Saturday, March 28, 2009

Uh...Like, Save The Earth And Stuff

We were one of, oh, about three people in the United States who celebrated "Earth Hour" tonight.  Er...well, "Earth Half Hour", that is.  And I think it's safe to say we are not likely to celebrate such an hour (or half hour) again in the near future.  

The point of this exercise was to go green from 8:30 to 9:30 by turning off lights and...well, I'm not exactly sure what else.  Eat organic food?  Write with a pencil?  Take a walk?  To be honest, I didn't do much research on the topic, so we just stuck to the basics and turned off all our lights and unplugged gadgets not in use.  Of course, our house was immediately plunged into darkness, and I hadn't had the foresight to pick up the clutter beforehand.  (The first "thud" I heard was fortunately followed by laughter-- but it could have gone either way.)

This self-induced chaos produced a multitude of giggles (from the children) and a few grumbles (from parents who discovered they own only two candles).  At first we had fun making shadow puppets on the wall and guessing what the creations were (and finding out none of us have any skill in this department whatsoever-- each shadow blob bearing a striking resemblance to a mutated bunny).  But the fun quickly deteriorated into bitterness and boredom.  

It became pretty apparent that we had not adequately prepared for Earth Hour.  Heck, I had thought it would be a piece of cake!  I am so naive.  Besides the fact that there was a sad lack of environmentally friendly lighting (a.k.a. candles), we'd forgotten to get the kids ready for bed prior to our foray into archaic living.  At first they were highly amused at getting undressed and dressed in the dark.  They made quite a dramatic event of it, in fact.  I lost count of how many times LM deliberately ran his head into chairs, benches, tables...I don't think he missed a single piece of furniture, actually.  But when we sent them to the basement to brush their teeth (with flashlights-- because candles a bad idea) we soon heard a chorus of bawling.  I rushed downstairs thinking that one of them had stepped on something sharp or the like, but there was no such crisis.  They were, however, terrified of a monster they were certain was lurking in the bathroom with them.  Upon realizing this, I gathered the two teary children in my arms (suppressing my laughter) and assured them there was no such monster, and that Earth Hour could wait for another time (like, when we have the benefit of sunshine).  On went the lights, but that didn't end the fiasco.

They were pretty rattled.  They begged to sleep with us (I abhor having them in my bed-- think of having feet rammed into your mouth at 1:00 in the morning) so instead we escorted them downstairs with all the smiles and assurances we could muster up.  And after much ado we finally agreed to let them sleep together in LM's twin bed (why they didn't opt for Ruby's full bed is beyond me).  Oh, and there are lights on all over the place right now-- at their insistence.  

So, I guess our Earth Half-Hour was a bit of a flop.  (Especially because of all the extra energy we're consuming right now in order to cure the terror the experience created.)  It would be terribly ironic if our kids grew up to be raging energy consumers with carbon footprints the size of Sasquatch because of the trauma they experienced tonight.  All I can say is: oh well, we tried.  At least there's nothing scary about recycling.  At least, I don't think there is....

Friday, March 27, 2009

Top 6 Kiddo Quotes Of The Week

Now they're both doing it-- saying the darnedest things.  Ah well, it makes blogging easier....

1. (LM to a bald stranger who came to the door): "Did you get a haircut?"

2. (Ruby Jane to a table full of seniors at one of her grandma's senior center events):  "I'm going through puberty!"

3. (After I had searched all over the school looking for Ruby Jane):
LM: "Did you find her?"
Me: "Yes."
LM: "Well, is she dead or alive?"
Me: (bemused) "Alive."
LM: (as if he's surprised by the news) "Oh, good!"

4. LM: "I'm not going to eat my vitamin, I'm going to make it a friend.  C'mon, walk with me, Vitamin!" (Then proceeds to take his new friend on a jaunt around the living room.)

5. LM: "I'm glad I have a penis."
(Okay....  I'm so happy for you??)

6. (After scolding the kids and hearing Ruby Jane protest I was being harder on her than LM.)
Me: "Ruby Jane, you're nine.  I expect more from you."
Ruby: (who just turned 9 two weeks ago) "But I don't know how to be nine yet, I'm experimenting!"

Life is never dull, I'll tell ya that much!  Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. 

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Forgive Me, I Thought You Were 9

It's not too often that Ruby Jane provides fodder for my blog.  She's a darn good kid-- gifted, I would say.  (Hey, a mom's allowed to brag, right?)  But last night I had to question my assessment of her.  "Special" seemed a more apropos term.

You see, I had just put both the kids in a simultaneous timeout.  (If you've never tried that trick, I highly recommend it-- it's like having a mini-vacation.)  They've been at each other's throats for the past few days, and frankly, I was over it.  Enough already!  

In this particular instance they were fighting over a cheap imitation of Silly Putty-- dollar store brand.  Nasty stuff.  Don't buy it.  The putty actually belonged to LM, but Ruby Jane was trying to assert some of her "older sibling dominance" over her brother by insisting he share with her (a.k.a. grabbing it and demanding he give it to her for a while, as she somehow deemed was her right).  All of you with older siblings are smiling at your own memories about similar acquisitions of your own toys long ago.  But I digress....  Somewhere in the scuffle I gathered my wits about me (it's hard to keep one's wits collected amidst the din of sibling rivalry) enough to separate the two little heathens and put them in their respective timeouts.  But without my realizing it, Ruby Jane snuck the Silly Putty into the corner with her.  Big mistake. 

At the end of their punishments (was it really actually 5 minutes?) I gathered them in for the traditional perfunctory "after timeout talk".  You know, the "settle down and get along or you're really gonna be sorry, blah blah blah...." bit.  But what I was really thinking was, "would it be unreasonable to just leave them in there for another 15 minutes or so?  After all, they were being pretty naughty and the break was really quite lovely".  But alas....

Anyway, what I discovered after I (reluctantly) turned them loose, was a large mass of bright orange goo stuck in the back of Ruby Jane's hair.  "What's this?" I asked incredulously.  I was given a sheepish grin in reply.  I put on my best scolding eyebrows and asked that all-time favorite parental question that is nonetheless completely useless: "What were you thinking?"  

I know exactly what she was thinking.  She was thinking about an effective way to dispose of her brother's stupid Silly Putty.  Well, her plan worked, but not without its personal costs to herself.  She wanted me to simply cut it out.  As if!  "Oh, no, Hon," I said, a bit too devilishly, "you're not getting off that easy."  Her face dropped as she realized my implication.  Yes, we were going to work that large glob of orange ooze out of her hair the old-fashioned way: pull, yank, and comb.  She resigned herself to this fate, and bore up rather well under the pain, I have to say.  After the initial major chunks were removed I slathered her hair with greasy lotion and combed the rest of the junk out.  Then to add insult to injury, she was made to give her own Silly Putty to LM.  (Yes, even though she had her very own putty she still felt the need to take over her brother's.)

And then everyone went to bed suitably repentant, humbled and content.  The end.

But it's always important to try and find the moral of every story.  And in this case, I can think of many, many, many (don't buy cheap imitation Silly Putty, check your children's hands and pockets before releasing them into timeouts, etc.).  But I think the most relevant one I learned this time was: just because your child is 9-years old doesn't mean they have forgotten how to act like a 3-year old.  On the contrary, sometimes I think the older they get, the more time they have to perfect their immaturity.  In any case, I think we all learned a lesson last night.  At least, I'm pretty confident that I will never, ever again have to remove knockoff orange Silly Putty from Ruby Jane's hair as long as we both shall live.  Amen to that!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Keepin' Me Humble

This is the third year that I've participated in a free training clinic for my city's internationally renowned 12K race (which is part of the professionals' circuit).  It's a 7-week clinic which starts with a mile the first week, and adds an additional mile every week thereafter.  All types show up to train, but the majority of participants are...not in great shape, to say the least.  Or, so it would appear at first glance-- but appearances can be deceiving....  I'm reminded of this every year.  

The clinic begins with a guest speaker.  Usually a nurse, a physical therapist or an elite runner.  I skip these.  They're all the same.  "Drink lots of water", "always warm-up", "stretch well", "watch your heart rate", blah blah blah.  I'm always amazed at how 7 different people can come up with 15 minutes of new material for rookie runners every week.  After these enlightening presentations is the 15-minute warm-up, led by an extremely exuberant aerobics instructor.  I've learned to skip this as well.  It's humiliating.  Pretty much I just show up for the running nowadays, although I come slightly early to do a bit of hopping, bouncing and stretching on my own.  (And while doing so makes me look like a certifiable nerd, I'm never alone in this.)  

This week was the 2-mile course.  I situated myself at the front of the pack (hundreds strong) since most of the clinic consists of walkers and walk/joggers whose paces vary from snail to sloth.  If you get caught behind that group you're done for-- they come mainly for the social aspect and think nothing of stretching their little posses to an impassable 4-wide on the trail.  And I'm embarrassed to say that sometimes I get a little smug standing there at the front-- but fear not, a good dose of humility always awaits me down the road.  

So anyway, the gun went off and I began my leisurely pace.  I like to describe it as a very uncompetitive "loo-ti-doo-ti-doo" speed.  I'm out there to have fun and get a little exercise, not to win my age bracket or anything.  But then something happens.  I start to notice people with white hair gliding past me with ease.  Then, without fail, a pair of joggers who exceed my weight by no less than 100 pounds each will trot past.  Even small children tear by me without so much as a huff and a puff.  

At first I tell myself it doesn't matter.  To each their own!  But by the time the 4th granny has plowed by me I begin to unconsciously pick up my pace.  I start to create little goals for myself.  I select a person who I want to pass, then I set my sights on their behinds until I overtake their position.  Initially this game of cat-and-mouse sends a little thrill through me.  But after I begin to realize that the majority of people I am passing are either octogenarians, morbidly obese, or in strollers, I'm brought down a notch...or two.  In fact, sometimes the people I choose to pass are walking.  Walking!  (Although I console myself with the prospect that perhaps I am lapping these walkers, but I never know for sure.)

Then as I cross the finish line-- panting-- I see all the hard-bodied 20 and 30-somethings lounging around with nary a drop of sweat on their brow, like they've been waiting all day for the rest of us to finish.  I do my best to suck it in and slow my breathing, nodding cooly to the "elite".  But it's no use pretending.  I am what I am; just a lowly recreational runner carrying a bit of extra junk in my trunk.  (I like to think it serves to entertain those who run behind me.)  

And that's how I will spend every Saturday morning until May.  But with each passing week, I move from snotty jogger to very humble, exhausted wretch (week 7 is a killer-- with hills that can make a grown man cry).  But by then nobody cares who's walking, jogging or running, who's old or young, who's flabby or tone.  We all become sufficiently humbled to note the accomplishment of anyone who manages to cross the finish line.  Or am I mistaking humility for nausea?  Either way, nobody cares.

Friday, March 20, 2009

LM's Top 6 Quotes Round Two

Not much of anything funny has happened this week (I thought better of making a humorous post about my pap appointment), but we do continue to get entertained by LM's loose lips.  Here are the top 6:

1. (Spotting a glimpse of my belly spilling over the waistband of my running shorts): "Mom, are you having another baby?"
(For the record: NO.)

2. (Ruby Jane and LM playing "I Spy"):
Ruby: "I spy something yellow."
LM: "Mom's teeth?"
(Here's me starting to develop a complex....)

3. LM: "Mom, can I sleep with you?"
Me: "No."
LM: "Well, sometimes I come in when you're sleeping.  Don't wake up, 'cause I plan on doin' that tonight."

4. (Informing me of a punishment his sister devised for him and why): "I gotta write an essay for Ruby Jane 'cause I called her a maladroit."
(That is odd on so many levels.)

5. (After I discovered the deep rivets he dug with a pencil on the surface of a decorative table in our living room): "Sorry Mom, I took it a little too far."

6. (Proving that hubby and I are doing a bang-up job passing our faith on to LM): "What's the name of that all-powerful man...God?"

Bonus Round:  The endearing moral content children pick up on when exposed to Disney movies:

7. (As evidenced by this snippet of a song I overheard him making up while he was playing a solo game of "pirates"): "Yo ho, yo ho, the pirates, ahoy!  Yo ho, yo ho, the pirates, we drink, we drink!"
(Lemonade, I hope....)

And, folks, these don't necessarily represent the best of his quips.  There have been many times he says something to absolutely crack me up, but if I'm not in a position to immediately jot it down for posterity, I don't include it here.  (No use posting what I can't accurately recall.)  

So, for those of you with small youngsters...oh, your time is coming!  And I can't wait to hear what your kiddos come up with!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

LM's Top 6 Quotes This Week

In no particular order:

1.  "My bottom gets frustrated when I poop."

2.  (After having gone to see Dinosaurs Alive at the IMAX with Popi.)
Me: "What was the movie about?"
LM: "It was about learnin'."
Me: "Well, what did you learn about?"
LM: "Two protoceratops got DEATHED!"

3.  (LM attempting to say "hi, friends" in Spanish): "Oi Mingos!"

4.  (LM sadly reflecting upon the lost potential of a long piece of sturdy cardboard in the recycling bin):  "I coulda whacked a lot of people with that."

5.  LM: "When do people die?"
Me: (Trying to simplify a very complicated subject) "Well, usually when they're really old and sick."
LM: "So Popi won't die soon 'cause he's not sick.  But Nini's gonna die soon, right?  'Cause she's really old and sick."

6.  Me: What did you learn about in school?"
LM: "I can't d'member-- I have a brain fog in my head."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Just Call Me Auntie Dearest

I am a proud aunt.  I became an aunt instantly the day I got married over ten years ago.  But of the nieces and nephews on my husband's side (that I actually have any sort of contact with) none are children.  (In fact, one of my nieces is older than I am and has a child my son's age-- making me a great aunt).  I never got the chance to endear them to me irrevocably-- to take advantage of their young minds and fool them into believing I was the greatest thing since sliced bread.  I was robbed of my aunt rights!

But, this story does not have a sad ending.  You see, I have a niece and a nephew on my side of the family.  And they are very young-- and very pliable.  Wahahaaaahaaa!  (Yikes, sorry-- sometimes those inadvertent evil giggles just slip out....)  Every now and then, however, I provide day care for these two little cherubs.  And day care services are not altogether conducive to...well, spoiling.  Like, I actually have to take care of them.  Everything from changing poopy diapers (yuck!) to assisting in potty training (ugh!) to...I can barely even say the word...timeouts.  I am not well-equipped for these sorts of things!  My talents lie more in doling out candy, skipping naps, coloring on unscratch paper with real markers, playing the same games over and over and over and over, etc.  You know, your basic fun auntie repertoire.  (I learned from the best!)  

So today as my brother-in-law dropped the two little monkeys off he had a brief chat with his 3-year old (hubby and I have a variety of nicknames for her, "The Bopper" being a favorite) about her expected behavior.  He told her very sternly, "obey Auntie!", to which she echoed, "obey Auntie!" with the same amount of gusto.  Then he made me promise to report any violations of the aforementioned agreement.  And even though sometimes I try to hide The Bopper's mischief from her vigilant parents, she has adopted a very bad habit lately-- she tells on herself.  She is her very own narc.  In fact, the last few times she's gotten in trouble after leaving my home were directly due to the fact that she spewed her guts the moment her folks walked in the door.  "Bopper hit LM!" or "Bopper not bein' nice!" are among the many ways she begins the process of confession.  Of course, then I get in trouble for trying to aid the little criminal by keeping my mouth shut.  What's going to happen when I take her to get her very first tattoo?  Oy, we have a lot of work to do before that can happen, she and I.  

Anyway, the morning began splendidly.  The Bopper informed me that she needed paper to "work on her birthday".  Ah, yes.  Her third birthday is this month and it is never far from her thoughts.  She told me she needed stickers and colors for the paper too.  But pretty soon the paper was all-but-forgotten as the stickers were instead attached to the dog, the aunt, The Bopper's face, the furniture....  I never quite figured out how this was benefitting her birthday, but who am I to question the logic of a preschooler?  The house was quiet and peaceful...and then Mister (Bopper's baby brother) woke up.

Mister is adorable.  Absolutely pinch-his-cheeks-and-gobble-him-up adorable.  And The Bopper is completely in love with him.  But she expresses her love so exuberantly that, well, sometimes she gets timeouts for it.  Today she expressed her joy over his conscious state by playing her brand of "Over The Mister" a few times.  Hmmmm, probably not a good idea?  Redirect!  I needed to change Mister's poopy diaper and so The Bopper jumped in to help.  She grabbed a wipe and before I could say "disgusting" she was working that flimsy thing up and down his poo-smeared booty.  Bring out the Purell!  

The Bopper then got a little bored since my attentions were divided.  And a bored Bopper is...not a pretty sight.  She became increasingly boisterous with Mister and escalated these behaviors quickly until they culminated into every aunt's worst nightmare: a timeout-worthy offense.  I looked at her wondering how I could get out of it.  I asked, "do you need a timeout?" and probably would have let her off the hook had she said, "no".  But what can you do when the child says, "yes"??  I had no other choice!  I sat her down by the front door where she proceeded to plaster a magnificent pout on her face.  I could have squeezed her it was so cute.  But, I maintained self-control-- until she began to bawl.  (Oh, heaven help me!)  I looked at my watch-- it had been about 30 seconds.  If an appropriate timeout for a 3-year old is three minutes, then an appropriate auntie timeout should be about half that-- give or take a minute.  I asked if she was ready to get up and she nodded fervently, repeating the mantra "I sowwy!" enough times to melt me into a mushy puddle.  There.  Nobody can say I don't make her tow the line!

And, yes, the minute The Bopper spoke with her mom later on she confessed her naughty ways.  (After which I assured my sister that I had taken care of the little monster!)  

Oh, aunt-hood is grand!  But I think I should probably play to my strengths more often and stick to babysitting for date nights instead of work days.  After all, my sister and brother-in-law are starting to catch onto me-- and there's no quicker way to put a damper on things than to have a couple-a fuddy-duddy parents on my tail and a niece and nephew who start to think of me as an authority figure.  Now, where's the fun in that?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Why We Should Be Nice To Teachers

There is a great long list of people in this world who deserve higher salaries.  Kindergarten teachers (followed very closely by middle school teachers) are among those at the top of this list.  My son's Kindergarten teacher in particular.  Imagine taking a very slippery blank slate and attempting to get information to stick there.  It must be like trying to attach a Breathe Right strip to a greasy nose.  (Sorry, that was the first thought that came to me.  Just tried it the other night...not easy.)  Yet somehow (by magic?) she does it.  

But more than the difficulty of imparting knowledge must be, trying to do it with a straight face has got to be nearly impossible.  I mean, we're talking about 5 and 6-year olds here.  They say some amazing stuff.  

Like today for instance.  As I walked to the front door of the school in order to collect LM, I was met by his teacher.  Today she happened to have a smile on her face.  I breathed in a little sigh of relief.  Her smile grew to a chuckle as she pulled me aside to whisper in my ear.  But before she could say anything LM came and grabbed her hand and asked, "is this gonna be a long talk?" (having a suffered through more than one before and clearly disapproving of such a notion now).  After assuring him it would be quick he scampered off, appeased, to play in the fresh (gag) snow.

Teacher: "I never know what is going to come out of his mouth!"  Chuckle.  Chuckle.
Me: (Very curious; a little apprehensive....  Did he tell her that my butt is jiggly?  He told me that the other day as he pummeled it with his fists.)  "What did he say?"
Teacher: "First, he told the class that 'mom' upside down spells 'wow'."  (Relief flooded through me at this quaint little comment.  How sweet.  Relief was soon replaced, however, by a pinch of mortification at the next bomb she dropped.)  "Then later he asked me, 'do you have milk in those boobs?'."
Me: (Trying to think how I could explain....) "His aunt is nursing right now and...."  She waved away my explanation.  Clearly his question had amused her. 
Teacher: "I told him, 'there used to be, but not anymore!'."  I had to admire her honesty with him.  If a kid had asked me the same question I would have found the quickest exit and taken it.  She wasn't through with her story, however.  "Then he asked me, 'so how do you feed your baby?' and I...."
Me: (Interrupting so as to relieve my sense of mortification somewhat) "Oh gosh!  Wow!  Aren't Kindergarteners just full of fun?"  
Teacher: (Laughing) "Oh, yeah!"

I grabbed LM's hand in an effort to signal that it was time to go.  I flashed his teacher my best "kids say the darnedest things-- what are ya gonna do?" grin and she retreated back into the building.  

What else has LM said, I wonder?  One thing I'm convinced of; I'll bet his teacher has gathered enough material from her 22 students to blackmail every single one of us parents.  Note to self: get a nice gift for LM's teacher...and soon.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


That's how much it cost to have a plumber come out and remove potato peels from our kitchen pipes.  

$4.80.  That's how much the part he replaced cost.  (You do the math.)

Hubby received a 60-minute lecture on garbage disposal from very opinionated plumber; plumber hates disposals.  

Wife is sad to see large chunk of tax return go down the drain.  Literally.

Definitely a buzz-kill.  But...let's not allow that to spoil our vacation, shall we?  

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dispose THAT!

Oh, this is just too rich....  The irony of it!  Needless to say, I am loving every single second-- can't even wipe the silly grin off my face....

Gosh, pardon me-- I haven't even explained what I'm talking about yet, have I?  The fun is this: our sink is clogged!  Now, I would have an entirely different take on this situation if the clog was my fault.  But it's not.  It's hubby's fault!  I love it!  

You see, when hubby put the waste disposal in our sink a few years back I got a 60-minute lecture about the proper use of such a device.  Even my dad put his two cents in.  (Can't remember what exactly he said-- but his implication was basically that garbage disposals were only good for helping women clog up pipes-- he suggested hubby just forget the whole idea.)  Sheesh, even my mother-in-law called to tell me that she caused such a serious waste disposal clog it backed up their whole sewer just last week.  (Bet father-in-law loved that!)

So imagine the pure delight I'm experiencing right now.  For years I've used my disposal so responsibly that there have been no clogs so serious I couldn't take care of them myself (now that's saying something!!).  Then, last night, hubby decides to grind up a sink-full of potato peels (I always scoop them out of the sink and toss them in the trash instead-- just as I was taught to do).  Well, those little sweethearts were too much for my kitchen plumbing to handle.  I mean, we are talking major clog here-- it's just too delicious for words!   

Hubby is in there right now under the sink.  There are buckets of nasty water and dirty, wet towels everywhere....  He may have said a slightly naughty word or two even.  I feel like a giddy schoolgirl, I tell you!  We may even need to call a plumber!  (Oh wait a sec...that's kind of a buzz-kill right there.  Plumbers are stinkin' expensive.  But, as my mom is so fond of saying,  "let's not allow that to spoil our vacation, shall we?".)

So, now all that's left to make this night perfect is for me to walk in there and tell him that the stupid garbage disposal is a real bugger-- and that he is my absolute hero for saving the day with his handy-man prowess (without ever uttering the kill-joy term "I told you so"-- simply takes the fun out of everything, that does).   

Oh, gotta go!  Hubby just noticed I'm sitting here on the computer while he's working his tooshy off.  Time to make my grand entrance into the kitchen!  Ahhh, what a great night....

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Why Dogs Don't Rule The World

We have a family pet-- although family member seems a more appropriate term. It's ridiculous, really. Even my parents and sisters coochie-coo with her when their paths cross (which is often-- the dog goes just about everywhere with us). The life she leads is probably more suited to that of a small, spoiled lap dog (I'm thinking of a toy poodle right now) than a beefy boxer. And fits. And even though I'm accustomed to thinking of the dog as just another person in the family, I get reminded, often, that she is actually an inferior idiot. Brains like a pea. Not exaggerating.

Today, for instance, I spent much of the morning being reminded of what a fool this creature is. She was lying in front of the fire (her favorite spot these days) basking in the heat. Let me just say that when this dog lies in front of the fire she is rather an immovable object. She even attempts to bark and eat from her sprawled position. No joke. She will hear a noise outside, and instead of getting up to investigate she simply perks her ears up a bit (without lifting her head) and performs a few ceremonial growls and a woof or two. That's it. Wonderful guard dog, this one. And if one of the kiddos offers her a treat she repeats pretty much the same process-- just substitute "chews" and "swallow" for "growls" and "woof". We like to chant one of hubby's favorite high school cheers in her honor, "L-A-Z-Y you ain't got no alibi!". Yes, folks, this is the object of our adoration.

Sorry, derailed.... So as this fine specimen was enjoying her beauty rest, along came a giant carpenter ant. Man, I hate those buggers! They are mean as spit. So this thing starts heading directly for the dog. I just sat in curious silence, knowing that the dog cannot be bothered with much when the fire is on. Sure enough, she spots the ant but does nothing more than perk up her ears and sniff a little. As the ant gets closer and dares to wriggle on poochie's neck she decides to shake her head sharply in disapproval. The ant is not dissuaded. This defiance irks the dog a bit, as she is used to smaller creatures bowing to her every whim. And this, apparently, is enough to get up for. But she not only gets up, she decides to exert her dominance on this insubordinate ant by eating it. The ant gets the last laugh, however, by attaching itself to her tongue with an iron grip. The dog is not pleased with this turn of events. Not pleased at all.

LM sees that there is an ant on the dog's tongue and says so. I look at the dog and her eyes tell me all I need to know (I can't repeat what she said, however, as her language can tend to be a tad uncouth). "Are you sorry you ate that ant?" I ask her. I'm not positive but I'm pretty sure I saw her nod.

So now comes the business of getting the ant off the dog's tongue. Let me assure you this is not an easy task, as we've had to remove one from LM's lip before (another story entirely). I start by giving her an extra scoop of dog food, hoping it will sort of scrape the ant off. It helped...but only half the ant came off. The half that had the death grip on doggie's tongue was still very much present and accounted for. I called my mom for reinforcements. She suggested peanut butter, since dogs have to lick and lick and lick to get that stuff off. She figured all that licking might dislodge the ant. Ah, yes-- peanut butter! That's some fun we haven't had in a while! So I give the dog a spoon of peanut butter and with every flip of her tongue I can see the big black head of the ant still hanging on for all its worth. No luck. I gave the dejected dog some water before deciding that another spoonful of peanut butter would not only be a hoot, but may actually help as well. I offer the second spoonful and she just stares at it as if saying, "I just can't! It's too much to ask of me!". Her tongue is exhausted-- and probably sore. But with a little prodding she accepts the peanut butter.

Somewhere in that second spoonful the ant is dislodged and we all breathe in a sigh of relief-- not least of whom the dog. I wonder if she learned a lesson? Nah! At least I know I did: next time just kill the stupid ant at first sight. (And give the dog peanut butter more often-- just for the heck of it.)

Call At Least 10 Minutes Before You Drop By

There is something about having a blog that makes me want to bare my soul.  Why, I do not know.  Maybe it's because of the partial anonymity I feel when I'm writing on a computer screen instead of speaking face to face.  Regardless, I have another confession to make....

If you ever come to my house and it's clean or even just picked up, it's probably because I did it in a mad rush right before you got here.  Oh gosh-- it feels so good to get that off my chest!  To keep up the facade that I'm a decent housekeeper is so exhausting and stressful.  You can't imagine the fear I live in that someone will, gasp, come over unexpectedly!  (In which case you'd be amazed at what can fit into grocery sacks with lightning speed and then stacked in a room I don't think you'll be likely to visit.)  When my kids see me cleaning their very first question is, "who's coming over?".  Usually I try to act indignant and respond with something along the lines of, "do you think the only time I clean is when someone is coming over?".  But they know the answer to that: yes.  In fact, my husband is so resigned to this fact that sometimes he'll suggest we invite someone over for the sole purpose of getting our house cleaned.

Of course, I've already been discovered for who I really am by some folks.  (Although I still make some attempts to impress and fool them, to no avail.)  My sister, for one, comes and does "inspections" at times.  Surprise inspections, no less.  It's absolutely terrifying.  She's one of those irritating persons who manages to work outside the home, raise children, have a social life and keep a neat, clean, organized home.  More than once she's come over to help me get a handle on my chaos.  I wish you could see the piles of black trash bags full of junk that I eliminate from my home with her every visit-- it's beautiful.  But, without fail, my house sinks back into its former neglected state within weeks, or even days, after having been thoroughly scoured by her capable hands.  Actually, I'm always a bit amazed at how fast that happens....  And, er, come to think of it-- she hasn't come over to help me purge in a while....  Maybe she's finally given me up as a lost cause.  

I like cleanliness.  And I'm not even a messy person.  Really!  (Hey, I have no reason to lie at this point in my confessional, do I?)  I'm just not a good maid.  And I'm not a good delegator.  Beyond managing myself (which is no small task) I'm really rather a flop.  

Hmmmm, I'm feeling the need to defend myself.  After a confession isn't it customary to then be absolved of one's sins?  (Or, is that only if you commit to not repeating the sin?  Which I am in no way implying here.)  As there is no way to absolve myself via the internet, I will have to be satisfied with the relief I feel in simply confessing my waywardness.  And since I do have one or two housewifely talents (one I can tell you, one I can't...) I would like to think they somewhat make up for my lack in other areas.  After all, I keep hubby pretty darn well-satisfied in the... food department.  (What did you think I was going to say, you rascals!)

Hey, I have a brilliant little idea!  If anyone wants to trade some meals for housecleaning-- oh wow, I could be on to something there!  In any case, I will still continue to pretend that I keep an orderly house (so do try and call before you come over-- it really helps me to have that extra few minutes to hide my mess).  But at least now I don't have to bare the shame of hiding my true identity.  And, golly, I feel so close to you all right now!  Group hug!