Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Please Hold While We Transfer this Blog

Yep! I'm moving over here's fresh, it's new, it's lean, it's...whatever, I'm dropping the Vintage Thirty (although everything here is staying here) and keeping the Tootsie. Please come visit, update your readers (do people still do that?) and whatever else needs updating! See you in the new place!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dear Indiana Jones: You're not the Only One that Hates Snakes

Five days ago a neighbor on my street and who also happens to be a friend on Facebook, updated her status that her immediate next door neighbor had found a rattlesnake in their garage. E-freakin'-gads! It's not the first time we've had rattlesnakes on our street. In the last almost 14 years that we've lived here there are two neighbors whose dogs have been bitten, one neighbor who both surprised the snake lying beneath and himself when wheeling out his trash container, and my own husband who found one curled up behind the wheel of our car in our own driveway.

And those are just the occasions that I know about. I sat my children down the evening after reading the status update to remind them to keep an eye out when retrieving their bikes, skateboards, and toys from the stay out of the gated access to the hills behind our homes, and to just overall be mindful of their surroundings. And to run in the absolute opposite direction if they see anything resembling a snake and to let the first adult they see know.

Last night at dusk my daughter came tearing through the front door in borderline hysterics to let me know she just saw a snake. She was talking in that voice where you could tell she was doing everything in her power not to completely lose her shit. And where her eyes were as big as saucers because she didn't want to blink, lest the tears escape from her eyeballs.

I talked calmly to her to get her to, you know, relax a little bit and asked her to show me the snake. It was located across the street next door to the neighbor who'd updated her status only a few days prior, half on the front lawn and the face half on the sidewalk. My daughter had rode by it on her scooter. *shiver* The home belongs to a fortysomthing divorced dad who looks like he's in the kind of shape that he can take care of himself. And now that I've seen the snake, me, a responsible adult shut up you stop laughing I have to do something about it. I mean, have you any idea how many children live and play on our street? It's like an elementary school playground on that cul-de-sac.

I can't just leave it there and I'm not confident nor coordinated enough to trust myself to go toe to toe with a snake. I know myself and I would end up bitten and losing my foot from the ankle down. I figure, since the neighbor is a man - a man with ample tools in his garage - I will let him wrangle the rattlesnake. I knock on his door and he is so surprised to see me standing there.

See, I'm not super friendly with my neighbors. I mean, I wave hello and will have a brief chat if I'm outside, but I prefer to keep to myself. It is my belief that it can be all kinds of crappy to be too chummy with the neighbors. Your home is your place of peace, privacy, and a little anonymity. I don't need to be stuck next door to people knowing all my business. I have seen friends of mine live to regret the nightly beer or glass of wine in the garage or backyard with the people on their street. When those people are suddenly privy to much too personal family matters and, you know, everyone knows your business. No. Thank. You.

So I tell him "there's a rattlesnake in your yard". And plead with my eyes "kill it now please Jesus god". I have no problem with assigning gender roles between men and women. If women have to bear the pain of childbirth then the men can be in charge of killing the bugs and wrangling the wildlife. Only. Seems. Fair.

He grabbed the nearest shovel, took aim, and chopped its head off in one quick motion.

The End. of the snake

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Rose by any Other Name is...Something Completely Different

A friend of mine and I were discussing recently the names of our children and what their names would have been had they been the opposite sex and also, what would we name them if they were born today. The answer to the latter part of that discussion was: no, we wouldn't. [Note to Editor: edit before you post, Nimrod, because the latter part of that discussion should ask would they use the same names if their children were born today] Not that there's anything wrong with the names that were chosen and because the names are theirs they, of course, suit them. They're a part of who they are...what makes them, them.

But let's just play the game for funsies and stuff. For instance, had Boy-Child#1 been born a she, he would have been named Hailey. By the time Girl-Child came along "Hailey" didn't even make the list of possibilities. Not only had it become one of the more popular names by then but also we were already bored to death with it. There was much debate over boys names with Boy-Child#1. I wanted "Ethan". Mr. Farklepants did not. Let's just say we agreed on a name that was close enough to "Ethan" to please me and unique enough to satisfy Mr. Farklepants. If we could go back in time, or, if he were born today, we would most likely go with the name "Shane". It is/was a name that both Mr. Farklepants and I like(d) very much but we had that common dilemma that many new parents encounter: we had close friends who'd already used the name for their own child. And as life also often goes, we haven't socialized with those close friends IN YEARS. Lesson here? Go with your gut. Go with your choice. Make it yours...own it... because who cares?

When it comes to Boy-Child#2 it's not so much that I wouldn't choose the same name. Because I would. Except that I would switch his first and middle names if he were born today. It's that simple. First because I like the way it sounds, and second because his first name is very common. As evidenced by the fact that his elementary school is just dripping and absolutely lousy with boys by that name. To answer the opposite sex question: if Boy-Child#2 had been a "she", his name would have been "Claire". And again, by the time Girl-Child made her way down the vaginal canal her way into the world we once again found ourselves bored with the name and it also did not make the list of possibilities.

Girl-Child. Oh holy hell. The list of names, she was long. It included but was not limited too: Caroline, Madeline, Charlotte, Abigail, Samantha, Susan, and more. The first three on that list were my absolute first choices and all were quickly shot right down by Mr. Farklepants. I loved the name Charlotte because I wanted to call her "Charlie" which I just think is super cute. I also love the name "Scarlett" but let's just say that with the names of some other family members it would have been like a cast of Gone With The Wind characters in this house and that's just dumb. There were no boy name alternatives for Girl-Child because, unlike with the first two, we found out the sex during pregnancy. So since we knew she was a girl, that was that. If Girl-Child were born today I'd want to name her Vivienne. I love that name. I love it so much I kinda almost want to have another child just to use the name. Almost.

Maybe the next dog.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

I've Lived with it for Years (And Other Things that You See that I Probably Stopped Seeing a Long Time Ago)

I admit it. I'm addicted to House Hunters. You know that show on HGTV where prospective home buyers look at three different houses and choose one by the end of the show? And during the course of their search they see all that stuff in your home that you have long since become accustomed to and no longer see? What this show has done, and much to my husband's chagrin, is highlight all the imperfections that have just become part of the house, for better or worse, over the almost 14 years we've owned this home. Let's list a few of the things that prospective buyers spy and see how far we get before I have a stroke:

  1. The carpet. We had new carpet installed throughout the least 10 years ago. Did I mention this carpet is a very pale shade of...white? Of course, it didn't appear SO white in the store where the swatch was laid out amongst all the other swatches of WHITE CARPET OH GOD ...We're idiots, that's a fact. This carpet has lived long passed its intended lifespan where lifespan includes 3 kids and 2 dogs, rain, mud, vomit AND WORSE, and dozens of visits from the carpet cleaners. It's time to take this carpet out to pasture and shoot it in the head.
  2. Kitchen cabinets. Our cabinets are a lovely 1997 honey oak. In other words, dated. So are the tile countertops and backsplash.
  3. The master bath shower. The door needs replacing because it doesn't really want to, you know, close. It takes a good amount of just the right slamming before it will and it's just a matter of time before the whole song and dance just breaks off in my hand. That would also be messy. And also see: emergency room visit.
  4. Our backyard. Oh it has grass. It has a patio. Well, and that's it. It needs a little, how do you say?...professional landscaping.
  5. The master bedroom. We never did anything to it besides paint it and stick some furniture in there. It SCREAMS boring. Or maybe it whispers it.
  6. The window coverings. We were a young couple with a new baby when we bought this house and had a very limited budget to cover the 19 or so windows in this house. Those limited budget window coverings hang to this day. And I hate them. So much.
We did, however, slowly replace all of our appliances with the stainless steel variety. Which I've learned from watching House Hunters is a very important aspect on the wishlist when one is purchasing a home. I'm amazed at how many people on this show poo-poo a house simply because they find the appliances lacking and lament about how much it will cost to replace them. Frankly, in my opinion, if you can't afford to buy kitchen appliances then perhaps you aren't really financially ready to, you know, BUY A HOUSE.

Monday, January 3, 2011

My New Years Eve Going to Hell Moment

...Otherwise known as "Too Long to Tweet but Really Kinda too Short for a Blog Post"

We spent New Years Eve with good friends, enjoying decent food and several rounds of overpriced drinks. At one point during the evening my girlfriend informs me that a former coworker from eons ago recently passed away. I was shocked, as anyone would be when presented with such horrible news, and considering the person was only in their 50's and way too young to be dying. When I asked if she knew what had claimed our acquaintance, she replied that she wasn't sure but that maybe it had something to do with the liver because of the "yellow eyes". And I am not even kidding when I tell you that the first thing that the evil bastard who lives in my head did was repeat the lines from A Christmas Story...when the adult voice-over Ralphie is describing Scut Farkus and cries "He had yellow eyes! So, help me, God! Yellow eyes".

It seemed an inappropriate time for laughter. And this is just one of the many reasons I will blow the gates to hell wide open upon arrival.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year...Now Let's See if We can Keep this Thing Regular

I'm not even going to apologize for not updating because, whatever. I've been busy. I'm just going to start off the new year with a good ol' WHAT THE HELL??? Because we've lived in this house since 1997 and the following has never ever happened in all that time...

When you live in a suburb of Los Angeles, snow is a rare sighting.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lies, Lies, Everywhere are Lies

I've been lying to my children since before they could understand words. Case in point: Santa, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny. Many parents do not indulge in this practice and Mr. Farklepants is one such person who did not want to perpetuate these tall tales to our own children. But he indulged me and let me have my fun. I have led my children to believe that the aforementioned mythical characters do exist. And it's been a fun ride. My boys are a little older and wiser and certainly wise to their mother. Boy-Child#1 told me point blank while we were out doing some last minute Christmas shopping when he was about eleven, and I quote, "Mom, I don't believe in Santa Claus". End quote. Which, I wasn't surprised. I mean, he was eleven and I assumed he didn't really buy the whole charade anymore but neither of us had brought it up, because, why bother? He had enjoyed it and was excited to help keep up pretenses for his younger brother and sister.

Boy-Child#2 came to me just before Easter the year he was about eight and straight up confessed that the whole Easter Bunny thing just made zero sense. A bunny? Comes into your house and hides eggs? What? He quickly put two and two together and realized that the Tooth Fairy didn't exist either but he wasn't exactly kicking his dollar he received for each tooth out of bed either. With those two figured out he came to the next logical conclusion about Santa. That doesn't stop him from expecting a gift from that big, fat lie, mind you. He enjoys the tradition.

Girl-Child, however, is still a firm believer in all of the above. She's seven and still innocent, and believe you me, once she fell in love with Justin Bieber, I was worried that it was all over. (side note: DAMN YOU JUSTIN BIEBER!!!) But I fear that the magic that is Santa Claus will soon come to an end. Because? CARPOOL. (side note: DAMN YOU CARPOOL!!!). One little girl took it upon herself today to ask Girl-Child if she believed in Santa. I understand kids are kids and if they're hip to a secret then they want to share what they know. This knowledge of the psychology of children did not stop me from becoming instantly hot and sweaty and all eyes-darty, trying to read my daughter's face and simultaneously turn up the Kids Bop 18 and try desperately to change the subject because the next words that were coming out of that little girl's mouth were that A) She didn't believe, and B) something about parents. Honestly, I don't know exactly because I was too busy trying to start a conversation with Girl-Child about who is it that is singing the song currently playing PLEASE PAY ATTENTION ONLY TO MEEEEEEE!!!

I don't know what in the Sam hill I'm going to do tomorrow if the subject is revisited.

Friday, September 10, 2010


I know it's been a while since I've written anything in my little space on the web. It's just... I've been in this funk and it's taken me a while to realize what my fricken deal is, and it's this: I feel like I'm missing it. And "it" is not my blog. "It" is my children. See, Boy-Child#1 started high school this year, HIGH EFFING SCHOOL! I mean, MY GOD! How is this possible? No, seriously, where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday I was building a tower of blocks on one side of the living room floor just to entice him to crawl to me and knock it down. Over and over we would play this game and it was a never ending source of entertainment for the both of us.

I can barely remember Boy-Child#2 learning to walk and now he's old enough to walk home from school. And honest to God, people? I don't remember my daughter as a baby. I clearly remember her at 3 years old, but an infant? I have to really concentrate to capture that memory. I've reached the point where I have to consult their respective baby books to familiarize myself with their first words, when they cut their first tooth, how long they were at birth and how much they weighed. Well, except for Boy-Child#1 who weighed in at 9 pounds 7 ounces and you just don't forget passing a Mac truck through your vagina. You're welcome. When a child that large is ripped from your loins-literally and figuratively-, it tattoos the number on the left side of your cerebrum in neon colors.

I'm only 38 years old. How can my memory be that shot to hell? And I'm super freakin' lucky to be a full time stay at home mom. I have been present for every. single. thing. How can time still be whipping by so fast that I'm forgetting so many details that I thought could never be forgotten? I blinked. And time betrayed me. I stop and think of the time that has gone by and the future that still lay ahead and realize that what has already passed is such a relatively short amount of time in the grand scheme of things. If I am, in fact, middle aged, and God willing I live to reach eighty, then I still have a whole 'nother lifetime ahead.

And I've had this realization: the time you're allotted with your children, as children? Simply isn't long enough. I'm already starting to miss them because I know... I'll blink again and at their wedding or the birth of another grandchild, I won't be able to remember them at seven, ten, and thirteen.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Dear LAX, Tear Down this Wall!

Usually when I'm picking someone up from the airport, I will park and meet them at baggage claim. Yesterday, however, I was running a bit late. See, my niece is getting married this weekend and since she lives three hours north of me, she asked if I could do her a solid and pick up her best friend and former college roommate from LAX since her plane was landing midday and my niece wouldn't even be getting off work until 5pm. I'm a giver...all about helping the family out, especially a bride to be. I was armed with her friend's cell phone number and flight information and I mean, really - HOW HARD CAN THIS BE? Right? Uhhh...

I've only met the friend one time and I could vaguely remember what she looks like BUT! She had texted me that she had landed and was waiting outside her terminal on the sidewalk and I texted her back that I was at the airport but still working my way through OMG SO MUCH TRAFFIC GAH!!! ...and gave her the description of my car and that I would be pulling up shortly.

Easier said than done.

Picking someone up curbside at LAX is a little like trying to plow through the security gates of the Berlin Wall -in rush hour traffic. There are hundreds of travelers milling about and rushing both to AND fro. While you're craning your neck and searching for your passenger that is somewhere on that sidewalk you're also trying to avoid getting plowed by an airport shuttle, taxi, or fellow vehicle as they recklessly dart away from the curb and also staying vigilant to grab the next opening to pull up to the curb before someone else grabs it. It's hectic and stressful and sucks all kinds of ass.

As luck (for lack of a better word and believe me, there are better) would have it, just as I reached the location where the friend claimed she was, a taxi pulled out and I grabbed his spot [Note to taxi drivers at LAX: What's with all the honking? Calm down.]

Now here is where I made my first mistake: Because I was so distracted with trying to spot the friend in the crowd and simultaneously find an opening to pull up, and avoid getting in any kind of fender bender, and avoid nailing a pedestrian...I inadvertently pulled up BEHIND THE TAXI ONLY LINE. Oh. My. Hell. This was bad, people. This was a major no-no and I was about to be schooled on the proper procedure for navigating one's self through LAX.

I no sooner pulled into that spot when an airport policeman appeared out of no-effing-where -perhaps he repelled down from the ceiling all Mission Impossible like - writing my (I assume) license plate number down and was shining his flashlight in my car and in my face and then IMMEDIATELY DEMANDING MY UNDIVIDED ATTENTION. I know this is what he wanted because he was SCREAMING a steady flow of questions and rules in my face while I was still in mid-roll down window mode. It went something like this "WHAT ARE YOU DOING? WHY ARE YOU PARKED HERE? YOU CAN'T PARK HERE! TAXI ONLY!" Me...stammer, friend, pick up, stutter, here, sputter, trying to find, stammer, sorry, didn't realize, sorrrryyy... Him: "IF YOU DON'T SEE YOUR PERSON YOU KEEP DRIVING AND COME AROUND AGAIN!! YOU DON'T STOP! NOT HERE!! TAXI ONLY! YOU GO THERE!" And he gestures to pull forward.

Or so I thought. Now here's where I made my second mistake: I pulled forward. And stopped. And he struck down upon thee me and my vehicle with great vengeance and furious anger [Pulp Fiction, anyone?]. Turns out he wasn't gesturing for me to pull forward. He gestured for me to get the feck out of there. And pronto. Like, yesterday, pronto. And, boy howdy. Was he ever pissed off.

It's been a very long time since I've been yelled at by someone. And never have I been completely screamed at by a police officer. It went something like, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?? I JUST TOLD YOU!!! I WILL GIVE YOU A TICKET!! YOU NEED TO PAY ATTENTION!! GET OUT OF HERE RIGHT NOW!!"

And of course I'm all kinds of stuck because I'm blocked in from front and behind and there are cars all piled up one behind the other to my left. And he won't stop screaming at me to get out of there and reminds me several times that he WILL GIVE ME A TICKET! I have all three of my kids in the car and I'm this close to crying and it's obvious by my cracking voice, and I'm hollering back at him that I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, I misunderstood, I'm sorry, I'm trying to go, stuck, can't, sorry, going, sorry, I'M SO SORRY!!!

Yeah, I finally got out of there. And yeah, I finally found the friend. And yeah, there was a fire just south of my house on the way home that resulted in us getting stuck on the freeway when THEY CLOSED IT!

Then I died. The end.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hey Kids, it's that Time of the Month Again!

I have a bad habit of ending up at the grocery store just about every. damn. day. And I try really hard not to do this. I make a list like a normal person, buy everything on it, and inevitably I'll end up at the store the next day because of one fricken thing I totally forgot about. And it'll be something that is really needed like an important ingredient for whatever it is I'm making for dinner that night or my husband's deodorant, or dog food. Yesterday wasn't any different. While I was there I wisely figured, hey, why don't I get everything for tomorrow night's dinner too so that I'm not right back here doing exactly this same thing. Tacos sounded like a good idea and the kids love them, so that's all made of win! And the husband tolerates them, so that's...whatever, his dinner is ready and served to him when he gets home.

I chose my white corn tortillas very carefully because, I don't know what the hell it is about tortillas, but those bad boys are super delicate. If you're not mindful you'll come home with a package full of broken, useless discs. After disregarding at least three packages I found one whose contents were in perfect condition. This was not the case when I unpacked my groceries at home. There they were, in the bag that contained...eggs of all things...the entire all ten of them broken completely in half. How in the world...?

Somewhere between placing them lovingly on the conveyor belt at the checkout to my house, they met their untimely demise. And what did I do when I found the mutilated lot of them? I acted like any other sane, rational person and hurled them across the kitchen so that they crashed against the sliding glass door. And then I cried.

You don't think that has anything to do with PMS, do you? DO YOU? I warn you that you shouldn't answer that with anything other than "no" unless you're armed with a tranquilizer gun. I'm feeling very "bear in a tree in your backyard-ish".

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sand, Surf, and All Out Brawling

We've reached that point in summer vacation where the kids are getting on each others' nerves. Where the mere sight of one another causes the other to SPEAK IN ALL CAPS at the injustice that they SHARE THE SAME DWELLING AND OHMYGOD WHY ARE YOU BREATHING SO LOUD!! Consequently, I've reached the point where I have to talk myself down from dealing out backhands across their heads like an old school Italian grandmother. In this house the eye-rolling, heavy sighing, and physical combat has reached a crisis. Where crisis equals mommy is going to lose her everloving mind. I've tried sending them to neutral corners, giving them chores and tasks to complete, and getting them out of the house with family fun adventures. The latter contradicts my responsible parenting belief: never reward negative behavior. Taking them to the beach when they were foaming at the mouth with each other just moments before loading up the car hardly gives them reason to behave properly. I mean, they get the golden ticket either way.

My goal isn't to encourage repeated negative behavior, but rather, to redirect their attention. You know, like with a TODDLER. Except in this case it lead to more fights and bickering with the lovely Pacific ocean as a backdrop. I've never experienced a less relaxing day at the beach. It's also hard to elicit some sympathy from your husband, who's been at work all that day, about your stress-filled day at the beach because, you know, at least YOU WERE AT THE BEACH!

If this keeps up I'll have to threaten them with back to school shopping. At least I'll be shopping.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Great Trip Despite Traveling Woes

During our one hour layover in Cleveland on our way to Richmond from Los Angeles [we flew back through Houston so get your map of the United States out now to pinpoint our hopscotch across this great nation] I texted my sister to sing the praises of Continental Airlines. Check in was a snap and we left on time. We each had our own television screens with Direct TV and at least fifty channels to choose from for only a six dollar swipe of the debit card per seat that made the four hour flight seem like two, I told her. Before I knew it, it was time to board our flight for the quick jaunt to Richmond. My brother and family were waiting for us and after a joyful and tearful reunion, we headed to baggage claim.

And there is where the feeling of dread washed over me. The baggage carriage was at a stand still. Beside it, a few token unclaimed suitcases; none of which were mine. And a uniformed airport official. In his southern drawl he informed me, if it ain't here it ain't makin' it tonight.

Well, damn. I've only had my luggage lost one prior occasion and that was my infamous trip from hell. Where hell equals Florida. It was the trip that whatever could go wrong, did. And at the tail end of that particular trip, I made it home to Los Angeles but my luggage went to Dallas.

Back to our current trip, only this time I'm not alone but with three children. And no luggage. Which apparently didn't make it on the plane back in Los Angeles. [Side note: Dear LAX, I was there two hours early, so, wtf? -end side note] Everything we needed was in our suitcases. The only thing we had in our possession was the backpack we brought on the plane and there wasn't anything in there that was going to help us unless we needed a box of crayons and some Nintendo DSs to brush our teeth with, or wear.

Fortunately, we were staying with family so it wasn't the biggest inconvenience ever. And Continental KNEW where my luggage was and was preparing to deliver it to us the following day. Except that I was wearing jeans. Big whoop, right? Here's the problem. It was about sixty degrees when I left Los Angeles at 7am. And I'm always chilled on the plane.

It was ninety degrees in Richmond, Virginia with about seventy percent humidity. So basically I was in a sauna. Wearing jeans. For two days. And me without my deodorant.

Our first flight back home on Monday was delayed nearly an hour due to thunderstorms in Houston, Texas. I understand that these things cannot be helped. When we finally landed, it was at exactly the precise moment that our connecting flight was to be leaving. Fortunately, the flight was being held, but none of us making that connecting flight to Los Angeles learned this until we'd pulled into the gate. And the gate where our plane awaited was at the furthest point possible from where we presently sat.

The looks from the seated passengers on our connecting flight that had to wait for us said that they were certain I'd flown the plane from Richmond to Houston myself and decided to stop for lunch along the way JUST TO RUIN THEIR DAY.