down the stairs (I had even turned on a light) when I went to get something for Addie.

Minus the big bruise on my ego and my tukas, I was okay.

You know these are tough economic times when people are resorting to trucking their personal golf carts to the cheap public course.

Though I suppose since one in five South Carolina families owns their own golf cart (not just for golf mind you. Many use it to carry their beer coolers while they cruise), it shouldn't come as such a surprise that the economic condition has forced these serious sacrifices.

I recently had the privilege of shopping for fireworks, and wow are rules different here. In Oregon, you may only legally set off fireworks that don't shoot higher than 5 ft. As best I can tell, the rule here is they have to shoot At LEAST 50 ft. to count.

Totally overwhelmed with what I was seeing at the Discount Firework Factory, I asked for help. I explained that I was afraid for the safety of everyone in our neighborhood, and wanted something simple and small. At which time I was directed to something with a military name and was told, "these here are the smallest we got - they only go up 50-60 feet."

We were in Charleston last weekend, and enjoyed it very much. If you've never been, the architecture is beautiful. And outside of the 102 degree weather, the 100% humidity, and the run-in with the rude carriage driver, it was a great trip.

Since we were on vacation, we decided to go out to a nice Italian restaurant (Charleston is known for its restaurants, and Rock Hill is not). When we walked in and they saw that we were a family of four, you could visibly see the wait staffs' faces tighten up. Nothing like a toddler and a baby to get you some fast service.

Both girls behaved beautifully outside of one small incident when Addie fell out of her chair. Thankfully Jeff was able to catch her before she hit the floor. She would have even gone through dinner clean, had he not had his calzone in his hand at the time . . .

Although there is a $200 fine for feeding alligators in SC. It leaves me wondering if a pet (say a cat, for example) were to accidentally fall into the water, would it actually count as feeding them?

The Rock Hill Herald did cover the big celebrity deaths this week, but the favorite topic of course was Gov. Sanford.

Poor Jeff feels so betrayed by the whole thing, as he really felt like he had found his political home here (and yes, we are on different planets politically speaking).

On the bright side, it's been a little while since South Carolina has made national news.

Here's the best joke I've heard so far:

Governor Sanford's staff misunderstood him when he said he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. He really said he was going after some Argentinean tail . . .

Take care,

Monday, June 15, 2009

Steak sauce and inappropriate uses for toothpaste

Hi there.

It's nap time at our house, so I thought I would take a moment to write.

Since I know y'all are dying to hear about the latest installment of Bubbles the Wonder Kitty (AKA Bubbles the Cat Who Hates Her Family), here is the latest update:

Imagine my surprise when the "new" family Mom I mentioned in my last letter approached me at the pool and apologized for feeding our cat.

She said she felt like she had clearly offended someone, and just wanted to make sure I understood that she was very sorry, and wanted to know what to do in the event Bubbles showed up at her door again.

Apparently when "other family" Mom called her to tell her it was in fact Bubbles she had, and not a stray, she read "new" Mom the riot act. So, in addition to having multiple families, and fast becoming the most notorious cat in the neighborhood, Bubbles now has an agent who acts on her behalf. I guess legal owners need not be present when kitty power of attorneys are signed . . .

And as it turns out, the only reason "new" family (for the record, "new" family will thusly be referred to as "temporary" family) fed Bubbles tuna and milk, was to get her out of their house.

In typical Bubbles fashion, she saw an open door and ran for it. But since "temporary" Mom is "not an animal person" (her words), she was afraid to pick her up.

"Temporary" Mom made valiant efforts to bribe her eldest son into picking kitty up, but turns out he had no idea how to pick a cat up (apparently the whole family "are not animal" people). So, for lack of a better way to do it, "temporary" Mom opened a can of tuna, and lured Bubbles out of the house.

Safe at home, we kept her inside for three days. But Addie let her out, and off she went, again. No further sightings, and two days later, we received a call at 10:30pm (so late in our world) from a different neighbor telling us that Bubbles was at their house, and was looking lost and confused.

Since it is purely on principal that we keep this cat (because lord knows there is no other reason), I was half expecting a ransom call that late at night . . . (imagine a deep husky whisper) "You got a cat named Bubbles? Unless you want her to sleep wid da fishes, ya better pay up."

Perhaps I have an overactive imagination.

We had quite an adventure last week - Addie was sick, and I had the privilege of choosing between the kid throwing up on the floor, and the kid screaming to be fed . . .

At nap time last week, I walked past Addie's room and saw her laying on the floor (not so unusual, since she only actually sleeps IN her bed about 40% of the time) covered in something blue. Silly me asked her what it was, and she responded, "it's bottom cream."

Upon further inspection, I discovered that in fact, it was toothpaste she had spread all over her jammies, diaper, bottom, floor, dresser and so on. When I told her it was toothpaste, and not intended for one's behind, she said, "Daddy said it was bottom cream, and my bottom hurts."

I thought she was just using that active imagination of her's, and wrote it off as one of those things kids do.

Well, unbeknownst to me, in an effort to keep Addie from opening yet another tube of toothpaste (she already has four open tubes in her drawer. Of course, I guess you need that many when you have eight toothbrushes that you alternate between), Jeff had in fact told her it was bottom cream.

He should have been wary when she immediately put the tube in her diaper drawer . . .

Lately we've been feeling like we live in some sort of wildlife park, which is good and bad. I don't mind the large turtles coming by, but I draw the line at 5 ft. snakes. At least we've been able to keep them from carrying Lorelei off.

Good news on the potty training front. Addie has finally connected sitting on the toilet with treats. And wonder of wonders, we've had a few successes. Of course, the biggest challenge is training us.

When the girl says she needs to use the potty, we should listen.
A year of sitting her on the pot to no avail, has us a bit jaded. But we'll learn, I'm confident.

In addition to a small sweet treat, Addie also gets a tattoo if she actually uses the potty for its intended purpose. That's all well and good, but what does one do if afore-mentioned child uses the potty five or six times in one day? At the moment she only has three tats, but I'm a little concerned the conservative religious preschool she attends, will not approve of our "painted" child when she shows up to school covered from head to toe in temporary tattoos (because god forbid she let us clean any off).

Addie is really embracing the wonderful world of her imagination, and has extended her conversations to (and with) her food.

The other day at breakfast, she told me she had a little tiny chicken wrapped in her washclothe, and at lunch she held a small piece of ham in her hands like it was a baby bird and said, "Shhhh Mommy, this is littly tiny baby ham."

Well of course it was.

You'll all be happy to know there were no arrests during any of the Rock Hill HS graduations. Two people were seen being escorted out, but police could not be reached for comment.

They reprinted the graduation expectations just for my benefit and amusement - "Attendees were to wear 'appropriate attire (no shorts, tank tops or t-shirts),' not leave their seats to take pictures during the program, hold their applause, and not stand or shout until all diplomas are awarded."

Remember, these rules were not for the graduates, but their parents.

In addition to the recap on the uneventful graduation ceremonies, these two pieces of shocking news headlined our paper recently:

Sidewalk to Close for Utility Work - My favorite part about this one, was that it was not a significant stretch of sidewalk, nor was it in a heavily traveled area. Yet, there it was.

Shoplifter escapes with $60 worth of steak hidden in his pants. But don't worry, he shoved a bottle of steak sauce down there too. I'm just glad to see we have a high enough caliber of thief that he'd think to grab some condiments.

So just between you, me and the fencepost, that's all the news that fit to print.

Take care,

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Kung Fu Kitty

Hi Everyone,

Sorry it's taken me so long to write. Not sure what we've been doing, as I am unable to account for most of any given day . . .

I can now say with 100%assurancece, that I am dumb.

Daily, things are happening around me that I have no recollection of later. So much for a good memory as a key employment attribute . . .

Addie is adjusting quite well to her new big sister role. She gets concerned if someone besides Jeff or I take Lorelei out of view, and loves to give her kisses and hugs. We often have to make sure she's not squishing her in the process, but she loves her all the same. Minus the near smothering incident, they're both doing well.

A few weeks ago, Addie managed to cover Lorelei with every blanket and pillow she could get her hands on. Not sure if she was trying to build a fort for her, or whether she'd had enough of her crying . . .

We also tested the neighborhood emergency response system the other day. Jeff and Addie were in the backyard. Addie was digging in the bark-a-mulch (attempting to bury one of Jeff's yard statues), and I was in the garage. Suddenly I hear her scream like she's never screamed before. Instantly my mind flashed to giant snakes dragging her away by the toes, or a colony of fire ants swarming all over her body.

Sprinting to the backyard, I see Jeff laughing (Addie is still screaming mind you). At that point, our next door neighbor comes running outside, and a neighbor three houses down comes running up the road.

Turns out Addie had a mosquito on her arm, and Jeff thought it was a good idea to point it out to her. Needless to say, it freaked her out. So now we can add mosquitos to the list of terrifying things Addie's afraid of - right up there with frogs.

After seeing how quickly our neighbors came running, I wonder that all y'all don't test your own neighborhood emergency response systems.

It's one thing when your kid is being bullied, but what are you supposed to do when your cat is being beat up? Turns out Bubbles gets beat up almost daily by two cats in the neighborhood. I've thought about having a stern conversation with them, but not sure that wouldn't make it worse for Bubbles (you know, being called a mama's cat and all). I've considered teaching her some self-defense, but after a quick search on the internet, there doesn't seem to be a great market for feline martial arts.

To top it off, we thought we'd lost Bubbles for good. She was missing for five days, and the neighbors who we've mentioned as Bubble's "other" family, we're asking and calling around. Not that we weren't concerned for her, but frankly, between being beaten up by bully cats, and being accosted by Addie, I can't say I blame her.

As it turns out, she had found a "new" cat-loving family, just the other side of the road, and they had been feeding her tuna fish and milk. But the "other" family came to her rescue, and called the "new" family and told them to stop feeding her. Although, as I understand it, that was after a heated debate as to whether it was in fact Bubbles, as the "new" family claims the cat they were feeding looked unkept and homeless . . . Fortunately for us, she had a distinguishing injury on her right leg (from her most recent cat fight).

So Bubbles got hungry again, and when she found the tuna/milk supply had been cut off, shbegrudginglyly (you should have seen the look on her face) came back to us.

Being the responsible owner that I am, quicklyly went out and purchased her a brand new shiny collar with a little bell on it. But frankly, I think I just gave Bubbles another reason to hate me.

When a friend explained to me that she had taken her son's toys and books away when he had thrown a fit (the kind that only a 2 1/2 year old can throw), I thought, "what a good idea."
Except that Addie doesn't play with traditional toys.

It's not for lack of toys mind you, just lack of interest. Of course that got me thinking, and I'd thought I'd share some of the things Addie prefers to play with:
+ Used tin foil
+ A wet wash cloth
+ Batteries
+ Empty packages of any kind
+ Any box left unattended
+ Nearly rotten limes
+ Placemats
+ Band Aids

Keep in mind, these are not little things she picks up and plays with for a minute - she'll carry on an entirdialogue with and about each of these things for hours on end.

I like to think she chooses these types of things because she has such a vivid imagination . . .

About this time last year, Rock Hill made national news for arresting several people at a high school graduation for . . . (drum roll please) cheering when their family member received their diploma.

Since it's graduation time again, and fearing repeat offenses, the newspaper and radio stations have been putting out public service announcements about rules and regulations for graduation ceremonies held within Rock Hill city limits. Granted, some DJ's were less than kind in there delivery, but can you really blame the city officials for wanting texpeditete the graduation ceremonies?

Take care,

Monday, May 11, 2009

Furry ears and a unibrow

Hi Everyone,

I've been meaning to write sooner, but I find there is limited time these days. Unless of course I neglect my children . . . which I am considering.

First off, I wanted to share a unique thing I heard today. In order to truly appreciate it, you must imagine a stressed out mother with a VERY deep southern accent (I'm mean really deep). And I quote, "I like pancakes so much y'all, that I could put them in my bra and carry them around. I mean really y'all."

I'd like to say that put into context, that would have made sense, but alas, it wouldn't have helped at all. This particular friend has a wide variety of colorful sayings ("warn slap out"?!?), but many are not suitable for mixed company.

Things are going relatively well, considering. I caught Addie with a toy drill in her hand, leaning over her sister, and pressing it up against her forehead. When I asked her what she was doing, she said, "I just drill holes Mommy, I just drill holes." Nothing quite like a do-it-yourself lobotomy, right?

Although I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised, considering she has taken to pretend eating the cat. I use the word "pretend" loosely, as she often comes up with kitty hair on her nose and mouth . . .

On that note, our neighbors (the ones who have been trying to coerce Bubbles to come live with them) got a kitten of their own last week. Now I was thinking this might be the end to the Bubble-napping, but no, apparently it just means that Bubbles has been upgraded to her very own room . . . I kid you not.

The mom over there told me with a straight face (albeit, with slightly slurred words, as she'd had several cocktails), that all we needed to do was give Bubbles a bedroom of her own, and she'd be perfectly happy. Huh. Well, that might have been when I reemphasized my feelings about the cat, and might have told her that Bubbles has a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order in the event she is injured.

Now that summer (spring here is as hot as summer anywhere else) is here, we must be mindful of all of the aggressive and poisonous animals/insects/snakes/critters.

We've just discovered a giant fast-as-hell black snake living in our down spout. We think it's non-venomous, but are not 100% sure. But in the event that this guy decides to attack, we're SOL - I think he can run (slither) about 300 mph.

Jeff and I also had the unique experience of having a full-grown copperhead snake try to attack our car. Needless to say, although they might be aggressive, they are no where near as fast as our new neighbor, Mr. Fast-as-hell Black Snake. Thankfully.

On the upside of the aggresive animals that live in the south (is there really an upside?), Alligator hunting season starts soon. Hunting permits can be had for a mear $10. Who knew?

I'm considering getting one. Not because I want to actually kill an alligator, I just think it would be neat to have a stuffed one sitting in our living room. How much do you think it costs to stuff an alligator? Maybe for a few extra bucks, they'd cut cup holders into it (because afterall, everything is so much cooler with a cup holder).

Now that Addie can dress herself, she has also learned the fine art of undressing herself. In addition to the 5+ costume changes she makes daily, she is also experimenting with nudity. Case in point, we had Naked Lunch the other day. My only solace was being able to convince her to wait until we were finished with our walk to start said naked lunch.

In addition to her new found dressing independence, it seems we have a drama queen in the making (I wouldn't have any idea where she gets that, regardless of what my mom might tell you).

The other day Jeff and I watched Addie sit in front of the mirror and practice saying, "stop mommy." Considering I hadn't done or said anything to her to incite this type of thing, we were flabbergasted. She must have said it about 10 times, with different facial expressions and voice inflection each time.

As some of you may know, sometimes baby girl children have breast buds, and can actually produce milk from said buds (I know, I think it's totally weird too). Although the doctor said it was nothing to worry about, what I really want to know is, does this mean she could nurse herself?

Considering I contemplated feeding Lorelei the left-over kitten formula, the whole nursing herself thing isn't such a bad idea . . . Needless to say, I don't love nursing, but am married to the self-appointed La Leche League President.

As several of my more observant readers (remember, I'm a reality TV star, and you are all my adoring fans) quickly pointed out, I forgot to explain the power of Elmo undies. First off, I am only operating on half a brain, so please excuse me. Second, we thought we found the key to potty training Addie, but instead just succeeded in creating a monster.

Jeff thought it might be a good idea to let Addie wear some big girl underwear, and when she had an accident, she'd understand the feeling of needing to pee, and thus potty training would be accomplished.

Well, as it turns out, Addie seems to understand the concept quite well, but just has no interest in sitting on the potty (you should hear the list of treats she'll get IF she ever actually goes to the bathroom on the toilet). To further said underwear efforts, we explained that if she successfully used the potty, she would get some new Elmo underpants. Needless to say, all that did was send her into a screaming crying fit, demanding Elmo underpants. Have I mentioned that 2 1/2 is a rough age?

To date, there are no potty successes to be had. And at this very moment, Addie has regressed and wants to be changed like a baby, instead of using her pull-ups (or in our case, I had been magically turning her diapers into pull-ups. But god forbid you call them diapers or that would start an entirely new fit).

Lest I forget to write about this month's subject:

Addie has started growing a fabulous unibrow, and Lorelei now has nearly braidable length ear hair. I'd like to be able to blame these hairy phenominons on Jeff, but alas, the hairy beasts come from my side of the family (thanks Dad).

Do you think it's too early to start waxing them?

One more thing, I was happy to see that the local chapter of Friends of the NRA meets at the club house in our subdivision.

Take care,

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The power of Elmo underpants

Hi there,

As some of you questioned my "free minute" to send an email, I felt compelled to explain. At the time, Addie was asleep in her mini-tent and I was dutifully ignoring Lorelei's crying.

I figure there's no time like the present to learn that she has a bad mother . . .

Actually, poor little thing has severe gas bubbles that make her cry for long painful (for all of us) stretches of time, so in the interest of my sanity, I thought it best to take a moment out.

In an effort to stop the crying binges (hers, not mine), I have taken myself off dairy products. I am on day one, and am now frightfully aware of how many dairy products I consume in a day.

Jeff was supposed to help me remember what to eat and not eat, but so far he just succeeded in making me two lunches with cheese.

Now that I am no longer pregnant, and have two little ducklings to attend to, I can no longer indulge in my favorite pass-time of napping. But never fear, I have now taken up power eating.

Since I am nursing (for now, but that's a different subject all together), I find myself practically starving nearly every hour. Thus pre-breakfast and pre-lunch have been introduced - smaller, quicker meals that can be consumed while real breakfast and lunch are being prepared. I have also discovered the joys of having a toddler who doesn't know how to count or keep a close eye on her Easter basket haul.

Before #2 came along, Jeff and I had harbored fantasies that Addie would be a wonderfully adoring, gentle older sister.

Considering her reputation with Bubbles, I can only assume we were having sleep-deprived delusions.

Although she is vocally a supportive loving sister, she is a little aggressive, and I find myself having to say things like, "don't sit on your sisters head" and "don't smother her with the blanket."

Shel Silverstein's poems One Sister for Sale and Someone Ate the Baby often come to mind.

Now that Addie has a sister to pick on, I also would have thought that she might leave the kitty alone (that, and Bubbles is now spending EVERY night at the neighbors and only comes to our house to eat and when they are out of town), but no. The other day, I actually heard myself say, "Addie, don't lick the cat!"

Clearly I have been living in a fantasy world.

Most of you have heard the gory details of my labor and delivery, but I want to take this moment to re-emphasize that those of you who willingly had drug-free deliveries are insane.

While at the hospital, we learned some colorful terms from the nurses.
1) Baby Low Jack System - that's the ankle security bracelet they slap on the newborn so he or she does not walk away. But I am left wondering if there will be any long-term ill effects that might involve house-arrest and ankle bracelets in the future . . .

2) She has a suck like a Hoover - No joke, this is actually what one of the nurses said to me, about Lorelei upon our first nursing effort. It could have had something to do with the fact that she very nearly sucked the nail polish right off her finger, but I'm not sure.

Just in case any of you were wondering what kind of food they serve in a North Carolina hospitals (that's right, we moved ALL the way across the country to South Carolina, and our child was born in North Carolina), they do in fact serve grits and sweet tea as standard fair. Sadly they were plain grits, which taste nearly like soggy cardboard.

While at a Babys R Us before #2 came along, I discovered a whole quarter machine (you know, the ones normally reserved for gum balls and candy) filled with glow-in-the-dark crosses. They were kind of like those necklaces and bracelets that you "brake" to activate, only they were small crosses. They weren't even necklaces as far as I could tell.
Outside of some mid-night proselytizing, I can't imagine what they would be used for (okay, I can imagine, and it's something along the lines of Children of the Corn and scaring the hell out of your neighbors).

I just can't believe there is a market big enough for such things that there would be an entire (and it wasn't a small one) quarter machine devoted to them. Actually, that was only a minor thing in comparison to what they sell at Hobby Lobby for Easter.

Who wants a Jesus Loves You paddle ball in their next Easter basket?

I'm afraid there hasn't been a whole lot happening locally to report in the news, but I'm sure you'll all be as pleased as I was to know that Bake Sales have their own column on the Community Events page.

Take Care,

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Wet t-shirt contest for pregnant women

Saturday March 14, 2009

Good Morning,

Let me start off by saying - no baby yet. I officially have three weeks left, but am doubtful (as is everyone else in my neighborhood) that I'll make it that long. Attached is a recent picture, and in an effort to bring the group together, and make me feel a little more connected to friends and family, I am now accepting wagers as to when you think #2 will arrive. The winner will receive some fabulous prize . . . or not. Just depends on how I feel (nothing like being at the mercy of a pregnant woman).

Although my brain may have checked out as of late. Thankfully, I'm still able to channel Martha Stewart. After all, what does one do if they are unable to cultivate their most domestic instincts?

That being said, I have finally finished my quilt (after a long and arduous battle of wills), and even managed to bake three loaves of Friendship bread to put up in the freezer. As if those two feats aren't enough, I managed to bake and quilt at the same time. I know, I know, I very nearly put Martha to shame.

Never mind that I've only managed to make waffles and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner . . .

We've had some mad weather here lately, and as a result, find it quite confusing to dress appropriately (of course, the bigger I get, the more limited my options are). On Sunday night we got six inches of snow, the temperature fell to 15 degrees, and then was up to 78 degrees by Friday . . . Fortunately, we got a great snow day, and Jeff got to stay home for a half a day (he actually worked from home, but we got him for breakfast and lunch).

As a result of some highly technical and advanced snowman building on Jeff's part, his status has been elevated among the neighborhood boys, and now when they know he's home, we have little knocks on the door, and request for Mr. Jeff to come out and play. Addie is also often included, and I, sadly, am last to be asked for. Oh well, I suppose if I have to choose between being domestically gifted, and favorite playmate, I'll stick with Martha. After all, I'm fairly certain she has never been asked to come out and play.

In the midst of our 80 degree weather last weekend (it is now 40 degrees and rainy), after Tom Sawyering the neighborhood girls into washing our cars (who says you can't buy labor with a juice box and snacks?), we innocently supplied them with 100 water balloons, and may or may not have introduced them to the concept of sabotage.

Needless to say, those poor boys never knew what hit them, and by the end of the fight, the smart ones were trying to defect to the girls' team.

Only one broke down in tears for being accused to joining the "girls team" (as we all know, there is no bigger insult for an eight year old boy than being accused of siding with girls). We were quick to inform him though, that he joined the winning team, girls or not.

Anyone who has been pregnant knows what and where the pregnancy stain threshold on your shirt is. For those who haven't experienced it, it's the place just below your chest where your belly sticks out that seems to attract anything and everything (normally the offending item would just fall to the floor, but because of the protruding plateau, all items stop mid-air). Sadly, most stains remain unseen until you've been out and about all day.

But I digress. Last week as Addie and I were going to Plaza Fiesta to meet some of her preschool friends, I managed to drop my mocha mid belly. Not only did it empty it's contents all over my shirt (thankfully midway between what would have looked like lactating leaks and broken water), it also managed to triple it's volume and cover our backpack and my purse. Needless to say, walking into La Plaza was a bit humbling. Fortunately, there is a great amount of sympathy for the pregnant and most people just gave me pathetic pitying looks. Except of course from my friends - they just burst out laughing.

It's times like that that those little hand dryers are useful (because we all know they're not useful the rest of the time). Too bad they were all at kid levels which required a complex and ornate bending and balancing act on my part (because after all, pregnant woman are really quite graceful and flexible). It's a wonder more pregnant woman aren't asked to participate in wet t-shirt competitions, because let me tell you, people couldn't keep their eyes off me.

Sadly, there are those out there who don't sympathize with pregnant woman, and instead try to extort their "condition". And by condition, I mean their inability to lift a full keg of beer
into the back of a car.

Since South Carolina has the Blue Law, and a variety of other confusing laws about alcohol, the Package Stores (aka booze emporiums) close at 6pm, so I (with my infinitely flexible schedule) have been elected beer schlep. On one of my trips to the package store to buy a keg for Jeff (don't laugh, it's a lot cheaper than buying cans), the man who wheeled my keg out to my car asked me if I had any cash to tip him for loading my keg.

After asking if that wasn't in fact part of his job, and he had informed me, no, it was not, I was left open-mouthed and flabbergasted. On my early trips to said package store, they (including this particular man) had loaded my keg without so much as a word. Had I actually been able to lift the keg on my own, I would have tried - after all, I have been known to do things in spite of my best interests. I was envisioning something like telling him off, then summoning up all the strength and energy that is normally directed at growing a healthy baby (and of course, bending at the knees), I would have hoisted the keg over my head, grunted like an Olympic power lifter, and gently place said keg in the back of my car. Then, just to make sure he understood that he was the one who forced this course of action, I would have gone into labor right there on the spot. That would have showed him.

Instead, after my dumbfounded silence, he told me that I had better bring cash next time.

I know you all look forward to our local news updates, so I feel like I should explain something about our little Rock Hill Herald. Only a few of you have had the pleasure of reading it, so the rest of you aren't aware that it only has two sections four days out of the week - the front page and sports. On Saturday, they expand it to three sections which includes the Religion section. I can only assume that it's size limits it's ability to report on world news, so they are forced to choose which stories get top billing on the front page.

That being said, here you go:

"Fort Mill man escapes burning tanning bed." Now keep in mind, this happened the same time as the shooting in Alabama and Germany.

If that wasn't tantalizing enough, the follow-up story (again, front page center) was, "Officials: Tanning bed fire was first on record in S.C." Well thank goodness for that.

As titillating as the tanning bed fire story was, I had to search further back in the paper for this one: "S.C. man cited for hyena in yard." Now the really interesting thing about this article was that he didn't get in trouble so much for having said hyena, but for "displaying a wild and exotic animal." So much for the wild and exotic animal peepshow I was planning . . .

Take Care,

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Prom for Preschoolers

Feb. 24, 2008
Subj: Prom for preschoolers

Hello Everyone,

Happy Tuesday. I know I've been remiss about writing more often, but the fact of the matter is, I've been actively avoiding the bonus room (where the computer is), for fear that the quilt I'm supposed to be making (yes, another one, but this one is supposed to be for Baby #2 - or as the girls in the neighborhood call her, "Adeline 2) will jump into my lap and insist upon some attention. So as a result, I have been using this time to perfect my napping skills.

We've been having more computer problems, and I suppose it could have something to do with the bubble wands Addie inserted into the fan area of the hard drive, but I just can't imagine how something as low tech as bubble wands (that's right, not just one, but two), could effect such a highly scientific and advanced thing as a computer hard drive. I'm more inclined to believe it's the quilt (it's not even a quilt yet, just a pile of fabric, but in spirit it's a beautiful baby quilt) exacting it's revenge on me.

Little does it know I can still go to the library to use the computer. It has no idea what kind of procrastinator it's dealing with - I will overcome!

Addie's preschool hosted a father/daughter dance for Valentines, and moms were only allowed if they were helping out with something. Of course Jeff wasn't going to go unless I was there, so I dutifully signed up for ticket taking, dressed Addie in her finest Christmas dress, and off we went.

Now, since this was a preschool function (although it was open to the public), we thought Jeff would be fine in a sports shirt and slacks. Of course, we forgot to adjust our thought process to east coast time. Jeff was by far, the most under-dressed of all the 100+ dads there. Suits are of course the most logical next step up from a sports shirt, but there were dads in tuxedos (remember, preschool dance here). And at least half the girls had corsages and outrageous up-dos (also known as Prom Hair). Many of the girls had visibly spent time at the beauty salon, and had even had their nails and toes done for the occasion.

After watching all these dolled up kiddos come and go, I realized that this must be where beauty queens come from . . .

Aside from all the outrageous hoopla, there is nothing cuter than a room full of dads dancing the night away with their exhausted little girls (the dance didn't start until 7pm, so most of us didn't have a fighting chance to last the whole night).

Good news, we took a hospital tour, so now we know where to go when #2 is ready. And, as luck would have it, while I was sitting in the maternity ward waiting room, I had a chance to peruse my new favorite magazine, "American Rifleman." It truly is the "world's oldest and largest firearm authority." Do you think a lifetime subscription the American Rifleman would be a more suitable birth gift than a quilt?

Jeff and I have taken up bicycling on the weekends, and have quickly discovered that in fact, we are invisible. You'd think that two adults and a bike trailer (which we refer to has the princess chariot because Addie loves it so much) would be at least a little visible, but every time we try to cross an intersection (mind you, from the sidewalk, when the hand is green) we nearly get creamed by someone trying to turn right. But the good news is, we have found what we believe to be the only bike rack in the whole city. Conveniently, it's located in front of the local hippy market in town.

Addie had her first haircut today, and she did wonderfully. Admittedly, Great Clip's haircut sale was really what spurned me into action (you just can't beat $6.99). That, and I didn't want to have one of those kids who goes through school with their hair wrapped around their waists because their moms just won't let them cut it. And, I think if Addie's hair got too long, it might become problematic in the potty training area.

Speaking of poo, (let those who don't have children be forewarned - we will be talking about another well kept parenting secret), I had another one of those moments when I just sat back, and thought, "good lord, how did I get here?"

As if catching vomit with your hands isn't bad enough. . . Addie had a little bottle in the shower, I looked down and it had a little dark thing in it. Clearly not thinking, I picked up the bottle, looked at it, dumped it out into my hand, and realized almost immediately, that I had poo in my hand. Of course the first question I asked myself was, "how did I get poo in my hand?" But the second question that I know you are all asking yourselves is, "how did the poo get in the bottle in the first place?" I wish I knew.

Somehow I think the answer to that would lead to all the answers to all the most difficult questions out there.

In the headlines this week: "Fort Mill teen charged in Dairy Barn Burglaries."

If you're anything like me, you were probably hoping for some great modern day cattle rustling story, but alas, the story didn't actually have anything to do with cows at all.

I'm afraid I have nothing more to report. We pretty much stick to a rigid schedule of eating, napping and playing. It's grueling and exhausting, but someone has to do it.

Take care.


Saturday, January 31, 2009

Move over DAR . . .

Jan. 31, 2009

Good Morning and Happy Saturday Morning,

I've finally achieved Martha Stewart level 4 Super Homemaker Status . . . Envision if you will, a pregnant and barefoot Kate baking cookies with a '50's style waist apron tied around her ever-expanding belly, whilst a gaggle (or is it herd) of girls sit at the breakfast table nicely playing with Playdoh. I know, I know, you're all a little bit jealous. Okay, so maybe some of you are gagging a little too - Domestic perfection is not for the faint of heart.

There are times in all of our lives when we sit back and think, if someone had told me this is what I'd be doing in X amount of years, we all might have headed for the hills.

I've never been known for great patience, and have already expressed my issues with potty training, but today we reached an all new high (or is it low?).

In an effort to optimize potty time, I've taken to noting what time of day our delightful (and oft stinky) daughter has BM's (for the sake of the non-parents out there, we shall use abbreviations - we don't want to reveal all the secret joys of parenthood), thus making sure she sits on said potty at that particular time. Thankfully, my much-more-patient-than-I husband has taken on this task, and now sits with Addie for 30+ minutes at a stretch.

Now you'd think with this kind of upper level science being used, we'd have more success, but alas, she's on to us.

Bubbles was attacked by a neighbor dog a couple of weeks ago, and since she's already surpassed her life-time spending limit, we chose to doctor her at home and hoped for the best (of course each of us have a different definition of "best" outcome, depending on the number of cat bites received in the doctoring process). The very same irksome nine-year-old from the last email thought it was a good idea to take Bubbles to his house to play, and low and behold, their boxer thought he'd brought her a new toy. We've since determined that he was not in fact present for the attack, but I still think there's more to the story then we've heard. His 13 year old brother was there, is still traumatized (city kids are so sensitive) by the memory.

Just after it happened, the mom came over practically in tears and told us Bubbles was stuck up in a tree and both cat and dog were covered in blood. So Jeff went over, ladder in hand, and dragged Bubbles home. She was in fact covered in blood, but after a nice relaxing bath with grapefruit hand soap (we all know how much cats like baths, and I drew the short straw for that particular task), she looked like new.

Later that night, the parents came over apologizing for the attack, and since he's in insurance, trying to subtly determine whether we were the suing type. We tried to explain that it is the nature of cats to come and go, and it's best not to get too attached.

Apparently they don't share our feelings on the subject of cats, and now think us unfeeling monsters.

For a few days after the attack, Bubbles stuck close to home, but is now back to having sleep-overs at the neighbors. One day while their daughter was over playing, she let it slip that her mother feeds Bubbles salmon . . . See, it's not just her home life Bubbles is running away from.

Jeff has taken to bribing the cat in an effort to buy her loyalty. Every morning when he lets her in, he gives her a piece of salami and a fresh bowl of water (I'm telling you, the cat has a weird affinity for fresh water). So far, no changes on the loyalty meter, but he's hopeful. And besides, it's a great way to get rid of expired meat . . .

I've never been one for mixing business with friends, but since I'm still trying to make friends here, I put my personal feelings aside, and went to a Southern Living at Home party. For those of you who don't know, this is like a Tupperware or Mary Kay party, only with products seen in Southern Living magazine. This is one of those times when I've had to force myself to acknowledge what my life has become. I suppose it's all part of becoming a domestic goddess, and should just embrace it.

Apparently there is a trend out there to "party swap," (it has nothing to do with politics as I was inclined to believe), but two individuals who are representatives for two different companies agree to exchange forcing each others products on their friends. As it turns out, I'm not a very supportive friend.

My most recent at-home party invitation is to a Pure Romance Party (another party swap, but who thinks that "marital aids" is a fair swap with cheap jewelry?). I'm actually considering hosting this one myself, as there is nothing sexier than a pregnant woman with bladder control issues . . .

When I'm not attending these special special parties, I've taken to going to storage unit auctions. This week I stood out in the cold for three hours watching the auctioneer sell off the contents of six storage units. The big finds that day were a large box of pornographic magazines (some lucky person picked that little find up for $3.00), and a very nice, hand-blown water bong. Since the auctioneer can't legally sell off drug paraphernalia, they say things like, "remember, you're bidding on the box only." They also can't sell off paint, so when a storage unit full of painting supplies came up, they auctioned off 5-gallon buckets, and the paint inside was just a bonus.

In the news this week:
South Carolina Born Sweet Tea Vodka is Coming Home. This staple in everyone's liquor cabinet was invented here, but due to strict distilling regulations, had to be moved to Florida. Since the SC unemployment rates keep increasing, we're all thankful for any industry that wants to set up shop here. And since we've already determined that Southerns drink like it's their God given privilege, I think this little product is the real reason sweet tea is so popular here.

For those of you who don't know, Jim and Tammy Fae Bakker's Heritage Land was erected in Fort Mill, SC (just up the road). Since Jim's shameful falling from grace, Heritage Land has been abandoned, and is now a collection of abandoned buildings, which (among other things) include several castles and an outdoor coliseum.

But there's bright news on the horizon. Another religious group has made a deal with the city to take over the abandoned hotel (imagine the scene of a horror movie, and you've got Heritage Towers), and will be putting in retirement apartments. After all, who doesn't want to buy a space in a hotel that's been abandoned for nearly 20 years?

Those of you who can claim DAR rights (privileges?), now have another group to aspire to: Dames of the 21st Century. Apparently there is a new (new to me anyway) society of women who get together to do who knows what, and the only qualifying consideration is whether your forefathers were here from 1600 to 1699. The article gave a definition of the modern-day Dame, and detailed how one might begin researching said family lineage.

I'm just excited about finding a new hobby.


31 weeks pregnant and Addie throwing a fit in the snow.

Friday, January 16, 2009

More about those damn squirrels



Well here it is Friday afternoon, and I have completed, and passed (at least preliminarily anyway) my PHR test - back to napping guilt free, yippee!

Since moving here, I have learned many interesting and useful things (examples: whooping is alive and well in the south, Carolinians are bad drivers, and the merits of Confederate Flag Day), but have recently learned a new phrase and thought I should share it with you . . . Meat and Three.

I'm still struggling with its actual meaning, but have come to understand it as dry meat and three soggy sides. I am willing to concede I could be a little bit wrong about it's meaning though.

On a recent trip to Wal-Mart (I still want to cry every time I admit it) I discovered a new product that I can't believe has not become an overnight success - injectable honey glaze.

This little tantalizing treat comes with its own syringe and a list of suggestions of what to inject said glaze into. I realize that food companies have been injecting meat for years, but it's always been in the privacy of their own plant. Just the idea of bringing injectable goodness out into the open is at the very least owning up to one's guilty pleasures, but more than that, it seems down right scandalous.

Once the world gets a taste of self-honey-glaze injecting, where will it stop? Why stop at honey glaze? Why not injectable butter (at the least), or injectable gravy, or for that matter, injectable mayonnaise?

As if that wasn't enough excitement for one trip, while I was checking out, I got into a lively conversation with the checker about the merits of gardening with Wal-Mart bags - one layer of plastic bags, one layer of dirt, one layer of plastic bags, one layer of dirt . . .

After two weeks of staying with our neighbors while we were gone, Bubbles has decided she wants a new family. Nearly every time we let her out, she runs to the neighbors and refuses to come home. She has already spent several nights over there (they say she won't leave, and I say it's the tuna fish in their pockets), and launches an attack against me when I go to get her.

Bubbles has a thing for fresh water, so she jumps into the sink anytime she thinks you may turn it on, and Addie has discovered the joy of "washing her hands" while the cat is in said sink (read, turning the water on the cat's head). I realize this may not be an ideal home life compared to sleeping in our neighbor's bed and getting canned tuna fish whenever you're hungry, but after spending $600 on her, I'll be damned if the neighbors are going to get her.

I am fairly certain Bubbles is plotting how to achieve refugee status as we speak.

For those keeping track at home, I have just won the Upstanding Parenting Award.

We have a particularly irksome nine year old in our neighborhood who is around a lot, and has recently taken to tormenting Bubbles under the guise of trying to "make friends."

On one particularly trying day, he told me our cat was mean and was always biting him. I then (because I remembered that I was the grown-up in the situation) told him that was because we were training the cat to attack him.

Now you'd think I would have stopped there, but no. I then went on to tell him that in fact, we had a picture of him in the house and were working on training Bubbles to attack the picture every time we said his name.

Upon reflection, maybe that wasn't the best way to handle the situation.

Two recent headlines in our local paper read, "Squirrels Plot to Take Over." and the other, "The Joys of Eating Squirrels." Those are honest to goodness headlines, and both are near and dear to my heart considering my experience with the carnivorous squirrels in our yard.

Granted, the first article was about a shortage of acorns and how the squirrels are plotting and scheming to take over bird feeders, but I think the sentiment behind the article was the same - squirrels are scary scary creatures and steps should be taken so they don't take over the world (this is where article number two comes in . . .).

Take care and have a great weekend!


Monday, January 5, 2009

Christmas recovery

Well we're back in South Carolina, after two weeks in Oregon, and although it's nice to be home (in the sense that we're back in our house and back to our routines), we both really miss Oregon. As most of you know, there was a huge amount of snow when we arrived, but thanks to the Caddy-plow, we were able to get around quite well. Who knew Cadillacs were such good snow cars? Needless to say, Jeff has totally fallen in love with them (and to this day, swears that his '79 Cadillac Eldorado was the "smoothest ride" he ever had).

Jeff's favorite missed things were of course beer - he opened a bottle of Mirror Pond (which we used to keep on tap in Portland), and let out a long sigh, and said, "that's good beer." Somehow the Budweisers and Natural Lights just don't seem to do it for him.

In addition to the food (because as a companion hobby to napping, I have also taken up eating), I missed the Portlandness of it all. Whilst driving around town, we spotted a guy wading through the snow bank, playing his guitar.

Since Oregon is such an outdoor city, there were cross-country skiers and snow-shoers everywhere, and I even heard tell of a gal who skied across town for a blind date - that's dedication.