Saturday, December 26, 2009

It was *that* good

For him, it was a KNOCKOUT of a day:

For her, there were screams of delight, and that's all a mother could ask for:

Until next year, Christmas, when we meet again.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose

It took me a while, but I realized this year that it has nothing to do with Santa's nose that gets him up the chimney. It's the sugar high from eating all the cookies, fudge and candy that bounces his butt back up that fireplace.

Ironically, after grazing on the 4 essential food groups: chocolate, peanut butter, confectionery sugar and sprinkles, my children begged us to go to bed at 7:07 p.m. tonight:

Thanks NORAD - Santa was a little too close for comfort when they saw him on the web site crossing the pond from Ireland. A little panic set in. Genius.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Night Before Christmas tale...abridged version

Twas the week of Christmas and all through the house, the kids were still fighting like two rabid mouse (Work with me, ok?!)

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes of a big snow storm that missed us, how dare!

The children were nestled, all snug on the couch, begging for popcorn, and candy and such.

Mama in her PJs and Dad in his sweats, had found out the Falcons had just beat the Jets (go Pats!)

When out on the lawn there arose such a quake, the girls from next door must be home for school break.

Away from the couch I flew like a flash, tore open the chips and settled down with a dash. The TV glowed like a new fallen snow, but there was still nothing on it that we wanted to know.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but Rob Thomas on TNT in some odd looking gear. With a star-studded tribute to Christmas on hand, I knew in a moment I'd be hearing a band!

More rapid than eagles my snackies they came, and I laughed and I cried when I called them by name:

"Now potato chips, Now cupcakes, Now Reeses and cheese! On crackers! On Veggie Dip! On Rice Krispies Treats! To the top of my tongue, to the pit of my stomach. Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

And then, in a twinkling, I heard in my gut all the grumbling and stirring of each little nut. As I drew up my hand and was turning around, more treats and goodies is what I soon found.

I was dressed in my stretch pants, from my head to my foot, and I know all that food I could easily put,

In my stomach, down my throat, in my belly with glee. But I had to stop quickly before it fattened me.

So I stepped away slowly and made a big sigh,

"Merry Christmas to all and to all a sugar high!"

Friday, December 18, 2009

If you promise not to tell...

You can read about what I bought a couple of special young ladies in my life for Christmas here: New England Mamas

And can I just add that I am in COMPLETE denial that Christmas is a week away. I just started enjoying holiday music on the radio and the 5th rerun of Rudolph on ABC Family.

Bah humbug. Give me one more week to soak it all in, please!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

He's never coming down

That little blob covered in 6 blankets and 37 stuffed animals is my son. And he may never sleep close to the ground ever again. He did tell the Elf on the Shelf to be sure and let Santa know he has bunk beds now, because last time he came he only had one bed. Details, details.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Change of seasons

I know the Winter Solstice isn't officially until December 21st, but let's just talk winter weather for a moment, shall we?

COLD. That is C.O.L.D - as in winds always seem to be blowing and temps keep dipping back below where they should be, according to me.

We put wreaths in our windows this year for the first time, and we keep having to rehang the one outside our bedroom. Kind of a pain, but I'm in a battle with Mother Nature and not backing down.

Now, let's talk other changes that have come with this season.

Teeth. Yeah, back to that loose tooth issue I have with my daughter. We ended up visiting an oral surgeon last week. Looking like she may be having some of the giggle gas to get that puppy out, along with a couple more. Surprisingly, she didn't dart for the door like she does at the dentist. I think the surgeon's soft, slow, I'm-not-going-to-jump-into-your-mouth approach worked. We shall see Jan 6 when we have to go back for the real deal.

But out of that appointment seemed to have spawned a new sense of fearlessness. Maybe she realized she doesn't have to be afraid of everything unknown? Maybe turning 7 last week flipped some switch and she's going to try new things? Maybe she had no idea what she was getting into when she proclaimed on Saturday,

"Mommy. I'm ready to get my ears pierced. Let's do it today!"

I've never had an issue with pierced ears. Not a huge fan of the 3 day old with new studs glistening, but I had always said when she was ready she could let me know and we'd have at it. Plus, makes gift giving super easy when you can always throw a cute pair of earrings into the mix.

So, off we went. And it went far better than I expected. Especially when the first one went through her ear, but never put the backing on, so the nice lady had to squeeze that on by hand. It hurt watching it.

Second one was a piece of cake (for me, anyway) and she's been glowing from ear to ear since she got them in. Her brother has also been glowing because we had promised when he turned 5 we'd put the top bunk on his bed. That also happened Saturday.

The earrings I don't think I'll regret. The bunk bed - I'll let you know after the first tumble down the ladder.

Seasons Greetings!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Starlight is a fraud

That elf on the shelf that we have - he/she's a fraud. Nothing magical about it at all.

My kids have done the following to each other since he/she's arrival:

swore (new phrase from my daughter while doing homework last night was "Suck it". You heard me. Suck it. I think she saw the horror in my eyes and said, "Is that bad?")
and all around ignored my threats that Starlight is watching and will tell Santa everything.

So if you are thinking of spending the cash, don't bother. And for those who watched Modern Family last night - can you really follow through on canceling Christmas, cuz I'm just about there?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Snow Angels

I really can't remember a December without snow. It seems since my daughter came into this world 7 years ago, we've had a pretty significant snow fall of some sort to mark the month. And with her brother following suit and arriving exactly 5 years later, he too only knows of white Decembers.

So my little snow angels celebrate their big day today (up before the sun to open gifts), and head off to school in a fresh coating of snow, reminding me how quickly the winters meld together and the years blur, but the love I have for them is as strong as the day they entered the world. Happy Birthday!

Monday, December 7, 2009

First flakes of the season

This brought a little bit of Christmas joy to our house this weekend.

Pretty, right? But I still can't help feeling that things are a tad off this year. This year was the first year I didn't take the picture of the kids for our Christmas cards. I missed shouting, "Get closer. Stop making goofy faces. Pretend you love each other. Closer. Smile. Smile. Smile."

We went out to choose our tree yesterday and when we put it up it ended up being 2 feet too short for my liking. We were trudging through a mud pit at our local farm (in my favorite UGGS - go ahead, call me petty, but I love those boots) so we sort of rushed picking out a tree and the kids were cold and repeating "Mommy, do you like this day? I don't like this day with all this mud."

We took a horse-drawn carriage ride - around the parking lot - of the local strip mall in town - in the freezing cold - and then visited Mrs. Claus and her very, well, uhm, well, "Elfy" Elf. He was certainly into the role.

To date, we haven't gone to see Ole Saint Nick yet. Every Christmas event we've been to we've missed him by a few minutes (or a whole day) and now the thought of squeezing in a visit to the Mall Santa is not top of my list.

I have no exciting gifts for anyone this year. I can't think of anything that screams "Wait-until-you-open-this-you-aren't-going-to-believe-what-is-under-the-tree-I-am-the-most-creative-gift-giver-ever!" It seems iTunes gift cards just don't solicit that reaction. *Sigh*

I know - I know. Those are all "things" that are making me sad. I'll turn it around. I just need a little Christmas magic and for that I lean on the spiked egg nog sights and sounds of the season.

We attended hubby's company Christmas party last Friday. It was fun pretending to be part of an organization of more than 12 men. I forgot what that was like. My daughter took a picture of us dressed up...then her brother wanted in on it...with the snowman...and I swear our house isn't sinking to the right.

Tomorrow I volunteer at the Santa shopping day for the school. I shall steer 3rd and 4th graders to the perfect gift for their parents - for under $10.

Wednesday is supposed to bring more snow and I'll get out to do more shopping this weekend and maybe something will jump out at me as creative and fantastic as a gift. Next week is the Christmas Show for the K, 1st and 2nd graders at school - that is always so fun(ny).

I hope you are finding ways to stir your inner-Christmas spirit. Share them so I can join in. Or check out what some of the local ladies are doing here: New England Mamas

Thursday, December 3, 2009

In a crowded restaurant...

My son asks me, rather loudly:

"Mommy. Was I hatched from an egg?" (snickers from patrons sitting around us)

Me: "Ahhhh. No, you weren't."

Him: "How was I born?"

Me: "From Mommy's belly."

Him: "How?"

Me: *crickets*

Him: "How, Mommy? How? How was I born?"

Me: "It's really not something we talk about at the dinner table at a restaurant."

His sister: "Don't worry. When you get married to a girl you'll find out then."

And that ends any apparent need for me to discuss the birds and the bees with my son, because his future wife will take care of it. Phew.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


You may call it "December" in your world, but I call it Stressember in mine. Why? Oh no particular reason, just a million little ones like:

  • Two birthdays with two birthday parties

  • A trip away for work

  • Yearly Doctor visits

  • Hubby's holiday party

  • Tree choosing and decorating

  • Present wrapping

  • Gifts for teachers, mailman, paperboy and hair/nail stylists

  • Cookie baking

  • Christmas dinner planning

  • Advent box filling for 25 days

  • Move a certain elf around the house every night

  • Christmas card sending

  • Umpteen fundraisers and charity requests

  • School picture retakes

  • Half-day here, no buses there

  • No-food-allowed gifts for friends in school(s)

  • Try to remember what night the Christmas specials are on TV

  • Now if you'll excuse me, I'm nauseous from thinking about it all and need to go rest. But really, isn't it the most wonderful time of the year????

    Wednesday, November 25, 2009

    Do you believe in fairy dust and Santa's elves?

    I know we haven't even made it through Thanksgiving yet, but with Christmas one month away I figured it's never too soon to start whipping the kids into shape spreading holiday joy.

    Drum roll please...dddrrrrrrrrrrrr (sound like a drum?)....Welcome Back Starlight!!! (insert cymbal crashing):

    My son could barely get the words "Daddy! Look! Abby! Look!" out of his throat when he saw her sitting on the kitchen shelf. My daughter LITERALLY fell to her knees in excitement with a grin from ear to ear. They both repeated, "She's back. She's back. I can't believe Starlight is back" 100 million times.

    They believe. They believe in holiday magic and elves that fly to the North Pole every night to let Santa know they've been good. They believe everyone has a happy home, is loved and can be whatever they want when they grow up.

    It's not time to introduce reality into their world. They'll have enough of that in the years to come - so for now, this Thanksgiving, I'm thankful they dream with their imagination and love without reservation.

    Wishing you the magic of fairy dust and little elves this holiday season.

    Monday, November 23, 2009

    Ying and Yang

    I have no idea the full story about what Ying does or what Yang does but I know if I Google it then I'd get an answer. But for now, I'll go with the belief that one completes the other because of their differences. Good with that?

    Good. Because that describes my children to a tee.

    My daughter stayed home with a "really, really bad stomach ache" on Friday. I thought for sure she was coming down with my stomach flu so I let her stay home.

    By 10:00 she was completely enthralled in some Saddle Club DVDs. She watched all of them, maybe twice, while I got some work done in my office. Then it was lunch time and there was no sign of a stomach ache, or a flu of any kind. So I asked what she wanted to do for lunch.

    "Go out."

    She's going to make some man poor with all the dinners, lunches and breakfasts out on the town. She would rather eat out than sit in and relax. In fact, if she had 105 fever she'd still want to go out to eat.

    Flash forward to today. My son came down with a "really, really sore throat" late Saturday, only his came with a fever. And he spent most of Sunday sleeping, eating Jell-o and just hanging around the couch. He was happy as could be.

    So as luck would have it, today was his sick day home with me, and a Dr. visit. (We're assuming strep even though the initial culture came back negative. The Dr. didn't fall for it and neither did I - it had to be strep or H1N1 and I'd take the strep since it comes with antibiotics.)

    By 10:00 this morning he was completely NOT enthralled with DVDs. In fact, he felt the need to give me a status update on the movie every 15 mins. Up, down, up, down, up, down for 101 minutes (side note: if you don't want your 5 year old exposed to words like "shit" and "crap", don't let him watch The SandLot.)

    Nothing really held his attention, so I ended up plugging in my laptop in the living room to work so at least we were in the same room. Plus, I could distract him with a variety of TV shows, games and "Uh Huh" over 100 times so he believed I was always listening. And his fever had broke and he was ready to play hockey in the house so I had to figure out how to divert that idea. Fabulous.

    Then, it was lunch time. I envisioned a touching mother and son lunch at his favorite spot with some funny moments over french fries and grilled cheese. Nope, he wanted to stay home. He'd stay put on the same couch, in the same house, in the same pajamas for days if you let him. As long as someone is in the same house as him, he'd never leave.

    So my little Ying and Yang keep me busy, and offer a great balance no matter whose sick day it is! And while one would sit mesmerized by horse DVDs and the other needs constant snuggling and attention, it's nice to have a little one-on-one time with each of them. Those days are really few and far between.

    Thursday, November 19, 2009

    Our Family Secret Recipe

    My aspiring chef, my almost-there-just-a-few-more-weeks-until-he-turns 5 year old son has shared our family secret recipe for the perfect turkey dinner at Thanksgiving.

    You think you have to slave over an oven for HOURS and baste and re-baste the bird, right?


    I'll translate below in case you can't read it:

    How does Mom or Dad prepare and cook the turkey?

    "My Mom cooks the turkey. She puts it in the oven for 3 minutes. Then my mom squeezes the juice out. Then my mom cuts the meat and takes the bones out. Then we eat it."

    Hey, listen, he may not know about how long it takes to cook a turkey yet but he's finally starting to color inside the lines on his drawings. And that is an accomplishment, I tell you. We were going to start calling him "Scribble Master A".

    And who knows, I may give his recipe a shot this year - and then promptly blog from the hospital bed with food poisoning...

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones!

    Saturday, November 14, 2009

    It's the simple things

    Like the smell of my son's breath when I crouch down to check on him each night before I go to bed.

    Or the way my daughter's hair curls and is distinctively red. And how I can pull one curl down to have it spring right back into place.

    The way my husband comes up behind me when I'm at the computer and just knows I could use my shoulders rubbed.

    It's the way my dog curls up at the base of my chair each day while I work, and occasionally looks up to make sure I'm still there.

    Or how my grandmother's voice is still strong and secure as she reaches the fabulous age of 83.

    It's the simple things like knowing I can call my Mom at any moment when I don't feel well and she'll let me ramble on and on and on and on...and on and on and on...

    And how my Dad always remembers to ask how am I? How are the kids? How is my husband? Even if we speak briefly on the phone.

    It's the emptiness I often feel with my brother and his family so far away in miles, but the joy I get from his laugh on the phone when we speak.

    It's a house that smells like warm, fall foods cooking in the oven.

    A gentle rain cleaning things off outside.


    The Holiday Season.


    How lucky am I to have those simple things?


    Friday, November 13, 2009

    She really tries

    Report Card day was yesterday!

    Nothing like dragging your stomach-churning, back-aching body to meet with the first grade teacher for the first official report card meeting. Good times.

    Actually, it went very well. Grades were a little all over the place - but as I recall my first grade world consisted of 1, 2, 3 in which case I was usually 1's across the board because that encompassed A through B- pretty much. But without a D or F on her card, I was pretty happy.

    Plus, it's FIRST GRADE. I need to shout that to remind myself. She won't be denied college entrance because of her first grade grades --- right?

    I learned some great things about my daughter. She likes structure and plans. If she's not clear on what the expectations are or what is happening next she gets a little off track. NO IDEA where that comes from. *cough*

    She tries. She really tries. Which means more to me than anything. However, and there is always a however, she is a very social girl.

    Hmm. Really? Like social as in polite-to-everyone-and-a-bit-outgoing or dancing-on- the-desktop-happy-hour social? The teacher said it's a good thing, so I won't worry, yet.

    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    When Momma gets sick...

    Ain't nobody happy.

    I remember being sick before having children - how I would curl up in my PJ's in an empty house, with an empty brain, some fluids, painkillers and maybe bad soap operas on in the background simply to remind me it was still mid-day and not mid-night. How I could just think "it'll get done tomorrow" as I rolled over in my little sickness fog to fall back asleep.

    Now, getting sick means having all the time in the world to revisit the endless lists in my head of all the things I'm not getting accomplished because I'm sick. Such as:

    --Taking that exact day off as a "floating holiday" to complete Christmas and birthday shopping for the kids, only to come down with some debilitating stomach virus that has me trapped in my hot, dark bedroom furious that I'm not out shopping and enjoying the day by myself! *Note to self: change that day from "floating holiday" to "sick day" so I can try it again another day this month.

    --Panicking every 20 minutes about what I'm going to do as an activity for the kids birthday party which is only 18 days away. And since I'm not a fan of goody bags, last year I had the kids color their own ornaments to take home with them, but all they asked on the way out was "Where's the goody bags?". Do I succumb to goody bag pressure?

    --What color is Thursday at Alex's school? Does he need to find something purple to wear? And does Abby have gym if it's a 1/2 day?

    --Can I eat something, yet? The thought makes me nauseous so I guess the answer is no. Plus what would I eat? I haven't got a can of soup in my house because I was supposed to go food shopping today and I'm sick!

    --I need a hair cut before Thanksgiving. When am I going to squeeze that in now that I just lost a day and 1/2 to illness!

    --I wonder what the weather is like outside. I hate not knowing the weather forecast. Humph.

    That's right. When Momma gets sick nobody is happy - well at least Momma ain't happy. Maybe the rest of them did just fine.

    Maybe Daddy made them scrambled eggs the first night, and took them out to eat the next. Maybe he made them laugh, gave them showers and got them ready for school no problem.

    Maybe they poked their little heads in my room to say I Love You Mommy, before bed time and actually meant it. Maybe they made little special gifts out of scraps of paper and left them on the bureau and my son named one of them the "Get Better Blue Ant" because he wasn't sure what he made but knew it was blue and knew I was sick.

    Go figure. They were pretty happy when Momma was sick...

    Thursday, November 5, 2009

    "My Bad"

    My daughter's latest catch phrase when she makes a mistake on her homework, kicks her brother, spills a drink, forgets to tell me something, says something inappropriate, or puts too much shampoo in her hair is, "My bad".

    S'quze me? My bad. I know what it means. I use it on occasion. Rare occasions. But to hear it spewing out of her mouth every other minute is getting a little annoying. No, a lot annoying.

    I've asked her to replace it with new phrases. Like, "my mistake" or "I'm sorry" or "whoops". She tries, but still, "my bad" is what we hear.

    And I know it's not the worst thing that can come out of her mouth. Hell, when I do something wrong it's usually "shit" or "crap" so I count my blessings when that isn't repeated.

    But it got me thinking to a conversation I had with a neighbor who threw out a swear word in front of the kids recently (and to his defense he's usually very good about not swearing) when he said, "they hear worse on the school bus".

    And he's right. In fact, this generation of kids seem to use much worse words on Facebook. Or when texting. Or on Twitter. Or walking around the mall.

    I'm always stunned and appalled how frequently the "n" word is dropped by youngsters no older than some of my family members. We're talking under 16.

    Should we blame an era of technology where spoken words are replaced by typed words so perhaps they don't seem as bad? Is it okay because they are abridging words in texting like FOAD (F#@K off and die) or GTFOH (Get the F#@k outta here) so they are implied but not written?

    Will they regret some of their comments (I say YES) when they get older and their digital footprint follows them from place to place, job to job, and uncovers their ignorance and potential prejudices?

    I just don't want my kids swearing before their time. Even though I'm not sure when that time is. 13? 16? 18? Never would be nice. I'm sure it will happen. But in our house, phrases like shut up, stupid and crap aren't tolerated. Unless of course you're Mommy. But then she can be stupid and often needs to learn to shut up...crap.

    Wednesday, November 4, 2009

    Pull the damn tooth out


    My daughter has had a loose bottom tooth for 6 months. No 10 months. No since birth, it seems!

    It is all black, covered in plaque because she won't brush it, and hanging by a thread. Or half a thread.

    I want to yank it in the middle of the night but I don't know if that's possible? My fear? That she'll clamp down on me like a pit bull and I'll lose a finger.

    Thoughts? Suggestions? Tactics?

    It's not like she hasn't lost any up til now. Proof in point:

    Oh, and there is this one that has NOTHING to do with her teeth, but I just think it's so damn cute:

    Monday, November 2, 2009

    Eggs over easy and Air Force One

    "Hey Marketing Lady!"

    "Who me?"

    "Ya, you...why can't you ever put that Blackberry down? What's with all this tweeting and facebooking?"

    No one actually called me "Marketing Lady" or asked those questions, but sometimes I hear those voices in my head as I whip out my Blackberry while waiting for a sandwich at the Deli. Or when we are with the kids at swim lessons and I can sneak a peek at some recent Tweets. Or sitting in traffic NOT MOVING (key phrase is highlighted in case you miss it).

    But Sunday morning, in a drowsy, hazy, sugar hangover from all the Halloween fun, we took the kids to a local diner for some eggs and pancakes. We saddled up to the counter where there is a view of the Sunday morning shows on TV, complete with pictures of Barack Obama. My daughter sees it and blurts out how she's learning about Air Force One and Marine One in school.

    Then it clicked. Twitter. Air Force One. I follow someone who works for NBC News and he recently shared a picture of him and his crew rushing onto that big ole plane. I'll show it to her...

    Maybe not. My Twitter time line didn't go back that far. So I took a chance and tweeted him. He had just tweeted something which meant he might see mine and respond. I mean, he's only in DC and works for NBC News. He'll want to write to some lady in Boston, right?

    Well, he responded. In one minute he was searching for pictures for us. Below is our conversation stream and boy did the kids LOVE getting pictures of the President's plane over eggs and chocolate milk. They believed in their heart those pictures were just for them. In fact, when we got home they asked me to print them up for them for their photo books.

    *That* is why I tweet. The conversations. The cool people you meet. The idea that a busy cameraman from NBC News would take time out on a Sunday morning to send me links of his pics of Air Force One for my kids. A man I've never met, but who I follow because I find him to be interesting. There has never been anything like Twitter for me. I love to learn, engage and meet people from around the globe in 140 characters at a time.

    So if you ever ask the Marketing Lady, I'll tell you social networking is about the instantaneous push and pull of information between people within a community, at any hour of the day, about any subject. Professionally, that is amazing for me and makes my job so incredible. But personally, watching my kids ooh and ahhh over my blackberry to "Mommy's friend who flies with the President"; that can't be measured in fun or cool or incredible because it surpasses that. I guess that's why it always seems like I'm on that little phone - and why I don't think I'll be putting it down anytime soon. And why the kids got a kick out typing their own "thank you" on the little keyboard. Manners first, no matter the technology!

    Time line of our conversation:

    From me to Jim: @newmediajim: Good morning - you don't have that AF1 pic link handy do u? Want to show my daughter but bberry won't go back that far :( thx!! 9:06 a.m. Nov 1

    From Jim to me: @christinelexa hang on, lemme find you a good one 9:07 a.m. Nov 1

    From me to Jim: @newmediajim thanks! We're at breakfast and she is so excited. This will make her morning :) 9:11 a.m. Nov 1

    From Jim to me: @christinelexa this is AF1 in Tanzania i believe this is Bahrain 9:13 a.m. Nov 1

    From us to Jim: @newmediajim thank you, abby (7yo on a blackberry for the first time) thank you, alex (4yo on a blackberry for the first time). So kind, thx 9:20 a.m. Nov 1

    From Jim to me: @christinelexa aww tell them both hi for me! and tell them not to eat all of their halloween candy for breakfast ;) 9:22 a.m. Nov 1

    Thursday, October 29, 2009

    Halloween Costume: Global Warming

    Halloween is dressed up and ready to trick or treat - as Global Warming.

    70 degrees? That's what they are forecasting for Halloween in New England. Since my daughter was born, we have had unusually warm Halloween nights. And by delaying the fall back of time, it's pretty light out when we hit the road, too.

    There is a picture floating around somewhere of me during my beauty-pageant years (ahem) with my coke bottle glasses as round as my head, fake cigar, layers upon layers of clothes, fake mustache and beard, heading out to trick or treat as a Hobo (is that PC to say these days?) because *damn* it used to be COLD!! No, actually, FRIGID, this time of year. When we were even younger we would hide in those plastic masks using our own breath to keep us warm - and when you lifted it up to reveal who was underneath, it felt like someone smacked you in the face with a brick of ice. Brrrrr...

    Now, my kids throw on a light sweatshirt that often comes off somewhere along the route when they start to sweat, and we leave the jackets at home as we race around the neighborhood on what tightly challenges Christmas as the best holiday ever in our house.

    So come on New Englanders, whip out your sunscreen, flip flops and shorts - it's almost Halloween!!!

    Monday, October 26, 2009

    I blame Twitter for not having the writing mojo

    @christinelexa: Happy Monday. What a great weekend. Fingers crossed it flows into a great week.

    @christinelexa: This is the main reason we bought this house 5 years ago. The crackling will put me to sleep! Zzzzzz

    @christinelexa: I think if I knew Yoga now would be the time to use it. But I don't. So I'll just breathe and turn the afternoon around. Happy place...

    @christinelexa: Bad internet connection has caused a huge headache. Like the pounding kind. Like the kind that only a happy hour starting at 3:00 can fix!

    @christinelexa: SEX talk - sorry, gender discussion - now with @geechee_girl about women in social media #SMBNH

    OK, not sure what all those are? Those are some of my tweets. Those are the 140 character thoughts that run through my head during the day and night. Those are how I think now. I used to think in blog. I used to have long conversations in my head on the 2 hour drive home from my office and would gleefully run to my computer to put them down "in writing" on my blog. Thoughts. Glorious thoughts that flowed from my fingertips and filled up a page. Stories that would amuse you and make you giggle, or blush, or question my sanity.

    Now, I think in tweets. Short. Quick. Can't use many words. Will run out of characters. How-do-I-shorten-them-to-fit thoughts.

    So while I still enjoy my children and life, I just can't think in longer than 2 or 3 short sentences, which makes it hard to share with you in detail all the funny, cool things going on in our house. And at this rate, my blogs are going to read:

    @christinelexa: Woke up. Work. Time with kids. Wine. Rest. Repeat.

    Help. Please help me turn off the tweets. I want to blog again!

    (Or follow me @christinelexa - just be warned, I do work full time and tweeting comes with the job so not all my tweets are as intensely profound and personal as the ones above - I know hard to believe, right?)

    Thursday, October 22, 2009


    Title caught your attention didn't it? It's not about me - er, mine. It's my son. And his obsession.

    Recently, I found him outside his room with one of my bras on his head screaming,

    "Abby...remember in Wall-e when he puts the boob thing on his head?"

    He then proceeded to crack himself up as I chased him to get my boob thing back.

    The other day, he asked me to draw a picture of the Hulk for him. We've never seen the Hulk. Never watched the Hulk. So I did my best "bulked up" man sketch and when I was done, he took it from me - studied it for a moment - smiled - and added two little dots about mid-chest.

    "What are those?" I asked.

    "His boobs," he replied

    I'm going to go out on a limb and guess his girlfriends won't be leggy. They'll most likely well endowed.

    He's such a little boob :)

    Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    Falling for fall

    Usually, by this time of year I'm so excited for fall. Even though I know it leads to winter, which isn't so much my game. I'm usually so sick of hot sun, humid days and wearing the same stained shorts that I can't wait to roll into my slippers in the morning, put on a warm sweater and drink a cup of hot green tea to start my day.

    But this year, with an abridged version of summer here in New England, I'm not falling for fall like I usually do. Leaves. Blah. I wish they'd stay green. I pretended to be ooohhing and aaahhing at the pretty colors on the way home from Maine last week in an attempt to get the kids excited about the seasons.

    Frosty windshields. Random snow storms (ok snow showers) before Halloween. Acorns falling from the trees, causing me to twist my ankle. Chipmunks and squirrels scavenging for winter food, including my birdseed. Bees. Tons of Bees showing up in the house (maybe a whole different problem). Less sunlight. More darkness. Poor Dog doesn't get to hang outside as long.

    Yeah, I'm not ready for fall but do I really have a choice?

    So bring on the toasty fires in the fireplace. The endless bowls of soup for lunch. The warm crockpot dishes for dinner. The smell of trees and plants getting ready to sleep for the winter. Put your pumpkins and Mums on your front porches. Fill up the bird feeders. Shake out the warmer coats and the fleece pullovers. Inhale the cool crisp air and snuggle with an insulated cup filled with your favorite hot cocoa. Pretty soon, we'll be on the inside looking out thinking "Boy, I wish fall stuck around a little longer this year."

    Saturday, October 17, 2009

    It's mine until Assisted Living

    It's done. Finished. Complete! (except for maybe one shelf above the microwave but that is still up for discussion). And just so you know, we will not be selling this house, ever. And if we do, it's because I can't make it up to the bedroom on the second floor. Got it? It's all mine ours!

    The before:

    And the after:

    Just in case you were wondering, I don't normally leave food sitting around in serving dishes on my counters. My parents came for dinner so I got a little fancy.

    Now, let's move on to more exciting blogs like failing grades, H1N1, early arrival of winter and how my hands look like shriveled apple people these days.

    Deal? Thanks for listening!

    Friday, October 16, 2009

    Like my top?

    I don't think I could be any happier - I have counter tops! Waaaaahhh! (That's supposed to sound like that noise you make after having an epitome of some sort - sort of spiritual in nature...anyway)

    At this point we are literally down to some spot painting, a shelf, and one under cabinet light installation. Once it is all cleaned up, tied up and pulled together I shall share before and after pictures - as if you aren't already sick of hearing about this damn kitchen.

    Oh, and did I mention we placed the order for the cabinets on August 26 so congrats to hubby for a kitchen installation in less than 2 months...he's a good foreman.

    Wednesday, October 14, 2009

    First Grade Progress Report

    "Needs Improvement"
    "Needs Improvement"
    "Below Average"
    "Below Average"
    "Needs to pay attention better and focus"

    Ahem - excuse me!! Over here! I think you gave my child the wrong progress report...innocent mistake I'm sure.

    You see, my kid is not "below average". At anything. She's smart. Funny. Caring. Considerate. Compassionate. Strong-willed. Enthusiastic. Energetic. Did I mention smart?

    Trying to explain to an almost 7 year old that her progress report wasn't all glowing and wonderful while she stares at you excited for you to read it to her, because in her heart she LOVES her school, and her teacher, and her classmates - it's heart-wrenching.

    Can you ever tell a child someone thinks she's below average? At Reading, Spelling, and Religion. Excellent in Science and Phonics (she says they're easy, thus the Excellent part). Good at Math, Art and Social Studies.

    So, we carefully explained that all the teacher wanted was for her to try a little bit harder at her words and spelling. And sometimes the things that she thinks are really hard take more time and studying than the things that are easy. But that if she wanted to work with the horses some day, she needed to learn how to read so she could take care of them. (Score one for the Mom - anything that has to do with those neighing creatures is sure to motivate, right!?)

    I also told her not to be disappointed because I wasn't so hot at Science so she was lucky to be so good at that...and Math wasn't one of my strong suits either.

    She sighed, discouraged, and asked how frequently the progress reports came out and exactly when. You see, she already knew if she could make it look good around progress report time, maybe she'd get more "Excellents", which is all she really wants. Told you she was smart...

    Friday, October 9, 2009

    The year you were born was my FAVORITE year

    1987 was awesome. High school graduation. First semester of College. Loved that year.

    1983 was pretty cool. Freshman year of high school. New friends. Old friends.

    1985 was up there, too. DRIVERS LICENSE. W00t!! Pile in the Ford Granada.

    1988 saw a lot of independence emerge. Heartbreak. Love. College in full swing. Legal drinking age - oops wait. That's what the bouncers thought but it wasn't true.

    My point? I spent two days with SEVERAL HUNDRED people, and the majority were born during those same years. BORN. BORN in the 80's and drinking with me at the event.

    No wonder when 10:00 hit I ran out of the bar like Cinderella at midnight...who wants to see the exhausted old lady lose her slipper on the way out because she's had 3 glasses of wine and has been up 16 hours trying to sound intelligent and cool at the same time, and could have given birth to some of the same people she was spewing advice to about Twitter, FaceBook and social networking??

    Wanna feel old? Go to a social media event. Damn kids.

    Monday, October 5, 2009

    Nooks and crannies

    No muffins in this post. Just progress people! What a busy weekend...

    We have our microwave nook - minus the shelf which will go up soon. Nice nook, hubby!

    We have a window sill and molding - now that's a kitchen window!

    And to all the women out there - why aren't shop vac's marketed directly to us? See that little puppy on the floor? It is the answer to all my cat hair, dust ball, dried mud bits, cracker crumb, and crud issues throughout the house. That little vacuum sucked the 5 year old remnants of burned wood and dust out from the cracks in our stone fireplace hearth. Vrooooomp. Sucked right up. Love it!

    Luckily we didn't suck the lost tooth up - but we were on our hands and knees for a bit trying to find it on the carpet. She didn't even know it came out - until she noticed the blood dripping out of her mouth. Oy vey.

    Busy weekend followed by a busy week so see you when I find a few minutes to myself.

    Thursday, October 1, 2009

    Jon and Kate who?

    A few years ago I happened upon a program that had two parents situated next to each other on a couch while their very young sextuplets teetered and tottered around them. It was adorable. And I had such a high respect for how they balanced their lives and stuck to such a regimented schedule. Wow. 8 kids in all. I could never do it. Seriously, N-E-V-E-R do it. I was hooked. I watched all the marathons on Saturdays to catch up.

    And during the course of their conversation I would snicker at some of the comments made by the Mom. Sort of reminded me of myself at times. It's hard not getting a little sarcastic with your spouse after a long day of diapers, feedings, entertaining, sleeplessness and boo-boo healing. And I only had two kids and felt extremely fortunate to be able to be home with them. Plus I love my husband and want him to know I think he's wonderful. Most of the time. Ok, more than most, but not as much as always. Fair?

    Then all hell broke loose and now I get nauseous over the fact that America (is it really America? Or tabloids?) is obsessed with the bickering, arguing, rude, obnoxious, poor behavior displayed by everyone involved with that series. Do I side with the Mom? Probably. Am I pissed at the TV network for letting it get to where it has just for ratings. Yes. Do I think he's a slime? Yes. Would I have stayed with my husband if he spoke to me like that for all those years? No. Does he have a right to leave? Sure.

    But no matter, the focus should be on the children. How many ugly divorces occur in the country on any given day? Way too many. Way, way too many where kids are involved.

    So put the friggin cameras down. Stop the voyeurism and move on, people!!! Isn't Britney doing something insane we can all focus on? Or that Lady GaGa must be wearing some hideous outfit? Leave the kids alone!!!!! Stop. Back up. Sorry Momma but the bread and butter needs to come from some place else, not just from showcasing your kids and the tears in front of the camera. Speaking gigs pay well. Write a book. Just shut the cameras off for a bit. Please.

    I'm off my soapbox, thanks. Just breaks my heart all of that will be there for years to come for them to read and relive. So not fair.

    Monday, September 28, 2009

    The final pieces

    If I could explain how completely disorganized and out-of-sorts I feel these days, I'd share it with you. But I am so disorganized and out-of-sorts these days that even a simple blog is beyond my realm.

    So, I will stick to the latest update on the kitchen remodel. Our final cabinet pieces arrived on Friday. We just have to get the counter top man to show up and template for the granite. Hubby picked out slab out last week so we know what we're getting, we just need it cut all spiffy and shiny.

    We decided to keep an island after all - I know, enough about the island arleady, right? We had an extra cabinet after the wall fiasco, so I added a cute little 9 inch piece to the right that holds canned goods and spices so it works:

    We will reduce the overhang on the counter top there, just to be sure we don't create a really crowded space, but we may still be able to put in two small stools if we want.

    Then, this is the start of the "microwave nook":

    I see this becoming our message area, too, since we'll probably put our phone, endless lists and mail in there. Confine the mess, if you will.

    So once our granite arrives and we trim out the window, we are almost done. Just needs a fresh coat of paint and we'll have ourselves a brand new kitchen! Should be just in time for Autumn's real arrival and I can't wait to have all my kitchenware in the house instead of in the cold garage. Mission accomplished!

    Monday, September 21, 2009

    Level + drill + shims = magic

    75% complete. Paint, molding, baseboard, granite and hardware left!

    Oh yeah. They're almost full...

    Friday, September 18, 2009

    Let the hanging begin

    I promise I'm not talking about some inhumane torture from the 17th century - I'm talking cabinets, baby!

    This weekend we take this:

    and hopefully make it look like this:

    OK. Not exactly like that. I mean, our cabinets are white. And I don't have 3,000 sq feet of kitchen space.

    And even after the cabinets are hung, we still need all the trimmings like molding, paint, countertops and switch covers. But I have a feeling that once those puppies are on the wall, there will be no stopping me from filling them up! I'll share the "after" pictures soon!


    On a different note: My son threw this out this morning while talking to his sister,

    "You are in a heap of trouble Missy for coloring on Woody."

    Heap? I've never once used the word heap in our house.

    While in another world, my daughter is learning about endangered animals in school and informed me that her friend's dog is endangered and will be extinct soon because he's old.

    Close. But I don't think we'll ever see a day when house dogs are endangered OR extinct.

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009

    Yukon Cornelius in action

    For years I have only purchased new cars. I grew up with a Dad (time to place blame here) who traveled on the road for his job so every few years we'd have a new car. We'd play with the buttons, radio pre-sets, new CASSETTE players, and savor the new car smell when he'd bring it home.

    My affection and my obsession for new cars is entering it's 4th decade. I always knew if I worked hard, I'd be able to maintain the frequent new car smell moments just like when I was a kid and I have always budgeted a car payment. Say what you will. It's just my thing. I believe since I met my husband I've owned 7 cars - and that has been over a period of less than 20 years.

    This time, when I was car shopping for #8, I decided to broaden my horizons (and tighten my pocketbook) and look at pre-owned cars. The new, fancy way to say USED.

    When I discovered my latest obsession, and my wallet wasn't drained by the price, I jumped on it. I mean, it's only 2 years old and must be *just* like owning a new car. And, since I was 16, I dreamed of owning a BMW. Mid-life crisis kicked in BIG TIME when I took it for a test drive. Vroom Vrooom.

    Boy, am I disappointed so far. Bumble has lived up to it's name, and Yukon Cornelius must be hiding in my garage because yesterday, after 3.5 days of ownership, he struck big time. I have the stain on my driveway to prove it.

    To date, the center console hinge is broken. We knew about that and it was supposed to be fixed before I took delivery but "the part wasn't in yet"...sure.

    The windshield was replaced before they delivered the car to me - I guess that's a plus? Until it leaks this winter.

    The back power outlet fell out.

    The daytime running lights feature is turned off? May seem small but what is the point of having the round BMW headlights if they stay dark until dusk?

    The fog light cover is cracked, in not one, but two places.

    And yesterday, after a 200 mile round trip trek to my office in Amherst, my radiator blew. Antifreeze leaked all over the driveway and this morning the proof is still there even after attempts to wash down the evidence.

    As my new toy was hauled away on the flatbed last night (much to my son's excitement) I took a moment to say sorry to my Lexus RX330 - should have hung on to her no matter how many miles she'd racked up, how stinky she was, and how many times I panicked when the CD player didn't work and I feared I'd never get my Rob Thomas CD's out!

    I'll be driving Rudolph-the-loaner-car back to pick up Bumble either today or tomorrow. Think I can stop at the Lexus dealer and trade it in on the way home?

    Be careful what you wish for - when reality sets in, it can really disappoint.

    Friday, September 11, 2009

    Welcome Bumble

    If you have small kids, here is a bit of advice. Don't let them name your car. Because if they do, inevitably when the transmission dies, or you trade it in, they will cry. I've seen it happen twice in my life.

    I blame the "car naming" on Little Einsteins. If Leo hadn't keep calling his flying ship "Rocket", then my car never would have been named the same thing. And now that our "Rocket" is being traded in for a new SUV, the happy news of getting a new car turned into my daughter sobbing at dinner last night.

    It went something like this:

    "So, we have some fun news for you guys."

    Eyes wide open "What? Tell us", they both shouted.

    "Well, when Mommy picks you up tomorrow from school tomorrow, it will be in a *white* car", I said.

    Faces dropped. Eyes rolled.

    "I thought you were going to say we were going someplace fun", exclaimed my daughter.

    "Sorry", I said, "but I just wanted you to know so when you don't see Rocket tomorrow you aren't confused."

    Eyes welled with tears.

    "Why? Where is Rocket going?", she asked.

    "Well, I have to give it to the car man so I can get my new car."


    I actually thought my son would cry because he is not a fan of change. But it was my sensitive red head who did most of the crying. Until she realized the portable DVD player comes with us in the new car. Oh, and that cars don't go to car heaven because they are only things and not people or animals.


    So, this morning a name had to be chosen for the new white car. Much to my daughter's dismay - who was voting for snowflake - we chose Bumble. Like the big white, hairy creature from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Apparently, I learned nothing from what just happened and in 5 years when Bumble is probably too small and needs to be traded in, should I expect an 11 year old to react this way again?

    **kitchen update** The cabinets have arrived! But the walls still aren't up. Big projects this weekend.

    I also wanted to post about my thoughts on the 9/11 anniversary, but given the cloudy, cool, damp day ahead of us, I decided to quietly remember by myself, as I will never forget.

    Wednesday, September 9, 2009

    Silly teenage dream

    Some teenagers dream of being a singing sensation, or an Olympic athlete, or joining the peace corp.

    My dream wasn't that ambitious. Mine was to be able to make a simple purchase some day. I had a picture of a red BMW convertible hanging on my bedroom wall. I don't know why I was drawn to that car - through much of high school I had no concept of brands or labels (in fact I could never fit into a real pair of Calvin's when they were popular), but I loved the little round headlights on that baby.

    Twenty-four years later and I finally jumped feet first and made my dream a reality. Seems silly - unless you were that kid with the picture hanging on your wall. It may not be red, or a convertible, but it made my hands sweat when I drove it and gives me butterflies when I think about picking it up in a couple of days.

    My other dream - of having a happy, loving marriage and family with two kids - that was my real ambitious goal and that worked out great.

    Say hello to my little friend

    Tuesday, September 8, 2009

    Kitchen Detour!

    You *KNOW* it was bound to happen. Nothing can go perfectly - it just isn't possible.

    As my husband was tearing apart our old pantry in anticipation of our new cabinets (which arrived 2 weeks EARLY and are sitting at the store!! What?), he came across this:

    Now, I would have just cut the whole thing down in my renovation wisdom, but it was quickly identified as a pretty important stack of 2X4's - that hold up our second floor - under my son's room - over my kitchen.


    After hemming, hawing, hemming, swearing, staring, measuring, sighing, swearing and spending quality time with our neighbor who has also magically turned into quite the handyman, we came to a solution. Make a left hand turn.

    We'll put a wall up at the big gaping hole and then create a built-in microwave/hutch cabinet around the corner in a new space we can create that doesn't risk our house collapsing:

    But, in that discovery process we realized we can't use one of our cabinets because it is too wide, so today I ordered another one that's 6 inches smaller and breathed a sigh of relief. We may have to eat the cost of the original cabinet (and it may become an island one day so I'm not freaking out) but that is the price of do-it-yourself-kitchen-demolition-and-remodeling-with-absolutely-no-experience-doing-any-kitchen-contract-work...

    In the meantime, the fabulous neighbor across the street has already wired 6 new recessed lights:

    Installed all our new switches and outlets AND our new, smaller window:

    It's true I sacrificed a wall of natural light, but at this point I'm ready for more storage. Glorious storage. Most of which will be delivered on Friday. Let the project move onward! Hubby's next job, cover up the pantry hole and drywall the rest - oh, and did I mention we're saving over $3,000 by doing all this work ourselves (and with the help of our neighbor who is charging us at 1976's rate). That may be my favorite part, yet.

    Wednesday, September 2, 2009

    This year feels so right...

    Last year, sending my oldest off to kindergarten was a bit heart-wrenching - for me. She was great. Up and out and off to school. No big deal. I held most of my tears as I watched her start her new adventure.

    This year. First Grade (and Pre-K again). How did it go? Sing along: Celebrate School Days...Come On!

    Besides the major snafu of losing our electricity at 10:30 PM due to a loud transformer explosion, and not getting it back until 4:00 AM, we managed to actually get up and out the door on time, and with breakfast in our bellies!

    Of course, picture taking is always a treat. Smile for Mommy:

    Not exactly the money shot I was hoping for.

    Next year, the little man gets his turn at kindergarten and I'll surely lose it again.

    (In case you were checking out the stylin' socks my son is rocking - Grammy gave him a bunch of spooky socks in anticipation of the Fall season and he selected these lovely gray ones as his "first day of school" socks because there weren't any monsters on them to scare his new friends. I could kiss his cheeks off!)

    Sunday, August 30, 2009

    Tasty snack

    We played school tonight before bedtime. It's one of my kid's favorite games. When they wake up on the weekends they run into each others rooms and the school day begins.

    Tonight, my husband and I were the students. I raised my hand and obediently waited to be picked.

    "Yes?", asked the teacher.

    "May I have a snack?", I asked.

    "Yes", she replied.

    Her assistant, Mr. Alex, offered to go to the office to get my snack (times must be tough so they keep these under lock and key in the office).

    He returned with my snack.

    "Here you go. Here are some graham crappers."

    Great. Graham crappers are my favorite.

    Thursday, August 27, 2009

    Hunka Hunka Stainless Steel

    Out with the OLD (sort of old):

    In with the NEW:

    And just a note. Refrigerators look much smaller in the home improvement stores. Little construction needed to fit this puppy in - but that was part of the kitchen plan so we're all good.

    Monday, August 24, 2009

    Top of the counter to ya

    A slab of granite (that won't match my current granite because it has apparently disappeared off the planet) will cost us almost as much, or more, than the cabinets we are buying.

    So, it's time to play: What Is Your Countertop Made Of?

    In my frustratingly, exhausting, obsessive compulsive behavior, I have scoured every search engine looking for things to cover my countertops with. Here are some of our thoughts:

    Granite Tiles. Supposedly 1/3 the cost of granite. Sort of like taking the tile from your floor and plopping it on your countertops. Involves grout and that never makes me happy.

    Corian. Thought this was much less expensive, but apparently only saves us a few hundred dollars.

    Tile. I keep picturing the pink tile that graced the walls of most bathrooms in the 70's. I'm sure they are much more attractive now on countertops, somehow.

    Butcher block. 146" of wood - hehe.

    If you have any suggestions or pictures of what works for you - send them along. We'll begin to panic in 3 weeks when the cabinets arrive and we don't know what we're going to cover them with. Thanks.

    Saturday, August 22, 2009

    Happy Anniversary - take two

    So I thought I posted this last week. Better late than never, maybe?

    Nine years. Wow. And 7 years before that. Hubby and I didn't celebrate our anniversary this year - at least not yet. He was sick. Our son was sick. And I was sick and tired.

    So we've postponed it. No cards. No dinners. Not until we can laugh and not cough (or in my case fall asleep in the food).

    Nonetheless, there are many reasons why I love celebrating with him, even if we don't do it on the actual wedding date.

    1. He makes me laugh. A lot. At things I never thought I'd laugh at.

    2. He dances funny in the kitchen, even if the kids aren't there to be entertained.

    3. He lets me bitch at him. Or about others. Or at him some more and he never bitches back when I'm on a role.

    4. He won't admit it, but he gets just as excited as I do when the new People magazine arrives.

    5. He goes along with the plans, even if the plans suck.

    6. He drives me home when I'm tired feeling no pain from celebrating with friends.

    7. He still likes my butt even if it's continuing to expand.

    8. He helped me produce two fantastic children - with amazing skin tone (thanks to his genes).

    9. He is the best Dad to our kids.

    10. He is the best friend I could ever want.

    11. He tells me "the food is good" even as he chokes down a piece of dry pork chop fresh off the grill.

    12. He saves. I spend. Ying. Yang.

    13. He looks handsome to me, even in a tank top and croc sandals.

    14. He cuts a mean lawn pattern.

    15. He loves me, for me, no matter what.

    This one's for you baby - Go Yankees!

    Thursday, August 20, 2009

    Birth of a new kitchen

    It's going to happen. We're getting more cabinets and counter top space! WOOOHOOOO! Do you see me jumping up and down? I am.

    And sadly, that means the island we so loved when we first moved in, will now be reused to create more storage and counter space next to my stove so I can actually mix and prepare food on a counter top longer than 12" wide.

    Have we used the island almost every day since we started this redesign adventure - ABSOLUTELY. Will I miss it? Probably. But when I think about not having to run out into my sweltering (or freezing depending on the season) garage to retrieve a crock pot, or mixer, or roll of paper towels, I get giddy.

    The final plans are heading this way today. If we sign off, we could begin our renovations as soon as Labor Day weekend. Now, does anyone know how to build a wall and hang a new window? We'll keep you posted here on all the fun!

    Monday, August 17, 2009

    A day in the Emergency Room

    If you don't friend me on FaceBook, or talk to me on the phone, then you may not have heard I spent Monday morning in the ER. I'm fine. In fact, I've only been admitted to the ER twice - once when I was young and I barely remember it (although under all my hair there is probably the scar to prove it) and once with food poisoning. And after that trip I thought a saline drip was the best thing ever invented. It was hubby who wasn't doing so hot this time.

    I dropped the kids off to school early - thankfully it was swim day so they were eager to go - and then went back home to pick up my husband for the one mile trek to the hospital. I really do appreciate having a hospital close's an odd comfort in my sometimes panic-stricken world.

    He had been running a really high fever for over 24 hours and wasn't showing any signs of getting better. My mind instantly raced to "H1N1" and how we were going to be visited by men in germ-proof outfits like the ones from E.T., put in lock down for a week crawling the walls until we got the "all clear" from the CDC. I didn't have enough food to feed us all for a week. How would I get my CSA pick up? I have a hair appt and she leaves for a 2 week Puerto Rico vacation on Thursday so if I miss this appt I will have a frizzed head of dead-ends and wayward tendrils!

    You see the priorities?

    When we arrived around 7:45 I walked him in, sat him with a nice triage nurse, and went to park the car.

    When I returned, he already had a mask on, had popped 3 pills for 102.5 fever and looked even worse than when we got there. I'm not sure whose hands were sweating more, mine or his.

    We were almost immediately taken to a lovely, 2 bedroom suite with a private bath and view of the Valley.

    Ha. I'm joking.

    We had room #4 with 2 beds and an oxygen hookup in case he needed it. Like I wanted to see my 47 year old husband hooked up to oxygen. I wasn't going to handle this situation very well. I'm bad in crisis. I'm the one that would drive past the accident and call 9-1-1 on my cell but wouldn't have it in me to stop.

    Add to that, the fact that my ever-expanding-vacation-enjoying self could barely squeeze between his bed and the wall to sit in the "comfort chair". You know, the chair where you're supposed to sit and ask,

    "Are you thirsty?"
    "Do you need me to help you to the bathroom?"
    "Are you going to vomit on me?"

    That made me feel a tad bit claustrophobic. But there we sat. His body shook in the bed from the fever. I covered him with the see-through sheet they provided to keep him warm. Until he started to sweat and then he didn't want it on any more. I'm not even sure how much time had passed before the nurse came in to do the H1N1 test - I was literally obsessed with getting this done and over with. I was sure with all his symptoms he had the bloody swine flu.

    Ever have a flu test? Nasty. A wire q-tip is shoved up your nose. As the nurse put it, "All I have to do is just put this up your nose, but I can tell you it's not all that pleasant." I had sympathy pain watching it happen. If I haven't said it, sorry about that honey. Didn't look fun.

    When the Dr. arrived he asked the same questions as the nurse (can't they read the form?) and decided to take chest x-rays. At the same time the flu tests came back NEGATIVE!

    I was dancing in the hall with the gospel choir singing "Hallelujah!!" (You're picturing an episode of Scrubs right now, aren't you?)

    That is not to belittle the obvious pain and discomfort my hubby was in, but MAN was I happy I didn't have to stay cooped up for a week with the whole family germs.

    Once the mixture of acetaminophen and ibuprofen kicked in, and I could breathe a little easier (and so could he), the eavesdropping began!

    It's hard not to listen to all the goings-on in the hall. We identified *at least* two addicts with social workers getting the low-down on detox.

    "I can't promise you you'll be out of here by 4:00 today. That's not how detox works."

    How many times do you think the nurses utter those words a day? They are special people. I wouldn't believe a word that anyone said - seriously. I thought our room mate was totally scamming the system so she could avoid going to work. I don't know why I thought that but I did. Mean, huh?

    There were a lot of old people - those poor old people - who were having problems breathing from the heat. Broke my heart as each one was wheeled by.

    There was a 6 year old boy strapped down - brave kid - who fainted from the heat and hit his head on the concrete. That made me tear up. I have a 6 year old.

    There was the priest who held the door open for me as he arrived to give one of those sick souls their last rites.

    There was the angry husband whose wife had cut an artery by shaving so now his trip to the beach was canceled. If I were her I would have used the razor on him.

    We were visited by a nurse who kept insisting we were pushing the call button. Come to find out, the light she was looking at belonged to room #3. Hopefully that person didn't really need help because she kept coming into our room.

    After 5 hours it became apparent that we were VERY LUCKY we arrived so early because the place was jammed with people. They were calling nurses down from other departments to help out.

    The nurse who was accusing us of pushing the button returned to take hubby's vitals so he could go home. Ready. She put the thermometer in his mouth and was looking at the blood pressure machine for the results and was getting frustrated. Ah, you might want to check on the little box attached to the other end of the thermometer stick? Just a thought.

    As she was searching all over the room for the gauze that was right on top of the cabinet, I had to blurt out, "It's okay honey. She doesn't usually work in this restaurant so she's not sure where the supplies are." Luckily she laughed and confirmed she was from a different floor. Great. Is that why my husband shouted, "We have a bleeder!" after she took the IV out of his arm?

    But in all seriousness, the nurses, doctor, x-ray techs and blood tech were all fabulous. And we walked out the door with 800mg Ibuprofen, a Z-pack and a positive pneumonia diagnosis. Until next time Holy Family Hospital...

    Friday, August 7, 2009

    Dear {insert name here}

    Dear parents of the little boy skateboarding without a helmet on, down a busy road;
    Where are you? Do you have any idea your 8 year old is flying down a main road with a soda in one hand and a skateboard under his feet with NO helmet or pads on? Didn't think so.

    Dear roof contractor who sent the hot bodies next door to redo the roof;
    If I need a new roof, can you send the same team? I love working from home.

    Dear neighbor across the street;
    You're NOT a roofer - leave the shirt on.

    Dear neighbor who moved in but has yet to emerge after 2 months;
    Are you there? Hello? Why buy a huge house by yourself and then not invite the neighbors over to see how you decorated it? Geez.

    Dear little 72 year old lady down the street who had 6 empty gallons of Ernest and Julio Chablis out for recycling today;
    You little minx. Who knew?!

    Dear lady at Target on her cell phone who was more concerned with the details of Julie's breakup than her son darting out into the parking lot;
    Do you know the parents of the 8 year old who skateboards without a helmet? Thought so.

    Dear jerks who left an old car seat and all their trash from their car in the Target parking lot;

    Dear Service Manager at Ira Lexus, Manchester, NH;
    You rock! Thanks for honoring the coupon I forgot to bring with me and sending the check. Really, you rock!

    Dear Target for leaving kitchen knives out for display in the housewares section;
    Ahhh...Duh? Like the world needs easier access to potential weapons.

    Dear Twitter;
    You know what you did. And don't you dare do it again, you hear?

    Thursday, August 6, 2009

    Grease Lightening

    "It's Grease Lightening....Go Grease Lightening you're burning up the quarter mile...Grease Lightening, Go Grease Lightening."

    Isn't it funny the songs that stick in your head ALL NIGHT LONG and are still there in the morning?

    My husband and I had a Yard Sale last weekend. Not a very profitable one because, as a marketing professional, I failed miserably. My boss should fire me. I know better. We didn't put any signs up the night before, or at key intersections, AND we only put one at the end of our street around 9:15 after we got our lazy asses up and dragged stuff onto the driveway.

    Yard Sales are a lot of work. If nothing else, I should have taken a "Learn to Speak Spanish in 60 seconds" course just so I could negotiate properly. Holy Hispanic-fest. And I can say this because I married one. If he wasn't there to be a translator, we wouldn't have sold 1/2 of what we sold. And all you Latino ladies, I love ya, but you all can't be JLo so put some damn clothes on girl - and start with a bra!

    I digress.

    So our Yard Sale was fun for the kids. They were in charge of kids items, and actually managed to make $10 selling old books, some rusty beach chairs, plastic pocketbooks and a few baby bikes. As we were taking items out of our garage my son kept saying, "Are you going to Yard Sale that?" So cute.

    One of the fun discoveries hidden in the garage (which was why I had the Grease song in my head for days) was a box full of LP's (for those under 20, I'm not going to explain). Go figure - Michael Jackson's Thriller was in there. Cha-ching on eBay? Probably not. Madonna's Like a Virgin. Bruce Springsteen. Take a look:

    Any look familiar to you? I'm sure Fairly Odd Father is shaking his head thinking "her taste back then was as bad as it is now"...but I can see how my love of Pop began. Blame it on the Monkees.

    And while I didn't "Yard Sale" these, we did try to sell some of the less popular ones, without success. I mean, really, who is looking for Rock of Ages by K-tel records?? My dad contributed a bunch of CD box sets that sold like hot cakes. Who knew an 8 year old would be so excited to find a Kiss box set? And it was obvious her mother didn't have any idea who the make-up laden boys were.

    You show us everything you've got
    You keep on dancin' and the room gets hot
    You drive us wild, we'll drive you crazy
    I want to rock and roll all night, and party every day!

    Ahhh...those were the days. I loved them just because they had a song with my name in it "Christine Sixteen".

    Overall, we unloaded some big items that were taking up space in our basement and garage. Our biggest sale was a circa. 1972 rollaway, metal bed and mattress for $8. Sometimes not being able to speak the language comes in handy...I didn't know how to say "Are you sure? It's kind of nasty."

    As they say, "one person's trash is another person's treasure."

    And if you are looking to educate your kids on diversity, Yard Sales are the most amazing social experiments out there.

    Tuesday, August 4, 2009

    Stranded on an island

    While I repeatedly dream of being stranded on an island - with a 4 star resort conveniently located there - and no children allowed - the truth is that this post is about my kitchen island.

    Or "The Dump". Because no matter how hard I try - everything gets dumped there. Mail. School projects. Broken toy bits. Receipts. Shopping lists. Bread. Moldy bread. Pens. Crayons. Headbands. Purses. Water bottles. Bug spray. Plastic jewels and Stickers.

    Are you with me?

    So, by some miraculous twist of fate, I decided, I need a kitchen make over. Ok...I don't need it but man it would be so nice to have more cabinet and counter space.

    I will just spread the island castaways across other parts of the kitchen but perhaps it won't look so cluttered then?

    (Like my attempt at a fake floral display in the center, as if that would mask the clutter? Ugh.)

    The kitchen redo conversation started when I happened to look to the left of that island one day and realized I had two huge kitchen windows. 5 feet high by 6 feet long. The people who owned the house before us added a family room and redid a lot of the house and must have planned on putting in a drive thru because that's the only real reason I could imagine for having so much window in the kitchen, and so little wall.

    What if the lovely - albeit HUGE - windows turned into one normal size kitchen window and we put walls back up? That could hold cabinets? Like a kitchen is supposed to do? Then we could do a lot of fun stuff like move all of this out of our garage and into the kitchen, to live where the other kitchen things live (without spiders and car exhaust fumes):

    What if we moved the sink under the window, where a sink is supposed to be, and I could use the space where the old sink is to make a new "island" bar for stools thus more seating? Brilliant.

    So I took a quick poll on Facebook - to keep or lose the island!

    Women I haven't spoken to in 20 years responded with "Keep the island", "Long Live the island", and "You are never going to actually go through with it so leave the island alone!" I actually made that last one up, because when I started adding up what it costs to put up and replace cabinets, match or choose new granite and put in a new window...let's just say it's cheaper to get a cleaning person to organize my island clutter for the next 15 years than to get a new kitchen.

    I guess I'm off to clean the island - again.