Friday, February 20, 2009
My new guilty pleasure is the HBO soap-drama Big Love about a polygamist family trying to live secretly in the mainstream Mormon culture of Sandy, Utah (near Salt Lake). Not only is the show unexpectedly addictive, but I think I'm learning a lot and I really think the polygamists might be on to something.

After all, despite the fact that they have nearly a million children (each wife tries to have a baby once a year-ish), they are still able to have 3 really nice houses with a community yard (and a pool to boot). They share child rearing responsibilities, they share the husband (1/3 of the good, but also 1/3 of the bad), they share the money, and they get to have lots of sex. (For all you parents out there, that is what got you in this position in the first place, but you've probably just about forgotten about it by now.)

Also, parenting en masse really seems like a much better option than what we monogamists have to do. For example, each mother/wife can have a different parenting responsibility. Kind of like good cop, bad cop. One mother/wife gets to say "yes"; one gets to say "no"; and the other gets to have the swing vote. (This is the wife with all the power, you see. She's the favorite and always gets her way.) If I had the swing vote, I'd be sure that I voted in such a way that I would be able to leave the kids with my sister wives, get a paid job, and set myself up with a little private flop house on the other side of town.

So, you ask, what's the downside? None! None that I can see based on the extensive research I've done through watching this very realistic show. My only question is can I have 3 husbands? That way we'd get thrice as much done in a third of the time, have lots of sex, and....oh, wait....I'd still be the one doing all the laundry.



Have you ever noticed that since you became a parent your floor lint takes on a whole new texture, a whole new meaning? Not only is the lint stickier, more prevalent, and generally dirtier, but is also just plain bigger.

Non-breeders would probably not agree with me that Lego quickly is reduced in status from toy to floor lint, but when you have to use a broom to get all the pieces off the floor it definitely morphs into a this new onerous category. Large pieces of potato chips, My Little Pony hats and shoes, Barbie jewelry, popcorn, Cheerios, stuffed animal parts, and small balls become doomed to the garbage pergatory of floor lint.

Instead of just sweeping it up and throwing it away, which I suppose I could do, there is now an extra step that I never thought would apply to floor lint. Sorting.

The sorting stage involves not only separating the common genus and species of floor lint from the less common variety; but it also means I have to decide if the toy pieces are unharmed, broken, usable, part toy that can be reunited with it's whole, or part of a toy that was previously sorted in to the trash (Toy Heaven) on a previous sweep. It's just another example of a simple job gone bad.

It's such a tedious world and I get no respect!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
My husband has been working nights pretty much continuously for weeks now. (It isn't really just nights either because he often goes in before 7am and comes home after midnight. But far be it for me to complain. He is serving his country and all.)

But, by the time I've crawled bruised and bleeding through the mine field of cooking dinner around Emma's food allergies and Jack's likes and dislikes, I've pretty much given up putting my dietary preferences on the map. So, I put the kids to bed and crack open the faithful box of cereal. Occasionally, I'll treat myself to a carton of sushi that I was able to pick up during my trip to the grocery store, but basically cereal is it.

Cereal seems to be a reasonably well balanced meal. Grains. Milk. (and some fat, if you still allow yourself to drink milk with fat.) But I'm pretty sure I'm not doing myself any favors with this diet. After all, I pretty much start shaking at 10:30 and 4:30 every day as I experience carb-withdrawal and need to recharge.

Because cooking for one is such a pain, I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only parent who has tried to subsist on this Lonely Person's Diet, but I think it's time to take action. I propose that every cooking family in the building makes an extra portion of what they are making once a week and deliver it to a needy neighbor.

For my part, I will happily pay for this kindness. I also promised to clean my plate and always send my compliments to the chef.

If anyone is interested, I eat everything....well, except peanut butter.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
It's no wonder when your 5-year old announces that he wants to "go play at the playground" that a chill runs down your spine and your stomach makes a desperate, last ditch attempt to leave your body. The argument that the playground "is closed" just doesn't work here any more. For kids, at least, the playground is where the action is. It has all the appeal of Las Vegas, the city that never sleeps. What happens on the playground stays on the playground.

My parental point of view is a little different. If you've spent any time on the playground at any point in your life, you probably already know that the playground is more like another day in Washington. Conservative against liberals. Special interest groups lobbying for their best deal. Hard core versus the half-hearted.

Anything and everything that is possible will be done by children and witnessed by parents day in and day out. And some things will not be witnessed and that in itself can create an incident of international proportions.

Also, the playground is a very tricky place because that is where parenting differences tend to rear their ugly heads. Parental anarchy. For some parents, it's ok to bring your afternoon class of wine with you and for others it isn't. For some parents, it's ok to sit and watch as your child pushes other children down the slide using his foot (and a swift, but firm, kicking motion). For some parents, it's ok to parent another person's child as if they are their own, no holds barred. For some parents, they just don't know what the heck to do with any of it.

For the kids, the playground is where the politics of childhood happens. It's where the experienced politicians take on the lesser experienced ones and deals are brokered. Play dates. Property swaps. Peace treaties. Propaganda distribution.

When I head to the playground, I don't want to deal with any of this. I never wanted to live in Washington. (Vegas, maybe, but not Washington.) I just want to go and let the kids romp and wear themselves out for bed.

But next time I brave the playground with my kids, I'll try to remember that the playground is not just the venue for play. It's practice for living in the big, bad world. City of lights, city of hope, and city of Justia Omnibus ("Justice for All"). If I don't let them learn it on the playground, they'll have to learn it in the big, bad world.
Friday, February 13, 2009
OK, I'm finally going to ask....where do you draw the line? Sometimes (ok, a lot of the time) I wonder if other people's kids get away with some of the stuff I overlook on a daily basis.

Today, for example, I was playing on Facebook while my kids were running around the house in chase. They were having an excellent time and had established a "game" in which they would take a lap of the place ending at the water cooler where they drank water (here's the bad part) STRAIGHT FROM THE NOZZLE like over-grown hamsters in a cage.

While I didn't egg them on, I also didn't make any effort to stop them. They were having fun. I was having a little obsessive-compulsive peace. So overall it seems ok to me.

Then I started to wonder if this is the beginning of the drinking out of the milk carton behavior for which I have no mercy when my husband does it. Am I opening a can of worms for social norms in the future? Or, perhaps, I'm just giving my kids some good fodder for therapy.

So instead of asking "What would Jesus do?" (which frankly wouldn't help me here). I'm asking you. What would you do? Where do you draw the line? What other behaviors should I look out for and nip in the bud? Please, I'm afraid I'm might be seriously off-base on this one!
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
A short while ago, I purchased a Bissell Steam Mop (AKA "The Pride of Osan"). With great anticipation and hope I used it for the first time and was some what disappointed in the results. My review was that I was unsure of what I thought of it and my lukewarm response created quite an uproar.

Well, I'm pleased to assuage the anger and resentment caused by my opinion by announcing to my readers (all 2 of you) that the steam mop is growing on me. I'm starting to really like the low-mess cleaning and the fact that I can clean my floors more often because it's not such a production to clean them.

With consistent use (and use according to the directions, which I usually never read), my floors are cleaner overall than they have ever been before.

I stand behind my previous note that it's best to do a good bucket-and-mop clean first and periodically, but otherwise it's a good purchase.

Now, please stop sending me all the hate mail and I'll ask the judge to remove the restraining orders.
Monday, February 9, 2009
We all know how important it is to stay motivated in order to complete a task. Our kids have that worked out for us already. "Mommy, I hungry." "Mommy, I'm thirsty." "Mommy, I want to get that." "Mommy, why can't I go?" "Mommy, are we there yet?" Sometimes we forget to put ourselves on our own agenda.

Well, I've got a solution. I've come across this great new tool to help us nag ourselves about things we'll probably never have time to get done anyway.

Sign up for your personal nagger at HassleMe where you can arrange to have a nagging e-mail of your choice sent to you periodically.

What a great idea!
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
My friend Melissa sent this to me this morning....Thank God!
Dear Diary,

For my birthday this year, my Husband (the dear) purchased a week of personal training at the local health club for me. Although I am still in great shape since being a high school football cheerleader 43 years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try.

I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer named Christo, who identified himself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swim wear.

My husband seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started!

The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.


Started my day at 6:00 a.m.

Tough to get out of bed, but found it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Christo waiting for me.

He is something of a Greek god - with blond hair, dancing eyes and a dazzling white smile. Woo Hoo!!

Christo gave me a tour and showed me the machines.

I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which he conducted his aerobics class after my workout today. Very inspiring!

Christo was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time he was around.

This is going to be a FANTASTIC week!


I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door.

Christo made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air then he put weights on it!

My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made the full mile.

His rewarding smile made it all worthwhile.

I feel GREAT!! It's a whole new life for me.


The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it.

I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals.

Driving was OK as long as I didn't try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot.

Christo was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other club members.

His voice is a little too perky for that early in the morning and when he scolds, he gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying.

My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Christo put me on the stair monster.

Why the hell would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators?

Christo told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life.


Asshole was waiting for me with his vampire-like teeth exposed as his thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl.

I couldn't help being a half an hour late it took me that long to tie my shoes. He took me to work out with dumbbells.

When he was not looking, I ran and hid in the restroom. He sent some skinny bitch to find me.

Then, as punishment, he put me on the rowing machine --which I sank.
_________ _ _____________________


I hate that bastard Christo more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world.

Stupid, skinny, anemic, anorexic little aerobic instructor. If there was a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat him with it.

Christo wanted me to work on my triceps. I don't have any triceps!

And if you don't want dents in the floor, don't hand me the damn barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich.

The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher.

Why couldn't it have been someone softer, like a drama coach or a choir director?


Satan left a message on my answering machine in his grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today.

Just hearing his voice made me want to smash the machine with my planner; however, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel.


I'm having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank GOD that this week is over.

I will also pray that next year my husband will choose a gift for me that is fun --like a root canal or a hysterectomy.

I still say if God had wanted me to bend over, he would have sprinkled the floor with diamonds!!!
Sunday, February 1, 2009
For anyone who knows me, you've probably heard me say these words over and over again. It's the closest thing I have to a parenting philosophy and it is as useful as any other advice I might be tempted to offer as I've found that usually parents who seem to be asking for advice are mostly asking for some empathy. This also covers that need as well.

Mostly, I use this phrase to talk myself through the trials and tribulations of Parenting 201. "It's only temporary" is a way to sustain myself when the vomiting starts, the whining crescendos, the tempers flare, the teeth are bared, or the homework battle begins.

But it is also a way to help me stop and smell the roses as well because "it's only temporary" is true for the good stuff as well. The precious moments of our children's lives that we will rarely, if ever, see again. The day the first tooth pops through. The day she goes to the potty all by herself with such pride. The day he draws his first picture of his family. The hugs and "I love you"s of early childhood are also temporary as they will eventually give way to the uncontrollable sullenness of adolescence and the customary distance of adulthood.

So, I offer this phrase up to you as you confront both the struggles and joys of parenting. It can be a comfort and a sorrow, but it can help us see it for what it really

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