Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Yet another reason why I wasn't nominated for "Mother of Year" this Christmas

Because I'm Last-Minute-Shopping Mommy.

I ended up at Toys R Us on December 23rd fighting the other panicked parents for the last Barbie Dream House.

But it wasn't really my fault!

Okay, here's the whole sad story...

(image from

I had bought the older kids some books, video games, and DVD's from the school book fair and the electronic store by November 30th.


I had finished all my shopping for people out-of-town by the first of December and mailed it all by the second.


I had proposed a let's-don't-buy-gifts-for-each-other-this-year plan to my husband, which he leapt upon with relief.


I had ordered several toys and books online for the younger children by December tenth, qualifying for free delivery in plenty of time for Christmas.


I headed to a couple of specialty stores and a clothing store for the rest of the stuff for the kids, and finished all that by December 19th.


I confirmed with my husband that we really did make a no-gifts-for-each-other pact and that it was not a trick.


Then we hit a little snag in the checklist.

December 22nd, 11:30 p.m., just before falling asleep: I realized I hadn't received that package I'd ordered two weeks ago with most of the younger kids' stuff in it. I tried not to panic.

December 23rd, 8:00 a.m.: I looked at my inbox and couldn't find the confirmation-of-order email. I tried not to panic. I checked my online credit card statement and did not find a charge for that store. I tried not to panic.

I went on the website and began to try to track my package. When I logged in it said I had no open orders. I started to panic.

Then I looked up at the top of the screen where it said cheerily, "You have 15 items in your shopping basket!"

ACK! Time to panic! I realized I had apparently never placed the order! THERE WAS NO PACKAGE ON ITS WAY AT ALL!!!!!!

Now, I don't know what kind of moron I have to BE to do this. I distinctly remember placing this order. Really. I do.

But there was the evidence staring me in the face: that cute little virtual shopping cart was winking away at me, chanting, "Fifteen ITEMS never ORDERED! Fifteen ITEMS never ORDERED!"

Christmas was two days away and I had almost no presents for THREE of my kids!

So what else could I do? I went to Toys R Us with all the other waited-until-the-last-minute moms and dads.

And of course, spent more than I should have in order to compensate.

Sigh. Maybe next year I'll have it together.

At least the pact held up: My husband got me nothing and I got him nothing. That's one expense avoided.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Barf Car

A few weeks ago my van began to take on an unpleasant odor.

Perhaps you can guess, from the title of this blog entry, the precise nature of said stinkiness.

(image from

The thing was, no one had been sick in the car recently, so I couldn’t figure out where the smell was coming from.

I thought it might be Eau de Lost Sippy Cup. (You know, like the ones we’ve found under the couch with solidified milk offensively curdled inside them. Ewwww…)

But I couldn’t find anything under the seats, and all of the twins’ cups were accounted for. I couldn’t really find the precise location of the smell either; although it was definitely in the general area of the twins’ carseats.

There was nothing to do but clean the whole car.

Now, you may remember I had the car “detailed” after an accident not too long ago, resulting in the cleanest van ever known. (Read that story here, if you’re interested.)

So I didn’t expect the mess under the seats could have gotten too bad. I was wrong.

I spent a couple of hours giving the van an intense cleaning. I took absolutely everything out of the car. I removed the carseat covers and washed them in the washing machine. I threw away all the trash that had been collecting under the seats. I vacuumed AND shampooed the carpets and seats. Then I left the whole thing open to air out inside the garage for 24 hours.

I’m telling you, this was a THOROUGH cleaning.

The next day we all got inside the newly clean van. Everyone exclaimed over how nice it looked. I congratulated myself on a job well done. We drove for a few minutes in silence.

Then ET remarked, “It still smells like barf in here.”

And the annoying thing is, she was right!

So I resorted to spraying air freshener every time we got in the car instead, drowning the bad smell in a sea of floral friendliness.

Maybe I should have just STARTED with that, and saved myself a lot of trouble.

Friday, December 16, 2011

My apologies to freecycle

(This cartoon is available as a poster

A couple of months ago I posted a little joke about freecycle, a website devoted to local people getting rid of things for free. (Click here to read it.)

I was lampooning the awful stuff that people had listed for that day, just because I thought it was a funny little collection.

I've been a member of freecycle for a few years and, although in the past I've received --and given!-- some nice things there, recently it seemed there had been a real decline in the quality of the items there.

Well, now I must heartily apologize to the whole freecycle organization, because it was all due to freecycle that I received the most awesome set of chairs!

Okay, first of all, let me show you the "before picture." I got a bigger table a few years ago since our family has gotten so large, but I didn't have enough chairs to match, so we had a blend of folding chairs and mismatched wooden chairs around it.

This picture was taken in our old house, by the way.

Okay, now the "after picture."

Is that not a beautiful set of furniture?

(Oh, and that's our tail-less cat there too. Read his backstory here if you're interested.)

But the best thing about these lovely matching chairs is that they were FREE! That's right; these eight matching wooden chairs cost me nothing!

So, freecycle, I apologize wholeheartedly for making fun of you, and I take it all back.

In the words of Archie from "A Fish Called Wanda:"

"I'm really really sorry; I apologize unreservedly. I do; I offer a complete and utter retraction. The imputation was totally without basis in fact, and was in no way fair comment, and was motivated purely by malice, and I deeply regret any distress that my comments may have caused you, or your family, and I hereby undertake not to repeat any such slander at any time in the future."

Wait, did I just get to the point where the apology was worse than the actual offense?

Oh. Sorry for that too...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Christmas Card Photo--The Weird Way

This year we took our Christmas card photo on the beach. Which makes sense, because we live in Hawaii.

But just to mix things up we decided to bring along our Christmas tree.

You should have seen people's faces on this beach when we hauled out the big Christmas tree box and started putting it up. It is an old-style artificial tree where you have to sort the branches by size and then put them all on the central pole individually, so it was a fairly long process. They had lots of time to stare.

It was kind of you-might-be-a-redneck moment....

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Mom, you are SO embarrassing!

Teenagers can cause their parents a lot of trouble.

So sometimes it’s nice to get a little of your own back, and mess with THEM for a change, you know?

I’ve had several opportunities recently to bug ET (my 15-year-old daughter).

First of all, there’s this blog. She is EXTREMELY mortified that I post things about her. Especially the one where she thought she’d found a dead body.(Click here to read that post.) She said I was “cyber-bullying” her with that one.

(She should be thankful for what I DON’T post about her, to be honest!)

So I’ll just go whole hog and tell you some REALLY embarrassing things I’ve done to ET recently.

First of all, I took her to a “Sweet Sixteen” party for a friend the other day. I knew it would be chaperoned by the parents, and it was at the community center so I was pretty sure it was fine, but I couldn’t resist freaking her out a little.

So when I went to drop her off, I took off my seatbelt and got out of the car.

She said in a scared voice, “What are you doing?”

“I just need to check things out inside, make sure her parents are there, you know.” I said, grinning.

You should have seen her eyes about pop out of her head. I let her sweat a little before I got back in the car and let her go inside alone.

I think that one might have made up for a few of those moldy dishes hiding in her room and having to clean up all the water on the bathroom floor when she forgets to put the shower curtain inside the tub AGAIN.

Then I took ET and GG bra shopping.

Which is the ultimate opportunity for parental embarrassment, probably.

The funny thing about this was, I wasn’t even TRYING to be embarrassing that time.

I mean, if I were trying I could have done a better job.

“Excuse me, young man? Could you direct me to the lingerie department? My daughter is developing and finds herself in need of a brassiere!”

I didn’t do THAT!

I mean, all I did was talk about what size they needed, and try to direct them to the more economical styles, and mention that if I were purchasing new underwear it would be necessary for them to clean out their drawers and throw away all their old crappy underwear to make room. What’s wrong with that?

They kept hissing at me to keep my voice down. I don’t think I was talking very loudly at all, by the way, but I guess underwear is a whispering matter when you’re an adolescent girl.

It was actually pretty funny when I thought about it.

At least it sort of took the sting out of having to shell out at the cash register at the end.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Why my home will never be featured in "House Beautiful"

I am not a don't-eat-in-the-living-room kind of mom.

I mean, I do insist on eating meals as a family as much as possible and all that, but there is definitely much consumption of food in front of the TV going on around here.

This is why most of my upholstered furniture is hidden by blankets and/or slipcovers, none of it is expensive, and a lot of it is old.

(image from

Last night I looked at the loveseat where Baby Girl likes to sit and realized I wasn't going to be able to put off washing the slipcover any longer.

The mess on the cushion looked like she had attacked and subdued something wild there. I'm wondering, How much fight can a cheese sandwich really put up here?

The cheese sandwich crime scene was on top of the yogurt smears and cupcake crumbs that were already gathering on the couch. So I sighed and pulled the slipcover off to wash.

Later in the evening when I put the cover back on I was pleased to see how nice and clean it looked. It's like having new furniture! Sort of.

Then, of course, Baby Girl woke up this morning with a nasty stomach virus.

It's so nice to have your furniture cleaned before it gets vomited on....

Friday, December 2, 2011

What Happened to November?

So some of you may be wondering how I did with NaNoWriMo last month.

And some of you may be wondering: What is a NaNoWriMo? And is it contagious?

(image from

Well, November is National Novel Writing Month, and the challenge is to write a fifty-thousand word novel in thirty days. I didn’t exactly make the 50,000 word mark.

Would you like to know my final word count on the deadline, November 30th at midnight?


I guess it’s over one-fourth of the way there….

I know, right? LAME.

There were several obstacles in my way. (And I’m not talking JUST about those five obstacles whom I birthed myself!)

For one thing, my plot just wasn’t going very far. Here’s a good way to describe it, as written by Chris Baty about his own novel:

“My NaNoWriMo novel this year was
not quite what I'd hoped.
The idea seemed great in October.
I pictured my story rocketing across November
like a cheetah, flying through the
fertile grasslands of my imagination
and leaping over everything in its path.
Instead, my book bumbled around
like a myopic sasquatch in an overgrown forest,
knocking into pine trees and spending
a fair amount of time wondering if
boiled moss could work as a coffee substitute.”

I feel your pain, Chris!

Also, there’s the problem of the death of naptime.

The Day That Naptime Died.

I think that sounds like a song.

Everybody sing! “Bye Bye! My alone time died! Since the twins escaped their cribs, on all my time they have dibs. And I spend half the day stuck in the car with my kids, since the day… that naptime… died.”

(Click here if you’re interested in reading more about the demise of naptime.)

Anyways, having the twins awake ALL DAY LONG has really thrown a monkey wrench into my writing career.

Is that the right expression? Or is it “a spanner in the works of my writing?”

Or perhaps it’s “a wad of dried Play-Doh clogging my keyboard so I CAN‘T EVEN TYPE?” (I think we’re getting warmer!)

In any case, my novel is going very slowly. But that’s okay!

In the immortal words of Dory, “Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming!”

Yes. I’ve been watching WAY too much kids’ TV…

(image from

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Whose Party IS This?

My husband took Boo and the twins to a birthday party for a three-year-old.

I didn’t go because ET also had a party she had to be taken to, and the three-year-old in question was the daughter of my husband’s friend.

He said they were going to have a bouncy house and a cotton candy machine, so it sounded like it would be pretty fun for the kids.

(image from

When he came home, my husband asked me if I wanted to see the pictures and videos he’d taken. Of course I said yes, because I wanted to see how the kids had enjoyed all the fun things at the party.

I’d been sorry to miss seeing them jumping in the bouncy house, eating cotton candy, et cetera. I’d especially wanted to see the twins, who don‘t have a lot of prior birthday party experience and get super-thrilled if one of the kids in their preschool class so much as brings in cupcakes.

When my husband got out his iPod to show me the pictures and videos I was surprised, though.

They were all of HIM!

I’m totally serious. I saw shots of my husband jumping in the bouncy house, my husband eating cotton candy, and he and his friends clowning around.

I’m like, “Where’s the kids?”

He said, “They were there. See? There’s Baby Boy in the background there.”

Uh huh.

Okay. You couldn’t take ONE shot of your beautiful children enjoying the party?

Fortunately, I am facebook friends with the mom in question, who managed to get a very nice shot of Baby Boy and Baby Girl eating cotton candy. And kindly tagged me.

At least SOME of us have our priorities straight!

photo by J. Alino