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.