Thursday, December 30, 2010

If it sounds too good to be true… GUESS WHAT?!

Okay. So I thought I was being clever.

I follow several blogs and several of them give hints about money-saving deals and such. (This picture is from savemoneyblog.net by the way. Although I've never been to that site. I just like the little piggy.)

There's a blog that I read occassionally with a section marked "Deals." She tells you about coupons you can print out and all that, and it all seems pretty cool. It's called thehappyhousewife.com

But I’d never actually done more than look at the deals and go, “Huh. Interesting.” And then not do anything about it.

Kind of like how I look at the recipes in magazines, actually. Except then I’ll often go so far as say, “Huh. Interesting,” and then cut them out, put them in my kitchen, and subsequently NOT cook anything with them.

But I digress.

So what happened was, I saw a deal on the happy housewife blog that I thought I couldn’t pass up. It was for half-off on Pampers from diapers.com.

Now, you realize I have twins. That means I buy a LOT of diapers.

And here it says I can get $40 worth for $20! WOW!

According to the site, plumdistrict.com, all I had to do was sign up for their discount program (and its accompanying spam, of course) and then I could purchase deals such as the diapers.com one.

But I carefully checked it out. I mean, I don’t want to shell out the twenty and then realize I can’t use the coupon, right? Bazinga! That would be bad.

So I looked over the prices at diapers.com. I could get a case of 176 Pampers, it said, for $45. And if I ordered at least $4 more (for a total of $49, you get the math here?) I could get free shipping. And it said in red letters, “We now ship to Alaska, Hawaii, and APO/FPO!”

So everything checked out. Nothing was stopping me from giving Plum District my $20, and carting off DOUBLE the diapers! Awesome, right?

Let me point out here, it was a limited-time offer, good only for December 29th “while supplies last.” And it was almost midnight, so I admit my judgment might have been impaired by the late hour. (After all, it was around that time a couple of weeks ago when I thought it might be amusing to post that ill-advised story about my feet...and I sure wish I cold take THAT back!) But I was thinking I could get in on the ground floor here, right after midnight!

Anyways….I paid the twenty and got the coupon code. Then I trotted over to diapers.com to redeem it.

Pampers Baby Dry Diapers, Size 4 (22-37 Lbs), Economy Plus Pack, 176 DiapersI filled my virtual “cart” with a case of Pampers, and added some wipes to get the total up past $49. I was gratified to see the word “FREE” pop up in the shipping column. I put in my coupon code and $40 was knocked right off the total. WOW!

Then I went to check out.

And BAM! I got hit with THE FINE PRINT.

It was like a little virtual lawyer walked out and cleared his little virtual throat, and said, “Ahem. Additional shipping charges apply for Alaska and Hawaii.”

They wanted an extra $35 to ship the diapers to me.

Yep. That’s right! It was going to cost me almost TWICE as much as I saved on the coupon deal, just in SHIPPING!

Don’t even ASK now much express shipping would be.

I sighed, cleared my cart, and exited. Then I went back to Plum District and tried to figure out how to get my money back.

Yep. You guessed it! “Ahem. Unfortunately, no refunds are possible. Once you buy a deal, it's yours to keep! Our contracts with vendors require us to honor every deal sold, and that's why we're able to offer such good deals to our Plum District members. Be sure to read all of the fine print before you purchase.”

Oh THANK YOU, Mr. Virtual Lawyer! I appreciate the advice.

So basically, what I’ve done here is to flush $20 down the toilet and signed myself up for a bunch of annoying spam.

Bazinga.

Oh, by the way, I don’t blame the Happy Housewife for this debacle. I mean, if I lived ANYWHERE ELSE in the U.S.--except Alaska-- it would have been a great deal. And it was true about the limited-time offer; the coupons were sold out by 10:52 a.m. on the 29th.

No I realize I have no one to blame for my vanishing twenty but myself.

Oh, and that Virtual Lawyer. I HATE that guy!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bye Bye Christmas Tree

Well, the Christmas tree is all put away.

I usually leave it up until Epiphany, but this year it’s been looking more and more bedraggled as the twins slowly strip (and smash, if possible) all ornaments they can possibly reach.

Even WITH the safety fence around it, there is apparently a substantially-sized reachable area of the tree. As you can see from the bare spot here.

Honestly, I just got tired of looking at it. Plus I was worried about how many more ornaments we could afford to lose….

I put the tree away during the twins’ nap, so they were extremely surprised when they woke up. They walked around in the empty space where the tree had been, going, “Christmas tree? Christmas tree?” as if they could call it like a dog.

I told them, “Christmas tree all gone,” which they repeated like a mantra for about a quarter of an hour, in slightly baffled voices. You could hear the subtext there: “Okay, what’s the deal here? This giant tree covered with pretty things has been sitting in our living room for a MONTH, and now it’s just GONE?! What’s up with THAT?”

(This is how the twins are, by the way. They talk to each other all day long, mostly by repeating the few words they know and adding gibberish to it. But you can get the gist of it; generally they’re commenting on something, or protesting something, in concert, like a Greek chorus, or a small mob.)

Finally their daddy took them to the closet and showed them where the artificial tree was stored, dismembered in its box. This did not reassure them.

Baby Boy said, distressed, “Christmas tree BROKEN!” and Baby Girl took up the cry as well. “Oh NO! Christmas tree BROKEN!”

My husband tried to console them. “No, it’s just night-night,” he said.

They exchanged looks. “Christmas tree night-night?” they ventured. They clearly appeared to be thinking, “Is Daddy snowing us, or what? I saw that thing, and it was BROKEN!”

He kept repeating that the tree was only night-night, but the twins were still pretty concerned.

It took them over an hour to get over it.

I guess they know the difference between something asleep, and something torn up and shoved into a box in the closet. They’re pretty smart, for a couple of two-year-olds.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

An Independent Boy

Baby Boy is very independent.

He likes doing things for himself was much as he possibly can, including putting his shoes on and off, climbing in and out of his crib, and getting into and out of his booster seat.

He also prefers to fasten his own safety belt in his stroller or booster seat. (He also fastens it back after he gets out, but that’s another story.)

It takes him a little longer, but he really likes doing it himself. If you try to do any of this stuff for him, prepare for a major fit.

He’s recently decided to take over more aspects of dressing as well.

He particularly enjoys undressing, which is easier than getting dressed. He likes to spend naptimes doing this. Many times I’ve looked in his room during nap to find him completely naked, and asleep.

Of course, the results of this preoccupation are often quite messy.

And if you’re wondering about the solution to naptime diaper removal I mentioned a few months ago, he’s learned to get his diaper off even when it’s duct-taped on.

He’s a clever clever boy.

Anyways, in an effort to give him managed independence, I’ve been going along with most of his do-it-myself ideas, and trying to let him do as many thing as he can. Sometimes this requires a lot of patience!

Today he put on his own shorts. As you can see if you look closely, he’s not only got both legs crammed in one leg of his shorts, he‘s also got them on upside down.

With a little assistance, however, he fixed it.

Here he is yelling “YAY!”



One day I had an idea that didn’t go very well, however. I offered him a choice between two shirts. My other kids all enjoyed choosing between two outfits, and I thought Baby Boy would too.

I held up a red shirt and a white shirt. He pointed to the red shirt. I put the red shirt on him and prepared to return the white shirt to the drawer.

“NO! NO!” he yelled.

Okay, I thought. So I took the red shirt off him and put the white shirt on. He seemed happy, but when I went to put the red shirt back in the drawer…

“NO! NO!” he yelled.

I was stymied for a moment. Then I put the red shirt on over the white shirt.

“YAY!” he yelled, overjoyed.

(May I remind everyone we live on a tropical island, and NO ONE needs to sport extra layers here!)

He was a little warm that day, but I guess I learned something about offering unnecessary choices.

Sometimes there can be a little too much independence, I guess.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Escape, or The Best Christmas Present Ever

Note: This was written on 22 December at 2:00 p.m.


I am writing this from a hotel room in Waikiki.

Really. I’m not kidding.

Although I may not be able to post this until I get home tomorrow; I’m not paying a $15.95 connection fee.

This was my Christmas present from my husband: I am spending two days all alone in a hotel. I have no current responsibilities. No one is asking me for anything. I don’t have to cook, or clean up, or break up fights for two days.

Obviously I have no idea what to do with myself.

No, seriously. I’m going to read a lot, and write a little, and take baths without anyone banging on the door.

This is an awesome Christmas present.

Actually, the best part of the whole thing is having my husband admit that watching the kids all day is a tough job.

When we talked last night, he said, “You can’t accomplish ANYTHING! You spend one minute doing something, and then someone wants something, or is screaming, or is hitting someone else.”

Bingo.

Welcome to my life, honey.

I’ll just be over here escaping it for forty hours or so….

Monday, December 20, 2010

Can't we just watch Frosty?

The Original Christmas Classics (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer / Santa Claus is Comin' to Town / Frosty the Snowman / Frosty Returns) [Blu-ray]We’re having a little trouble with Christmas spirit around here these days.


Me: Do you kids want to watch Christmas specials?
ET: No, I want to watch this show about the lady who’s addicted to eating chalk.
GG: Yeah, it looks AWESOME!

Well, phooey. I guess at this age the kids are more interested in the freaks featured on Discovery Health than in Rudolph and Ralphie.

Sigh.

Although there is a light at the end of the tunnel here: Apparently Discovery Health is being bought out by Oprah. It will become the Oprah Winfrey Network, or OWN; isn’t that a clever acronym?

ET is pretty upset about it. She feels that Oprah will probably do away with the two-headed babies and such, and put on her own stuff.

We can only hope, right?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I Feel Bad About My Feet

Please Take Off Your Shoes and Relax Beach Flip FlopsI’ve been feeling increasingly embarrassed about the state of my feet.

I mean, it’s December, so I really shouldn’t be worrying about it, right? Everyone’s feet are encased in boots and other warm shoes all winter, so I should save that worry for the summer, when the sandals come out…

Oh yeah, I live in Hawaii! The sandals are on all year! I wear flip flops to CHURCH, for goodness‘ sake! (They’re nice ones, I promise!)

So people are seeing my feet a lot, is what I’m saying.

And now I’m also learning the hula, which is a dance done barefoot. So I’m getting up in front of GROUPS with no shoes on, and my feet are not looking pretty.

Well, honestly, no one’s feet are exactly PRETTY, but mine are particularly unattractive, I think. I’ve got some heel calluses, and I’ve got… dare I say it?… hairy toes.

Yep. Toe hairs, they’re not just for hobbits anymore.

Now, I don’t know where these suckers came from. I don’t remember any foot fur in my twenties. And to be fair, it’s only a couple of hairs. I’m not exactly Bilbo Baggins here.

(Wow. My spell-check recognized the words “Bilbo Baggins.” Amazing! Tolkien would be proud.)


Anyways, I’ve decided to do something about the state of my feet. And I’m NOT getting a pedicure, if that’s what you’re thinking. It’s not just the fact that I’m kind of philosophically opposed to spending money on stuff like that, although I admit I cringe at shelling out even for a haircut, and wish I could do it myself. (I can’t, by the way, and I have the first-grade school photo to prove it!)

It’s also the idea of strangers touching my feet. UGH. I just can’t get past it.

So I’ve been working on my toes myself, and today I decided to get out the tweezers.

Revlon Pre/Post Tweezing Cream 1 eaI also bought some special tweezing cream that’s supposed to help. Allow me to quote from the ad:

“Revlon's first pre/post tweezing cream that makes your tweezing experience easier and more comfortable.”

Well, I’m all for improving my “tweezing experience.” So I tried the cream.

OUCH! It didn’t help. Good thing I bought the cream on clearance. I’d be mad if I’d paid full price.

To be fair to Revlon, perhaps I was expecting too much. After all, no mater what cream you put on, you’re still yanking hairs from your body by their roots. Unless it’s a shot of Lidocaine, there’s NOTHING that’s going to make the experience easy and comfortable!

In any case, I hope my feet look better now.

No, I’m NOT posting a photo of them. Forget it!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's been a crazy week!

Note: I started writing this LAST FRIDAY, and I'm just now getting it posted!

I've been busy this week, trying to get ready for Christmas, and Boo's birthday.

Why did I have a child in December anyways? It was really poor planning on my part...

So here's some things that have happened recently, in no particular order.

(I numbered them anyways.)

#1. Someone left a pen in his or her pocket, and there was ink all over my dryer.

That took a while to clean up.

No one has yet admitted owenerhsip of the pen in question, by the way.

#2. Baby Girl has started screaming, "I WANT IT!" twenty-four hours a day. (These numbers are approximate.)

It doesn't matter what "it" is either. Whatever is in her field of vision, she WANTS it.

Particularly if her brother happens to be holding it....

#3. The twins are on a mission to ABSOLUTELY DESTROY everything in the house, particularly Christmas decorations!

'Jubilee' Red and Gold - 18pc Set Shatterproof Christmas Ornaments - 3¼ inches/80mmBaby Boy brought me one of my husband's grandmother's glass balls from the tree last week, saying ,"Uh-oh! Broken!"

(I thought we had those up high enough on the tree as to be unreacheable, but I guess not!)

Oh, he also had his clothes off. So he was naked AND holding broken glass! I'm not winning Mother of the Year this week!

#4. Lesson learned: Make sure to put up ALL gift-wrapping supplies immediately upon finishing with the presents.

Or ELSE!

Anyways, things have been NUTS around here! Hope to write more later.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Rejected by Goodwill...

Yesterday morning I took some stuff to Goodwill to donate and they rejected about half of it.

Seriously! I felt like a Jeff Foxworthy routine. If even Goodwill won’t take your old stuff…you MIGHT be a redneck!

In my defense, they said they wouldn’t take the stuff because of liability issues. I was trying to donate some old bicycle helmets, rollerblades, a child’s bicycle, a stroller and a baby backpack. (They did accept my old clothes and a lamp with a damaged shade.)

The guy said they couldn’t take any of that because someone might get hurt and then sue them.

I’ll pause, so you can insert your own “What is the world coming to?” here.

I’m just glad he didn’t think of someone suing because my shadeless lamp blinded them, or my old clothes didn’t keep them adequately warm or something. Then I’d never be able to get rid of my old stuff!

Or maybe someone’s done that already. Who knows?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Missing the Bus

Schylling Large School Bus Die Cast ToyYesterday GG missed the morning school bus.

Every day I work hard to hustle her and Boo out the door in time to catch the bus, which as many of you know is like trying to herd a bunch of cats. We get almost through the doorway and one of them has forgotten something, or someone didn’t brush her hair, or there’s The Drama of The Shoes.

crocs Unisex Modi Flip Flop,Black/Graphite,10 Men's (12 Women's US)I mean seriously. Why can’t they ever find TWO shoes? That match each other, I mean. I’m thinking, you had two feet yesterday, and they were covered with two shoes yesterday! Why is there now suddenly only ONE shoe today? WHERE IS THE OTHER SHOE?

But yesterday we’d actually gotten through all of that, and both girls were sitting at the bus stop on the corner. I always sit on the porch where I can see them at the bus stop. Everyone was in place, when GG decided to begin another fun game they play sometimes: I Forgot Something.

I guess all kids play I Forgot Something, but mine seemed to have turned it into an Olympic event.

Here are the opening ceremonies of I Forgot Something:

First of all, the kid comes running back home.

Me: What’s the matter?
Kid: I forgot something.
Me: What did you forget?
Kid: Something….

This is followed by the front door slamming as the kid goes into the house for the mysterious object.

A few minutes later, the kid will re-emerge, looking exactly the same as she did before and carrying nothing. And this happens a couple of times a week. I have NO IDEA what they keep forgetting!

High Sierra Swerve Pack (Black, Black, Black)Anyways, usually the child doing this will hurry, and leave her backpack at the bus stop, assuming her sister will hold the bus for her if it comes. This is rather a big assumption, of course.

Well, yesterday, GG came back to play I Forgot Something , but she’d apparently decided on the slow-mo version.

She ambled back home, and I broke from the script and advised her to hurry up because it was almost time for the bus. She said she had plenty of time, that the middle school bus (which usually comes at least twenty minutes before the elementary school bus) hadn’t even come yet and ET was still sitting out there with the other middle schoolers.

So while she was in the house, a bus came and went. From where I was sitting I couldn’t see which bus, so I waited. When GG came back out, she walked to the bus stop, and then a few minutes later she walked back.

I went out to the yard to meet her. She said, looking at the ground, “Boo and the other kids are gone.”

I said, “You mean you missed the bus, after I told you to hurry, and you said you had plenty of time?”

(Sometimes I just can’t resist an I-told-you-so!)


She paused a moment, and sighed deeply. “I guess you were right,” she said, mostly addressing the lawn.

So then it was MY turn to sigh deeply. Because I had to go get the twins up and dressed and drive to the elementary school!

It wasn’t really worth the I-told-you so.

By the way, later when I asked Boo why she didn’t ask the bus to wait for her sister, and she said she hadn’t noticed GG wasn’t there, because she was busy talking to her friend. GG thought that this was a lie, but I believe it; usually the girls completely ignore each other outside of the house.

Also, the middle school bus had just been late due to some sort of mechanical problem, which was of course unrealted to timeliness of the elementary schol bus.

Oh, and GG had come back to change her jeans into a different pair of jeans, because the first pair “looked weird.”

I guess the moral of the story is, Never assume your sister will hold the bus for you.

Or it could be, Listen to your mother, for goodness’ sakes, and HURRY!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's December; How many words have I written?

Well, National Novel Writing Month is over. Did I succeed in writing 50,000 words in 30 days?

Does the above graphic give you a clue about the answer to that question?

As of midnight on November 30th, which was the deadline, I only had 47,292 words.

I was close. But, as they say, close only counts in hand grenades and horseshoes. Not that I've ever played either one of those things. And I don't plan to either, actually.

But that's okay. I will keep writing. If at first you don't succeed; it's always darkest before the dawn; all of that inspirational junk.

By the way, when I was searching for a graphic with "failure" on it to put on here, almost all of the images were actually supposed to BE inspirational. Which was kind of weird. Who's buying all these motivational posters with the word "failure" on them?

Anyways, I'll have more time to write now that Thanksgiving's over. Unless I get interrupted by ANOTHER major holiday.

What's that? ...oh yeah, I forgot. CHRISTMAS!

Oh well, see you in January....

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving

Well, another Thanksgiving has come and gone.

You know Thanksgiving; it’s the holiday in which I spend four hours cooking an elaborate meal it takes my kids less than ten minutes to eat, and then spend an hour washing up and putting away the leftovers.

I’m not actually exaggerating the times here, surprisingly enough.

Stove Top Stuffing Mix, Chicken, Low Sodium, 6-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 12)Of course, I always look for ways to save time on the feast. For one thing, I make Stove Top stuffing from a box instead of homemade dressing.

I know. GASP!

I’m not ashamed of that, but perhaps I should be. I told a friend that I serve Stove Top on Thanksgiving and she looked at me like I’d just said I feed my kids cat food for dinner.

I don’t, by the way. All that Meow Mix I buy is for the kitty. Really!

Anyways, the reason I skimp on the dressing is because I spend a lot of time on another bread dish instead. My husband’s family is Czech, and we always have Bohemian bread dumplings on holidays.

These dumplings are not like the little ones you see floating in soup; it’s a big loaf that you slice and serve with lots of gravy. They’re very good, but a little labor-intensive, so I only make them a few times a year.

Of course, my kids will eat anything with gravy on it. Every holiday someone asks me if they can have a cup of gravy to drink. This year I had to refuse that icky little request three times!

Anyways, one good thing about this year is that my in-laws were visiting. It was nice to have someone sit at the table for longer than five minutes and actually savor their food. Adult conversation is also good.

Plus there’s the help with the dishes; that never comes amiss!

So despite the fact that the twins whined inexplicably throughout the meal, the older kids gulped their food and dashed away, and Baby Boy did a face-plant out of his booster chair as a finale, it was a pretty good holiday.

Gourmet No Sugar Added Pumpkin Spice Pie ~ Kosher Dairy ~ Freshly bakedI mean, there’s always dessert, right?

Pumpkin pie... or better yet, chocolate!

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

November, the cruelest month?

You may have noticed that my blog posts have been few and far between recently.

This is because I’m a slacker.

No, no, I’m joking.

Not that I’m NOT a slacker. That’s just not the reason I haven‘t been posting.

It’s because I’ve been trying to write a novel in thirty days for the National Novel Writing Month, and I’m trying to spend all of my writing time on that.

Oh, except for right now, when I’m writing this.

And I’m NOT using my blog as a procrastination tool, by the way! I also haven‘t been Googling random things as a procrastination tool. Okay?

Oh, who am I kidding here?

It IS because I’m a slacker.

But it’s really because writing is HARD. And I’m pretty sure I kind of stink at it.

Also I’m WAY behind.

The goal is to write 50,000 words in thirty days. That works out to 1,666 2/3 words per day.

I’m having trouble getting that far every day. That 2/3 of a word is a real killer.

I’m joking again. THAT one’s easy.

It’s the other 1,666. (Can I point out this is the devil’s number? Possibly why the organizers of this event post the daily word goal as a rounded-up 1,667.)

They have a website where it does the math for you, by the way. I can enter my daily word count, and it makes a little bar graph. So I can see PRECISELY how far behind I am.

Right now, on the 24th of November, I should have 40,000 words in my novel.

I have written 31,061.

The website estimates that at this rate I will finish on December 8th. (This date keeps moving closer and closer to December 25th, lending new meaning to the phrase “slow as Christmas.”)

Can I just point out that November is a difficult month to do this? What with all the holiday shopping and cooking of turkey and visiting of relatives?

Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m making excuses.

But I DO have five kids to feed, clothe, house, and keep reasonably clean.

And, as I may have mentioned before, I am an abysmal typist. One day I should post something uncorrected so you can see just how bad I am at typing with my opposite index fingers. Except it’s likely no one would be able to read it.

But now I’m just whining, aren’t I?

Guess I just have to get back on it and try harder, right?

I lamented about my word-count problem to my husband, who gave me helpful suggestions such as, “Just put a lot of ‘verys’ in every sentence.”

At least he didn’t say, “Get back to work, you SLACKER!”

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Harmony and Love in our Home?

It’s really nice when the kids get along and love each other.

Yeah. I’ll let you know when THAT happens. Usually it’s exactly the opposite around here.

Here’s some actual (NOT made up! I promise!) conversations from our house:



GG singing in her room: “London bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down. London bridge is falling down. I hate ET.”
Boo: “Me too.”

A little while later:
ET: “GG, everyone in this family hates you. Except Mommy. And Daddy. And Boo. And the babies.”

Then on another day:
ET: “GG, one day you’re going to need a kidney. And I’m NOT going to give it to you.”
GG: “That’s okay, There’s plenty of other people who will give me one.”

Wow, huh?

Doesn’t that just make you want to break out singing “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?”
 
But I guess I can always hold out hope that one day they'll all be friends.
 
Maybe when they move out. Or one of them needs a kidney....