QUOTE OF THE DAY (OR MORE): "No, no. You don't understand. This is an '89 Calico. I'm pretty sure that exceeds the Kelly Blue Book value. The cat's totaled." --A comedian whose name I forget talking about a vet who presents a $3,000 bill for a 12-year-old cat

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The 12-year-old guest blogs...

Well, not really, but I wanted to publish this cool play he wrote - a spoof on Greek mythology:

Sailing in Myths
By the 12-year-old

Scene 1
(The curtain opens. Two men are standing on a ship.)
Capt. John: Ah, nothing like a nice whaling trip, eh Louis?
Louis: Are there even any whales in the Mediterranean Sea?
Capt. John: Of course!
(A whale appears.)
Louis: What is that?
Capt. John: That's a Sperm Whale!
Louis: Really, Captain?
Capt. John: No, it's a woodpecker.
Louis: Really?
Capt. John: Yes. Now quick, get the harpoon!
Louis: Why are we going to shoot a woodpecker with a harpoon?
Capt. John: It's not ... why do I even bother?
Louis: Too bad. It flew away under water.
Capt. John: What's wrong with you?
(The curtain closes.)
Scene 2
(The curtain opens. There is a storm rocking the ship. Capt. John and Louis are hanging on for dear life. The lights are dim.)
Louis: What's going on, Captain John?
Capt. John: Well, I'm no expert on the weather, but I'd say this might just be a STORM!!!
Louis: Wow! You're so smart!
Capt. John: I don't need your idiocy right now Louis! We're sort of in a pickle if you haven't noticed.
Louis: (Amazed) We're in a pickle? Cool!
Capt. John: ... Really Louis ... Really?
Louis: Yeah! You just said so Captain.
Capt. John: HOLD ON!!!
(The lights turn off)
All: Waaaaaaa!!!
(The curtain closes.)
Scene 3
(The curtain opens. The storm is over. Louis is on top of Capt. John. Capt. John shakes him off and stands up. Louis stands up to.)
Louis: That sure was a mighty strong storm, eh Captain John?
Capt. John: Uhhhhhh ...
Louis: Still shaken up from the storm, Captain?
Capt. John: What? No, I've been through much stronger storms. I can't believe we didn't get the whale.
It's entirely your fault! You onerous, incompetent fool!
Louis: I'm sorry ... I didn't know-
Capt. John: (yelling) See that's just it! You never know, you idiot!
Louis: I... I'm sorry. I-
Capt. John: Just be quiet! I don't have time to deal with you! (Mocking) We're in a pickle? Don't shoot the woodpecker with a harpoon! You-
(A hole opens in the water. A giant figure rises out of it.)
Capt. John: Who are you?
Poseidon: Poseidon! The Greek God of the Sea!
Capt. John: Poseidon?
Poseidon: Yeah.
Capt. John: Did you create that storm?
Poseidon: Yeah.
Capt. John: Are you trying to kill me?!
Poseidon: Yeah.
Capt. John: Why?!
Poseidon: Because you tried to kill my Sperm Whale. I'm just lucky that nice boy stopped you.
Capt. John: That was your whale?
Poseidon: Yeah, his name is Mr. Whale.
Capt. John: Mr. Whale?
Poseidon: I was never very good with names, okay?
Capt. John: Oh, go back to Greece!
Poseidon: As much as I hate to burst your bubble, I'm not the only one going to Greece.
Louis: Land ho!
Offstage Voice (Male): POSEIDON!!!
Poseidon: Oh, here. (Poseidon hands a small metal lightning bolt to Captain John) Bye.
(Poseidon leaves. The curtain closes.)
Scene 4
(Capt. John and Louis are on land next to another giant figure holding a lightning bold.)
Capt. John: Let's see. A lightning bolt? Oh, let me guess… you're Zeus.
Louis: (cheerfully) Hello!
(Zeus leaves)
Capt. John: Well that's just great! C'mon Louis, let's go get that boat .
. (Capt. John and Louis leave.)
Scene 5
(Capt. John and Louis are walking. Zeus chases after them and blocks their path.)
Louis: Thank you!
Capt. John: It should be called Greek Mythology for Louis'.
Offstage voice (Female): WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!
Zeus: BYE!
(Zeus hurries offstage. Capt. John and Louis continue along their wcry.)
Scene 6
(Capt. John and Louis walk onstage. A giant female figure walks out the center of the curtain.)
Athena: Hello, travelers. My name is Athena, the goddess of wisdom.
Louis: (a loud whisper) She's much prettier in the book, Captain John.
Athena: Hey!
Capt. John: (a loud whisper) Never trust illustrations Louis.
Athena: You know I'm standing right here! Here! See? Five yards from you guys!
Capt. John: Yes! The goddess of wisdom! I was wondering if you knew where my boat is.
Athena: Oh, you must be Captain John the lightning bolt thief! It's on the other side of Greece.
Capt. John: I'm aware of that. I was wondering if you could tell me where.
Athena: Of course I can!
Capt. John: Great!
Athena: But I won't.
Capt. John: Huh?
Athena: You called me ugly. Bye. (Athena walks offstage.)
Capt. John: Well that's just perfect! (Capt. John storms offstage followed by Louis.)
Scene 7
(The curtain opens. A giant man is behind it. Capt. John and Louis walk onstage.)
Dionysus: Hey peoples. What's up in yo crib, dogs? I'm Dionysus, the Greek God of Wine.
Capt. John: That's nice. Do you know-
Dionysus: Say, do you dogs got any wine?
Capt. John: (to Louis) Wine is the last thing he needs.
(Dionysus snaps. A bottle of wine appears.)
Dionysus: AwwwwwYeah!
Capt. John: Okay Bye!
Louis: Bye. (Capt. John and Louis slowly make their way offstage. Dionysus starts to rap.)
Dionysus: Wine! Made from grapes from a grapevine! Oh Yeah! Yummy in my tummy!
(The curtain closes.)
Scene 8
(Capt. John and Louis walk across the stage in front of the curtain. Another giant figure runs up on the other side of the stage. He stops them.)
Ares: Halt! I am Ares! The mighty Greek God of War! What is your purpose for traveling?
Capt. John: My boat is on the other side of Greece. I'm trying to find it.
Louis: (to Capt. John) A boat? Hey! I've seen a boat! We were just riding in one! Do you think it could be the one we were looking for?
Ares: Wow He's stupid!
Capt. John: Yeah.
Ares: So, who do we have to fight to get that boat of your back?
Louis: Ewe. Fighting? Fighting is never the answer. Let's see if we can solve this dispute in a more peaceful manner.
Capt. John: Fight? There's no fighting.
Ares: Well, as the god of war, fighting is my instinct. Well, if there's no fighting, I'll have to pass. Good Luck!
Louis: Bye!
(All characters continue on their way and offstage.)
Scene 9
(The curtain opens. A giant figure is standing onstage with a lyre. Capt. John and Louis walk onstage.)
Apollo: Hello! My name is Apollo. Not a speed skater. Not a boxing champion in a movie that sounds like it's about a rock named by Poseidon. o. I am-
Capt. John: Let me guess. You're a Greek God.
Apollo: Why yes! How'd you know?
Capt. John: Wild guess?
Louis: We've seen like, a million!
Capt. John: We've seen five.
Louis: Yeah, well .. I was close!
Capt. John: Sure.
Apollo: So I'm the God of music and light. My twin sister's name is-
(Louis takes out the book)
Louis: Wait! Wait! Waitl. .... um a p o here, Apollo. Page 95.32,48,55,64, 78,87, 106, oops!
Missed it! Here page 95! Urn ........... Airtymis!
Apollo: It's pronounced Artemis.
Louis: Okay.
Apollo: Oh no! The lyre quintet meeting is in an hour! I have to go! Bye!
Capt John: Bye.
Capt. John and Louis walk on and Apollo hurries off. The curtain closes as they do so.)
Scene 10
(Artemis walks onstage. She is holding a bow with an arrow notched in it and is taking aim. She is a giant like the others. Capt. John and Louis walk onstage.)
Artemis: Hello travelers. I am Artemis. The Goddess of the hunt.
Capt. John: Hello there.
Louis: Hi!
Capt. John: We just met your brother, Apollo.
Artemis: Oh, him? That's weird. I could have sworn he had a lyre quintet meeting in forty-five minutes.
Capt. John: Yes, he did.
Artemis: I hope he's not late.
Capt. John: Hey! Have you seen a whaling boat?
Artemis: I'm an immortal Goddess! Of course I've seen a whaling boat!
Capt. John: I mean recently! I'm missing mine.
Artemis: You lost a boat? That's embarrassing.
Capt. John: Aarrgg! This isn't helping! Let's go Louis!
(Artemis goes back to hunting and leaves. Capt. John and Louis leave.)
Scene 11
(A giant woman walks onstage. Capt. John and Louis enter on the other side.)
Louis: Hi there lady!
Capt. John: Hello. Please excuse my comrade's stupidity.
Demeter: Hello. My name is Demeter. I am the Goddess of the harvest.
Louis: The harvest? That so boring.
Demeter: Hey punk! You wanna have a winter anti-wonderland the rest of your life?
Louis: N ... n .......................... n .. n .. n .. n .. n .. n n n n n .. n .. no!
Demeter: I didn't think so! (Mumbles to herself) Aaahhhh! Mortals.
(Demeter storms off)
Scene 12
(The curtain opens. A giant figure is typing at a computer. Capt. John and Louis walk onstage.)
Capt. John: Ummm ... hello.
Hermes: (Doesn't look up) Hi. I'm Hermes. The messenger of the Gods. I used to fly around but I just found out about e-mail and it is soooooo much easier!
Capt. John: Yeah ... anyway, have you seen a boat? Recently?
Hermes: No. Wait. Really? No way! OMG! I've got to tell Cary and Marvin and Kyle and Stacie on Facebook and-
Capt. John: Okay you are soooooo not doing your job!
Hermes: I'm the messenger God. I'm instant messaging. Messaging! That's my job.
Louis: Ohhh snap! You just got burned Captain John.
Hermes: It's true. I totally just burned you.
Capt. John: You're the messenger God. Not the instant messenger God!
Louis: Ohhh snap! You got burned back Mr. Hermes!
Hermes: Instant messaging is a type of messaging.
Louis/ Hermes: Ohhh snap! Double burned!
(Louis and Hermes high-five.)
Capt. John: We have to go! C'mon Louis!
(Capt. John and Louis leave. Hermes continues typing. The curtain closes.)
Scene 13
(The curtain opens. A giant man with a giant hammer is onstage. Capt. John and Louis walk onstage.)
Capt. John: Hello sir, how are you?
Hephaestus: I'm okay. My name is Hephaestus. I am the God of fire. I am also the blacksmith of the Gods.
Louis: Why just okay? You have a big hammer. Happiness is just set up for you!
Hephaestus: That's what I thought too. But I've learned that there is more to life than just giant hammers.
Capt. John: (Sarcastically) Really? Enlighten me.
Hephaestus: Well, I think my wife, Aphrodite is running around with Ares again.
Louis: Hey! We saw Ares!
Hephaestus: Really? Did you teach him a lesson he'll never forget?
Capt. John: Okay. Let me explain something to you. Me mortal, he God. We fight, he win. Comprendo?
Hephaestus: Si, mucho comprendo.
Louis: (confused) What er you taaalking about? I don't speak German.
Capt. John: Shut up Louis!
Louis: Hey Captain, look at the map!
Capt. John: What about the map?
Louis: We're almost across Greece!
Capt. John: No, Louis. We're almost across the Greece you spilled on the map.
Louis: Oh.
Hephaestus: Well then you men better get moving.
Louis: True that!
Capt. John: Bye.
Louis: Bye.
Hephaestus: Bye.
(Capt. John and Louis continue. The curtain closes.)
Scene 14
(The curtain opens. A giant woman is sitting in front of a mirror. Capt. John and Louis enter.)
Capt. John: Well looking at the book, considering we've only seen Olympian Gods, you must be, Aphrodite. Hephaestus's wife.
Aphrodite: That, my ... ugly friend is true.
Capt. John: Ugly?!
Aphrodite: Why yes! Look at those wrinkles! Dreadful! Oh, excuse me. I am the Goddess of love and beauty.
Capt. John: Now that makes sense.
Louis: Well gosh, you shore are pretty!
Aphrodite: Why thank you, I know! And you ... aren't.
(Louis starts crying)
Capt. John: Well now look what you made him do! He'll be like this all day and I'll have to deal with it!
Aphrodite: Well it's not my fault that he's almost as ugly as you.
Capt. John: That's it we're leaving! C'mon Louis!
(Capt. John and Louis exit. Aphrodite turns back to the mirror. The curtain closes.)
Scene 15
(Capt. John and Louis cross the stage. Louis is no longer crying, but he is red-faced. A giant woman storms across the other way and stops next to the two men.)
Hera: Hello. Have you seen Zeus? Wait! You two? Oh, you're the ones that Zeus took the boat from.
Hermes told me the whole story. Here's your boat.
(A boat comes out of the middle of the curtain.)
Hera: Zeus is with that 10 nymph again! ZEUS!!!
(Zeus comes out where the boat did)
Hera: I gave them back their boat because you were seeing Io!
Hera: Now wait! It wasn't their fault anyway! They didn't steal the lightning bolt!
Hera: Oh, I'm going to intervene! C'mon Zeus!
Zeus: OKAY.
(Zeus and Hera leave. Poseidon enters.)
Poseidon: Well I really fired him up didn't I?
Capt. John: What's your problem?
Poseidon: Fine. Maybe I went a little too far.
Capt. John! Louis: A little!?
Poseidon: Fine ... but I'm an Olympian God so I still school you!
Capt. John: Fine. C'mon Louis. Let's head home.
Louis: Right behind ya Captain.
(Capt. John and Louis push the boat through the center of the curtain. Poseidon exits on the side.)
Scene 15
(Capt. John and Louis are sailing again.)
Capt. John: Well that was an utter waste of time!
Louis: Not really.
Capt. John: Oh? How do you figure?
Louis: I took Poseidon's trident.
Capt. John: Well Louis, it looks like we won after all!
(The curtain closes.)
The End

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Laundry liability

I get tired of pulling random items out of the laundry... so I came up with the idea of putting a sign above the laundry chute reminding the boys to empty their pockets of crap before throwing said clothes down the chute.

It doesn't work.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sophie the opera star

I love watching dogs with their heads hanging out the window of a moving car; it's just one of those things in life that makes me smile. I've never seen a dog look sad with its entire head (or more) protruding from a car window, wind in its face, eyes slightly closed, nose to the air, delectable scents wafting readily toward it.

I used to be chagrined that Sophie couldn't enjoy this favorite doggie pasttime because she's confined to the very back of the SUV... but then I thought of folding the back seats down so that she, too, could partake of this near nirvana experience.

Once I figured it out, she needed no encouragement. She's gaga about the wind in her whiskers as we drive down the road, no matter the speed. She's in the doggie zone. Happy as a clam.

I must admit that, when she sticks her head out the window, I get such a kick out of watching her that I reposition my sideview mirror so that I can see her more readily (yes, I also watch the road and my rearview mirror).

Now, Sophie-style is to poke her full head out of the car window, close her eyes slightly, and close her mouth completely.... at least it was her style until recently.

Last week on the way to pick up the 12-year-old from school, she changed tact in a way that had me giggling uncontrollably. She had her full head out the window; it was raining slightly. For some reason (I forgot to fill her water bowl, perhaps?), she opened her mouth. No big deal, right? Except that opening her mouth gave her a completely different sensation, and she loved it. She loved it so much that she proceeded to maneuver her jaw left and right, back and forth, to feel the difference in the streaming air. That was funny in and of itself. What made me lose it was that when she moved her jaw around, the altered windstream created a whistling noise. The noise delighted her to no end, and before you know it I was driving the country roads with a German Shepherd girl sticking her head out the window, moving her jaw consciously back and forth to enjoy the melody it created. The "aha" moment was hysterical. She would close her mouth, cock her head, then open it and move her jaw: boom - whistle sound.

Driving with Sophie will never be the same again.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hell is freezing over...

Hell is freezing over because look! I did something creative! I made a pumpkin cheese ball, complete with a stem fashioned from the icky tasting end of a bunch of broccoli.

I admit that it's from a recipe, but still.... it turned out pretty cool.

It's the little things in life... lol

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Real conversations with the 14-year-old

me: "Son, is your seatbelt on?"
14-year-old: "nope."
me: "Put it on, please."
14-year-old: "It IS on, Mom!"

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween challenged

I am just taking a moment to be grateful this morning.... grateful that the 14-year-old, as a freshman in high school now, no longer must have a Halloween costume.
I know, I know. Some of you are gasping for breath, unable to believe that there exists, right here on earth as your fellow human, a person who despises having to generate an idea for a child's Halloween costume, let alone find the time to create it from scratch. While I have some very good friends whom I admire immensely for their ability to produce an incredible, homemade, imaginative Halloween costume, I, myself, always depended on Target.
Therefore I am grateful this morning for my older son's status as a freshman in high school, exempt from all activities which prove his mother Halloween costume-challenged, and a younger son who is old and creative enough to produce his own homemade Halloween costume.
This year the 12-year-old is a "Cereal Killer." He is carrying a cereal box (a cereal which had no high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors or hydrogenated oils, mind you) with a fake knife plunged into it and fake blood spurting out of it. I could never have come up with that idea.
Though I am inept at Halloween costume creation, I can carve, as you can see, a mean pumpkin (assuming someone creative has already laid out the pattern for me on paper). I also do some pretty good iced Christmas cookies....

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Would you, could you with a mouse?

We have stink bugs. Who doesn't? Before I found out that the unfortunate and grotesque result of two stink bugs' mating was 400 more stink bugs and that their only predators are my husband and I, I used to throw them delicately outside where they belong, as I do for other bugs I find within the confines of my house. Yup, I'm a pacificist when it comes to anything living in my house, big, scary spiders and those disgusting centipedes, of course, excepted. They die. I'm not really clear as to why God created those sorts of creepy crawly things that seem to serve no purpose except to give humans the heebie jeebies. Or maybe that IS the purpose. Perhaps it's part of punishment of the human race for Eve's greed in eating the apple? Being subjected to creepy crawly creatures?

I've digressed, haven't I?

My point is that when, 2 nights ago, the 12-year-old pounced down the stairs and, relatively calmly, informed me: "um, mom. There's kinda sort of a mouse in your bathroom."

After clearing up that he wasn't kidding and that there was, indeed, a mouse in the bathroom, trapped into a corner by a candle, ostensibly, I quickly yelled to the husband: "we are NOT going to kill him." See? I had already assigned the little guy a gender.

Chaos followed.

I was assigned to procure a pot and its top while the husband raced to the garage to put on his work gloves in case the little guy bit him in our best efforts to free him. The boys sped upstairs to get a glimpse of the action.

We arrived in the bathroom, closed the door to make escape more difficult, and carefully removed the candle to reveal a quivering, good size mouse in the corner, wondering what in the world he had gotten himself into.

"I'm not touching him," the husband proclaimed.

"Oh, fine," I said. "Give me your gloves." When I tried to grab him, though, he moved.... and he moved VERY quickly... into the room with the potty in it. The boys followed, the husband followed, and I followed. We were all chasing this little tiny mouse around the master bathroom.

"Cut it out!" the husband demanded, stressed out already by the ordeal. "I don't need you boys in the way!"

I laughed, but the husband wasn't yet seeing the humor in the situation.

He blockaded himself inside the potty room with the door closed... just him and the mouse.

A loud and chaotic struggle ensued, audible but not visible, with the husband muttering various things to himself or no one in particular... "F_ING MOUSE!!" Clanging of the pot could be heard clearly. It sounded like world war three in the tiny room behind closed doors. At one point the request for a tall trash can in lieu of the pot was made.

Then... a silent moment.

"Did you get him?" I asked.

"Kind of," answered the husband.

"You didn't hurt him, did you? What do you mean kind of?"

"Well, I've got him under the trash can but don't know how to get him IN."

Finally, after a lot more noise and perserverance, the husband triumphed. He emerged from the little room, sweat covered and holding the tall trash can.

"Athletic little guy, geez," he observed.

We unceremoniously replaced him outdoors, as far away from the house as we could (as if that will prevent his visiting again...)

Now it's back to stink bug eradication around here...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Why does my car hate me?

A couple of days ago I was innocently driving along in my car...when I look at the radio briefly and see this....

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ya can't make this stuff up...

I am currently paying for last week's vacation time by plowing through the 151+ emails I have at work awaiting my wise replies.
I just opened the Quarantine Summary email, a spam filter system my company blessedly utilizes, to double check that a message from a customer didn't get thrown mercilessly into the spam pile.
Here are my favorite two subject lines in my spam email:
1. "She thinks I have an adorable willy"
2. "She was drunk and I did her"
Ya can't make this stuff up, folks.

Friday, July 23, 2010

I'm a good mom...I'm a good mom...I'm a good mom...

The 14-yr-old and I have been down at the beach this week while I take some time off of work and the 11-year-old is at camp.
In an effort to spend some quality time with him, we exhausted lots of "together" activities: gin rummy, Rummikub, take-out sushi, running together, sailing a catamaran in the bay (a teeny weeny one), dipping in the ocean...
A couple of nights ago, we were tired of gin and tired of Rummikub, and he loathes backgammon.
"Okay," I said. I'll teach you how to play poker.
I'm a good mom I'm a good mom I'm a good mom.
It seemed innocent enough. We used plastic chips and I taught him that a full house beats 3 of a kind. We played 5-card draw. He caught on quickly but his luck couldn't match mine - I'm EXTREMELY lucky in cards and parking spots. I got tired of winning. He had no chips left. The most important lesson I tried to impart was the "poker face" concept. When I couldn't stand winning anymore, I quit. I told him I had had enough. The 14-year-old, however, had become obsessed.
With my withdrawal from the game, he desperately considered his options. I picked up a book. He dealt a hand to Sophie (the German Shepherd) and doled out some chips to her. He played with Sophie.
Sophie kept winning. "She's really good," he joked.
The next morning he was still sleeping at 11:45 when I went down to the beach. He finally came down around 1:00 pm. "Whatcha been doin'?" I asked him.
"Playing poker with Sophie," he answered. "She keeps winning."
We need to find him another good book...

Monday, July 19, 2010

This is not a pie chart

Last week I just had to go to Barcelona for an International Sales Meeting for work. Yeah, my job sucks sometimes.... I did get to explore part of the town for the first jet-lagged afternoon after my flight arrived and before the meeting started. The rest of the time was spent in a conference room doing and watching power point presentations.

My favorite part of the presentations was watching one done by a French colleague, who put a pie chart up on a slide and explained his "camembert" chart. This got me giggling pretty hard. I guess that makes more sense if you're French... I mean - how much more sophisticated is a "camembert" chart than a "pie" chart. The semantics alone give it an eloquent credibility....

It also got me craving a nice glass of Cab and a slice of camembert...
On the way home I had settled into my economy class seat for the 9-hour plane ride home. I had just gotten all of my books and laptop organized where I could reach them easily, had my seat belt on, and was all set to go, when the German flight attendant from Lufthansa walked the aisle toward me, stopped, looked at me, and questioned my identity.
Um yeah, I nodded, that's my name.
"We would like to invite you to join us in Business class," she chirped.
Ahhh. The eye-darts from the people all around me felt stupendous. "Sucks for you all," I thought, actually feeling kind of guilty. The guilt lasted until I sat down in business class and was offered a glass of champagne.
This all made up for their having lost my luggage on the way home and delivering it to me 72 hours later....

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The 14-year-old: a text challenged boy

When the 14-year-old started middle school 3 years ago (and now he's graduated from middle school...sniff sniff), he depicted the husband and me as the meanest, most injudicious parents on the face of the earth. The reason? We wouldn't permit him to have a cell phone.
"But Daaad..." he inefficaciously whined, ALL the other kids in my class have them. Without looking up from the Wall Street Journal, the husband would quip: "well, buddy... that's because their parents love them more than we love you."
A year later, in his 7th grade, unceasingly barraged by the cell phone beg, I bargained. "You can have a cell phone," I off-handedly told him, "when you get straigh As." That semester he came home with straight As (and has maintained them ever since). The boy got a cell phone.
I tell that story in order to illustrate the irony of the boy's subsequent lack of use of the cell phone. Not a girl, he is not constantly on the phone, and very rarely does he engage in the teenager's replacement for telephone conversations: texting.
So... with all of that background... the husband and I sent him off 2 days ago to a week-long overnight Leadership Conference/Camp held in Washington D.C., his being accompanied by his cell phone and its charger.
After the first day of the conference, the husband and I both tried his cell phone, both efforts having ended in voice mail abyss. We wanted to hear from the boy with the cell phone we provided to him.
Finally, after a few more hours of waiting for some type of communication, the husband received this cryptic text message from him (my company blocks texts, so I can't get them on my phone); the husband kindly forwarded it to me:
"dad im doing well at camp. We have toured the capital visited alot of veteran cemeteries and went through the saudi arabian e"
This was the first of two. I'm hoping that the "alot" is a typo, although I'm proud that he modified how he's doing with an adverb. Is the "e," which ostensibly stands for embassy, meant to be an abbreviation or is he inept at texting?
Here's the 2nd text:
"e going to gettysburg. Love you. See u later."
I suppose the "e" is "We" and can excuse the absence of the helping verb (isn't that what it's called? I forget...) "are" as well as the small g ... it IS a text message after all. With all this cryptic abbreviation, though, he spelled out See rather than the usual "c," which I find a little humorous.
It seems to me there may be some portions of the text missing from the beginning of the 2nd and the end of the 1st...
In short, I think our son sucks at texting and he'd better keep up his grades as a fall back.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The secret to a good run

I finally had a kick-butt run yesterday, and, as one does when one has a good workout, I tried to figure out why I was feeling so much more energetic. I just kept running faster and faster. 5 miles: first mile: 9:03. 2nd: 8:37. 3rd: 8:05. 4th: 7:47. 5th: 7:36. or something like that. chah.

Here are the components to my awesome run:

- evening. I always seem to run well in the evening. mornings suck (on so many levels).
- perfect weather. drizzle and 60 degrees. Doesn't get better than that!
- my running buddy Sophie along with me.... NOT. Sophie had to be coaxed along with me running away from the house. At times I felt like I was dragging her... "pretend you're chasing a squirrel, Soph," I kept telling her. On the way home she practically sprinted ahead of me. sandbagging German Shepherd.
- rest day yesterday. Rest is good.
- Finally.. my world famous chocolate chip cookies, which the 11-year-old and I made that afternoon, both provided incentive (I had, um... enough dough to equal about 4 cookies, I'd estimate, plus 2 cooked cookies) and sugar energy!

I'd just like to mention, for the record, that my cookies are superior to mama-face's cookies. ;)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Strange encounters of the animal kind

I went for a lunchtime run today. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

When I arrived at the trail, I could barely pull into the parking space straight because of the sight which confronted me when I turned into the parking lot. A bull. with horns. In the grass. On the side of the parking lot at the public running/biking/walking trail. big horns. I said bull, right?

I quickly went to take a picture of it, but of course didn't have my camera with me. Murphy's law very clearly states, in section 102a, "if one were to see a huge bull with prodigious horns standing on the side of a public parking lot, happily grazing on the tall grass without concern, one will not have one's camera with one."

Here's kind of what he looked like (thanks, google images):

WTF, I thought.... and proceeded to begin my workout without having taken a picture, my fellow trail users all around me, more prepared and immune to Murphy's Law, snapping photos of the big fella left and right.

Just not something one sees in the trail parking lot every day. At least not in suburban Baltimore.

I then began my workout, pumped up by something I had just read from an article about a world class triathlete who was quoted as saying: "Always reach beyond what you think you can achieve." I had been in the mood to run all morning. Nothing was going to get in my way of hitting my paces for my 1K repeats....

I did my warm up and was in my first 1K interval, running faster than normal, when all of a sudden I see, up ahead, a LOOOONNNNGG slithery black snake just starting to make his way across the path. Well, so... nothing was going to get in my way of hitting my paces... except maybe a ridiculously long and thick and scary black snake about to cross my path.

You all know how I suck at drawing, especially with a computer mouse, but here goes my rendition:

I promptly jammed on the breaks.... (screech...)

And the big fella kept coming.... but my time was really good so far. I told myself if I stopped for the length of time it took for the scary black snake to sun himself slowly all the way across the trail, I may as well not be out here doing speedwork. I muscled up the courage to slide by him, thinking that if my sons were here they would chastise me for my wimpiness.

As I ran by him, he bit my ankle...
just kidding!!
He was probably more afraid of me than I was of him (nope. uh uh.)
Anyway, perhaps all of my energy was sapped by my encounters with my fellow earth creatures, because I hit the pace for my next 1K but conked after that.
My run sucked. It was hot (the effing temperature went up 15 degrees during my run, for crying out loud) and I'm getting old. And my back hurts, dammit.
I think instead of reaching beyond what I think I can achieve, I'm going to reach for a margarita.
The end.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I just had a horrifying thought...

A couple of days ago I had a horrifying thought, most disconcerting.
In a little over 2 weeks I'll be swimming, cycling and running in my first triathlon.
I've run enough races - 5Ks, half marathons, marathons, 10-milers - to know that the one thing a participant needs to do before the start of the race is PEE. A combination of nerves and caffeine-providing coffee makes every runner have to pee multiple times before the start of the race.
The paucity of portapots combined with an overabundance of runners needing to pee before the race lends itself to a situation in which many runners pee wherever any cover whatsoever may be found, and folks get creative.
So here's my horrifying thought. In a triathlon, I assume everyone will have to pee before the start of the race as well.... but.... the first leg of a triathlon is the SWIM.
Are you with me? Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
It SUCKS to be a slow swimmer...
oh, well. I suppose it will warm up the water.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Birthday um... wishes

One of my best friends, knowing me quite well, gave me the following birthday card. Don't bother wishing me a happy birthday; it was last month. :)

Open it up...

Being the model mother I am, I immediately shared it with the 11-year old and the 14-year-old.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

You... I wanna talk to you...

above: my own rendering of me sucking at swimming

I told myself that I'd be happy after I qualified for Boston; it had been my prodigious goal for a little over a year or two. I told myself that, after I qualified, I could do more fun, hilly marathons and not worry about being so competitive.


At some point after I qualifed, not being sure of any exact moment, I decided that I wanted to do an Ironman triathlon the year I turn 40. That would be next year.

So hmmm. I'd better get some triathlon experience in before I start training for that next year.

Next up is a local Olympic Distance triathlon at the end of May. Sure, it would've been more ideal to have begun with a short sprint tri to get my feet wet (literality intended). I didn't know anything about triathlons (and still don't know much) so I had to google the distances. An Olympic tri is about a mile swim (1.2, maybe?), a 40-something-mile bike ride, and a 10K run (6.2 miles). A sprint is about a 1/2 mile swim, 20-something-mile bike ride, and a 5K run. The Ironman that I want to do next year is a 2 mile swim (or perhaps a little more?), a 112-mile bike ride, and a full marathon (26.2 miles). hee hee.

I already swim and cycle to cross train for marathons, so I'm not starting from scratch. Like many beginner triathletes, however, I'm not a strong swimmer. I've practiced (I did a "long swim" instead of a long run for my last long run for the Boston marathon because of a strained back) and improved so that I can go longer and breathe on both sides now, but I still suck at swimming.

A swimmer friend of mine, an ex college roommate, recommended my taking a masters swimming class, which is a class with an instructor who critiques your stroke and kicks your butt with a prescribed workout.

Long, boring intro almost over.

I went to my first masters swim class last night. I was so proud of myself for having taught myself to breathe on both sides (after many trials of sucking in water and coughing for minutes on end like an idiot)...

The first thing I learned is that I've been swimming farther than I thought, because I thought it was a 25-meter pool and it's a 25-YARD pool!!!

Thanks for sharing in my joy.

We did our warm-ups, 200 YARDS of freestyle, and the other two ladies went on to the workout, while the instructor called me over.

"I want to talk to you," she told me, finger waggling me her way.

"You're swimming box-like," she told me. "You need to imagine you're turning a big wheel and round out and stretch out your stroke."

I looked at her, not quite understanding.

"Here; I'll show you." And she did.

And I practiced another two laps stretching out my stroke turning a wheel.

"Better," she praised me.

I need praise.

I continued with the laps.

"Come 'ere," she waggled her finger once more.

I did as I was told.

"Swim toward me while I watch under water."

Again, I did as I was told.

"You're scooping your arms too far down in the water; you need to push back instead of down."

She demonstrated again.

Now I was practicing trying to push the water back closer to the surface rather than scooping down and around as I'd been taught as a kid.

I'll spare you the details, but by the end of the hour I had been corrected again and again so that I couldn't focus on all of the new forms simultaneously: push back closer to the surface, keep your elbows low, keep your butt up, skim your fingers closer to the water when you take a stroke, rotate your hand so that it's facing forward when you dig back into the water, stretch out your stroke longer and more round so that you're turning a metaphorical wheel... it was all a lot to remember....

I was grateful, though, for the advice; it's actually why I took the class. I knew my stroke sucked and that I needed some coaching. I think it's going to take awhile, though, for the changes to make it to my muscle memory...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

And the cat continues to hurl....

So... we just moved, which means I needed to find a new vet. I approached this challenge the same way I always approach a challenge to find the best of something. I google it. What in the world did we do before the internet?

I have to add that I REALLY liked my old vet; all of them were really laid back and down to earth, but I can't drive 45 minutes to the vet, especially since the cat hurls after approximately 3 minutes in the car. I'm not kidding. It's ridiculous.

So... I googled. I found a vet. I made my decision based on the pictures on the website... well, partly.

I had to take her for an updated vaccination, nothing more. A quick shot.

"Okay... so it's been awhile since she's had a complete exam," the receptionist tells me. "He'll do an exam before administering the vaccination."

I'm thinking... great. That's $50 bucks so he can look in her mouth and ears and tell me she's fine. But I don't say anything. I surmise that maybe they have to cover their asses since I'm - I mean she's - a new patient.

So I go in and meet the vet. He asks me how she's doing. I tell him she's fine and that she has a nasty habit of upchucking pretty often.

He embarks on a long-winded explanation of how evolution hasn't yet caught up with cats' diets. They're biologically still used to feasting on wild mice and other natural wild victims and manmade cat food just doesn't agree with them.

I can understand that, I think, although we humans don't wretch left and right and we have the same evolutionary issue...

He then looks into her mouth, which she despises.

"Ah.." he says with a disappointed look on his face. "Have you looked at her teeth?"

Now why the hell would I open my cat's mouth and look at her teeth?

"Nope," I answer.

"They really need brushing," he admonishes.

For crying out loud, I'm thinking. So how is it that cats haven't yet evolved quickly enough to master man-made food but they sure have evolved at lightning speed to need their teeth brushed by humans. That is ridiculous. At this point I'm thinking these people just see dollar signs when folks walk through the door.

I'm not so sure about this new vet... and my cat's teeth need brushing, apparently. Sucks for her.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Boston bound! (oh, wait... I hafta pee...)

Being the overachiever I am, as soon as I realized that there was this marathon out there... the Boston marathon... for which one needed to qualify... well, that did it. No one was going to shut me out of a race because I couldn't run 26.2 miles fast enough.

So (never start a sentence with so), those of you who know me (and love me notwithstanding knowing me) or follow my long-lost blog are fully aware that I qualified for Boston last October.

Well, I done it. I done ran Boston. Not well, mind you, not as fast as I could, but part of that was on purpose so I could soak in all the excitement and part of that was due to my strained back, which began sending shooting pains down my legs starting at mile 17 and continuing past the finish. If it weren't for the throngs of yelling spectators I doubt I could have kept running... but on the Boston course... you just can't help it.

Guess who won the Boston? A Kenyan! Shocking! Americans Ryan Hall and Meb K. (an African turned American) were in the hunt but couldn't pull it out, coming in 4th and 5th respectively (although give Hall a break; he ran Boston faster than any other American ever has and the winner blew away the old course record). I think I know why Ryan didn't pull it out, though. Take a look at the photo. Here it is. Look. I'll wait. These are all AP photos, by the way. Just to give credit...

Did you look? What do you notice? Besides the fact that Ryan Hall is white and the others aren't. What else? Look again.

Still don't know? It's the hair. The Africans all have this smooth, aerodynamic doo, but not Hall. His HAIR is what's holding him back, I'm sure of it. He led the race for just about the entire first half, and I'm sure the Africans saved all kinds of energy just streaming behind his wall of hair blocking the wind. The hair just provides too much wind resistance. I'm sure if he had shaved his head he would've had it; I just know it. I'll suggest it to him next time I see him.

All kidding aside, what an awesome course and what awesome fans. Boston is so proud of this marathon, the sporting event 2nd only to the Superbowl in terms of media coverage. The entire race route is lined with people, but not just any people. People all ages, shapes and sizes who are busting their butts as hard as the runners are to encourage the runners... handing out water, beer, jelly beans, wet sponges, orange slices, m&ms, kisses, hugs, and most of all high fives. I think I high-fived every little kid in Boston, and I don't know whom it made happier: me or them.

I experimented with my motivation. Parts of the race I ran in the middle because (as my sister in law knows from having run a marathon with me) I like to stick the center of the road to avoid the slope; I found, however, that I was a lot more juiced running right next to the crowd and high fiving as many as I could.
The highlight of the day for me was the bus ride from the Boston commons out to the suburb of Hopkinton, MA where the race starts. A plethora of buses transport all of the runners from downtown Boston out to Hopkinton, and I found myself on one of them at 6:45 am headed west on a crowded school bus out to Hopkinton on interstate 90. After about an hour on the bus, still on the interstate, the guy in front of me, sporting a Brazil hat and a Brazil shirt and presumably from Brazil (although that's not really important), got up from his seat and crouched mysteriously next to the bus driver. A few minutes later the bus pulled to the side of the road and the Brazilian got out, walked to the edge of the interstate by the woods, and peed. He peed and he peed and he peed and he peed. Then he peed some more. The man had to pee and had to pee badly. Everyone on the bus shared the same conundrum. Do we stare or try to give him privacy? As the poor man jumped back on the bus, he thrust his hands into the air, looked up, and yelled "YES" in triumph. This was a very relieved man (pun intended). The busload of people applauded and whooped and hollered. We were very happy for this man and his empty bladder.
Subject change without transition: On my long runs weekend mornings I sometimes see people wearing the Boston marathon jacket; there's an official Boston marathon running jacket every year (whose design changes). I always stared at the jacket wearer with jealousy. "Ooh. Mr. fast runner. Aren't you cool? Got the boston jacket, huh? Think you're fast, huh?" Now I have mine.

Yeah, the color is kinda icky, but at least the drivers will see me as they look up from texting.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A mailing about a mailing

The U.S. is in debt up to its ears. Everyone knows that, right? China downright owns us. They've gobbled up every one of the bonds we've sold to make money - like a national yard sale - and they own us. Kathleen Madigan, one of my favorite comediennes, jokes that one day, we Americans will come downstairs on a Saturday morning, all hung over from the previous night, pizza boxes stacked on the coffee table, and there will be a family of Chinese properly sitting on our family room couches telling us:
"You go now. We own house."
The point is - we're in debt. There is a rather large deficit.
You'd think the United States government would be scrambling to save money, right? You'd think their marketing budget would be slashed, just like in the corporate world.
"Hey, uh, boss? We need to send out these postcards as direct mail to get people to buy this book..."
"Nope. No money in the budget for a mailing. Figure out another way to sell or we'll cut your position."
The U.S. should be looking for ways to save, right?
Yesterday, we received in the U.S. mail an envelope whose return sender was the U.S. Census Bureau.
"Cool," I thought. We received our census. I'll be a good American and fill it out and return it. I have an affinity for filling out forms (I'm not being facetious; it's one of my flaws. I really like filling out forms. I should work for the government!).
I opened said envelope from the U.S. government. Contrary to my expectations, it wasn't a census.
Know what it said?
It said that, any day now, yessiree Bob, the U.S. government would be mailing us our Census and to look for it.
Did y'all get the same mailing?
We got a mailing informing us about a mailing.
Um. Is there anyone else out there who thinks that could've been one place they could've cut costs?
"Frank, do you have that mailing prepared to inform U.S. citizens about the mailing?"
"Great. And it will tell U.S. citizens that they'll be receiving mail?"
"Terrific. And you've got the mailing prepared to go out after the Census? The one that tells people they've just received a mailing?"
While they're kindly reminding us about stuff, maybe they'll do a mailing reminding us that tax time is coming up...
"Dear U.S. citizens, ahem. As you know, China owns us. We really need your hard-earned cash. Please send it to us as soon as possible, but not after April 15th, or we'll take more of it! HA!"
And how about a letter reminding us about holidays?
"Dear U.S citizens, every year of your life, you have enjoyed Memorial Day - it's around the last Monday in May, we think. So, um. We wanted to remind you about it. We just wanted to say - hey - go out and enjoy yourselves. Have a nice barbeque, play croquet in the yard... just don't forget it's coming up!"
Uncle Sam

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Silly me....

One of the results of having moved in between monumental record snowstorms is not having TV, telephone, or internet until Verizon can get to us.

There has been a delightful upside to not having television; I've come home recently from errands to find both boys curled up on the couch reading books.

I sat down next to the 13-year-old as he read, pride surging within me, and commented: "golly it's nice to see you two reading books rather than watching tv. Maybe you can keep reading after our tv gets hooked up, huh?"

My 13-year-old gazed at me with an incredulous look. He paused. He then put his hand gently on my shoulder and looked at me with pity.

"Mom," he broke it to me, "I think we both know that's not going to happen."

Monday, March 1, 2010

How to fly to Brazil with style and panache... or... wanna talk? I've got time...

Sunday night I said adios to the family and set out for the airport for my business trip to Brazil.
It started auspiciously enough, a mere 1 and a half-hour delay on United airlines, nothing I couldn't handle. What the heck? I thought... one more glass of the red wine which was so lacking and yet so needed right after the move from hell.
Indeed, the 10-hour flight from Washington, D.C. to Sao Paolo, Brazil, where my connection was, was going quite well. It had all of the positives going for it: I was pleasantly plied with red wine, I had my Sonata sleeping pills with me, and I had a nice quiet lady who didn't want to talk to me next to me. We briefly figured out, through our common reading materials, that we had sons the same ages, but, both being weary and wise travelers, had that silent telepathic agreement between us to leave each other in peace and quiet without children.
It was perfect....
until we landed in Sao Paolo.
Having landed at 10:30 am, I figured I had plenty of cushion for my layover until my connecting flight at 1:05 pm.
HA!, some little demigod was chuckling.
Like the bright airline passenger I am, I dutifully followed signs to "connecting flights;" I had my baggage ostensibly checked through to my final destination and had my boarding pass for my connecting flight.
The "connecting flights" sign led me and my fellow bright passengers to a maze of lines in immigration. So as not to upset the laws of Murphy, the "Brazil citizens only" line was empty, while the "foreigners" line seemed not to have an end, literally, as people continuously took their places at the end of the ever growing queue.
The line moved relatively quickly, and my passport was stamped without much fanfare. With that line behind me, I moved ahead to discover a new line, this one not moving so quickly. The customs line. A queue of folks lined up to declare nothing. The line painstakingly snaked its way back and forth as bleary-eyed passengers from 2 overnight flights converged in line and struggled against the gravity which dragged their eyelids earthward.
After an hour, I was through customs and immigration and searched for departure signs which would lead me to my connection's gate.
Alas, this was very foolish and silly of me.
Though our luggage was checked through to their final destinations and though we all had boarding passes for our connecting flights, we had to collect our luggage there and re-check it.
Okay, I thought. This isn't uncommon. They make the foreigners do this in Philly when they arrive from international cities. I saw my suitcase right away, recognizable from its bright red color and further distinguishable by the big-ass brightly colored baby rattle-themed ribbon tied to it, grabbed it and figured I was ahead of the game since most folks were still waiting for their luggage.
Instead of quickly being able to re-check it and proceed to the gate as in Philadelphia, though, I was met with unexpected horror as I turned the corner and gazed upon yet another prodigious line at the TAM Airlines check-in. The chaotic line zig-zagged back and forth for what seemed like a mile and protruded from its opening by about 15 people and was still growing. I looked around in desperation, trying to make sure I was supposed to be here. My fellow travelers and I exchanged glances, thinking... "really?" We really have to wait in this line to re-check our luggage? Worse, the line didn't move. At all. No movement.
2 very confused and stressed out female TAM airlines employees in charge through the crowd.
After a few minutes, the crowd began its friendship making.
"Where are you going?" "What time's your flight?" It took us awhile to figure out that we were ALL running late at this point, but desperation hadn't yet kicked in. Every once in awhile one of the desperate looking female TAM airlines employees would stand up on the luggage conveyor belt to be seen over the crowd, pause, and then yell something in Portuguese, unintelligible to most of the travelers who had originated in the ethnocentric United States where no one speaks any other languages but English.
Trying their best to be good diplomats, the few Brazilian teenagers who were stuck in line with us gave us updates every now and then. "Yeah, your flight has been canceled. That sucks."
Further, my international world blackberry wasn't functioning, not allowing me to make phone calls or send or receive emails. I had no way of communicating my delay to my kind customer who was scheduled to pick me up at my destination airport.
Three hours later. Yes. Three hours later, after I had completely read and digested an entire issue of Runners World magazine and my back hurt from standing, I was called to the front. It was my turn! I was elated.
I said to the haggard-looking TAM employee, who couldn't understand a word I said: "Wow. That was the longest I've ever waited in a check-in line." I smiled. I didn't want to be an ugly American. I'm sure she was having a tough day, too. But c'mon, folks, Isn't this routine? We just needed to give them our bags and proceed to the gate, eh? Are there not procedures in place for this sort of event? Doesn't this happen every day? Doesn't anyone in charge sit back, take a look, and think... "hmmm. This is really an asinine process. We should figure out a different way to do this, Bob."
She smiled back and nodded. Handed me a boarding pass for a flight 2 hours later than the flight I had missed.
Oh well, at least I could go find a potty at this point.
Only nope I couldn't. Turns out that the domestic flight on which I was booked 2 hours later than my earlier flight was going to be boarding soon and I was supposed to be at the gate within 5 minutes before they closed the entrance to the gate area (an hour before the flight left).
No food and no potty.
I looked on the bright side, though... I was on a flight out the same day (I got the 2nd to last seat), I had successfully found my gate, and ...
there was one chair left in the waiting area! I pictured myself racing a little old lady to get first dibs on the last remaining seat... but happily no there was no competition.
sometimes one has to be grateful for the little things.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

How to move with style and panache

We did it! We've moved. We're in the new house. I'm unpacked. I thought I'd put together a little guide as to how to move with style, just the way we did. Here we go...
1. Make sure and settle/sell your old house before your new house is ready. This will ensure a period of time during which you are homeless. It helps to have 2 kids, a big German Shepherd, and a cat.
2. While you're homeless, choose to live in a hotel that takes dogs, cats and kids. This way you can all be miserable together, one big happy family. Make sure that, just before you're scheduled to check in to the hotel, the management changes and the suite with the adjoining room that you reserved is not available. This way your 11 1/2-year-old and 13-year old boys will have their own separate room, complete with their own separate room keys of which they need to keep track. The adults also need to keep track of their own keys and the kids' room keys.
3. Ask God for lots of cold weather and snow so that your kids' school gets canceled and they are stuck, without their video games, in the hotel room with you all day long for days at a time.
4. Count down the days you have left in the hotel where you've tried to cook without an oven or your usual seasonings. Crock pots, sautees... be creative. One day before you're supposed to settle on the new house, have the bank providing your mortgage call you and tell you that they're just not ready yet. yeah. Just not ready. When purple smoke starts coming out of your and your husband's ears and you demand to know why, the bank should say: "well, um... one of our underwriters was sick for a couple of days..." Once you get over the denial that you really are not going to settle tomorrow, ask the bank when you might settle. Have the bank reply: "I don't know."
I don't know.
You don't know?
Um. I don't know. sorry, ma'am.
Wait to postpone the moving company, carpet cleaners, cleaning company, Verizon (telephone, tv, and internet) and painters until you know when the settlment will be...
5. Once the bank finally calls you to let you know when the new settlement date will be, re-arrange the dates for the moving company, carpet cleaners, cleaning company, Verizon and painters. Try and squeeze in your previously planned ski trip 3 hours west of you by car.
6. Have settlement take 2 1/2 hours (rather than the usual one) because the bank still has not wired the money the seller needs.
7. Schedule a historic snow storm the afternoon of settlement which dumps an unprecedented 29 inches of snow around your new house and then drive west for the ski trip, thinking they know how to handle snow out in western Maryland. Postpone the movers until after the weekend since one cannot move in during a blizzard. Decide you may as well head out to the ski trip, then.
8. While driving out to the ski trip after settlement, enjoy the white-knuckled experience of no visibility whatsoever on the interstate. Go off road every so often to go around tractor trailers which are stuck going uphill. Make sure there are myriad plows going in the opposite direction, but none in the direction in which you desire to go.
9. Also while driving out to the ski trip, it's great if your wipers keep icing up so that you can't see a damn thing. Every so often, stop where you are (there is no place to pull off without the roads being plowed), make sure no one is coming behind you who can't see you to stop, jump out of the car into the 70-mph 30-degree winds, and try to de-ice the wiper blades. Jump back into the car as quickly as you can when a car is coming behind you. Thank your lucky stars you are bringing the lasagnas, cookies, paper towels and toilet paper to the ski house for the group. These may have to sustain you if you get stuck in the middle of nowhere.
10. As a really fun diversion, have the engine cut out as you're heading downhill on the interstate. Ask the husband to say: "oh my God. I've lost...." He doesn't finish his sentence. "Brakes?!" state. You've lost the brakes?!! "No," have him respond, "I don't have any power." Yes. Have the engine completely cut off. Have the smart husband re-start the engine while you're going downhill and breathe a sigh of relief. Somehow, make your way through non-visibility toward the ski house. Arrive and have several large glasses of cabernet.
11. Get home early from the ski trip to find that the plow you had scheduled to have plowed your new house's driveway for your arrival home not have arrived yet. Call the plow guy to ascertain that, because of the record snowfall, he is not only running way behind, but his equipment is breaking down left or right. He does not know if/when he'll get to you. Arrange that the road on which your new house sits has only one lane plowed so that there is no place for you to park your truck and unload (with your unplowed driveway) except for the street blocking traffic. Spend an hour and half hand shoveling 30 inches of snow off of the end of your driveway just to have a place to park the truck. Shovel a walkway to the house to unload the truck and boys.
12. Arrange for the plow never to come. Make sure the other plows servicing the street don't have time to do your driveway. Call the cavalry (your brother). Have him and your mom bring 2 small snowblowers to try and clear the way for the moving van the next day. Make the snow SO high that the snowblower can't handle it without someone first chopping into the snowdrifts to cut down the height of the snow. Spend 6 hours getting the driveway clear enough for the moving men; make sure you snowblow a walkway to the front door for another 2 hours.
13. The next morning, have the moving company call you to tell you that there is no way they can come that scheduled day. They have to dig out their truck. Pay someone with a front-end loader to widen the street in front your house so that there is a place for the moving truck to sit all the next day without blocking the road.
14. Schedule another blizzard with snow totals approaching 28 inches (the 2nd one in a week) to start the afternoon that the moving van was rescheduled to arrive.
15. Have the moving van get stuck in 3 hours of traffic due to a overturned tractor trailer so that they can't get there early enough to get the entire truck unloaded before the blizzard starts.
16. Make sure the husband is out of town for move-in day and 3 days afterward.
17. It's really a bonus if all of your best furniture and antiques get unloaded last out of the van as the snow has already begun to accumulate and make the walkway into the house and up the stairs extraordinarily slippery.
18. Breathe a sigh of relief that you finally have settled, are in your new house and have your stuff. Get snowed in with 27 more inches of snow and no plow (thank God for your brother who twice snow blows you during the storm).
19. Have Verizon not show up the day they are supposed to show up (moving in day) and then have them not be able to reschedule until 2 weeks after the move (no tv, telephone, or internet access).
20. Make sure the oil supply is drastically low so that you have to turn the heat WAY down to ensure you have enough oil until you can set up an account with the oil company and schedule an oil delivery.
21. After all the aforementioned stresses of moving in, make sure there is no red wine in the house to be found. Start shaking.
22. Swear never ever to move again.