Saturday, November 30, 2013

Say hello to my little friend...But first say goodbye to my big one.

The enormous Christmas tree we've had since 1995 didn't survive the flood of the Spring of 2013, so this holiday we welcome newcomer "Slim" to our family decorations.  Please humor me and read the story of the Green Giant as we put it to rest.

Oh, Christmas Tree:  The battle of the Green Giant

My Christmas tree is assembled, the lights are on, and the pepper-berry garland is in place. The ornaments are already beginning to go through a series of trips to various boughs of the tree (as I rearrange them daily) and should reach their final destination on or by Christmas Eve. That is when I shall take one final look at my masterpiece and exclaim, 
"That's as good as it's ever going to get!" 

 And then resolve that next year it will look even better. :)

I was off to a slow start in filling up my cup of Christmas Cheer this year, but I finally managed to get around to that tree. For those who go the "real" route, getting the family Christmas tree can be a lively excursion - loading all of the kids into the minivan and driving out to the country. Crouched on the snowy shoulder of a dirt and gravel road, knees numb from the cold, you nearly freeze your "aspidistra" off sawing for dear life while the kids keep an eye out for Johnny Law! Of course, the less adventurous folk buy one from a tree lot. I, on the other hand, head to the lowest level of my do battle. 

To take but one prisoner.

This is my tale.

For eleven long months, my artificial tree has sat dormant in the "Basement Du Frigidaire", waiting under boxes of Easter decorations, old baby clothes, and furnace filters. It waits by the broken lamp, smelling faintly of cat litter, rust and cinnamon candles, for the day to come when I would once again free it from the evil clutches of The Roughneck Tote of Entrapment.

Last weekend that day had arrived. I headed down the narrow and dark basement steps (Note to self: change basement light bulb), holding onto the railing every inch of the way. I pushed aside the clothes basket blocking my path. Pausing for a moment to pay homage to the beloved baby swing that had served us so well over the years, I headed for the tote that contained the beast. I could sense its fury as I began to unearth it from the pile of rubble set atop the mighty tree. It sought the warmth and freedom of the main floor, but in order to get those luxuries it must first bend to my will. I knew it would not leave this place easily.

The Tote of Entrapment bulged at the sides, barely able to contain the incredible mass of the tree. It was secured with duct tape to reinforce its hold and still the tree threatened to break free. Grasping the end of the box, I surveyed the path back to the stairs. It looked clear. I gave a great push and felt the muscles in my legs cinch tight, but the tree didn't budge. I recovered quickly and moved around to the front of the green plastic sarcophagus to see what was impeding my progress. I saw there was a length of two by four under the Tote of Entrapment. Mumbling my frustration into the dank basement air, I dislodged the board and returned to my position behind the box. With another forceful shove I felt the box move smoothly toward the bottom of the basement steps.
I wrestled with the enormous tree, lifting and pushing and lifting and pushing every step of the journey. Near the turn at the top I caught my sleeve on the railing and for a moment I lost my grip on the monstrous, tree-filled box. I felt the tree slide backward. "No!", I cried. I could see I was close to the end of my battle. I couldn't give up now. I wouldn't give up now! Like a laboring mother who has just learned that her baby's head is crowning, I gave one more fantastic push and the tree sprang forth into the kitchen. Carried by the momentum of that fierce push, I charged through the kitchen and dining room yelling a war cry that sounded something like this, 
At last the battle was won! I was triumphant! I danced jubilantly around the living room while my children sang my praises and my dog cocked his ears, turning his head to one side. The children helped me to unfasten the box that held the tree captive. It burst out of the Tote of Entrapment with the same sound heard when opening a new two liter of pop. Freed from its plastic cage, we set it up in the corner of the living room where it now stands, obediently holding up strands of lights and brightly colored ornaments on its "lifelike" boughs.
Once again I have tamed the mighty beast. Another year...victory is mine!!

The Green Giant in its glory days:
RIP, Green Giant

And now Slim's debut:
Viva la Slim!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Is Eight Too Young For A Liquor License?

Sam wanted to make a lemonade stand.   Not being one to thwart the efforts of this pint-sized entrepreneur, I enthusiastically gave her permission.

She made her own little lemonade sign and pulled a table and chair out to the front yard, then came inside to make the lemonade.  

But we had no lemonade.   *insert 8 year old's sigh deeper than the ocean*

She quickly pulled herself together and said, 
"Well, what can I sell instead?"
"Well, we have this:"

"Seriously?!  MOM!  What person would be interested in a MARGARITA STAND?!"
"I think what you mean to say is "What person WOULDN'T be interested in a margarita stand.""
*serious face*
"Mom.  Really.  No one would buy something from a margarita stand!"
 "...Um...I would."  

And then she gave me the look.  You know the one.  The look that says "Mother, WHAT ON EARTH IS WRONG WITH YOU?!"

(So much, kid.  So so much.)

It's a good idea though, right?  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

I didn't see that one coming. Fugly Sweaters and Power Tools.

I have come to the realization that I am not psychic.  I know it's true for a lot of people, but I never expected it to happen to me.   My psychic abilities begin and end with knowing just how full the kitchen garbage can get before it spills over into the cabinet under the sink.  And even then it's hit and miss.

But there was a time when I thought I could predict the future.  At least where the holidays were concerned.  I was clearly in denial.

Our first Christmas together as a married couple, I got John a cordless power drill. I was completely stoked and couldn't wait to give it to him.  You see, we are perfectly matched and because I LOVE power tools, my husband would undoubtedly love power tools too.  I knew this was the perfect Husband-y Man-type Thing for my beloved life partner.

I could see it all in my mind: he would open this fantastically shiny and useful tool and immediately declare that not only was this the best gift he had ever received, but that I was an even better spouse than he suspected I would be when he signed up for this whole crazy marriage thing.  I would smile sweetly, knowing full well the extent of my awesome as he bragged about this sweet drill that didn't even require an extension cord to use and me, his wonderful wife.

"Did you see what Erika got me for Christmas?!   Isn't it great?!  I'll be able to get shit DONE now!  How did she know?!  Man, she is the BEST. WIFE. EVAR!!"

That's not quite what happened.  Because I'm not psychic.

He opened it, looked at me and said, "Is this my real gift?"

Damn those delusions of grandeur!

Of course he didn't do any better.  One year I asked for a pink sweater.

Anyone who was psychic would have known that what I meant was that I would like one of those super-soft baby pink angora-type cardigans with the faux pearl buttons that were on all the mannequins at Braun's.  (Good God, whatever happened to Braun's?)

What I got on Christmas Day was NOT that.  At all.  Like, AT ALL.  It was indeed pink, as I requested, and made of yarn.  However.  It was Pepto Bismol pink with stripes of silver tinsel throughout.  And holy shoulder pads, Batman!  I could have played defense for the Steelers in that thing!

I suspected that somewhere a clown was naked and cold.

Now, I am not a completely ungracious receiver.  Please stop picturing Nellie Oleson.  I pretended to love the pastel holiday nightmare and actually wore it a few times. But it was hard to mask my disappointment that it was not what I thought I had so clearly asked for when I said "pink sweater".

I still futilely clung to the idea that one of us would be blessed with the gift of second sight, or at least a knack for insightful guessing.  I remember telling him that I didn't care what he got me as long as it was from his heart.  I said that he could get me a yo-yo and if it meant something it would always be special to me. Mistake.

That year I got a Duncan Imperial.

The lesson here, my friends, is that you must be specific.  Non-psychic spouses do not thrive on uncertainty.   You can't leave anything to guesswork.  Pictures help greatly.  Cut out photos and tape them to the toilet seat, and make sure you mark the exact color, size and number that you would like.  

Yes, it takes the surprise out of your holiday, but sometimes that's a good thing.   If you vaguely hint about something specific, and you and your gift-giving honey pie are as psychic as my husband and I are, you're probably gonna end up with a clown sweater.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I am not an idiot.

I've mentioned before that my life is steeped in the ridiculous. This is not an exaggeration. Of course, since I'm the one that keeps putting Ridiculous Tea in the infuser, I have no one to blame but myself.  I know you're just frothing at the mouth to read another example of the incredible stuff that seems to happen only to me, so without further ado...

I use Clorox Bleach sanitizing spray in my shower.  

I probably need to be more specific when I state that, don't I? I don't want to lead you to believe that my ridiculousness is brought about in the form of self-sabotage as I unwittingly wage chemical warfare upon my person during my daily cleaning ritual. So be it.  

I use Clorox Bleach to sanitize my shower.

The bottle I have worked great for a while and then one day it suddenly stopped. The nozzle was broken or plugged or something, because I squeezed and squeezed it and nothing would come out. Not wanting to pitch the entire bottle, I switched out the spray nozzle with one from another bottle. SUCCESS! It worked! This time when I squeezed the trigger, bleach sprayed forth and sanitized the funk out of my shower again. Yippee! I'm not an idiot!

Now I could address the broken nozzle's issues. I rinsed it out and inspected every coil and plastic doodad and pulled the trigger a few more times to see exactly how this mechanism worked...

And then I looked at the little square tip of the nozzle and saw in raised letters, clear plastic on clear plastic, three letters: O-F-F


Please disregard previous comment about my idiocy.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Have you seen the children?

Why is it that whenever I pass a sign that very specifically states "Happy children at play" I never see any happy children about?  

Where are they? I mean, the abundance of happy children was obviously important enough at one time to warrant a sign, so what happened to them since its posting? Are the happy children missing? Did they grow up and move away? Am I the only one concerned about these children?

I drive past one of those signs at least once a week when I take my daughter to her friend's house and I've never seen even one child anywhere near that sign.

Wait, wait. I take that back. There was one time we passed a boy, about nine years old,  running through the grass with a large pair of scissors in his hand. HE looked happy. Deliriously happy, in fact. Until he saw us watching him, whereupon he stopped dead in his tracks and glared menacingly at us until we were out of sight.  

That was rather frightening.
You know, thinking about it, maybe that particular sign should be changed to "Unbalanced children with sharp objects". It would be more accurate at least.

And still I'm left to wonder what became of the other children. The happy ones at play.  

Have you seen the children??

Friday, August 23, 2013

Why I shouldn't be allowed to use Craigslist...

FOUND...basket of crap

Thank you so much to whomever it was that left it by my car. As far as I can see, it's a photograph, a few shirts, knitted baby booties, a headband, anti-nausea medicine, a medicine bottle full of...lotion(?), what appears to be a pop can that was once on fire (hmm...), a necklace and an unopened condom (seems safe enough, good luck).

If this is the result of a bad break up, you've got the wrong house.

If this is the result of a meth-induced cleaning spree, forget the basket and just get some help.

Alley between Gamber's Garage and Taco Bell.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

ToeJam Sam and the Maxi-Pad Aisle

Hi, peoples.  I've got stuff to do today, so please enjoy this piece I wrote a few years ago while I try to find the top of my dining room table again.

ToeJam Sam and the Maxi-Pad Aisle:
I didn't know I wanted three children, but four and some-odd years ago, the urge to have just One More Baby gnawed at me until I finally shrugged, rolled over and ordered hubby to "just do it".   Bingo-Bango-Bongo, I got pregnant (yep, pretty much just like that).  I peed on a stick to be certain of it...on Mother's Day, no less.  Yepperooni.  Pregnant.   
Many moons passed.  Many many moons passed.  So many moons passed that I was beginning to think that I was living on the wrong planet.  This child was setting up shop in there for the long haul.  
I suspected that bambino knew it was wintertime and had hoped to hibernate until the weather warmed up a little.  I had visions of being pregnant forever with that kiddo all warm and toasty in the Womb For Went...*ahem*...RENT.  
So one day in January my doctor gave me a pitocin cocktail with an epidural chaser and a few hours later a very teeny person practically shot out of my vagina (that's "bajingo" for a few of you).  We named her Sam.  Our family was complete with three adorable little girls and the sky was full of lollipops and rainbows.  It was a Lisa Frank world.    
Let's skip a few pages of our story and bring us to the here and now.  We'll title this segment "Never a Dull Moment". 
Yeah, that says it nicely.  Sam is anything but dull.  She's the child who wants to name animals after breakfast cereals and body parts.  ("Cornflakes" was one and I won't say the other one, but it rhymes with Schmagina.) 
This is the same child that cannot watch a toy commercial without stating "I wanna buy that for my birthday" even when she's alone in the room.   This is the child that loves animals so much, she pees on their heads.  (I can just hear her some day, "Jeez Mom. I did that ONE TIME!!") 
The entertainment Sam provides us with is absolutely invaluable.   A trip to the grocery store is never boring.  Just this week, Sam was with me at Wal*Mart.   The surrounding area bustled with my fellow shoppers in search of their favorite shampoos, soaps and various scented shaving creams, when Sam's eagle eye spotted the familiar Always box.  Pointing, and using her I'm Outside And Just Too Doggone Excited About It voice, she exclaimed,
Those are the moments that take my breath away.  Sometimes they take the breath away from other ladies shopping within earshot, whose shoulders hitch up and down as they try not to laugh loudly at what my daughter just said.  Bless their hearts.
Pardon me.  She just ran past the doorway...naked...with a can of Spaghettio's.   

Yeah, dull I don't get much.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Sometimes that ADD really pays off...

I'm not saying I'm easily distracted, but...
If the act of cleaning the kitchen went the way a normal person's kitchen cleaning went, I never would have become bored with wiping down the counter midway through and decided to take the dirty pepper mill apart and found this gem:

Thank God I'm not obsessively dedicated to any one task like some peop - HEY!!  LET'S GO RIDE BIKES!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Sirens Who Cried "Tornado!"

That's what the weather warning sirens have always been where I live, really.  To me, at least.  I grew up taking those sirens for granted, because it seemed like nothing ever really happened when they went off.  

In these later years, the intensity of our storms has increased exponentially on the electrical front and we've had some very strong "micro-bursts" (thanks for reminding me of that word, Sonnie), but we still haven't really seen a tornado in this city.  Not one that could be classified as such.  Not for over a hundred years if I recall correctly.  And I hope we never do.

Thinking about the families in Oklahoma yesterday and all of those families in Alabama and Missouri not as recently, I'm thankful for those sirens, no matter what they cry.  

Does your town have warning sirens in the event of severe weather?

Friday, May 10, 2013


Because I AM the Writer of Wrongs and because I know you would want to know what's going on in my life:  
(Dad, please don't read this.)

Y'all know I'm a fan of my menses collecting, silicone, vaginal shot glass known as the Diva Cup, but I'm giving maxi pads another go this week.  No real reason for it, I just wanted to see if my feelings for them had changed much since I ditched them a few years back, so I'm conducting my own personal study. 

So far, pads still suck. 

You would've asked me about this, right?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Dafuq Did I Just See?

Dear Prius Mom Next To Me,

 My query was not "Why is your kid standing between the front seats with her bottle in her hand" as I watched you cruise through the five way intersection this morning.  My question was not even "Why isn't your child belted in".  

My question was "WHY WERE YOU?"

Your adorable child is one short-stop away from having her face planted in your windshield, while you, on the other hand, are restrained behind the steering wheel of your Toyota. 

I'm just curious to know why you bothered with yours.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

My Dream Job

I wish I could get paid to be sarcastic.
Who wouldn't want me to berate them for their poor choices?  

Like I care what you think.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness...I suck at this.

Clearly, I suck at this blog challenge, but I'll press on in true Random Ninja fashion and pretend I never left the Wonka tour to sample fizzy lifting drinks.

My last random act of kindness.  That's the topic for March 6th. 

I'm always random and...frequently kind and although I do have a tendency to poke bears with short sticks, I'm basically a good person.   I suppose, as the case tends to be with most basically good people, random acts of kindness are simple things like waving the person across from you to go ahead through an intersection at the overwhelming four-way stop (I mean, if you think about it, we're really ALL to the right...), or to take a stranger's cart back for them, or to shovel the neighbor's walk (which was done for us recently).

There's one thing that stands out in my mind when I think of a random act of kindness though.  It's something I did with the intention of making someone smile and I'll never know if that's the effect I had or not.

One Sunday while I was waiting for my girls to get out of religion class, I saw a mom and her son arrive for the 11:30 mass.  It was spring, not too warm for a jacket and not cold enough for a hat and scarf.  As this woman and her teenager walked inside, I thought to myself how brave she seemed.  Brave, because this woman, who looked so put together and sure of herself, had absolutely no hair.  I suspected it was a battle with cancer that she was going through (she didn't have the look of someone who would choose baldness over a carefully coiffed hairstyle) and she made me happy.  Here was someone who was not letting her illness get the best of her.  She was an inspiration to anyone fighting her same fight, laughing in the face of cancer.  She looked healthy and happy and confident.

On the outside.  

I have no idea how she was on the inside, but on the outside, she looked like someone who was saying "fuck you, cancer, you can't beat me".  

So I wrote a note and secured it into the door handle of her car:  "I don't know where you are in your battle, but I hope you're winning.  You are beautiful."

I never signed it and I left before she came back out, but I hope it made her day. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

White Sugar Bunnies of Christmas

As a latecomer to the 31 Day Blog Challenge, I guess I'll just pick up where the other, more timely bloggers are at this moment: March 4th.  Best Childhood Memory.

I have so many to choose from, it's embarrassing.  I suppose though, that my best childhood memory is actually more of a conglomeration of memories all lumped together into one giant ball of "OMG, I remember this song/feeling/candy/tv show/friendship pin/gold shoe/pair of earrings"...etc.

The memories that continue to make me smile come from that far away land of "The 80's".

I could go on and on with memory after memory, but since boring you to tears is not the assignment for today's blog post, I'll randomly select one from the file. 

White Sugar Bunny Ornament.

 There once was a bunny made of sugar that hung from our Christmas tree every year.  He didn't look Christmas-y at all, just a 3/4" thick cookie cut-out rabbit silhouette with sculpted eyes and a nose highlighted with pink paint, but the sugar looked like glitter under the multi-colored lights on our tree and I adored that ornament. I remember sitting under the tree looking up at it, mesmerized at the way it caught the light.  It was definitely my favorite.

And that brings the "favorite childhood memory" bit to a close. 

Since tomorrow doesn't appear to be "sad shit that happened" day, I'll tell you now that Bunny met his demise the year our beloved cat Mittens peed in a box of ornaments.  If you haven't seen what happens to a sugar ornament when it meets cat pee, you're better off.   Poor little bunny.  What a way to go.

What's your favorite childhood memory?  


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Can I have your purse?

So here's the thing:  I'm looking all over the internet for a decent-sized tote/purse.  I can't seem to find one I just "have to have" on any site or Google, so I figure I'll just shop here.  Y'all have a ton of great shit, right? 
I'm partial to Michael Kors and Burberry, but will accept Coach and/or Prada if it's cute. 
If you've got one that's in the "give away to charity" pile, can I see it?   I mean...I'm the best charity I can think of.   

Well, it was worth a shot.
big smile mini

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Where did he learn this shit??

At the store yesterday, the little boy in front of me got my attention.  I thought what a cutie he was as he helped his mother put the groceries up on the conveyor belt, which was quite a reach for his small arms.  He couldn't have been more than four years old. 
I was all set to compliment the mother on her helpful little man, when he took the plastic divider, held it in front of him and ran his hand up and down it and thrust his hips toward it like Steven Tyler with a microphone stand. 
He then pointed it at me like a rifle and "shot" me.  *pitchoo*
Then he did the same to the cashier, saying "You're dead".

I am rarely rendered speechless by preschool-age children, but in that instance I was completely dumbstruck.


Monday, February 11, 2013

So I made this tablet case...look at it.

I probably had about a thousand other things I needed to do today, but I was left alone with some leftover felt, a sewing machine, and that Nyan Cat song in my head...and this happened.


I can haz Android Ice Cream Sandwich filling?

 I don't know how much wear and tear it'll withstand, being made of felt, but it's cute enough, no?  

Some Other Stuff I Wrote