Thursday, February 25, 2010

You Carly, iCarly, iWatch iCarly

When it comes to television, Girl-Child has always been a little bit ahead of her age range. For instance, she was enjoying Spongebob Squarepants and Fairly Odd Parents long before she discovered the crack magic of the Teletubbies and Blue's Clues. So it was no surprise when she got hooked on the shows Drake and Josh and Ned's Declassified, part of the Teen Nick lineup on Nickelodeon. She's been an avid iCarly watcher since it debuted in 2007. In case you're not familiar, iCarly is about two junior high school girls, Carly and Sam, and their friend Freddy who shoot a webcam show from Carly's apartment that she shares with her adult brother, Spencer. Cute show. Funny moments. All innocent enough.

This season, however, the kids seem to have been shot out of the puberty cannon and there seems to be a lot of like-liking going on. And kissing. And Girl-Child's favorite episodes are those with the kissing. My daughter may only be six years old but she's six going on twelve. Physically, she looks eight. And at the rate she's growing she'll hit puberty herself in about two and a half years. Mentally she just needs to knock it off. Her brain and its mature thoughts are going to be the end of me.

Let me throw a for instance into the middle of this post: Halloween. 2009. The Party City catalog arrives filled with page after colorful page of mostly slutty costumes. Many worn by holymotherofGAH! children. Girl-Child points to a tween ladybug getup and I'm all, I redirect her to the more age appropriate ladybug and add that she will also wear a long sleeved leotard and black tights to cover all the necessary areas. No six year old daughter of mine is going to walk around with a skirt up to there and all her business hanging out. Neither will my sixteen year old daughter if I have anything to say about it -which I might not but let me have my fantasy moment where I believe I actually have control. Ahem. Anyway, the ladybug. So I sit her down and have a little chat about children and maturity and what is acceptable and what isn't. That's when she points to the photo of the sexy policewoman and the sexy bunny and tells me that she wants to be that, you know, when she grows up. Naturally.

faints. dies.

Just days before the costume incident, Mr. Farklepants and I were discussing successful parenting and we came to the conclusion that if we can get all three kids to graduate high school, keep them out of jail, hopefully encourage them to go to college, and keep Girl-Child from getting pregnant before finishing school, then we've done a decent enough job. I mean, right?

Back to the evening of the costume incident: Later that evening, after I was revived from fainting and dying, Girl-Child is talking about the future and telling us that when she's a grownup Mr. Farklepants and I will be Grandma and Grandpa. I look at Mr. Farklepants and say, "judging by her costume selection that day will probably come much sooner than we'd hoped".

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Office will Become Boy-Child#2's Bedroom...Again

Once upon a time, the room featured above belonged to an infant Boy-Child#2. Which would explain the yellow walls and the Winnie the Pooh light switch plate still in place. And I will tell you, he was never a fan of his own living space. He rarely slept there, especially once the night terrors set in around a few months after his first birthday. And any parent who has had to deal with night terrors feels my pain -a word of encouragement, however, after nine years those wretched nights are just a vague memory. We often resorted to bringing him to bed with us just so we COULD GET SOME SLEEP which started a vicious cycle. He pretty much never slept a full night in his own room after that. We tried letting him cry it out. While that worked for Boy-Child#1 when he was old enough to no longer require night time feedings, and took about three full nights for him to become an all night sleeper...Boy-Child#2 had stamina. He never gave in. And we had a toddler in our bed for quite some time. Even when he inherited the super cool race car toddler bed from Boy-Child#1, he couldn't be convinced that it was the best place for sleep. I think he slept in it ONCE. yay.

It was clear that the boy did not like to sleep in a room alone.

We finally came up with the brilliant idea to have the boys share a room. When we handed down the super cool race car bed to Boy-Child#2 we had already purchased bunk beds for Boy-Child#1. The thinking behind that was there would be a bed handy for any future sleepovers. So really no preparations were needed to make the sharing of the room happen. Except to convince the toddler that he would be sleeping there. It took a few nights - I think, the memory, it's fuzzy - but we had success.

Then I got pregnant with Girl-Child. We decided that since the boys were going to be sharing a room we would turn the loft into a bedroom because the living space was significantly larger. Then we would give Girl-Child the boys' old bedroom and turn Boy-Child#2's abandoned bedroom into the office.

Confused yet? Yes, there was a lot of scrambling around and some construction that remains incomplete to this day don't get me started but bingbamboom! The transformation was complete mostly.

Now the boys are 13 and 10 years old, respectively, and the office has become a giant storage slash catchall slash waste of space. And the boys want their own rooms. The time has come to get rid of some crap, make some space, transition all the stuff.

Stay tuned.

Friday, February 19, 2010

If I Don't Write it Down, it Ain't Happenin'

The older I get, the more forgetful I become. Especially once one has children and those children each have several schedules and agendas, and places they need to be, and things that need to be done, well, if I don't write it down on my trusty kitchen calendar; it most likely won't happen. Not everything, of course, because some things are an ongoing activity that happens at the same time every time. But those random projects or ventures can throw us for a loop. Because this mom forgets.

For instance, just last month, we completely and totally missed a GATE meeting for Boy-Child#2. A meeting where the students were going to present the movies of which they'd worked so hard to create. They were put into groups and among themselves they selected who would write the script, the art director, the director, and so forth. All of the information for the program was sent home at the beginning of the year and in that information was a list of meetings, details, and corresponding dates. I immediately wrote down all of which needed writing down on my calendar. A note from the principal was sent home just before winter break to remind us of this particular special meeting. Knowing that I had already written the date down and circled it on the calendar, I didn't bother double checking. And it didn't register as I read it that the note mentioned the date as THE DAY BEFORE the one I already had written down. In other words, they had changed the date. But they didn't say Hey, the date has been changed so please make a note to self. No. Nor did it register that the date had been changed to Wednesday instead of Thursday when I read the January school schedule of events. All I saw was "4th grade GATE 5:30pm" and was all confident that it was already noted on my calendar.

Enter that Wednesday evening. 6:15pm. Boy-Child#2 looks right at me while I'm checking the chicken that has already been in the oven for half an hour and was twenty minutes away from being done.

"Aren't we going to my thing tonight?" he asks.
"What thing?" I say, somewhat distracted.
"To see my movie".
"That's tomorrow night" I say with confidence.
"Hmmm", and he screws up his face, "My teacher said it was tonight that's why we were getting everything ready today".
"'s tomorrow night, see?" and I point at the circle on the calendar. "The fifth graders are doing theirs tonight."

Yes, that's right. I'm arguing with him. Because, dammit! I wrote it down!

And round and round we went until I remembered the additional note sent home and the January school calendar...and I started to get nervous. Because I knew I hadn't double checked the dates. I fished them out of my pile of important school papers that I keep nearby and THERE IT IS! MOTHER EFFER!!! I start barking out orders to Boy-Child#2 to throw on some shoes and a jacket and dinner orders to Boy-Child#1 to turn the oven off when the timer rings and to keep an eye on his sister because GO GO GO IT'S GO TIME MOVE!!! In the car, driving like a mad woman thank god the school is close by.

We RUN to the multi-purpose room and? Empty. Lights are on but chairs are empty. And in walks one lone fourth grade teacher. I'm sure I was a sight. Usually I'm very put together when I'm going to be out there in public but I had left the house in a frenzy of panic and I hadn't planned on being anywhere but home cooking dinner. And there I am, breathless, confused, and waving my papers with conflicting dates in front of me....and mostly, feeling like a giant pile of shit because I'd let my son down. He was so excited to have me see his movie. He talked of nothing else the whole month of November when they worked on it. And we missed it.

And there I am trying to explain that really I'm not a bad mother here look...conflicting dates! And I'm sure not all of the information that was in my head was making its way clearly out of my mouth. You know how it is when YOU know something because it's right there in YOUR brain and you kind of just assume that the person you're talking to has all the same information you have so they're only getting bits and pieces of the whole story? No? Well, that's me.

So, yeah. We missed it. And that lone fourth grade teacher felt REALLY BAD. And judging by the sign in sheets still neatly placed on the table; I was the only parent not to notice the discrepancy. That's me, people. It's just how I do.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because a couple of weeks ago I posted about some baking that I did, and a lovely reader named Lisa came out of lurkdom to specifically request the recipe for the Cheese Crowns. And, you guys? I didn't write it down. So here you go, Lisa. This one's for you:

(click picture to enlarge)

**as a side note regarding the baking time, we found that the 15 minutes was long enough and didn't bother with the whole reducing the temperature to 375* and baking for another 5 to 7 minutes. The pastry was already golden brown as seen below. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Leave Tootsie Allooooonnee...

How unprofessional is it when a major corporation calls your house to solicit your business and refers to you by your first name only? Like we're old friends? Like we're FAMILIAR? What's worse is that AT&T this company has called my house at least six times in the last two weeks [an estimate, I wish I'd documented it] and half of those calls began with, "Hello, Tootsie?" [not really "Tootsie" but my real name, of course, but for blogging purposes we'll keep it anonymous] and the other half of those calls were, "Hello, Ms. Ranch?" which is not at all my last name anonymously or in real life. With the first phone call I didn't listen to enough of their spiel to learn what it is that they wanted me to "save money" on, but I do know enough about life to know that they're not saving my money they want MORE of my money by selling me services that I may or may not already aquire from another source. So that initial call ended with my "no thank you, not interested". Apparently this causes your name to be tossed back into the list of calls to be made in the near future. Kind of like lalalalala...we can't hear you...lalalala...The next few calls were met with a simple, "no thanks". The second to the last call was met with "Yes this is Tootsie but Ranch is not my last name and I've already told you guys the last few times you've called that I'm not interested", which prompted the stooge on the other end of the line to quip "you're not INTERESTED in SAVING MONEY?!?!" which prompted me to promplty hang up on them.

The last call was today. This time the woman on the other end not only referred to me by my first name only, but wholly butchered its pronounciation. I immediately knew who AT&T it was. Now I was just mad because, wtf? Are they just going to keep calling until I say yes? Tootsie doesn't play that game. I finally had to be super rude which I don't like doing at all, and said "look, you AT&T people have called me at least six times in the last two weeks and I'm not interested! Would you please take me off of whatever list it is of whatever you're trying to sell?" And hung up. I'm sure they'll call back tomorrow asking for Tootsie Ranch. People are always trying to sell you shit.

It's bad enough that you're not safe in your own house, but out there in life beyond your four walls, you can barely make it from point A to point B without being asked to sign a petition, support a cause, make a monetary contribution to fight a disease, buy cookies....or worse...KIOSKS! Those mother effing kiosks in the mall with their salesmen and their fake French accents. Like that one dude working the hand/facial cream kiosk and he's all, "Excuse me Miss? Have you ever heard of the Dead Sea? oh-hoh-hoh, oui, crepe suzette!!" and I just want to slap his accent right out of his mouth! Of course I've heard of the Dead Sea, Asshole. Do you think I've been locked in a box my whole life and some fake Frenchie working the kiosk in the mall is going to ENLIGHTEN me? Puhleeaze. Get out of my way, chocolate souffle.

Ohmygod, and that woman working the herbal microwavable heating pads! I made the mistake once of stopping when she said, excuse me Miss? And that bitch slapped one of those heated herbal things on my shoulders without asking [like the good old days of department store perfume departments and their stealthy-ninja-like spray attacks]...and I swear to GOD I smelled like hot lilac for the rest of the day and I just wanted to peel off my skin.

And the hair extension kiosk. Have you seen my hair? Do I LOOK like I need MORE? I could sell them my hair to sell to other folks. Their tactic is to inquire, "Excuse me, Miss? Can I ask you a question?". I may be the biggest bitch to stroll through the mall but trust me when I say that there are only two ways to answer that and either are just as effective as the other. And they are:

  1. No you can't. [then continue on your merry way]
  2. You just did. [then continue on your merry way]
The end.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Adventures of Phoebe Farklepants

When Mr. Farklepants surprised the family in April of 2009 with a black lab mix puppy, I expected for her to provide enough fodder to create volumes of blog posts. Well, she's sorta failed me in that regard. Where fail equals I can sum up in one post her shenanigans. I have documented a couple of events here and there but she hasn't done much else. For instance the picture below is of Phoebe resting after having her lady parts removed. And that spot on the couch? Became her permanent territory during her recuperation and continues to belong to her to this day. The pillow featured behind her in the picture?

That pillow became a casualty of puppydom. She killed it. She tore open its chest and ripped out its heart in the time it took me to unload and reload the clothes dryer. In fact, every single throw pillow in this house met the same fate. She is quick and precise. The same can be said for three books, all in the time it took for me to make the beds.

She is learning that not everything belongs to her and she's getting better about stealing and chewing items that are not hers. Oh, she still makes a habit of eating guitar picks for snacks, and if she gets a hold of a shoe or a toy you better hope you catch her the moment it happens. And it happens at least every other day. And you're probably saying to yourself, how can Tootsie say that Phoebe is getting better if it is happening that frequently? Well, I'll tell you why. This dog? Is smart. And fast. And she learned early on that humans cannot catch her. She also learned that if she ran around the dining room table there was no way that humans were fast enough to be on the same side of table at the same time with her. And if you were the only human at home and couldn't form a formidable block utilizing the other humans in the residence, she could have you chasing her around that table in an endless game of chase making a complete ass out of you. Have you ever chased a dog around a table and at about the fifth or sixth round you thought to yourself, what if someone were watching me right now; would they take bets on how many laps you would round before you realize I'M CHASING A FRICKEN DOG AROUND A TABLE?

So, yeah. Now she will more often than not drop said item if you simply bark, DROP IT! Unless she manages to get into the backyard with it then you can just forget about ever seeing it alive again because wide open spaces still belong to The Phoebe.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Complaining: It's what's for Dinner

All three of my children are picky eaters. This doesn't completely surprise me considering both my Mr. Farklepants and I were picky eaters when we were children. Mr. Farklepants still has food issues. So clearly it is some kind of gene that is passed on and I imagine upon close inspection beneath a microscope this gene closely resembles that of a mother's head exploding. I recall looking on in envy when my girlfriend's toddlers would readily and eagerly devour anything that was placed before them, sometimes asking for seconds. While I fished a stale Ritz cracker out of the bottom of the diaper bag because the grilled cheese sandwich I'd ordered for them in the restaurant was met with UNCONTROLLABLE CROCODILE TEARS. This is why Boy-Child#1 ate jarred baby food until he was three and a half years old in addition to the waffles and buttered toast that he wanted for every meal because it was the only way I could get a vegetable passed his pursed lips -which prompted a distant relative to pooh-pooh my technique and try to school me on the importance of introducing grown-up food to my child; which, duh. Of course I was doing but he had a thing about textures and frankly she didn't have to see me turn into General Patton FOR EVERY FREAKIN MEAL on a daily basis.

But as they've gotten older, they've grown more bold in their food adventure. They will pretty much eat anything I serve them and if they really don't like it, they'll at least try it. My boys do, that is. Boy-Child#1 will even suggest I add something new to the repertoire. Girl-Child? Not so much. That girl would live on buttered noodles, mac and cheese, cereal, bananas, apples, peanut butter sandwiches, and yogurt if I let her. I regularly serve her whatever it is I've made for dinner and she regularly pushes it around on her plate. We've reached a point where I'm all, dude, you're six years old and if you're hungry you'll eat. If you don't? You go to bed hungry because the kitchen is closed. She is learning that her mom? Isn't even joking about that.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Are We the Only Couple Waiting for Their Tax Returns to Pay Off Christmas?

Why does every holiday have to be some grand, gift-giving extravaganza? It seems like they all revolve around buying a present for your loved ones. When I was a kid, Easter meant coloring eggs the day before and leaving them for the Easter Bunny to hide for the hunt. He'd leave us a basket filled with a skewed candy to plastic shredded grass ratio. Heavy on the grass. Nowadays, many (most?) kids that I know get presents for Easter. EASTER! It's like the year's first quarter Christmas.

Don't even get me started on the Tooth Fairy. Someone needs to reel that bitch in. When my kids find out from their friends and classmates that the Tooth Fairy is leaving books, toys, stuffed animals, and significant amounts of cash under their pillows? I'm met with the look of utter disappointment when my children find the four quarters that were placed lovingly beneath theirs. Tooth Fairies of the world? You all need to have a summit and come to some kind of standard agreement and chisel it in stone. Pronto.

Valentine's Day used to mean flowers, chocolate, and romantic dinners. Now it's the gift of... cellphone service? It was bad enough when retailer's marketing departments implied that you were a slouch of a husband or boyfriend if you didn't lavish your wife or girlfriend in overpriced flowers and tacky matching earring/necklace/ring combinations, but now if you A) don't buy her cell phone for her, and B) provide an inferior range of service - she will leave your ass.

And frankly, I've never really "got" Valentine's Day. I don't even know what the original premise of the holiday is nor do I care enough to exhaust Wikipedia to find out; whatever it was it got lost along the way and became a stress factor. If you're in a new relationship, you freak out over what to get the other person because you don't want to come on too strong, or too light, or outdo the other person, or scare the other person away, or appear too desperate, or cheap, or trying too hard, or too blasé. If you're married you don't want to live with the silent treatment if you screw it up. I think flowers are a big fat waste of money and I'd rather have a new article of clothing. Or shoes. Or a purse. And the last thing I want to do is go out to eat in a crowded restaurant charging inflated prices for moderate food in the name of ...romance? Eff that noise.

You want to know what one of the most romantic things Mr. Farklepants ever did? Honestly, it was one of those scenarios where I was genuinely touched and flattered. Are you ready? Okay, here it is: he made babysitting arrangements so he could take me out. That's it right there - CONSIDERATION. If we were to go out we would need someone to look after the kids and he knew I would have to start making the phone calls and he took it upon himself to save me that stress. And it is random acts such as these that I find romantic and make me want to take off my clothes and roll around on him.

*photo by DorothyZ.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tootsie Farkle-Crocker

I got the bug to try out some recipes and bake the other day. I very much enjoy cooking except when it's on a daily basis because then it's just another thing I have to do. But if I've got time on the weekend or if it's for entertaining purposes (i.e. Thanksgiving), I dive right in and lose myself in it. My dilemma is that my oven? Is the worst. It was brand new when it came with the house but you know those developers; bottom of the line appliances are how they roll. My oven has always been a piece of la merde. Especially for baking. If a cookie recipe calls for them to bake for 9 to 11 minutes, the cookies are burned on the bottom and around the edges at 5 minutes, but raw in the middle. When it comes to baking in my oven, I have to adjust the temperature, minimize the cooking time, and generally babysit. It can handle cakes and brownies but anything delicate is just wasting my time.

So, I called my sisters to enlist their help and company to make a day of baking; I gathered up my supplies, any ingredients I already had on hand, made a quick stop at the market for those I didn't, and went to my mommy's house. Because her oven is far superior. Our first order of business was familiarizing ourselves with the recipe...

And prep work...

If you're old and wise you've mastered the art of having your younger siblings do the hard labor - like peeling potatoes, grating cheese that sort of thing but eventually they're on to you and are all chop your own veggies. My sister thought coring the apples was fun, so, yeah go for it. But she's hip to my jive and she was all, you peel. I did have her slice them because she likes to play with knives wanted to. She was last seen running with scissors. Now we could have used canned apple pie filling but that's for punks. We wanted to create. We wanted the risk factor that comes with working with fruit. It's either delicious awesome or an absolute tasteless failure. And we like to gamble. Into the pan the apples, brown sugar, cornstarch, and other ingredients like heaven and nirvana, went. It took a bit longer than was called for to thicken up... and we also skipped the step where they wanted us to soak the sliced apples in water and lemon juice to keep them from turning brown because, brown sugar equals brown apples ANYWAY I mean, what's the point.

Then we had to sit around for a few minutes to wait for the pastry dough to finish thawing out...but not too thawed. Now I know we should have made our own pastry dough but the recipe specifically called for the frozen variety, so, there. Once the apple turnovers were in the oven we got to work on the cheese crowns...

Which was supposed to yield 12 individual pastries but this jerk misread the part that called for one and a HALF packages of pastry dough and only bought ONE. So we only made 8 and considering there were 9 people total that were going to partake? Well, you can see the math conundrum. The bottom of these are lined with brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, and pecans. The rest is filled with a mixture of cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. And once these things have had a chance to chill overnight? There are no words. And the glaze that finished off the turnovers was out of this world.

*photos by DorothyZ.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

It Depends on Your Definition of Leisure Time

The oh-so-fabulous Undomestic Diva posted on her blog yesterday about a study that concludes that stay at home and working mothers alike have thirty or more hours of leisure time per week. She also included a link to the study and I urge you to visit her blog and follow the link (I could do it here but she did all the leg work and I don't want to steal her thunder, as it were). Now that all of my children are in school full time, with the earliest of the dismissals at 2:15pm, I do have a great deal more time that is JUST MINE than when they were preschool aged and younger. But THIRTY HOURS? That sounded like an awful lot of leisure time to me so today I decided to document my time. My life is not crazy, out of control hectic and my schedule is mostly on my terms. I'm a stay at home mom and I can ignore many of the chores on my to-do list to create more "me time", but all that will do is create more work for myself because eventually, this crap needs to get done. Kind of like when you call in sick to work and all you do is shoot yourself in the foot because no one was there to pick up your slack. My documented time went as follows and please make yourself a cup of coffee to stay awake because it's just all kinds of exciting!

  • 6:25am - Up and out of bed go downstairs, let the dog out, pour coffee (Dear Lord, I would like to give thanks for programmable coffee makers, amen), make the kids' lunches and pack them in their backpacks.
  • 6:45am - wake up oldest son and get him in the shower, go back downstairs and make breakfast.
  • 7:00am - wake up other two children and have them eat their breakfast, make husband's protein shake and pack his lunch.
  • 7:05am - go rap on bathroom door to get oldest son out of the shower, go back downstairs and finish packing husband's lunch, and plate oldest son's breakfast
  • 7:15am - get youngest children dressed, brushed, cleaned, shoed, ready for school.
  • 7:25am - brush my teeth, put on pants.
  • 7:30am - drive two youngest children to school to avoid school drop off congestion.
  • 7:40am - make husband's breakfast, bus money for oldest son for ride home, double check he has everything packed that he needs for classes.
  • 7:45am - take sheets off master bed and put in the washing machine.
  • 7:50am - drive oldest son and neighbor child from across the street to school.
  • 8:25am - finally home, drink 2nd cup of coffee, check email, let dog out, Twitter, check Facebook, let dog in.
  • 8:45am - remove previous days laundry from dryer, put sheets in dryer, collect towels from bathrooms and put in the washer, fold previous days laundry and put away, gather husband's clothes to be dry cleaned, make kids' beds, pick up clothes from bedroom floors.
  • 9:00am - straighten up downstairs, load and start dishwasher, let dog out, feed dog, do light dusting with the Swiffer, run vacuum around downstairs, clean downstairs bathroom, clean kids' bathroom, make mental note to clean bathroom floors tomorrow because this jerk forgot to get more Lysol, take sheets out of dryer, transfer towels to dryer, put sheets on and make my bed, vacuum dog hair off the comforter of my bed because yours truly has a very spoiled and sheddy dog.
  • 11:30am - make a sandwich before I pass out from hunger, check email, Twitter, Facebook, watch an episode of "Roseanne", return a phone call that I missed while vacuuming.
  • 12:10pm - empty all trash cans, empty vacuum canister, take out trash, vacuum stairs, break a thumb nail and curse loudly.
  • 12:30pm - let dog out, take a shower, skip hair washing because there's not enough time to dry and style it AND make it to the grocery store and back before picking up daughter, groom, put hair in a #%$!$# ponytail, remove and fold towels from dryer.
  • 1:15pm - make grocery list, grab dry cleaning, go to the grocery store and dry cleaners.
  • 2:05pm - unload groceries and put away frozen and perishable items
  • 2:15pm - pick up daughter from school.
  • 2:30 - finish putting groceries away, make daughter a snack.
  • 2:50pm - check email, Twitter, and Facebook, make witty comments.
  • 3:05pm - pick up youngest son and friend from school, take friend home first, make youngest son a snack, oldest son arrives home, make him a snack, let dog out, let dog in, eat 3 chocolate covered graham crackers, experience guilt over eating aforementioned chocolate covered graham crackers.
  • 4:00pm - kids play outside, check email, Twitter, and Facebook, and SnapGrades then remind oldest son of homework assignments.
  • 5:00pm - youngest kids start homework, help daughter with her homework, make a pot of coffee, return my mom's phone call, redirect youngest son's attention to his homework
  • 6:00pm - get the mail out of the mailbox, sort mail, go through pile of papers on the island in the kitchen, check on oldest son to see how homework is coming along, watch tv with two youngest children.
  • 6:40pm - check email, Facebook, and Tweet that it's time to make dinner.
  • 6:45pm - make dinner
  • 7:15pm - feed kids dinner, I skip dinner on a count of the guilt from the chocolate covered graham crackers.
  • 7:35pm - clean up after dinner, fix a plate for Mr. Farklepants and set aside.
  • 7:45pm - start this blog post.
It is now 7:45pm and I still have to feed Mr. Farklepants when he comes home, get the two youngest in the bath/shower, watch a little television with them, bedtime, finish cleaning up the kitchen, straighten up any messes, get backpacks ready for tomorrow, prep coffee maker and anything else that can be squeezed in before 10:00pm. From 10:00pm to 11:00pm is my time to chill with my husband, surf the net, finish this blog post, and generally relax. Bedtime is between 11:00 and 11:30pm.

I consider leisure time something that I WANT to do, a luxury, if you will, and not something I HAVE to do. I've italicized what I would consider leisure time during my day and I count about 3 hours. Multiplied by 5 weekdays that's 15 hours. Obviously weekends wouldn't include the school schedule but it is simply replaced by other activities so I will count the generous 3 hours per day for the weekends as well which brings us to a grand total of 21 hours of leisure time per week.

I want my other 9+ hours. And we haven't even discussed the projects closet organization, window cleaning, window blinds, ceiling fans, moving and cleaning under furniture, the horror under the stove and refrigerator, ohmygod the catch all office that have been neglected just to get the 21 accounted leisure hours.

And if I had to throw going to work in there I would burst into flames.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Title of this Post is.................Coming Up After These Messages!

There's a trend in television game shows... And reality television shows, which, in my opinion, are just game shows themselves with LOTS OF DRAMA and the same characters every week, eliminated one by one. I mean, come on...Survivor? Contestants. Boom! Game show. Like Who Wants to be a Millionaire only with swim suits, hairy armpits, man-boobs, exercise, bugs, poor hygiene, malnutrition, and brightly colored bandanas. The Bachelor? Contestants. BAM! Game show. Biggest Loser, Big Brother, American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, The Amazing Race, America's Next Top Model, The Apprentice = gameshowgameshowgameshow very long, drawn out, drama filled, game shows. And all of these hour long programs? Could easily fill a half hour time slot if it weren't for the DRAMATIC PAUSE before each reveal of information, no matter how insignificant aforementioned information is, like, Tyra Banks' resume - fierce as it may be.

My research -where research equals, not a Google search, but my recollection which, you know grain of salt- indicates that this DRAMATIC PAUSE that is everywhere started with Regis Philbin and his Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and his "is that your final answer?" and then long DRAMATIC PAUSE and finally, "after this commercial!". And now that is the standard for every single game show. Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? ..."your answer is.....coming up when we come back!" (Jeff Foxworthy). Biggest Loser? "You've lost a total of .....BAM cut to commercial but not before the tease of shocked reactions from the contestants! DUHM DUUUHHHH DUUUMMMMMM!!! GASP SHOCK HORROR TEARS!

OMG, producers. Thirty minutes. This program can be accomplished in thirty minutes. Just ask Bob Barker. Can you imagine pausing before each reveal of the actual cost of the item on The Price is Right? Bob would lose his shit and start beating the audience with his super seventies long skinny microphone just before throwing himself into the nearest prize oven or under the brand new motorhooooommme complete with kitchenette and popout windooooows.

Monday, February 1, 2010

She Didn't Inherit Her Mother's Adrenaline Junkie Gene, That is for Certain

Over the winter break we took a family trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain. What with it being a stones throw from our house and about a third of the total cost as that of Disneyland, it is fun and affordable way to spend an adrenaline filled day with the family. [Editor's note and cost saving tip: If you don't already have a season pass which is only $54.99 dollars or don't plan to go often enough for that to pay for itself, buy your admission tickets online for only $29.99 instead of the $54.99 that they would charge at the park. Also? Disneyland doesn't offer an online deal for single park-one day passes NOR do they offer an option to buy one PERIOD online. You would have to wait in line at the park to purchase your tickets].

While our boys love the rush that roller coasters can bring; Girl-Child is not much for the things that create the illusion of danger. Or one for speed. Or for anything that moves, really, for that matter. She was at least five years old before she would let me put a quarter in one of those little wonky rides at the mall. And even then she would grip the contraption for dear life with an expression of total fear plastered across her face. It wasn't until she was six before she went anywhere near the merry-go-round. So imagine our surprise when we were able to talk her into riding The Gold Rusher [one of the more seemingly harmless rides and an excellent choice for one's first roller coaster] with Mr. Farklepants. And it wasn't until it was our turn to board the train that she worked up the courage to take a ride with dad. Would you like to see how that went? A girl's first roller coaster ride: A pictorial:

"I can do this! I'm here with my daddy...he said it doesn't go really fast. I trust my daddy. My daddy will save me!"

"Wait a minute...WTF?!?"

"Daddy, YOU lied to me"

This is more her speed.

Clearly, nothing like her mother (an oldie but a goodie from last summer):

**photos from Mr. Farklepants and his bitchen mistress, the Canon 5D Mark II