Rules of Engagement

My son will be turning nine on Sunday.  But tonight?  He’ll be having a big birthday party/sleep-over bash.  Which is weird because after last year’s sleep-over party, I DISTINCTLY remember saying (ok, maybe in a loud, yell-y sort of way) that he was never, EVER going to have another sleep-over party again!

But second verse, same as the first…a little bit louder.  And a little bit worse.

In my defense, I did give him the choice of having a birthday party…or…A HUNDRED DOLLARS!  Knowing full well that he’d choose the hundred bucks and I’d actually come out ahead financially on the deal.

This decision is apparently the “Sophie’s Choice” of the 10-and-under set.  And he agonized over it for three weeks before finally deciding that he’d go with the party (after seeking clarification that he would still get breakfast-in-bed on his actual birthday.  He LOVES that tradition and just wanted to make sure it wouldn’t go away.  Ahhh.  How cute is he?!  Yes, Sweetie.  You still get breakfast in bed if you want it.  Even Mean Mommy can’t resist you, you cute little/big thing).

But Gaaaaaaah!!! What have I gotten myself into?!?  I thought for sure that he’d take the money.  And NOW? I thought for sure everyone would be going away during the long week-end and therefore wouldn’t be available to attend a sleep-over party.   Rats!  Foiled again!!!

So as a last ditch effort to keep my head from popping off, Sonny has been “encouraged” to come up with the Rules of Engagement for his birthday party which he will share with his friends when they arrive.  He is still deciding whether to read them out loud king’s-proclamation-style, or just post them somewhere obvious.  But here they are verbatim:

  • Respect adults [good]
  • Don’t be too wacky [very good]
  • No breaking stuff [yes!]
  • No being too rough [uh…ok]
  • Ian H. – don’t make weird meals out of your food [slightly concerning that we had to have a specific rule for Ian H., but ok]
  • Go to bed when you’re told [yes!  And you’ll be told to go to bed at about 7 p.m]
  • Don’t have too much cake [excellent point!  The sugar makes you wacky – back to rule #2]
  • No trashing stuff [wait!  this seems like a combination of rules 1, 2, 3 AND 4 – but ok.  It’s worth saying it in a slightly different way]
  • No annoying people when they’re sleeping [seems like someone is now speaking from experience?]
  • No bugging my sister [always a problem and it’s good to mention it]
  • No bugging my mom [YES!  Absolutely!  What he said!!!]
  • Some other ones I can’t think of right now [which in job description terms would be “other duties as assigned”]

In spite of the Rules of Engagement, the night is guaranteed to be horrific.  With my son being the ring-leader of all of the rule breaking going on.  He may not live to see his 9th birthday.

Stitch ‘n Bitch

I just downloaded this book from the library to my Nook.  (Home Mom in the house, savin’ money!  Whoop, whoop!!!).

Yes.   That is the actual name of the book.  Stitch ‘n Bitch by Debbie Stoller.

I originally got the book thinking it might be a murder-mystery; The dead body stabbed through the heart with knitting needles or something like that.  But turns out it’s an actual book ABOUT knitting.

Which is really a good thing because as a new stay at home mom, I’ve recently turned to knitting to 1) save money on gifts and 2) fill up my time as high-powered-marketing-executive-forcibly-turned-to-leisure-time.  ‘Cept after a few months, I find I’m a little bored with the scarves and socks I’ve been knitting for everyone (hi family, friends and neighbors!).  And that’s where this book comes in.  I want to move on to something more, and you can’t BELIEVE the ideas for “more” that are in this book.

But the downside is that the “language” of knitting (and make no mistake, knitting is a language and a world unto itself) is a little confusing.

…And I’m normally so GOOD at languages.  I can “translate” into marketing speak anything a computer programmer says as he sits on his big, blue, core-strengthening excercise ball in his cut-off jean shorts and birkenstocks, tappity, tap, tapping away on his keyboard in outer space.  And don’t EVEN get me started on talking the pompous language of Data Management with its holier-than-thou acronyms like service-oriented architecture (SOA) especially in the context of leveraging a flexible architectural model for the purposes of BI (Business Intelligence) and DI (Data Integration).  To say nothing of the necessity in this scenario for Master Data Management (MDM) with it’s customer data integration and data governance & compliance demands!  Sarbanes-Oxley anyone?

See??!  I can speak many different languages.  But I struggle with the language of knitting.  Is it because knitting is a LOT like math?  Knit one, purl two.  Totally math.  And when you add in the fact that there are Continental AND English knitting styles, little ol’ left-handed me doesn’t know which way is up (hint: when you hold up your hand with the pointer finger and thumb at ninety-degrees, the one that makes an “L” is the left one, which is “up”).  So it requires an entire book in order to understand it.  And once you get deeper into it, you realize the book MUST have ‘Bitch’ in the title.  Gaaah!  Totally appropriate.  Totally, totally appropriate.

And just to level-set here…I recognize that I may have slipped off the deep-end with my knitted approach to gifts.  So please feel free to tell me.

And also?  If you EVER see a knitted Princess Snowball Cat Bed in my house – or I start giving them as gifts?  Shoot me.  And if you ever see me knitting a BIKINI??!  Ditto.  And if for some reason me KNITTING the bikini has escaped your notice and you see me WEARING a knitted bikini?!??  Shoot to kill.  No questions asked.

On becoming a man…

I was in the master bathroom this morning clipping my son’s nails.  (Side note: I hate the term “master” anything.  It makes it sound like someone is walking around with a riding crop in our house.  Which is very definitely NOT what someone is doing.)

He’s almost nine.  Is that too old to still be clipping his nails?  It’s just that I’m loathe to give him a sharp instrument and cut him loose (get it?!  “cut”??  hardy har har), since this is the same boy who made us all suffer through THREE YEARS of chaotic, horrific Cubscouts all on the single promise of a penknife when he became a Boyscout.  (btw – I didn’t promise him the penknife.  The ScoutMASTER promised him the penknife.  Stupid, stupid ScoutMASTER.  Where’s a riding crop when you need it?!?  The man should have known better.  Because my son-who-is-mostly-monkey would “accidentally” cut off all of his fingers AND everyone else’s if he had a penknife.  So he will never GET a penknife.  Ever.  Unless we leave it as a parting gift with his college roommate, to give to him later, after we’re done dropping him off at school and are long gone.  His senior year.).

So…I’m clipping my son’s nails and my husband turns around from the sink and he says, “If someone asked you to show them your nails, Sonny, what would you do?”  And Sonny promptly holds up his hands in a cute kitty-paws-under-his-chin move.

Aaaaaaah!  (and how random is THAT question?  Because why, WHY would ANYONE ever even be asking him to show them his nails??)

While I’m hugging my lil’ guy for being super cute, my husband says, “No, no, no.  If a wrestling ref ever asked to see your nails [you need short nails to wrestle and the ref can periodically do a nail check – mystery solved] you would show your nails to him like this…”and my husband holds his hands at waist-level, palms up, with all fingers bent inwards so all his nails are visible – including the ones on his opposable thumbs.  He looks oddly like a gorilla gingerly cupping a sip of water in each paw.

And THAT, my son, is how you become a man.

For women?  It’s a teeeeensy bit harder than that.

Gordon Ramsey’s Cookery Course

Have you seen this show?  It’s the best idea. EVER!

First off, the name alone means it’s gonna be great.  Cookery?!  ‘Nuf said.  Sooooo much more romantic than plain, ole’ American “cook-ing”.  And it’s filmed in Gordon Ramsey’s converted barn in some English countryside manor-home somewhere.  And it stars GORDON RAMSEY!

Hell, they could’ve called it Ripper Street Cookery Course (have you noticed that anything having to do with Jack the Ripper is still really HOT across the pond?  Weirdos.), but if it’s filming from Gordon’s window-y, converted barn AND Gordon is the star?  I’m in.  No questions asked.  I can’t get enough of his sensitive Yorkshire Ruffian persona.  But that may just be me.  I also think pirates are hot.

I digress.  Back to best idea.  EVER!  He’s gonna teach me!  Little ol’ jobless, home mom me (what up, what up!  Home Mom keepin’ it real in C to the O), how to gain cooking confidence.  AND?  He’s gonna share with me his top 100 recipes to make me a much better cook.

OMG!!!  Now I’m feeling like the screaming Beetles fan of cookery courses, all worked into a tizzy.

Simple, accessible recipes and Gordon’s gonna be “holding me by the hand” the whole way. (mmmmm hmmmmm – I am not opposed to accessible hand holding, you ruffian!)

But first off, he’s gonna teach me some quick tips on de-heading and de-boning our own salmon filet.  Whaaaaaa??!  Whaaaa the fuhhhhhh?!??

Ok, he pronounced it fih-lETT which is super cool, but I already KNOW how to de-head and de-bone a salmon fih-lETT.  It’s called going to Whole Foods and buying it de-headed and de-boned from the man-in-the-soiled-apron behind the counter.

[do you remember that Meatloaf song “I Would Do Anything for Love, But I Won’t Do That”?  Well, now it’s stuck in my head and my version goes like this: “I would do anything to cook with Gordon Ramsey, but I won’t do THAT!”]  We don’t do THAT in this country, Gordon.

So that segment was a bit of a bust, but we’re moving on to making spicy, home-made chutney you can keep in your icebox (Icebox?  Did you catch that?  Aaaaaahhhhh!  And CHUTNEY???  AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!  How quickly we transform from disillusionment back into screaming cookery superfan).

The whole chutney scene takes up most of the rest of the segment.  Stiiickky.  SpiIIICY.  CHUTNEY!!

And when it’s done?  Gordon lusciously serves…a tablespoon of it with three slices of ham on a plate.

Whaaaaa?!  A tablespoon of sticky, spicy chutney served alongside three slices of rolled-up ham on a plate??  Are you shi**in’ me, Gordon?!?

This is why you folks lost the war.

Snow Day

We’ve been up since 5:30 this morning giddy with anticipation over a possible snow day.  (And when I say “we” I really mean my 10-year-old daughter who woke everyone else up based on the exciting possibilities the day held).  Backwards p.j.’s worn to sleep must’ve worked, because desired snow day was announced at 6:15 a.m.

Uh.  Kinda late don’t you think?!  At that point, everyone was already up – including my rat of a husband who quickly exited stage left even while mumbling something about not being “able” to work from home and issuing strict instructions NOT to call him at 11:00 crying about “not being able to take it” and to “please come home asap.”  Blah, blah, blah.  Whatever.

Anyway…so…here we are at 11:00 a.m. on a snowy Thursday.  The kids have been sent out to play in the snow for the SECOND time yet this morning.  Mean mommy may be lurking about because of the early start to the day (Again, really??  Announce the school closing WAY earlier next time!!) and also because she may be fighting a head-cold.

In an effort to take it easy (shhhh – we’re trying to be vewy, vewy qwiet), rather than coming up with new blog content, I’ve decided to reprise “The Anatomy of a Snow Day” which I wrote for my co-workers’ amusement TWO FULL YEARS AGO (when my daughter, Sissy, was 8 and my son, Sonny, was 6, and we had a snow day like today with the added nuance of me having one of them-there jobs you folks are always nattering on about).

And now!  Without further ado!  I bring to you….(drum roll please)…The Anatomy of a Snow Day!!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 – 8:30 a.m.

  • The kids actually got up EARLIER than normal (around 5:45 am b/c some weird 6th kid-sense told them it was a snow day and therefore they didn’t have to sleep in like a regular school day).
  • Proceeded to play and play and play.
  • They STILL have not had breakfast because they’ve been too busy playing.
  • Surprisingly enough the fighting has not yet begun.  Mostly b/c my daughter has been individually turning her room into a Littlest Petshop Extravaganza whereas my son has been turning his into a bedroom-sized Legoland.
  • They are now coming down the stairs discussing “fort” plans.
  • I have quietly closed the office door.
  • Still no breakfast for anyone.  I have had 3 cups of coffee though.
  • There was a brief report (from Sissy) that Sonny had eaten some Gummi Bears without being allowed.
  • Then there was some sort of “jumping contest” complete with the phrases “don’t do it that way, you’ll hurt yourself” and “watch out, I’m coming down!”
  • I can now hear muffled crying through the closed office door.
  • Am going to make breakfast.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 – 10:30 a.m.

  • Originally it seemed like the blueberry syrup on the waffles for breakfast might have been a particularly bad idea since it revved up the energy levels
  • But the kids have been playing quietly upstairs for a good, long while now
  • Apparently Sissy is playing the role of the 8-year-old-sister named Sissy and Sonny is her “zero-baby” brother named Tyler (a zero-baby is a baby not yet a year old).  Because Tyler is so little, he has to be pushed around everywhere in a laundry basket.  I forgot to mention that Sissy is also a nurse.  Quite a feat for an 8-year-old!
  • They have paused once in a while to beg to go outside, but words like “frostbite” and “subzero” seem to be holding them off for now.  The term “hellaciously cold” may have also been used to dissuade.
  • The thermometer in the sun registers minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Sissy (as herself, not as Sissy-the-older-sister-of-Tyler) has just reported that she and Sonny (as himself, not as Tyler-the-zero-baby) are “getting along the best we’ve ever gotten!”
  • I am expecting it to all go down-hill shortly
  • Especially since I just heard Sissy declare from upstairs that they should try to go the whole day without watching t.v….followed shortly by someone shouting “Ow! You just kicked me in the mouth!!”
  • Down-hill fast

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 – 12:30 p.m.

  • We’re now up to an even 0 on the outside thermometer – so still no outside time.
  • The self-imposed no-tv rule broke about 15 minutes ago…only after the play-doh clean-up degenerated into yelling and crying (Sissy)
  • Prior to that, their dance contest in the upstairs hallway resulted in fighting and crying (Sonny)
  • And prior to THAT, the Petshops attacked Legoland (although the version of the story I heard was that the traveling circus came to Lego Town – and it wasn’t welcome).  Crying from both.
  • But for now, Rachel Ray is showing them how to make a 30-minute stir-fry meal with shiitake mushrooms and silence reigns.
  • I am making mac-and-cheese.  It will be an extreme cheese explosion with more cheese sauce and bigger shapes.  At least that’s what it says on the box.  There will be no shiitake mushrooms.
  • Update – Rachel is now making a new meal, still NOT out of a box.  This time it’s breadcrumb & bacon stuffed haddock.  She got her hair highlighted since the last episode (5 minutes ago) and Sonny is insisting it’s a new girl cooking in the same kitchen.  Sissy is insisting it’s new hair, but the same girl.
  • Remember that part about silence reigning?  Not so much now.
  • Mac and cheese anyone?!?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 – 2:30 p.m.

  • Dot, dot, dot.  Dash, dash, dash.  Dot, dot, dot…
  • Other than that, I’m maintaining radio silence

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 – 4:30 p.m.

School will be closed Wednesday, February 2, due to the weather. 

  • School is closed again tomorrow?!?  Noooooooooooo!!!!

Escape From Planet Earth

In addition to being an expensive nap (Hey!  I already explained that no one ever lets me sleep in so what do you expect when I’m stuck in a dark, relatively quiet room for an hour-and-a-half?!?) – the newly released Escape From Planet Earth brings the Working Woman vs. Stay At Home Mom debate to a whole ‘nother level.  It goes intergalactic!

In brief:  Kira was the head of the space program on Planet Baab until she decided to be a stay at home mother.  Now, she is pitted against the NEW head of the space program, Lena, who is out for world domination while at the same time being embittered that she doesn’t have a family like Kira, but instead has a highly successful career and a bizarre love interest on Planet Earth who wears an Elvis wig (I can NOT for the life of me draw any parallels with the Elvis wig, so I’ll leave it alone).

Oh.  You’ll see “other” plot summaries of the movie out there.  Blah, blah, blah.  For example, some sources claim the movie is about a science-y, blue space alien brother (Gary, who is Kira’s husband) who goes to save his brave blue space alien brother (Scorch) who’s been duped by Lena into bringing an explosive device to planet earth.  In the process Scorch gets captured by US government official, William Shanker (spoiler alert – he’s the bald dude who wears an Elvis wig while woo-ing Lena during their FaceTime dating sessions).   But only conspiracy theorists float those versions of the movie.  So don’t be fooled!  The movie is really about Working Women and Stay at Home Moms and their age-old debate about who has the better gig.

To which I say – Ladies: You both have a really great thing going on.  Just appreciate it.  Just enjoy it.  You’ve both made enormous sacrifices to get where you are.  You don’t make your side of the argument more stunningly effective by belittling the other side of the argument.  (And you NEVER make your case by planning full world domination.  And no one.  I mean NO ONE should have a love interest who wears a bad Elvis wig.  You’re ALL worth more than that.  And really, this should be where our greatest powers are revealed; Through GUIDING the weaker sex in their fashion sense.  Bad “rugs” are never in.)

Speaking from experience, no matter what side of the fence you’re on, the grass – in fact – is NOT always greener.  And it’s NEVER blue-er.  So stop thinking it is.  And really, if we can’t get this issue settled soon, I’m gonna wanna Escape from Planet Earth too!

New Rule

We’ve got a new rule in our house.  If you are under the age of 10, it’s a week-end/other day off, it’s morning and you’re up?  Please stay in your bedroom with the door closed until the clock shows eight-zero-zero.  And try to be vewy, vewy qwiet.

The good mommy is trying to catch up on her sleep.

She’s the first one in the house who’s up in the morning and the last one to bed at night and when she has some time to sleep in, she wants to sleep in!

If she doesn’t get a chance to sleep in, then mean mommy comes to roost and all Lenten Promises fly right out the window.

I don’t know why the midgets-who-live-here have such a hard time sleeping in anyway.  It’s virtually impossible to get them out of bed at 6:30 am on a school day.  Yet all of a sudden – when there’s a day off – they’re up BEFORE 6:30?!?  It’s like some weird snow day clause goes into effect and the excitement over having a day off and NOT having to get up means you have to…what else?!…get UP!!!

So.  Hopefully this new rule will lead to quieter, more relaxing week-end mornings.  No more yelling “turn down the t.v.!!!” or “stop fighting over the remote!!” or even “close your door because I can hear ALL the rocket ship noises AND the sound your legos make as you scrape through them to build MORE rocket ships!!!!!”

And yes, you can go all the way down to the basement to watch t.v..  As long as the basement door is closed and the t.v. is turned down low and there’s no fighting over the remote!  A big thank you to you, Midget #1, for seeking this clarification on the what-can-we-do-on-a-Saturday-before-eight-zero-zero rule.  AT SIX-THREE-ZERO!!!

And Midget #2?  You are super cute with your “I haven’t seen you all night and wanted to come give you a kiss” stuff.  BUT IT’S NOT EIGHT-ZERO-ZERO YET!!!!

Now go away.  And shhhhh.  Shhhhhh!  Be vewy, vewy qwiet.  Mean mommy might hear us.

Week 5 – P90X

Anybody else remember that Dentist Skit from the Carol Burnett Show?  It’s the one where Tim Conway is a dentist and he’s trying to give his patient, Harvey Korman, a Novocaine shot. ‘Cept Tim accidentally keeps stabbing himself with the hypodermic needle until he’s lost the fine-motor skills in his arms and legs.

Well…that’s me.

After Week 5 of P90X.

Week 5 works NEW muscles never previously worked before.  So NOW??  Now those muscles don’t work AT ALL!  [As a side note, Week 5 is all part of Tony’s “muscle confusion” theory.  Which goes something like this:  Wait.  I’m confused.  I have muscles THERE we now have to work out?!?]

But besides our limbs not working properly – the only difference between Tim and me at this point is that ACTUAL Novocaine shots would have made my useless limbs hurt a HE&% of a lot LESS!!!


With today being Happy Heart Day, I thought the timing would be right to share the following with you…

A few months ago, my father suffered a heart attack.  Or more accurately, a sudden cardiac arrest.  Despite having “the heart of a forty-year-old,” for some unknown reason, his heart stopped beating.  And quite bluntly, he would have died where he fell on the golf course that day, except for the series of miracles large and small that followed – the most important of which was that his golf partners, despite having never received formal CPR training, performed it on my father anyway.  Performed imperfectly and under extreme duress, it was nonetheless effective enough to keep my father’s blood pumping until the Emergency Responders arrived with a defibrillator.

Would you be prepared to save the life of someone’s father? (or mother, or spouse, or sibling, or a friend, or…, or…, or…).  Would you at least be willing to try?  If you don’t already know how to do it, then take time today to learn how to do Hands-Only CPR and how to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED)[A special thanks to Dr. Robertson for having sent these two links in her Christmas card.]

So…today I’m wishing you a Happy HEART Day.  Please, pass it on.

P.S.  Hi, Dad.  I ♥ YOU!!!

Ashes, ashes…we all fall down!

Today is Ash Wednesday, which means Lent starts now!  No…now!  Wait.  Ok, NOW!!!

Did you know that instead of giving UP something for Lent, you can DO something??  This year, my Lenten Resolution is to be a kinder, gentler, more loving mother.

Lenten Resolution Day 1?  I saddled up that horse and rode it the he** outta Dodge before 7:15 this morning.  Much yelling about missing belts and uncombed hair does not make for a kinder, gentler mother.  Nor does the “IF YOU MISS YOUR CARPOOL RIDE I’M NOT DRIVING YOU TO SCHOOL!” (all in caps for a reason) sort of verbiage.  But Hey!  If you’re gonna dance around naked in your room butchering the words to the National Anthem up until 5 minutes before carpool is due, mean mother comes to roost and I can’t be held responsible for what she says.

So then I went to church to get the cremated-remains-of-dead-people ashes smeared on my forehead in the approximation of a cross.  (Ok, ok.  I’m kidding.  It’s not dead people ashes.  It’s dead pet ashes.  Ugh.  Ok.  Still kidding.  It’s burned palms leftover from Palm Sunday.  Happy now?  I thought the dead-people-ashes made a way better story.  Kindof like a crazy Catholic equivalent to Celtic blue face-paint glimpsed across the field of battle, but whatever, you sticklers for the truth!)  And I got talking to a mom-friend who told me that Lent doesn’t actually start until you get your ashes.

Holy reprieve, Batman!  (get it?  HOLY??  Hardy har har.  Pun totally intended!  Am I good, or what?!)

More Loving Mother starts NOW!  Wait!!!  oknow.  No.  NOW!!!!!!

This TOTALLY looks like a cross, right?

This TOTALLY looks like a cross, right?