Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chile: All Ways Surprising*

Remember when I canceled cable?  It was a few months ago, and I swear I have never looked back.  I thought I would miss falling asleep during John Stewart, and miss all my cooking and decorating shows (Ina!  Candace!) and that I might not be able to live without Roseanne reruns.  Turns out, my fear was for naught, and life has been perfectly blissful without cable.  John Stewart is only a few clicks away, I already know how to make roasted brussel sprouts, my house looks freakin' amazing, and I can recite almost every Roseanne episode you can throw at me.  Ah...  Rob even found ways to watch major league baseball online, and maybe even his beloved Buckeyes, but that's not really my problem.

Here is my problem:  Awards shows.  I did not consider this when I canceled cable.  I figured out how to watch Mad Men without having cable and that was all I really worried about.  I didn't consider award shows.  Damn!  The Emmy's were on Sunday, an early beginning to award show season, and I searched online for a place to watch them.  I found lots of behind-the-scenes clips, a thank-you-cam, some red carpet stuff, but no live streaming of the actual awards.  Until I happened upon...

Chilean television.  I swear to God.  I watched the last half of the emmys at my desk on a 3X5 low res' window on my computer streamed - with commercials - on Chilean TV.  The show was broadcast entirely in English, no subtitles, and the commercials were half in English too.  America would so never do that, but I'm grateful that Chile did.

I usually Tivo the red carpet and the actual show, then start watching later, on my nice, big screen, fast forward through the commercials and the speeches, and pause and rewind and make a night of it.  This may be a problem...

There should be an award show package you can buy on line, just like there is a major league baseball package.  Where the hell am I going to watch the Golden Globes!?  I may have not thought this through.  I generally don't like watching at other people's houses because they talk through stuff, but I may have to resort to inviting myself over.  I'll bring wine!

(* The tourism slogan for Chile, my second favorite country)

P.S. Happy Anniversary, Rob!  14 years today!

Friday, August 27, 2010

5 Things

I can't decide what to write about today, so here's a random smattering of thing going on in my life this week.

1) Leila and I were hanging out at my mom's and we somehow got to talking about swear words and the next thing I know we were all saying the word bullshit over and over.  Leila was laughing her head off, pausing only to yell, "Bullshit!" as loud as she could.  We sang the word, chanted the word, said it in different accents, and L was just tickled to be able to use a bad word so unabashedly.  Luckily for me, she knows the rules about swears, and wouldn't dare use it outside of this bubble of potty talk.

2) Yesterday, I used a valancho pepper that I harvested out of my garden in a cucumber salad.  The last time I did this, it wasn't spicy, so I didn't worry at all about pepper fingers.  Well.  I spent the whole meal and the family game night with an ice cube up my nose.  I must have had pepper essence on my fingers and then scratched my nose (okay, picked my nose, while I was cooking!) and my nose was completely engulfed in flames for two hours.  I'm a freakin' genius.

3) If the song Teenage Dream by Katy Perry has made you cry in your car or anywhere else, please tell me because I think I'm the only one.  I must be getting my period.

4) I got a new "wireless" printer and I spent two hours the other night trying to make it work "wirelessly" and it wont.  Unless I want to send something to print and then wait a half hour.  I had the same experience 6 years ago with my last "wireless" printer and I thought by now they'd have this thing licked.  HP is made of lies.

5) This has been a long week, and I'm happy to see it end.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Third Grade, People! Oh Yeah!

By this title, I am actually not inferring that I have the maturity or the sense of poo poo caca humor of a third grader, although I do.  No, what I am referring to is that summer vacation is over, and L has started THIRD GRADE!  Third grade seems like a transitional year to me, and I can't figure out why.  I don't think there's anything that altering about cursive and multiplication tables, or maybe there is, but it somehow seems more weighty than second grade. 

Maybe its because third grade is when I started riding my bike to school instead of taking the school bus, and I was often distracted on the way or took alternate routes and was late a lot.  Or maybe it was that third grade the was the year we first had homework, and although I was really excited to have homework because I thought it was a big-kid kind of thing, I didn't actually do the homework.  I once ripped out, like, twenty pages of my math workbook and ditched them in some bushes on the way to school (distraction) and then had the balls to tell the teacher that I turned them in and she must have lost them.  Because, you know, teachers and all adults are complete idiots, right?  She gave me a disbelieving look, and I ran out of the room in tears, burst into the secretary's office, crying "I have to call my mom!" and the secretary was all, "okay, freaking-out-girl" and motioned me into the principal's empty office where I dialed my home number and when my mom answered, I bawled "I didn't do my homework!!!!!"  and my mom was all, "Um, okay, go face the music, babe." or something equally un-comforting to an eight year-old (its what we parents now call natural consequences.) 

This total lack of study habits that started in the third grade stuck with me all through high school and college.  You might say it was a turning point, and had I learned from the natural consequences, my life might have turned out very differently.  I might have gone to a state school in a bigger city, or been an office manager much sooner.  But my teacher was a nicey-nice hippy, so I'll blame her for not making the consequences punitive enough.  Plus I got to use the phone in the principal's office which no one ever got to do. 

Where were we?  I really have no idea what I'm talking about anymore.  Oh yeah, third grade being a transformative year.  Now that I think about it, maybe this is the year that will change the course of Leila's academic life just like it did mine...  Shit.  I think I'm doomed.  I'm going to have to be ON that girl.  I walk her to school every day, so there's no way she'll be able to ditch 20 pages of her math workbook.  She'll have to be much more clever than that...

I think I'm going to take a nap and think about this.  Maybe tomorrow I'll go through that bag of second grade school stuff that she brought home on the last day of school in June.  Its been sitting in the front hall all summer.  Nap first, second grade later...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Camping While Married: Pros and Cons

When Rob and I were house hunting a million years ago, the first thing he would look at, before the kitchen or bedrooms, was the crawl space and the attic and the garage.  It didn't matter that time was of the essence, and that if we didn't like the home part of the house, the crawl space was not going to be sell us on the house.  Maybe its a guy thing.  Or, maybe its a moron thing.

Some readers in the past have gotten on my case about publicly being mean to my husband.  Let me put your mind at ease by saying: A) He loves the attention.  B) The person who folds his underpants is allowed to be mean sometimes. And C) YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT I GO THROUGH.  Besides, I'm not mean; I'm just honest and, usually, I'm right.

So we went camping in the most beautiful place imaginable.  I even used a vault toilet, and it was totally worth it because  the place was so frickin' amazing.  We had heard about these Enchanted Pools that weren't on any map, and they were dangerously close to the desolation wilderness, but the ranger gave us "directions" with a wink and a nod, so we were on our way.  The kids' whining was totally bearable, the dog was trotting along like he owned the trail, but we had a hard time figuring out where to veer left and and find the Enchanted Pools.  Rob decides, in his infinite wisdom, that he is going to do what we have told the children not to do, what every good boy and girl scout knows not to do, and what anyone with little mountaineering experience would be out of their mind to do.  He goes off the main trail in search of the trail to Sacred Pools of Infinite Wisdom or whatever, climbing up craggly cliffs and over boulders and whatnot, and then... He's gone.  We were yelling for him, and he did not respond.  The children started to say stuff like, "Is he ever coming back?  Should we just leave?  What if he's dead?"  And I sat there thinking to myself, Okay: I'm a widow.  He's fallen of the cliff and is dead.  Or he's injured and he will have to be helicoptered out and will be in a wheel chair.  Or he's broken his leg and wont be able to make it off this mountain.  Or, he's stuck and he'll have to chew off his own arm.  All of these thoughts are going through my head, and finally, after what seemed like an eternity, our camping buddy who had gone on ahead to see if she could spy him from further up the trail yells down, "Rob's fine!  He's up here!" and I decided I had to go kill him.

I was so mad at that moron.  I made him address the children and say how wrong he was to have gone off the trail, and that without a buddy! and that he was sorry he made everyone worry and wait.  Then I made him my bitch for the rest of the camping trip.

But then, here is the killer thing about camping while married:   When you camp, the packing, unpacking, and packing up again is a bit of an ordeal.  What makes it fun is that you are outside, and you get to play with all the fun camping equipment that you've spent all your money on.  And lots of camping equipment folds down small and has stuff sacks and is fun to touch and utilize.  Rob and I have  a system: he packs everything inside the tent, including the tent, and I pack everything outside the tent.  This may seem like a raw deal for him, but we are done around the same time.  There are a lot of little things outside the tent that need to be cleaned and packed away, or folded up, or whatever, plus you have separate your stuff from your camping buddies' stuff.  Then he packs the top of the car, with its series of nets and bungees and stuff, and I pack the back of the car.  We are also done with these tasks at the same time.  The reason this is awesome is that it epitomizes marital team work.  We do a lot of high fiving afterward, and no one feels like they are stuck doing all the work.

Then we take a stroll down to The Vault (the toilet) and get in the car with our greasy hair, dirty dog and leftover camping snacks and head home.  This time, we agreed that neither one of us would sit down or shower until all the camping stuff was unpacked and put away.  There have been times when the camping stuff dangles around the house for WEEKS, but not this time, baby!  After three days in the wilderness,  that shower is a mighty motivator!  We worked our little butts off, emptying coolers, and unpacking duffles, and putting things away in the rafters of the garage.  Rob even vacuumed the car!  We did some more high fiving after we were done.

We love team work!  Except when one member of the team leaves the other member to wonder whether she is going to have to cash in a life insurance policy on the first member...

The cliff I though Rob had died on

The Sacred Enchanted Pools of Infinite Magic and Childish Wonderment

Friday, August 13, 2010

New Pass Time

I have a new pass time.  You know the mildew that accumulates on shower curtains?  At the bottom, around the edges, and in random splotches all around?  I have made it my mission in life to eradicate those splotches.  The rest of the bathroom is still going straight to hell, and I don't even want to talk about the pink mildew in between the tiles, or the caulking around the tub that has gone terribly, terribly wrong.  I want to celebrate the one small thing in my bathroom that is now clean, or clean ish.

My college roommates and I heard that if you throw the shower curtain in the washing machine with a few washcloths, the splotches will disappear.  I tried that.  It was wishful thinking.  Then Rob took the whole thing down and hosed it off in the driveway and scrubbed it.  That worked, but it wasn't a realistic plan for the future of the shower curtain.  He kept telling me to just throw it away and get a new one, but the eco-conscience that sits on my shoulder (that's you, Jo) kept shreeking, "Landfill!  LANDFILL!" so I just wrestled with the splotches, spraying chemicals on them, until one day, two of the grommets that hold the shower curtain earringy things broke, and there was no choice but to get a new one.  I got an identical one, and it had the same problem as the first: the corners curled in on themselves, making a cozy place for mildew to accumulate.

I know you're yelling at your computer right now,  "Why didn't you just WIPE IT CLEAN  like a normal person?!"  Dude, I know.  I have a special kind of paralysis when it comes to cleaning my bathroom.  When you sit on the toilet in this bathroom, you stare right into some of these splotches, and it always bothered me.  People who come to my house often don't have occasion to use the bathroom, so the overgrown population of microbes goes largely un-noticed.  But when they do use the bathroom and they're sitting on the can; splotches.

I decided I had had enough, and one day while taking a shower I used a washcloth and some shampoo and scrubbed those splotches.  Lo and behold, it worked!  Amazing how something becomes clean when you, y'know, clean it

I didn't get all of them, though.  When the shower curtain is wet, they're harder to see, so now, every time I use the toilet, I inspect the shower curtain, get out a washcloth and scrub.  Its become an obsession.  Now if only cleaning the rest of the bathroom would become an obsession, I'd be in business.

You know what else is cool?  That while I'm scrubbing at the last remaining splotches, I'm thinking, This would make an awesome blog post.  My apologies.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I just hit up some old flames on the Facebook.  Do you ever do this?  I think they call it "lurking" when its on Facebook, "killing time" when its on Google, and "stalking" when you actually leave your house.  Here's the thing: Why is it that every guy I ever dated or, more realistically, was infatuated with from afar (or from very close up) got better looking while I became and ugly old cow?  I know this is not a new complaint from women; men get better looking, even if they go grey or bald, and women have to fight like hell just to keep up.  Its so unfair!

I buy the food my husband eats, and yet he's still as skinny as a rail while I have ballooned.  He's lost most of his hair, and he looks better than he did with hair.  He can spend good money on good, well-fitting clothes because he knows he wont grow out of them in a week, so he is always better dressed than I am.  And although he has weird lumpy cysts in his arms which make me want to retch, he is not afflicted by hyperpigmentation, or age spots, or spider vanes, or cellulite, or toe nail fungus, or any of the stuff that I accumulate on a daily basis.  He has not started to grow hairs anywhere he didn't already have them 15 years ago, and I - well, that's another story. 

Do you think I should take up tennis?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Toy!

Oh man, y'all, I'm finally back.  I feel like I've been gone a month and five days.  I'm happy to be in my own bed again, and I want to stay there until I get bedsores.  I didn't hardly have internet access this whole time, and when I did, I didn't have time to stay in touch, but here I am!  Never fear!

I am sitting at my desk right next to my new iPhone.  I just want to lick it, and eat it for dinner.  Its so pretty, and glossy, and sleak and I put all my stuff on it, and now I just want to stare at it.  Actually, I want to get in the car and drive until I'm lost, and then use the beautiful iPhone to find the nearest Chipotle, the nearest ATM, call my husband and tell him I'm lost, and then use the map feature to get home, all the while listening to podcasts, and watching the first Sex and the City movie at red lights.  Ahhhhh.

I'll fill you in on more stuff later, or maybe not.  I'm still kind of punchy and tired, and I don't know where to start, so I think I'll start with some chardonnay and kick it.

Love to your mother.