Monday, June 30, 2008

IHOP Stupor and Gender Confusion

Point blank: I don't like going out for breakfast. I like to have coffee at home and maybe something to eat later in the morning like an English muffin or some yogurt. I can't eat doughy, sugary, fatty food in the morning because it puts me into an all-day stupor and I will be worthless for the rest of the day.

This morning Don awakened me out of a beautiful sound sleep and demanded suggested that we go to IHOP . I reluctantly stumbled out of bed, out the door and off to the starch-fest that is IHOP.Mmmmmmmmmm! Nothing says breakfast like pancakes AND candy!! (This wasn't from our breakfast, but still...)

The kids just LOVE it there what with the double-stuffed French toast and chocolate chip pancakes and whipped cream and colorful syrups. It all makes me sick. I ordered Eggs Benedict and only ate part of it--but I still feel liked I've slipped into a foggy coma. My attempts to snap myself out of it (aspirin and a shower) have failed. There's no way I'll get anything accomplished today--IHOP has sucked every ounce of energy out of me.

There was also an uncomfortable "incident" there. It went something like this:

Waitress (all chipper-like): "Well look at this group! You're almost like the Brady Bunch--you just need one more girl!"

Me: "Yeah, except he's a boy" (motioning at Gooser).

Three Older Boys: Hysterical, shrieking laughter.

Gooser: Looks around, confused.

Waitress (looking like she wants to run out of IHOP): Goes into nervous ramble about how nice Gooser's hair is.

Me: "Do you have anything on the menu that won't put me into an all-day stupor?"

Here's the thing--Gooser is a BOY and he has LONG hair. Is there anything wrong with that? The child has beautiful hair and I don't want to give him a typical "boy" haircut--it just won't work on him. Furthermore, HE doesn't want a short haircut-he likes his hair--but I do worry about these constant run-ins we have with people thinking he's a girl. I don't want him to feel self-conscious.

The ridiculous thing is that people ONLY seem to see the hair. He usually wears very typical "boy" clothes--Spiderman t-shirts, little footballs on his Crocs, etc. It's not like he wears dresses!

My mom asks almost every day "When are you cutting his hair?" "Did you get his hair cut yet?" Then she goes on and on about how he'll be an outcast in kindergarten unless he has short hair.

I think I will get his hair cut before kindergarten, but it still won't be super short--maybe I'll have it styled and layered or something and cut a little? I'm feeling a lot of pressure about this. Thoughts? Advice?Thanks a lot, IHOP, for the stupor and the complex!

Sunday, June 29, 2008


The Tooth Fairy forgot to come to our house on Friday night to cash out Gooser's second lost tooth.
Stupid Tooth Fairy.

She was probably out with Mr. Tooth Fairy seeing that awful M. Night Shyamalan movie and having a couple of pina coladas. Then she probably stayed up late working on her blog and totally forgot about the tooth.

I told Gooser that I was going to leave some angry voicemails for her and that she'll certainly show up tonight.

I hope she doesn't stay up late watching an SNL rerun and forget agin.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

"The Happening" Wasn't Happening For Me

Every other Friday, Don and I go out for "date night." We usually end up at a movie--most of the time we just show up at the theater and choose something last-minute. I like the surprise of not planning what we're going to see ahead of time, but sometimes it's pretty slim pickin's at the Cineplex--tonight was one of those nights.

Almost everything there was either a kids movie (Kung Fu Panda, Wall-E) or something we'd already seen (The Visitor, Sex and the City--ok I saw that twice!) or something I had zero interest in (Mongol--no thank you! Get Smart--Don's going to have to take the kids if he wants to see that one!). So that left us with The Happening--the newest thriller from M. Night Shyamalan. Can someone tell me what's happened to M. Night? I think almost everyone would be in "agreeance" that Sixth Sense was amazing and brilliant--but after that it's been pretty much downhill.

Signs was ok--I'm a big Joaquin Phoenix fan and I found the movie semi-interesting. Same with Unbreakable--it was just "a'ight" for me and had some cool stuff going on. Then there was Lady in the Water--god-awful and The Village which was so stupid I've blocked it from my memory.

I hadn't read any reviews of The Happening but I was hopeful that maybe it was time for M. Night to come out of his slump and give us a new masterpiece. It didn't "happen."

To tell you the truth, I'm not even sure what it was about! The movie starts on a busy afternoon in Central Park--suddenly everyone stops moving and then they all start killing themselves.

Next we meet Elliott (Mark Wahlberg), a science teacher in Philadelphia, who learns of this strange "happening" and flees for the country with his weird wife (Zooey Deschanel) along with a fellow teacher and the teacher's daughter.

Not a whole lot happens after that--the bizarre suicides continue around them as they run through the countryside trying to figure out why. The trees? And the plants? Is it their fault? Are the trees trying to kill everyone? It's never really made clear. They run and hide. They have a strange run-in with Betty Buckley (Eight is Enough!).

The weird wife is feeling guilty because she has been keeping a secret from her husband. A secret so shocking she can't stop thinking about it even though she is surrounded by gore and horrific acts of suicide. At one point she blurts it out because they are all probably going to die and she just can't die with this secret. But I'm going to give it away. Are you ready for it? Are you sitting down because it's a doozy:

She had dessert with a male co-worker! Tiramisu! (I'm not kidding).

That's about as exciting as it gets.

The end was a huge letdown. Remember the end of Sixth Sense? OMG! Bruce Willis is the dead guy!? I never saw that coming! OMG!

The end of The Happening was like "Wha...?" "It's over?" (Thank goodness).
"I have something to tell you....."


Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Foto Finish Fiesta!

Another phun Foto Finish with the phabulous Candid Carrie. Hi to all my new phriends and please don't be aphraid of the clown--he's phriendly!

Here is a picture of my daughter Pickle with the worst bedhead ever. I have never seen her hair like this before or since--it was an anomaly. There's something very 80's punk rock about the hair, the glassy eyes and the pouty sneer--don't you think?



Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hormonal Rampage

I just finished up an hours-long hormonal rampage and I'm tired now but I need to talk about it...

First, let me preface this by saying that I have been stressed out by Teddy's mysterious meningitis-like illness and I'm sleep deprived from staying up two nights in a row to feel his forehead every few minutes. Also, I am stressed because we are in the midst of a major real estate situation--we are putting an offer in on a crazy-expensive house and I'm not really expecting it to pan out, but it's stressful nonetheless.

Now onto the rampage...

Phase One: I had to take the two littlest kids in for checkups/shots today and when I was trying to get everyone in the car (which is parked in the garage)
A). The car was locked (in the garage!?)
B.) The keys were nowhere to be found
C). Don was the last one in the car.

So I start searching around for the keys, lugging the baby who is heavy (26 pounds to be exact) and I can't find the keys anywhere. The drill with the keys is that I always put them in a certain pocket of my purse and Don always puts them on the kitchen counter. They weren't in either place so I tried looking in other crazy places--no luck. By the time I called Don at work to scream "Where are the car keys!?!" I was already borderline hysterical. He sounded scared and said "Where they always are." Then I said "No they're not!!" and , I think, semi-hung up on him. I went on to find the keys in a weird part of my purse where they didn't belong and we were, of course, late for the doctor's appointment. It didn't help my fragile hormonal state that Gooser went all feral-child when they got to his 5th shot. He kept it together for shots 1-4 but then reached his breaking point. Can't say I blame him--that's a lot of shots! It also didn't help that it was about 10 thousand degrees in the examining room.

Phase Two: I'm cooking dinner (fajitas!) when Don comes comes and we're hanging in the kitchen discussing the upcoming real estate transaction, etc. Sidenote: for the past few days we've been having these awful little ants crawling around one part of the kitchen--I've put (and I'm not exaggerating) 12 ant traps down in about a six foot area and it won't stop them!

So at some point I say "I just don't know what to do about these ants." and Don says like in a real blow-off way "I don't know anything about ants!" Well, ok then!

Phase Three: I put the two little ones to bed and I can't find Gooser's blanket (that he needs to sleep) so I come downstairs to look.
Me: "Have you seen Gooser's blanket?"
Don: "I don't know anything about it! I have nothing to do with it!" And he like threw his hands up--like "don't even ask me!!".

So the emotional rampage began. I don't want to trash-talk Don, but I've been getting that "I don't know anything about it" answer too often lately and I don't think it's fair! Why can't he give me some feedback on the ants or the blanket's whereabouts? And why was that car locked and the keys in that weird place?

So then the rampage died down, but reemerged when I was trying to talk to my mom on the phone and I was about to discuss the details of the real estate thing (she's helping to broker the deal) when Don cranks up the t.v. volume sky-high ( plus it was an Office rerun that we've seen like a million times) in a way that was like "Get off the phone! I'm watching The Office!" So I hung up without discussing the deal and the rampage continued.

Everything is all fine and dandy now and he apologized--but I can tell Don thinks I'm crazy for getting mad. So, honestly--did I overreact??


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Time I Stole John Cusack's Mail...

So back in the late 1980's, right around the time "Say Anything" came out, my friend Christina and I were strolling around Chicago. We came across a cool, old-fashioned car (like maybe a 60's model Thunderbird or something?) and stopped to admire it. Upon closer inspection, we saw that the inside of the car was littered with crumpled-up, trampled-on fan mail addressed to John Cusack--I mean, there were thousands of letters!

The windows were rolled down and being young (and stupid) Christina and I "helped ourselves" to a few of the letters and sat on the curb to read them. Now, let me just say that I know how awful this sounds--but remember, I was very YOUNG and very STUPID! I guess our mindset was that it certainly didn't look like Cusack cared about or was ever going to read the mail, so why not...?

Anyway, the letters we read were hysterical! I remember one in particular was saying how great L. Ron Hubbard was (I still remember quotes from some of these letters because Christina and I laughed about them so much)--it said "Have you ever heard of Dianetics? It's great!" Another one asked Cusack if he would go to prom with her, another one had poems written about Cusack, some included pictures...on and on...these people were crazy-obsessed with John Cusack and he was just throwing them all over the floor of his car.

So we came up with this scheme that we would write the fans back--pretending we were John Cusack. We took the letters (I know, I know!) and we wrote these absolutely hilarious letters back to the desperate fans. I think we wrote about four and each one was custom-made for the fan We praised Dianetics to L. Ron Hubbard Girl, kindly turned down the prom, told poem-guy that we dabbled in poetry too and wrote a poem for him, etc., etc.

I wish that I could find copies of the letters we wrote (I'm sure I have then somewhere...) because they were truly amazing. They were masterpieces!

We decided that the only way we could send them was if we had Cusack's permission (we already feeling uneasy enough about reading/taking them) so we sent him a letter (we figured out where he lived based on where the car was parked) with the original fan letters and copies of our responses to the fans and asked him to call us if it was ok.

Point blank: John Cusack loved the idea! He called and left a message (I'm still kicking myself that I wasn't home) and said that, yes, we could send the letters and actually thanked us for doing it! He even referenced the poem we had written--you could tell he thought the whole thing was hilarious!

So we sent the letters and probably made some die-hard John Cusack fans really happy!


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Well That Was Fun...Sort Of...

Well, despite Teddy's illness, we managed to have a pretty fun weekend getaway--much better than the disasterous trip a couple weeks ago!

This time, the pool was its usual sparkling self and the kids had lots of fun swimming. Photobucket
The really fun thing was that we took Pickle into the pool for the first time ever. Turns out, she is a complete water baby! I've never seen a baby take to the water like this one--she was jumping in, putting her face in the water--no fear at all. which is a good and bad thing--I'm going to have to watch her like a hawk!
When she's not in the pool, she's in something I call the "baby corral" which is a little fenced area I created for her. She's not crazy about being in there--but I bought this cute little ball pit ($20!!) and now she loves to play in there.
Here's a couple more of her:
Isn't she cute in her tutu bathing suit!?

Here's Cosmo cowering under the pool bar because he knew we were going to throw him in the pool...
Sorry, Cosmo!
I mentioned before that we were going to a restaurant that had cotton candy for dessert--it was so much fun!! The food was delicious! Check out my strawberry salad in a parmesan cup!
Here comes the cotton candy...
We also ordered some other desserts including a giant s'more--but I was too distracted with eating to get a pic!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Trapped! At the Parking Garage

We're back from our weekend getaway and I'll write about that tomorrow (I also have some fun pics!) but today I'm going to write about Teddy.

We were having a pretty decent trip, but on Saturday, when we went out for ice cream, Teddy said he wasn't feeling well. He didn't seem too bad the rest of the day and perked up a little after some Tylenol.

At about 1:30 a.m. he came into our room crying and said he had the most terrible headache ever and that it was so bad he couldn't sleep. He was also burning up with fever.

So we gave him more Tylenol and pretty much stayed up all night with him feeling his forehead.

In the morning he seemed better, but when we went out to breakfast he relapsed and the fever and headache came back. I was anxious to get him home so we did a quick clean-up and hightailed it back.

But then he seemed fine--acting normally and eating. Then, suddenly, it came back again and I decided to take him to the emergency room worrying that it could be meningitis or something.

Ultimately, the doctors decided he has some kind of virus--potentially viral meningitis, but they didn't want to do the spinal tap because they felt it was more risky than it was worth. So they sent us home and said to give him Motrin, etc. and take him to the pediatrician today.

He slept all night (is still sleeping now) and he seems cool, so maybe the worst is over.

Here's the part about the parking lot:

So we valet parked the car when we got to the ER but, by the time we were done, the valet guy was gone and they sent a security guard out with our car keys.

I was expecting the guy to just give us the keys and tell us where the car was, but he pulls up in one of those security vans with the flashing lights and told us to get in. There was also an old lady who needed her car so she got in too and the guy started driving us up and down through this gigantic parking garage--he had no idea where the cars were.

I can't even begin to explain what a nightmare this was! I was worried enough about Teddy and here we were at 11:30 at night driving around in a garage. Up and down, up and down--no sign of the cars. I kept saying that our car should be on the lowest possible level because we got to the hospital late and the garage must have been pretty empty at the time. But the old lady said she had arrived much earlier in the day and her car must be on the roof. So the guy would drive all the way up to the roof and down again--over and over but we still weren't finding the cars.

I kept asking him if there was a lower level to look on and he kept saying "no" but then he started pressing the "panic button" on the old lady's key and we could hear her car horn.

Turns out, there was a lower level, a "valet" section, no less, and the cars were parked right next to each other. So we get in the cars, relieved to finally be done with the security van and try to make our way to the exit.

I followed the exit signs and ended up at one of those mechanical arms--but it wouldn't open. So that led to more driving up and down--but the only way out was through the useless mechanical arm.

I met up with the old lady again who was on her cell phone the whole time, giving the blow by blow to her husband who was apparently in some other section of the garage in a different car.

Finally, we had to park the cars again and walk through the garage, take an elevator back to the hospital and walk to the main entrance.

We found the security guy laughing on the phone and the old lady was like "You abandoned us in the garage! We can't get out."

So out he comes again in the stupid van and met us by the mechanical arm (it was kind of funny because the old lady's husband was standing there trying to push the arm up). Turns out he had a special remote which was the only way to open the thing in the first place and we were finally free!

At least poor Teddy has a great attitude--even though he felt so sick he said "It was cool riding around in that car with the lights flashing."


Sunday, June 22, 2008

I Heart Ugly Dogs

I have been a big fan of the World's Ugliest Dog Contest since I saw a pic of this three-time champ, Sam:I like this dog so much I have his picture hanging in my kitchen. He was clearly unbeatable as the world's Ugliest Dog but, sadly, he died, so this year the contest was wide open.

The new winner is Gus:

He has three legs,one eye and no fur! Not too shabby, but he's no Sam.

Last year's winner was pretty good, too!

His name is Elwood. He's half Chihuahua, half Chinese Crested. The other winers are Chinese Cresteds also--maybe that should be the next breed of dog we get?

Let's look at a couple more pics of the amazing Sam:
He was so beautiful in his ugliness...


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hi From Vacation!

This is an attempt to blog from my iPhone! We're at our vacation house and so far, so good! It's a beautful day and I'm having coffee by the pool. Last night I had the most delicious margarita made with fresh peaches--wow that was good! Tonight we're going to a restaurant that serves cotton candy for dessert--the kids are going to love that! I will update with pictures (I keep trying to write p-i-c-s but the iPhone keeps substituting pigs) when we get back. Let me try again--will update with pigs --did it again!


Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Foto Finish Fiesta

Thanks again to Candid Carrie for letting me participate in Friday Foto Finish! I have chosen these pics from last fall of my daughter, Pickle, now 20 mos. I love the colors of the leaves and her dress. Thank you Carrie and HI to everyone!!


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Real Estate Dilemma

This is going to be the most boring post ever because it's just me thinking out loud about what we should do about our housing situation.

We have a nice house that we've lived in for about eight years. It has served us well but has a few problems--some of which we were just about to fix with a major remodeling. This was going to involve the kitchen, laundry room, mud room, adding an extra bedroon and redoing the master bedroom and bath. The architect has drawn up the plans and we have gone through the headache of zoning meetings so we could get approval for going slightly over the property setback so we are really close to moving ahaed with things.

So here's the dilemma--recently, a couple of my friends mentioned that it might be a better idea to just buy a new house. For some reason, this had never crossed my mind! So we looked at some houses over the weekend and found one that we really like. It's crazy expensive, so the only way it would work would be a really lowball offer--but you never know!

So the pros of doing the remodeling:
-I would have my dream kitchen (with a fireplace!)
-a nice laundry room with a dumbwaiter (this was my brilliant idea although the architect thinks I'm crazy!)
-mud room (much needed)
-nice new master bedroom and bath
-additional bedroom and new bath

The cons are:
-the hassle of remodeling (we'd have to move out and rent a place for a long time)
-unknown cost
-I hate making decisions about tiles, lighting, etc., etc.
-the old part of the house will look bad by comparison.
-our house will never have high ceilings or a grand staircase, etc.

The pros of the new house:
-it's a beautiful house with large rooms, high ceiling, gorgeous staircase, etc.
-it's a much "better" house than our current so would probably be a better investment
-I like it more!

Cons of new house:
-crazy expensive
-the kitchen would ultimately have to be redone but not right away.
-it doesn't have a family room, but has a "library" (smallish) that could act as a family room until we added one.
-it needs work--like a fence, a/c, paint, etc.
-the basement is unfinished.

So there are my ramblings--if anyone has a brillaint insight into this, I'd love to hear it! Thank you!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Portrait of a Drama Queen

It has been an interesting experiment to have a girl after five boys. One thing's for sure--they are different! Pickle is blossoming into quite the Drama Queen and she's only 20 months old. Case in point: I was putting a blue and white dress on her the other day and was planning on pairing her little blue Crocs with it (sidenote: little tiny baby Crocs are the cutest thing ever!). Well, she wanted to wear her red shoes and when I tried to say no, she FREAKED! An all-out tantrum. No problem Pickle--wear the red shoes--then she's happy as a clam! Did I mention she's only 20 months old? My boys could not care less about their clothes--in fact, they'd wear the same dirty clothes day in and day out if I let them.

She also won't stop wearing her Lolita sunglasses. Here she is--moments ago--watching Clifford in her high chair:
And here she is yesterday having a moment of drama:
Occasionally she switches to her purple Barbie sunglasses:
And sometimes she can't decide:
Here's another one from yesterday: two pairs of sunglasses, MCR shirt, tutu, crazy necklace and her brother's Crocs.
But she sure is sweet! Here she is taking care of her doll:
And hugging her brother:
I love my little Drama Queen!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Meatballs: A Horror Story

This is a really gross story, read at your own risk!

My dear, departed Monte was my first Italian greyhound and lived to be 16 without a sick day in his life until the very end. He was the greatest dog ever, but what I'm about to tell you was a definite low point...

Let me take you back about 15 years ago when Don and I were living in the Boston area. He was in graduate school and I was working in the management office of an apartment building. This building had several apartments that were reserved for the elderly and they were available for a very low price. Along with these price perks, the seniors were also given free hot lunches a couple times a week.

Very often, there were leftover lunches and some of the sweet old ladies would bring them to me so I could take them home for dinner. They were usually pretty gross and on this particular day it was really gross--I think the lunch was supposed to be Swedish meatballs and it looked like pale lumps in a grayish sauce. I didn't want them and I was pretty sure Don wouldn't want them either (he's very squeamish about food) but I took them because I didn't want to hurt the ladies' feelings.

When I brought them home and showed them to Don, he practically backed out of the room making a choking sound. "Get rid of them!" he gagged. I would have put them down the garbage disposal but it was broken (that story would be called "When Don Poured Muriatic Acid and Fish-Tank Gravel Down the Garbage Disposal and Broke it) and I didn't want to put it in the garbage can. "Give it to the dog," Don said, still gagging.

I was hesitant because I didn't usually give many table scraps to Monte, but I thought it would be a special treat for him, so I set the Styroform container on floor.

The amazing thing about watching Monte consume those meatballs was that he did not chew--at all. You know those hose things that you attach to the vacuum cleaner so you can get the dirt out of the sofa cushions? It was like his snout turned into one of those hoses and he just sucked up everything in record time.

Don and I watched in amazement as Monte inhaled them without even stopping to breathe. When he was done, he stood there motionless for a moment or two. Then I saw his whole body ripple and contract and I knew he was "rejecting" the meatballs.

Sure enough, the vomiting started ,and it was equally gross and amazing at the same time because when the meatballs "came back" they were perfectly intact. If he had vomited onto a platter, the meatballs and sauce would have looked "ready to serve."

It's about to get a lot grosser...

Within moments of the vomiting, Monte went back into "vacuum mode" and began re-sucking up the regurgitated meatballs. Don and I watched in horror, but this time it looked like he was going to keep them down. Monte stumbled off somewhere to sleep off his meatball-fest and Don and I went on with our evening.

Later, when we were watching t.v., Monte staggered into the room and proceeded to have the worst diarreah attack imaginable!! I'll spare the gory details--but it was BAD!! The next half-hour or so involved a lot of screaming and swearing and crying as we tried to clean this unthinkable mess off the carpet.

Wait! There's more!

What I didn't realize was that Don was attempting to flush his wads of soiled paper towels down the toilet! By the time I noticed what he was doing, it was too late--the toilet backed up and overflowed, flooding the bathroom and adjoining hall with brown meatball-diarreah water.

And there you have what might be the grossest pet story ever!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

I Done Knit Me A Rainbow!

I am very excited today because last night I finished the sweater I have been knitting for my sister's new baby. Well, ok, she's not so new--she's six months old--but I got distracted with other knitting projects as I'm known to do and have about five or six other things "on the needles" (that's knit-talk!). I was dragging my heels on the sleeves--it's been *almost* finished for months...

Anyway, here it is in all its rainbow glory:

Ooooh! I just love it!! For anyone that might be interested in details, the yarn is Dream In Color and the pattern is Tulip. I am also working on the same sweater for Pickle--its currently in the same sleeveless state that this one has been in--but I'm on a knitting roll and I think I'll finish it up soon. I thnk I'll also whip one up for the darling baby on this blog: matt, liz and madeline If you haven't read that blog before, you might want to read this first which explains things. It's a very sad story and a pretty amazing blog.

Could we just look at the sweater one more time?
Just look at it glistening in the sun!! Can you tell I'm proud of myself!?!