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,